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Leaping Lizards!

Lizards1The other day I heard a noise outside my window and took a peek. I found this little fella. Of course I took a peek through the closed window. I’m not a chicken but would rather not run the risk of having him come inside and get too comfy here.

When I moved to the Miami Redlands I knew it would be different than the Queens, NY neighborhood I grew up in. In Queens, we heard the ambulance outside. Let’s not forget the bus that whooshed by every 20 minutes or so. Except when someone needed to get off at the bustop right outside our window. Then it stopped and we could hear the hydraulics as it took off again. And that was our bedroom window. The kids were actually used to the noise and had a hard time adjusting to the quiet in our new Miami neighborhood.

I kid you not when I tell you that the first time I heard cats on our roof I totally freaked. They sounded so nearby that I was certain they were inside the attic. Actually, I was unaware that they were cats. In my wild imagination I thought they were rabid possums and was sure it would be only a matter of moments before they busted through the attic door and bit me. Strange thoughts can go through your mind in the middle of the night. I laugh about that now.

I love living out here. I often sit on the porch and listen to the birds. I once had a quaker land on my head and stay there as I called excitedly to the girls and walked towards the front door. Unfortunately when the door opened, the first one out was one of our cats and friendly Mr. Quaker took off. I called him and called him but he no longer wanted anything to do with me.

We saw a 3 foot iguana crossing the street once. We’ve never seen him again. But this little guy outside my window makes an appearance every couple of months or so. He’s not so little. He’s not our common lizards that, although pretty patterns adorn their backs sometimes, are a dime a dozen. He’s actually an Anolis equestris equestris – or Western Knight Anole, the largest of all Anolis species. Florida has only one true native anolis, the Anolis carolinensis, or Green Anole, which is usually 5-8 inches in length. The Western Knight Anole is usually 13 – 19 inches long. They were introduced to Florida from Cuba. This one on my window seemed to be about 14 inches long. His color is a bright green, not the dull browns, greys and slimy non-colors of some of the common lizards.

Lizards2Anoles are great to have on your property. They eat up lots of bugs. One of our cats once brought one to us as a gift. Unfortunately it was too late to help the poor guy and we let our cat know we were not at all pleased. If you ever do get one inside the house, try to corner it so you can capture it and take it back ouside. They can’t live very long inside a house as it’s too cold for them and they would only last a few days. If you ever do have reason to capture one to release it outside, don’t worry when it tries to bite you. That’s one of their defense mechanisms. Their teeth are really tiny and the bite doesn’t hurt (so I’ve been told). UPDATE – this is only true for the smaller Green Anole. This larger Western Knight Anole bites and it hurts. The other defense mechanism is he’ll poop in your hand. As gross as that sounds, it’s a really tiny poop and not much to worry about. Just make sure you wash your hands afterwards!

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