I went out today to find a better resting place for Monsieur Badass than the middle of the driveway under Hissy’s wheel. While the ants and crows might have appreciated it, the bushes where he used to hide seemed more appropriate. When I looked up from placing him there, I spotted something under the Volvo.
Can you see it? He’s tiny, probably less than an inch long.
All I had was my iPhone, not the good camera with the telephoto lens, and he was deep in the shadows. But it was a brand new little lizard, probably in the sense of “very recently hatched” given his size and also in the sense of “first time I’ve seen it!” He was EXTREMELY skittish and bolted as soon as I made the smallest step toward him to get a better picture. That’s good! That’s how you stay alive long enough to get to the size of M. Badass or Dr. Lizardo!
A couple hours later I went out on a break and took the aforementioned good camera with the telephoto lens, hoping to find the tiny, tiny guy, but instead finding this guy.
Again, right where M. Badass always hung out, but I’ve never seen him (or her) either. Ever. It could be a huge coincidence. Or it could be that M. Badass was keeping all of the ants and spiders to himself and these guys somehow know that he’s gone and they’re moving in.
Remember that scene in “When Harry Met Sally” where Billy Crystal is talking about how they should combine the obituaries and the apartment ads so that you could see who died and what sort of place is now on the market? This is the lizard version of that in real life!
While moving around and taking pictures I was probably 8′ to 10′ away and constantly waiting for him (or her) to bolt.
He (or she) was pretty patient as long as I stayed well outside his (or her) comfort zone. But in this picture, look behind her (or his) back legs, at that wide base of the tail that then gets much more narrow. Is that a sign that this is a female?
Or, as this picture clearly shows, is that just where she (or he) lost their tail and had to start re-growing it?
It turns out that when I squat down to take a ground level picture instead of standing up, THAT’s the key to “RUN!!!” Or at least scurry like hell to the safety of the tire. Um, let’s talk about that concept for a second…
Looking back, this dude (or dudette) has very distinctive markings and coloration. Those big black splotches behind the front legs, that regenerated tail, the big 3-D spots or warts above the front shoulders, the desert camo coloration.
Monsieur Badass might be off in the final patch of flowers, but there is apparently no shortage of replacements who want a warm spot on the driveway and are willing to risk his fate to get it. That’s good news – but I might wait a while to see if these guys get used to me and are willing to not run at first sight before I start getting too attached.