Monday, August 19, 2013

First Day of School (aka Catching Lizards)

Kids all across the country are starting school today (does that seem early to you?!  Yah, me too!), but we went about doing what we do every day.  Living and learning.  

On Saturday, the girls' cousins were visiting and we went for a swim at the river.  E caught a little, tiny blue belly lizard, about an inch long.  She really wanted to keep it, but I was afraid it was going to get squished.  We had 6 kids ages 8 and under all clammoring to hold it and pet it.  On top of that, I was thinking how sad it would be if it died, as wild animals are likely to do in captivity.  Also, we were headed back to her grandma's house and had nothing in which to transport it.  So I said no, but she was really sad. 

Later that day, I realized we could have kept it and just let it go the next day so it wouldn't die on us.  I told her that we'd make a special trip back to the river to find another lizard.  So today, while millions of kids started school, we packed a picnic lunch and walked along the trail to the river very slowly, looking for lizards.  We saw about half a dozen on the way there, then we hung out at the river for a while and nearly caught a crawdad.  L and I watched some little tiny fish that looked like they were feeding on something on a rock.   On the way back, E almost caught 2 more adult lizards, but they got away.   

As we were getting in the car, L saw another baby lizard, and she and I tried to get it.  It scurried under a log, and E jumped out of the car and went after it.  After several minutes of chasing it back and forth, E finally just yanked the log up, shoved her hand under it, grabbed a handful of dirt and got the lizard in the process. She scratched up her arm, but she had her lizard!

My camera is broken and E's doesn't take good pictures, so the lizard is hard to see, but the picture at least shows how tiny it is.  That's a nickel behind it in the first picture and to the left in the second picture.   

We watched some videos of lizards laying eggs, and we found out how to tell if it is a boy or a girl.  This one was a girl.  We also found out that lizards help keep Lyme disease from spreading.  Apparently, when a tick feeds on the blood of a lizard, it becomes inoculated against Lyme disease.  Then it doesn't spread Lyme disease to other animals or people when it bites them. 

Unfortunately, even on day in captivity was too much for Lizzie/Rose (depending on which kid you asked about her name).  She died this evening. Next time, we'll do a much quicker catch and release. 

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