One of my first memories is of my Mother screaming and running about the back yard with a Blue Tongue Lizard clamped to her thumb after she disturbed it while weeding a rockery. The lizard eventually let go and flew off into the garden but it scarred my mother’s thumb and me for life.
Blue Tongue Lizards or “bob-tails” are actually rather good creatures to find in your garden as they tend to enjoy eating things we don’t like, such as large flying cockroaches and hideous spiders.
However, they are not desirable things to have rushing out at you from a garden cupboard.
We have a variety of lizards that like to live in the suburban gardens of Perth. The legless lizard (well “skink” actually) has an annoying habit of turning up when you are gardening, and being…well legless, invariably looks like a baby Dugite snake which are deadly and consequently causes you to scream and run about until you realise your mistake.
We also have rather charming geckos that we regularly find clinging to the walls with their little suction pad feet until we put them in the dust pan and move them outside.
All very sweet. Now the Blue Tongues are a different matter. This one is about a foot and a half long and their sturdy bodies and huge head are fine to look at, but if cornered they will try to latch onto you nearest “bits” and they have a vice like grip that is almost impossible to detach.
They are also rather curious. One once strolled inside and and promptly ran under an immovable bookcase. We had to spend several days worrying it would creep out under out bed and mistake our toes for delicious beetles until it re-emerged of its own accord took itself back outside.
I also remember my Grandfather casually remark once, “A huge bobtail has just gone into my bedroom!” to which my Grandmother replied “You are mad!” But on closer inspection it turned out to be true. We bundled it outside and we found it swimming in the pool later that day making, the most of the summer weather obviously.
We were tidying up the garden when this particular bobtail came rushing out of a cupboard where we keep the mosquito coils and croquet mallets, terrifying my nearest and dearest and making a run for the garden.
I had my camera handy so snapped these shots and, instead of being delighted with the attention, the bobtail went full “battle mode” and I had to give it a wide berth as it trundled truculently off into our agapanthus.
So, another traumatic experience with the wildlife and a few more inches down in the gin bottle which was required to help us recover from the encounter.