Rockabye reptiles

This is a very tiny green anole trying to settle down for the night. Anole parents have no involvement with their offspring once the eggs are laid. That means no bedtime stories and no lullabies.

While it isn't the tree-top, the wind was blowing, and the cradle was rocking. The leaves in the photo are slightly longer than one inch. The young gecko's body is about the same length, with another couple inches of skinny tail. After testing different positions, the anole probably aligned itself along the center vein and stem of a leaf. That would camouflage it very well.

The bough didn't break, and the little guy got a good night's sleep. I happened to see him climb out of the leaves onto the fence about eight this morning.

While settling the littlest preschoolers for their afternoon naps, I spotted a lizard silhouette moving on the wall. Was I dreaming? No, this lizard was even smaller than the rockabye reptile, with a shorter tail. A Mediterranean gecko had found a gap by the door and squeezed inside. The dark nap room let the nocturnal gecko think one p.m. was time to prowl for insects. An educational opportunity not to be wasted, I caught the gecko in a clear plastic container for the older students to see.

Mediterranean geckoes are very bumpy reptiles with lidless eyes and suction-cup toes. They are so homely they're cute. Plus, they eat insects. Lots of insects. After the older students watched it a little while, they took it outside to release on the other side of the nap room door. It's a good spot with a light nearby to attract insects during normal nocturnal hours.

We are watching two white eggs in the corner of the school garden under some old, soggy leaves. They look like yogurt-covered raisins. According to GeckoWeb, Mediterranean geckos deposit pairs of eggs in this type of location. At my condo complex, geckos live in the weep holes of the exterior brick walls near lights. Whenever I think I should get up and look for some to photograph, it is much easier to roll over and go back to sleep.

© 2010 Nancy L. Ruder

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