Today while i was out in the garden I had a surprise visit from my aunt and uncle
who were out for a drive. They live about an hour away and decided to take
their little convertible for a cruise in the warm sunshine.
We chatted outside and when we came in the house, my aunt said
Surprise visit #2...
Just in front of the screen door to the porch sat an Elgaria caerulea...
that's a Northern alligator lizard to us common folk.
I'm not sure how it got in, maybe the cat or it could have crept in while one of the
other doors was open, but needless to say we were all quite in awe of the little guy.
It was about 6 or 7" long and after about 20 minutes we caught it
in a kitchen sieve and then it was kind enough to allow us to take a few photos
before we returned it to it's preferred environment on the mossy rocks.
...here it is still in the sieve...
...and after we put it out on the rock...
It was quite calm, even though when I tried to pick it up it kind of bit me, more of a pinch really.
I didn't want to grab it and have its tail fall off, which is a defence mechanism.
The tail will grow back but never as long and skinny and it takes a lot to do so.
It's tail is it's fat reserve so it's an important commodity
and will only 'release' it under extreme circumstances to escape.
The northern alligator lizard is Vancouver Islands only true lizard and is not
to be confused with a newt. They come out to sun themselves on rocks
and so with all of this warm weather it must have been out and about enjoying the heat.
They're quite secretive and spend the winter hibernating in underground dens.
They can have from 2 - 6 babies which they carry inside them until giving birth a few months later.
So there you go...another gift from the outside, another little miracle on the earth.