Monday, August 27, 2007

Not so pretty in pink

In this part of the country, small, green garden lizards like the little guy pictured below are common. In fact, it would be unusual to go outside in warm weather and not see at least a couple of them on the fence or the patio furniture.

Sometimes they get in my house, which kind of spooks me, but not nearly as much as a mouse or a cockroach would.

Lately the house seems to have been invaded by a different species of lizard, one I'd never seen until about a year ago. They're pink, they're translucent (look how you can see his eyeballs through the top of his head), and these, I'll admit, give me the creeps. This guy's fleshy pinkness, not to mention a missing toe on his left front foot, made me think of him as some kind of mutant. I searched for him on Google, turning up several pages of Pink Lizard bars and jewelry stores, but I never found another lizard like him.

The pink lizard pictured here was about six inches long, a big sturdy guy, but the ones I've seen in my house lately are much smaller, only about two inches long. It's possible they're babies, I suppose, but if they are, they're not growing. I saw the first one about two months ago, and the one I saw last night (the third) was still no longer than two inches.

Of the three of them, one was in the bathroom and two were right outside the bathroom, in the hall near the dogs' nighttime water dish. Their color blends in with the lighter areas of my flooring, so I don't see them until I'm right on top of them and they move. They move fast! I managed to catch each of the first two in a towel and release them outside. The third one, unfortunately, wasn't so lucky.

When I got up this morning, on my first trip to the bathroom, I noticed that the water dish was practically empty. I picked it up to fill it and saw something hanging off the bottom of it. I was reaching out to flick it off when I realized that the little "something" was frantically waving its front feet. Its back feet and its tail just hung there, not moving at all. Apparently, when I set the full water dish down last night, I set one edge of it right across the middle of the lizard's back. Ewwwwwwww!

I thought about carrying him outside as I had the others, but in his condition I was afraid he'd be dinner for fire ants before noon. That seemed too cruel, so I did the (cowardly) next best thing: I pulled him off the water dish with a wad of toilet tissue and flushed him. His poor little front legs were paddling away as he swirled down the toilet.

Now I have mixed emotions. I feel sad about my role in his untimely end, and yet I'd feel more comfortable if I knew for sure that he died. I've found myself wondering today whether there are more two-inch mutant lizards in my house. I can picture them marching all in a row from the bathroom to the hall and then into my bedroom, a nude, wriggling, mutant army seeking to avenge the death of a brother. And if he didn't die? Then I imagine him growing to be six inches long and dragging his paraplegic self up from the septic tank and back into my toilet.

The hairs on the back of my neck are standing up. I need to go read for a while so I won't take those images to bed with me. Good night.


  1. Velvet, My mother has these lizards at her house...but we've never seen them just down the street at my sister's. Weird. So, at least you know you're not the only one in South Louisiana with pink lizard....

    And...Mom kills every one she finds!

  2. Holly, I'm glad I'm not the only one with these lizards...I think.
    You know, I learned a long time ago not to judge humans by the color of their skin, so it kind of bums me out to think that some part of my brain has decided that green lizard = good but pink lizard = bad. What kind of bizarre thinking is that?

  3. Awwww, bless you. What you have are Geckos, a kind of lizard. Scoot over to Wickipedia for more definition, but suffice to say they are harmless. Unless you are a mosquito or fly or kin to such, in which case you are dinner or breakfast or lunch or snack. Harmless, though, the whole lot of 'em, at least the ones we know in these parts. Bless.

  4. Doesn't mean that I don't go crazy nuts, jumping up and down and shaking my hand as if were on fire when I touch one on the light switch of my garage though. Euuueeewwwwww, yech! (Bluh)

  5. Alison, thanks for the ID. I've heard of geckos, of course, but never knew what they looked like. Always thought they were green, like the GEICO spokeslizard. I feel much better knowing the little pink home invaders have such a good reputation.

  6. Velvet, that's one of the creepiest things I've ever read! Makes me glad that my critters are generally outside.

    Don't the dogs try to eat the lizards?

  7. Splendorella8/28/2007 11:28 AM

    Whew...I thought we were the only ones being invaded by what we call "Naked Geckos." We may have 20-30 on our porches and garage door at any given time. They've been around for a couple of years now but they definately seem to be a newer species. And I would just die if one were to jump on me as I've imagined they might do every single time I walk out on the front porch at night. So far, none of us have been attacked so I think you'll be ok.
    Love and kisses to all of you!!

  8. Wow. I think I've only ever seen green or brown lizards...and I thought Geckos were green.

    Your imagination rivals mine, lol,about stuff...your story about the mutant lizard army had me laughing out loud!

  9. Janet, I had to write at least one story in the same genre as your crippled squirrel.

    Butch ignores the lizards (and di so even when he could see). Kadi chases the little green (anole) lizards as if it's her mission in life to catch them; however, the only time she succeeded in catching one, she just held it down with her nose for a few seconds then let it go.

    Splendorella, my sister, I'm SO happy to see you back here again! Who knew it would be gross-looking reptiles that would make it worth your effort to tackle the comments-feature obstacle course again? You can bet that if I had a gecko population as large as yours, I'd have written about it much sooner. Are yours the tiny ones or the big boys?

    Marion, I usually think having a vivid imagination is lots of fun --but sometimes, as in this instance, it's a bit of a curse. With a good imagination of your own, no doubt you understand exactly what I mean.

  10. It's always a challenge to decide what to do when you find a creature disabled or in pain. One never wants to harm some helpless or small creature. We are like giants to them. Or Gods.

    Your little creatures are said to bring you good luck if they live in your house. In Hawaii, every household wants one or more.

  11. At least my crippled squirrel is outside of the house. I think seeing a pink gecko in my bathroom would make me run around screaming and flapping my hands.

  12. don't let the lizzard get away. times get any harder in louie anna you may want to eat him.i had been laying in the hospital seeing how bad it was in new orleans but good golly give georgie time he will get the job done.

  13. Nope, there's more than one colour of Gecko. I like lizards for some reason...and insects. I keep photographing the one's in my yard. Right now there's a huge web in the tree with larva inside the web. They've eaten the leaves they've covered right down to the veins. Not good.
    In Florida I saw little lizards all the time and thought they were the coolest thing in the world. The bigger ones, ya know, gators and what not, are the ones it took years to appreciate.


  14. Ohhhhh, I'm sorry. I'm sure I'd feel exactly the same way. Well, maybe not, as I wouldn't be doing the actual flushing - I don't think I could pick one up. Even with a tissue. You're braver than I am. Ewwww. Yes, read something reallllllly pleasant.

  15. Hey Velvet, I posted my little lizard today. Come on over and take a peek.


Your comments might be the very best thing about blogging. I love it when you care enough to share your thoughts here, so go ahead and say what's on your mind.