Thursday, August 25, 2011

Free Pets


When I was a child, I had many pets, the free kind. 
Since we spent most of our free time in the yard and in swamp behind my house, I managed to “bring the outdoors in”.

Mother never knew what we would drag in but we always had vacant aquariums, fish bowls and large mayonnaise jars with lids for our prisoners.

I once had a green garter snake, kept it for 2 days, but it found a hole and crawled in it; I never saw it again.

We found small box turtles and learned quickly between those and the snapping ones.
It’s a miracle we still have our fingers.   

We tried to design the perfect turtle haven with a flat rock island to sit on, and lots of water to swim in.  Occasionally they caught a lone fly attracted to the slimy water.  
We generally cleaned the dish when it began smelling like the swamp.

Our favorite pets were lizards. 

Mother forbad us to bring lizards into the house; she hated them.  
She’d rather do battle with an Anaconda than a lizard. 
(Just so you know, we don’t have Anacondas in eastern North Carolina.)
We knew her wrath wasn’t worth an aquarium pet.

These Anoles change color with the temperature of the object they hide behind.  High temperatures and they stay green, cooler areas and they get darker.  
If you chase a brown one into the light, you can watch them change color, but that’s not the best thing.  

We could make lizards float on water.  
I’m going to pass on this tid-bit that I’ve never seen in any science book, and I’ve read a lot of them.

Fill a shallow bowl with water.  
Pick up the lizard by the middle and flip him over onto your leg, and then gently rub the lizard’s tummy.  
They stick their arms and legs out and fall asleep.  
With their eyes closed, place them on their back on the surface of the water.  
Voila, you have a floating lizard, until they decide to wake up.  
When that happens, they sort of panic.   
So you have to pick them up and put them on dry ground. 

That’s all the activity they can take for the day so find another victim.


Imagine the hours it took to figure out how to put a lizard to sleep and then float them on water, but it was well worth it. 

Go ahead, try it; you want to float a lizard…



Have a great day outdoors.  Email me at aitken.helen@gmail.com

I'd love to hear your lizard stories.

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