she who keeps this diary

14 September 2004 - 10:45 AM

Blue-Tailed Skinks

Yesterday, when the Viking picked me up from work (Buttercup started acting up over the weekend -- we think it's the water pump, or maybe a fan) he informed that that I 'needed to have a talk' with my sons.

My sons?

He meant Faust and Fergus. And note how they became mine suddenly.

He'd heard them making enough noise to make him investigate. They were in the sunny spot by the sliding glass doors with a blue-tailed skink.

The skink was bit bruised and had dropped its tail, as they do, but it was alive and otherwise uninjured, so the Viking rescued it from the cats and released in the back yard. He is not sure how it got into the house in the first place and of course neither cat would own up to knowing.

This is not the first time that we've had wildlife indoors. The first autumn we were there, I found a dead white-throated sparrow in the hallway by the bedroom door. I don't know how it got in the house, either, but somehow it did and someone (I suspect Faust) dispatched it.

A bird in the house is not entirely unexpected, especially in the woods of Cape Despair. A skink, on the other hand, is a bit of a surprise. I know blue-tails are native to this part of the world, but I'd never seen one, and since they are active in the daytime, you would think we'd have spotted them before one turned up in the dining room.

And skinks ... well, the consequences of skink-eating can be different.

About ten (or maybe it was fifteen) years ago, after a tropical storm hit Florida and stirred up the usual chaos, I read a story in one of the dog magazines, the AKC Gazette I think. A dog owner reported that shortly after the storm, the family dog (a terrier of some kind) began behaving very strangely, chasing invisible cars around the living room at all hours of the day and night. Concerned, the owner took the dog to the vet, who suspected that the dog had consumed a displaced skink and was suffering hallucinations as a result. The only thing to do was wait until the effects wore off.

Both Faust and Fergus, especially Fergus, are odd creatures at the best of times. The last thing I need is one of them on a bad trip from a hallucinogenic skink.

verso - recto

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