Welcome Visitor

Recently we had a visit from a blue-tongued lizard (skink actually) a local lizard that’s about 45 cm (a foot-and-a-half) long. Or maybe it’s a bobtail. To be honest, I’m not really clear on the distinction. I call them all blue-tongued lizards and so far none have taken offence.

Frank’s seen another bluey (or the same one on the opposite side of our garden) but this is the first one I’ve seen in ages. This lizard is pretty common everywhere in Australia but is on the decline in the area where we live. The culprit is apparently domestic cats. Cats don’t bother the adult blueys because they are simply too big to tackle, but the babies are a different story. As a result, our area (where cats are popular pets) has a lot of adult skinks but very few young. Unfortunately, because the young are killed off, it won’t take long (they live 20ish years) until we have no more blueys. Very sad.

Here’s my blue-tongued. Note in the 2nd photo you can see his stumpy little tail. Some people say they look like they have 2 heads because of that tail.

Blue-tongued skink

Blue-tongued skink

Blue-tongued lizard's bobbed tail

Blue-tongued lizard’s bobbed tail

Lizards aren’t our only recent visitors. We’ve had lots of birds drop by too (which I post about ad nauseam). This one, a sulphur crested cockatoo, was particularly keen to be invited in. I’m afraid I didn’t sling an apple out of my pocket and therefore he just paced up and down the rail (in full expectation of an apple appearing out of my pocket) before turning tail and heading off in search of a more friendly hostess.

Sulphur Crested Cockatoo

Sulphur Crested Cockatoo

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About Laura Rittenhouse

I'm an American-Australian author, gardener and traveller. Go to my writing website: www.laurarittenhouse.com for more. If you're trying to find my gardening blog, it's here.
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16 Responses to Welcome Visitor

  1. Wow! Those are some wonderful visitors. We’ve had a more unwelcomed visitor lately. Beautiful, but unwelcome.

  2. Your so lucky having parrots flying into the garden. We have lots of lizards in the garden but nothing compared to your blue-tongued lizard! It’s a shame domestic cats are reducing their numbers.

    • I absolutely never get tired of parrot even though they’re totally destructive. They have my blessing to eat anything they can get their beak into as long as they keep visiting.

      Domestic cats do so much damage to the native wildlife. Australian animals evolved without real preditors so many live on the ground and don’t have good nests and the cats just eat them up. I like cats but I wish they had been banned from Australia 50 years ago.

  3. Linda says:

    You always get so many lovely visitors! Cats have some of the most destructive and dangerous predators, IMO. I remember growing up, we had a pair of cats that were ruthless hunters…and just for the fun of it! They killed so much of our neighborhood wildlife that when little was left, they even turned to hunting frogs from the creek and even a wayward bat! It only took a couple years after they died for the wildlife to return full-force.

    • I had cats growing up as well and I remember finding “gifts” at the back door. Like you said, it’s about fun, not hunger. What frustrates me is when cat owners claim thier cat’s don’t hunt or say by locking them up at night, the animals are safe. I have seen the nicest kitties, complete with a bell on the collar, hunting with abandon during the day. It’s in their nature, they won’t stop until they are too old to bother.

      • Linda says:

        Exactly! We put bells on our cats collars and they would just learn how to move without making them jingle! They’re smart, tricky animals! I know mine would kill for fun though…the only time I can remember her eating them is when we’d run out of cat food and my mom hadn’t brought home a new bag yet. Then the cat would promptly go outside, kill, and eat. Rabbit seemed to always be an exception though…they’d always eat rabbits!

        • Mine used to eat the rabbits as well – even crunch the bones (eeewwww).

          Cats are way too clever and so are impossible to control. In Australia there are some serious pest eradication programs in place to bait or trap foxes and feral pigs and goats and… Cats are something scientists have been trying to figure out how to cull for decades with no luck. They won’t eat bait and evade traps and vanish into the bush to grow into monsters. Seriously, in one generation a little domestic cat becomes a feral predator and doubles in size. Amazing animals!

          • Linda says:

            I shouldn’t be surprised! Cats have probably been more damaging to Australia than anywhere else in the world. They’re just so adaptive. I wonder how many species they’ve helped go extinct. Feral pigs are causing a lot of problems in the states now…I think most, if not all, states have enacted ‘shoot on sight’ for them.

  4. vuchickens says:

    so cool! i agree about the cats, even though i absolutely love mine. they are a problem in the US as well, and there are numerous campaigns to get them spayed/neutered. Rescue those that have been abandoned by all means ( like we did) but then get them fixed and keep them inside!!!

    • I love most cats (though I’ve met a few that are completely unloveable). I have friends who have cats that have never stepped foot on the ground. They are house (and balcony) cats. That’s really the only way to stop them from destroying wildlife. And I can tell you those cats don’t suffer. You’ve never seen more spoiled creatures in your life. I wish more cat owners understood the problems.

      Here I’m pretty sure your cat has to be fixed and microchipped. That certainly cuts down on strays but with every 3rd household (I totally made that stat up) owning a cat, lizards and their wild friends are doomed.

  5. Wow what an interesting creature – I wonder what your chickens thought of him? we get big monitor lizards here – they can give you a bit of a scare….

  6. Pingback: Lizard Sanctuary | Laura Rittenhouse's Gardening Journal

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