Saturday, February 26, 2011


Of all our cats, Luna is the most natural hunter. Her speciality seems to be the very large grasshoppers that abound in the greenery at the back of us. I often rescue them and put them back out there, but sometimes she manages to munch through their rather tough skin, and then she is sick! The others don't move fast enough to catch much though they often join in with the game of playing with her spoils.

This week she out-did herself when I found her mewing gently in the kitchen, and there on the floor was this little fellow. My first thought was 'Oh dear. She's caught a ghecko'. I still think of them as chit-chats, the name we gave them in Cyprus. They are welcome visitors as they feed on mosquitoes and other flying bugs that annoy us all summer. I picked him up and he sat very still on my hand. I quickly realised this was no chit-chat. They move like grease lightening. He was probably in shock, and he had lost the end of his tail, either from this encounter or an earlier one. I wanted to take a photo so I could look him up on the internet and try to identify him, and while I was doing this he bit me! Now there's gratitude for you. I nearly gave him back to the cats I had just rescued him from. I have no idea whether or not lizards have teeth, but he could sure clamp on hard with his jaws for such a little fellow! The first thing I noticed was that unlike the gheckos that have suckers on each toe, enabling them to scamper across ceilings and up vertical walls, this little creature had long digits with a fierce claw on each one. He also had very distinctive colours and markings, and almost crocodile skin on the top of his head. After a long search I did identify him as an Algerian Psammodromus. The Spanish Psammodromus had quite different markings, but I suppose we are actually quite close to Algiers, so he wasn't too far away from home. I put him in a sunny spot outside and left him to recover.

The next day, to my surprise, Luna brought in a second one of these lizards. It was definitely a different one as it had a slightly longer tail and different injuries. I am not sure whether this one was going to survive, but I put him in a quiet spot and hoped for the best.

Luna was obviously having a good week, because yesterday, when i was sweeping through the house, I nearly swept up another visitor. This time it was a proper ghecko! Here he is. You can see he is really quite different. He didn't want to hang around to be looked at, but I managed to gently anchor his tail between my fingers just long enough to take this picture, and then I let him go outside, and he disappeared immediately.

I suppose some people would say I should let the cat have them and not interfer with nature, but Luna is only a baby and I am not sure she has enough sense to know what she can and can't eat, and somehow I can't just leave a defenceless little creature to die, not in my house anyway. Maybe one day she will learn not to bring her captives home. What she gets up to in next doors garden I have no idea, and I don't really want to know!


  1. You do love your creepy crawlies dont you!

  2. We call those visitors "humbug lizards" because of the stripes!


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