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Sunday, December 9 , 2018, 11:45 pm | Fair 52º


Captain’s Log: It’s a Lizard’s Life Out There

I’m feeling for our neighborhood lizards while we work or way through this hot, dry spell. 

A lizard rarely feels that the weather is too warm. In fact, for most of the year the blue bellies and snake lizards (a.k.a. alligator lizards) seek out spots that retain the sun’s heat, and they park their little selves right on the hot spot so they can get radiated heat from below and direct sun’s rays from above.

Lizards have this sun worshipper thing down pat. After all, a cold-blooded lizard has to stay warm somehow so it has the energy to hunt and protect its territory

Protect its territory? Heck yes, lizards like most critters, have to protect their patch of hunting ground and living space from other lizards (except potential mates) and any number of other species who might compete for food or look at the lizard as potential food.

Lizards, if they could think about it, would probably get a good laugh at our concept of ownership.

In lizard logic, one can only own a patch of space until something bigger and tougher comes along. In the very long run, lizard logic will probably prove to be right. 

Back to the task of keeping warm, for the duration this extended heat spell, lizards finally have as much — and often more — heat than they need. That is as joyous an occasion for a lizard as it would be for many of us to have more money in the bank than we need. 

So for now, we aren’t seeing lizards on brick walls and cement as much as we usually do. Instead, they are spending more time in cooler spots conserving moisture and maintaining internal temperature.

A lizard does not need a lot of water, but a little moisture is required to keep the muscles pliable and the digestion tract operable. 

I’ve written before about making sure the wild critters we share our neighborhoods with have enough water to survive. I feel the same about lizards, and pretty much for the same reason, I feel that way about raccoons, skunks and possums.

I’d much rather have some lizards around than be inundated with the insects the lizards eat. They are part of our pest eradication posse.

To anyone who likes insects more than the larger critters who eat them…my apologies, but we’ll have to agree to disagree on this one.

I’m cheering for the lizards!

— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit softininc.blogspot.com to learn more about the organization and how you can help. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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