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Aug 10 2006

Reptile of the Week

lizard_texas_spiny.jpg

Behold the Texas spiny lizard. Bewitching. Winsome. Spiny.

This adolescent specimen was observed hanging around on the Twisty mailbox Tuesday afternoon. If I were a sentimental, anthropomorphizing sort of writer, which lucky for you I am not, I would describe this lizard’s expression as ‘wry’. But the Texas spiny lizard’s brain is the size of a pin, and it has not the faculties to convey, via facial expression, nuances of wryness. Of course, this lizard’s inner monologue may be positively roiling with ironic drollery, but we’ll never know.

32 comments

  1. accordianchick

    Wry, indeed. I’ll bet the Texas spiny lizard doesn’t have to wear unnecessary boobal cover for her dips in the water.

    Great photo, by the way.

  2. Mandos

    I would say that that’s a mysterious smile, not a wry expression.

  3. Cass

    That is a great photo; and while I always hesitate to draw conclusions about the interior worlds of others, I’d agree he’s probably incapable of wryness. What a world of fun these lower animals are missing.

  4. schatze

    Well if it’s spiny perhaps its personality is not wry but prickly. Bugs might think so.

  5. yankee transplant

    Great photo.

  6. Sylvanite

    I miss lizards. I can’t think of any I’ve seen in PA (I know there are some). I’ve seen some snakes, though. And newts.

  7. norbizness

    Internal monologue: “Am I invisible? Am I invisible? God, I hope I’m invisible…”

  8. Urban

    That creature is clearly the Mona Lisa of the Lizard kingdom.

    It is a great photo.

  9. Chris Clarke

    If I were a sentimental, anthropomorphizing sort of writer, which lucky for you I am not,

    Damn right. That’s MY job, dammit.

  10. Mar Iguana

    Pin-sized brains have been no obstacle at all for many Texas reptilian republicans, whose inner dialogue is no more nuanced than, “Gimme money. Vote fer me. Protect all the wimin folk from everthang.”

  11. Summer

    What kind of lens did you use to photograph this lovely beast?

  12. lavalamp

    Those little f*ckers can get damn big! At my former house, they had colonized the gravel roof. I’ve seen some that were 9 inches long.

    Sadly, my cats all too often found them delicious.

  13. Beth in Michigan

    Yes! The reptiles are back and what a cutie! I wonder where he lost his waistcoat?

  14. nolo

    Beautiful lizard, beautiful photo. I too miss living with lizards. I’m in Ohio now, which is pretty lizard-free, but as a child I spent some time in Bangkok where chinchucks (the southeast asian word for geckos) were common in the house. The sound of their “chinchuck” bark is considered auspicious during childbirth, and they eat mosquitos and roaches, which made them very welcome.

  15. CafeSiren

    So I suppose Tucker Max was last week’s reptile. This one seems much nicer.

  16. slade

    The lizard’s eye follows me as I walk across the room…..I think they’re much smarter than we give them credit. The more I think about it….people are really, really stupid. But maybe we just need more chlorine in the gene pool…lol. I read that on a cocktail napkin.

  17. antelope

    I say that face is due to indigestion. He’s thinking, “Geez, I wish I could burp. I’d do a reeeaaallly long one.”

  18. Pony

    I think he’s saying “Me? Lizard of the Week? Have you been reading the news?”

  19. ArtsyReader

    How do you know it’s an adolescent? (Not too many lizards in this part of Canada.) Perhaps the fact that it has a pin-sized brain is the clue…. Or the look on its face, which is saying “you’re SO not the boss of me.”

  20. saltyC

    lavalamp, it’s true. We cat enablers are responsible for a lizard and songbird holocaust.

  21. ::Wendy::

    It’s trying to hypnotize you with its pin-sized-brain-waves “I am not your lunch, you will not direct you cats my way, you cannot see me”

  22. Sara

    So, where are the spines? Is this lizard spine-free due to adolescence?

  23. Twisty

    On adult specimens there are two rows of pointy scales—spines, if you will—running down the back. I couldn’t see’em on this one, but I don’t know if that’s because they weren’t there, or because of the distance. It was only about 2 1/2 inches long, and I was 3 feet away.

    The lens, to A Summer’s Q, was a Canon EF 100mm 1:2.8. Macro, baby!

  24. KTal

    But the Texas spiny lizard’s brain is the size of a pin, and it has not the faculties to convey, via facial expression, nuances of wryness. Of course, this lizard’s inner monologue may be positively roiling with ironic drollery, but we’ll never know.

    Same observation I’ve about wingnuts whose expressions never portend the intent of pain and evil they wish to inflict on those unlike themselves.

  25. lavalamp

    Twisty describes it well. “Pointy scales” is a much better description than spines. They aren’t spiny like a horny toad. More like pronounced ridges.

    And Salty, let’s not forget snakes. Says the woman who once found a still living coral snake under her dining room table. (I released it across the road) I always have pet doors, so all manner of critters ended up inside, many of them fairly uninjured. I think my cats were fairly inept hunters.

  26. kathy a

    i just don’t know where else to share this specimin, for which i blame the patriarchy and/or plain idiocy:
    http://www.sfgate.com/n/pictures/2006/08/11/nails6.jpg

  27. Ron Sullivan

    Lavalamp, anyone who’ll catch and release a coral snake is my kind of mensch.

    A friend of ours has a bearded dragon (that’s an Australian lizard with a press agent) as a pet, and it has the same insouciant expression. Sure we’re all anthropomorphizing, but this beardie seems to live up to it, anyway.

    Out here we love out Western fence lizards because they, to some extent, protect us from Lyme disease by curing infected ticks — well, baby ticks: ticklettes? — that bite them. No shit.

  28. slim slow slider

    Twisty, when I’m back at university in a few weeks I will try to send you a photo of the coolest treasure known to New Zealand culture – the tuatara. boy are they cool. i think you would like them.

  29. slim slow slider

    Apologies for my terrible proof-reading or lack thereof in the post above. Aargghh!

  30. Betsy

    Baby ticks = seed ticks. Ugh, ugh!!

  31. thebewilderness

    Bewitching. Winsome. Spiny.

    I think this is a charming description of Twisty and her commenters as much as it is this delightful lizard. I hope you are well on your way to a full recovery from your recent ordeal.

  32. crow

    Is seed tick like seed pearl? Oh, that’s bad. Apologies.

    Mona Lisa occurred to me also. She looks like she’s positively smiling for the camera.

    Great photo.

    And all your fans on the Feminist mailing lists wish you well. And that you find a non-discriminating (?) swimming hole.

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