Saturday, May 21, 2011

Luke Skywalker Lazarus Lizard

Meet Luke Skywalker Jr. 

Luke is a  Lazarus lizard (aka European Wall Lizard) and was the best little house guest ever. He enjoyed his 2 week stay in an aquarium in the boys room, ate a few store bought crickets and then went back to his home in the bushes next to the front porch. 
Luke is interesting because he is actually of Italian descent. His lizard ancestors  relocated here in 1951 when the young son a fancy pants family vacationing in Northern Italy smuggled a handful of lizards home in a sock. The boy released them in his backyard where they were fruitful and multiplied and now, having survived many severe winters, are considered permanent residents of Cincinnati. 
They are even noted in the Reptiles of Ohio booklet that is put out by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources that I found in the science area of Lily's bedroom library.
I find it remarkable that those hardy little sock lizard transplants stayed together, grew their numbers and eventually took over this place as the only lizards in town.  
I also find it amazing that apparently, in the eyes of a Lazarus lizard, Cincinnati is the exact same climate and terrain as Milan in 1951. 

 Now I will brag just a littlebit...
I have taken more photos of creatures over the years then anyone should, but Luke's portrait must be my personal best photo of a reptile EVER. 
I love how his beady eyes sparkle in the sunbeam and his demure Mona Lisa style grin. Also note the grace of his tiny lizard fingers falling softly into dancer hands. 
Yes Luke, you are one very handsome reptile. 

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