A few other bloggers around the blogosphere have got me thinking about the wildlife that shows up in my garden (and in my house) regularly. Heidi, at Gippsland Gardens in Australia has been visited by a two foot long lizard, and Jean, in Maine (or Pennsylvania - I can never tell), is discussing her efforts to remove non-native invasives and encourage native species. And myself, well last night I had a two hour mad maniac cat on my hands. The true definition of wildlife. While she's looking relatively calm today (and also looking like she's trying out to be the "I'm a Mac" commercial spokeswoman), at 10 pm last night she was going bananas and hanging from a wall mounted painting.
Aside from trying to save the antique barware underneath said painting by moving it out of maniac cat's way, I also had to take the picture down and show her that there was NOTHING behind the painting or anywhere on the painting. There's a good lesson here, btw, on why you should mount your paintings with correct picturing mounting hardware.
Anyhow, she still stood posted for at least an hour afterwards, occasionally rattling around in the barware. At midnight, as I'm about to pack up my toys and go to bed, I see out of the corner of my eye a little form quickly moving across the rug in the dining room. It was definitely a lizard, and this AHHA moment came over me. My thought that it was a no-see-em bug that got away was wrong. It was this lizard all the time.
I looked over to my right, where the cat was curled up on top of a pillow looking at me, but from that position could not see the lizard. I had to act fast. I casually drank the water in my water glass, and sauntered over to the dining room, pretending that I was just cleaning up for the night with my dishes, and quick as I could tried to scoop what I could now see as a tail-less gecko into the glass. It didn't work. I tried again to corner it against the wall, and in between my feet, and again failed. Siggy was upon us (the cat). Fighting her off with my left elbow, I cupped my hand and smacked it straight down on the gecko. No time for gentleness at this point. Safe to say I got his gecko self into the glass and out of the backdoor where he belonged, safe and sound minus the emotional trauma and a tail. Which is probably amongst the barware. Unfortunately, lizard vs cat usually ends with dead lizard at my feet and Siggy sitting there looking immensely please with herself. So this was a victory.. or was it?
Really, this is all a very long introduction as to how I found this gecko, who clearly walked into my house, and is not native to South Carolina. As a matter of fact, no geckos are native to South Carolina, and currently NONE are said to inhabit South Carolina. However, this gecko, the turkish gecko, Hemidactylus turcicus, who I recognize clearly from living in Florida (and who is also distinctive), is definitely here and I bet he's not the only one. He's an invasive from Europe and will shortly be all over the place, so maybe I should have let the cat get him. I just couldn't. He eats bugs after all.
SC does have a ton of lizards, and many a time I hear people talking about the geckos. What they usually mean, really, are the green anoles (carolina anolis) which are native here and quite ubiquitous. I have a bazillion of them in the garden hunting bugs all day. Green anoles do look a lot like the green geckos popularized by Geico, and hence the confusion... I think. However, now I'm going to have to listen up and quit dismissing these people because clearly there are geckos here, despite what SC Game and Wildlife seems to think. Florida obviously forgot to build a glass dome around its borders to keep the lizards, crazy book burning pastors, Disney princesses and the "driving while technically blind" elderly from escaping.
Anyhow, he's an alien. Seeing as this is the only gecko I've seen, whereas I see 50 or so green anoles every day, it doesn't look like their native habitat is being harmed by the gecko, but what do I know? Technically, anoles are daytime operators and geckos nighttime operators (another reason why I never even thought of a lizard in the house, despite that we've gone through similar scenes dozens of times). And given how buggy the South is, you'd think there would be plenty of food to go around.
What do you think? Did I just free Adam of the Adam and Eve pair that will now populate all of South Carolina to the detriment of other species?