When you’re the mom of boys, you’re going to have more than your fair share of stray animals brought into your home.
I realize this and being an animal lover, I’m usually pretty cool with it. But I’m not too sure about our latest house guest — for one thing, I’m not 100 percent sure it’s actually alive.
While playing on the front porch on Tuesday, my 4-year-old son Ben found a dead lizard.
At least, I thought he was dead …
It was one of those little gecko-looking things that like to hang out on porch railings on warm sunny days. Normally they’re pretty fast and difficult to catch, which is why when Ben came up with one in his hand, I assumed it was dead.
He (and I keep referring to him as a “he” but in truth I don’t know anything about lizard biology) was little — so I’m guessing young — and deep brown in color.
I couldn’t see him breathing but his eyes were definitely closed as he flopped lifelessly around in my son’s hands, it wasn’t an insane jump in logic to assume he was dead.
I was about to tell Ben he was “all gone” and chuck him over the side of the porch but something was nagging at me: The flopping. He wasn’t stiff.
Normally when you find a dead (whatever) rigamortis has set in and they’re all rigid but this little guy was limp — he either just died — or was somehow still alive.
It was fairly chilly outside and since lizards are cold-blooded, I thought maybe he would be OK if we just warmed him up.
So we brought him inside, made him a nice little bed in an empty fish bowl and placed it it a nice warm spot of the house.
And we waited.
I have family in town for the holidays and they all had different opinions on the fate of the lizard: my dad thought he was dead, my sister-in-law swore she could see him breathing, my brother shrugged and said if he was dead, we’d be able to tell soon enough.
So we just left him alone and kind of forgot about him in the course of the night.
But then something weird happened — he changed color. Ben’s “dead” brown lizard was now a very vibrant green, which suggested that he was indeed alive — except he still wasn’t moving. Like, at all.
It was at about this point we all started arguing on whether he had been green all along and we were all just extraordinarily unobservant. When we went in to look at him again, he was back to brown.
By now, there were five grown men and women standing around the fish bowl staring at an unmoving lizard waiting for it to change color.
This is when my husband put forth a new hypothesis: Maybe he’s just hibernating.
Do lizards hibernate? I have no idea. I’m sure a few seconds of Googling would reveal the answer but to be honest, I’m enjoying the mystery and the family debates this little guy is inspiring.
I put a little bottle cap full of water in his bowl and covered the top of his tank in case he does manage to come back to life. At this point, I guess he’s just going to hang out in my kitchen until Spring — or until he dies — whichever comes first.
In the meantime, he’s been the easiest pet in the world to take care of, although I do keep reminding myself that it is entirely possible I simply have a dead lizard in a bowl.
I don’t know. I still haven’t seen him move.
Kasie Strickland is a staff writer for The Easley Progress and The Pickens Sentinel and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper’s opinion.