Rainforest Life: Outing #11 – Day 7



(Saturday 11-October-2014)

Reptilian Matters


Okay, I’ve fed the baby dinosaur his chicken wings, and he’s now resting it off; basking around the tent – moving every now and then, but never any further away.

Several times he’s gone around to the plastic tarp for a drink. A video of him drinking is on my facebook profile.

He’s also taken to the tent with a near mammalian level of curiosity; Twice now, sneakily making his way to one of the doors: first the open one, then the zipped-up door at the other side. I hear him crunching his way around the tent, then right up to the door, at which point I just see a pink, forked tongue flick-flick over the top of the door-flap followed by the rest of the head, a moment later. He’s tried to climb the tent several times in the last hour or two, leaving tiny punctures in the tent inner. Each time he does this I rustle the fabric and he backs off, but it’s certainly curious behaviour.


Just seconds ago, I hear him scratching right outside the tent so I look out and there he is: standing on hind legs, bear-hugging a tree. Not climbing it, just standing on the ground, upright, hugging it. What’s with that shit? Scent-marking?
Here he comes again. Slowly stomping his way over to the tent door. Way he walks reminds me of one of those kids toy ducks – the ones with the wheels and rubber-feet attached that flap when you push them along. You know? The ones with the pole and handle?


Anyone who thinks a lizard can’t be cute should see one laying down to relax. He doesn’t just find a spot and plonk down, he has to get himself comfortable first.

This involves a lengthy and systematic combination of wiggling his body into the leaves, stretching his front legs down by his side. One back foot points backwards – flush with his tail – while the other just kinda ends up wherever feels good and finally, he’ll rest his chin on the ground before flattening-out his belly; for maximum sun absorption.

When Ants and flies bother him – as they inevitably do – he’ll take action my flicking his head or rubbing his cheeks on the leaves, before stretching his legs like a dog – then relaxing everything again.


Having watched him now since this morning, I would almost swear he likes the company. All I’ve fed him today is a quarter kilogram (half pound) of chicken wings, and that was at around 11:30am yet here we are four hours later and he’s still orbiting my tent.

He’s not simply pacing around looking for more food either, but actually resting in front of me right outside the tent door – close enough for me to reach out and pin him down – and he’s doing it with his back to me!

Surely there’s some display of trust going on there. I’ll add one of the photos of this to illustrate my point.

Why would a wild animal relax in front of you with it’s back turned – leaving itself vulnerable – if not to display trust?

I almost patted his tail earlier too, but as I reached my hand out towards him, he strafed half a foot to the left – not suddenly, just a slow, careful sideways step – and gave me the strangest look. He didn’t whip around or hiss or anything defensive shit like that: just quietly stepped sideways and looked right at me.

If I got the same look from a human, I’d read it as, “Hey now, don’t sneak up on me, why would you wanna grab me anyway?”

Some might consider that anthropomorphizing the animal, but the body language and look he gave – neither of which were threatening, just cautious – seemed pretty obvious to me.

The Birds


So me and Komodo’s little cousin here are relaxing together before he has to go home for the day. He’s outside the tent just staring at me when a big, black Crow lands on a rock just meters away with a loud swooping flap of wings. The lizard and I both stop and look up at this curious late-arrival, then continue doing what we were doing.

Before the Crow crashed the party, I’d been rummaging through my bags to find more food, and although I couldn’t find anything my scaly bro would like, I did have some flat bread, so I quickly tear some into bits and toss it in the Crows direction. I also placed one on the ground for the Lizard, but as expected he wasn’t interested in the bread.

Next thing we know there’re all these flapping noises and shadows swooping down around the area, followed by branches cracking as – all at once – a half-dozen Currawong crowd the area around the tent.

Lizard looks at me, then up at the birds surrounding us, before resuming a pretty relaxed posture. Nonchalant, would be the word I’d use to describe his attitude.

That changed slightly once the Currawongs began calling: like the Alfred Hitchcock movie, all we could hear were surround-sound bird calls, whistles, screeching and clicks.

About ten minutes later, Lizard had heard all he cared of the noisy, feathered intruders and figured he’s start the walk home so he turned that wsy and began slowly stomping his way out of the camp to his burrow – clumsily kicking his feet one after the other.

I watched him leave, and as soon as he was out of the immediate vicinity all the Currawong started following him. How strangely creepy, I thought to myself.

Now, whether they were simply watching him – paranoid their nests may be eaten or planned to peck him to death I don’t know, but there was an “irky” kind of mood in the air as I watched them swoop from branch-to-branch tailing him. He stops alot when he’s walking: few meters, stop and rest, few more meters, stop and rest, and he’s like than all the time he’s going anywhere.

Anyhow, considering how we’ve sort of become buddies now – the Lace Monitor and I – and being unsure of the birds intentions I decided I couldn’t let him walk home alone with an entire gang of large birds following him all the way.

Currawong are the same size as Crows: about fifty centimeters tall they stand so they’re not irrelevant little birds. Their beaks are about three inches long and pointy like a pair of scissors.

So I got my shoes on, and followed the birds as they followed the lizard. Eventually, they flew away leaving just the lizard – some thirty feet away – and myself.

Once the birds departed, he stopped and looked at me, which prompted me to stop walking and return the look. “Ahh, he doesn’t want me to follow him further”, I got the message, turned-around and started heading back to camp.

Dusk fell, followed by night, and I slept pretty well having spent the entire day with a wild reptile, then escorting him home to safety

, , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment