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Hello Old Friend

Updated: Jul 16, 2022

Who would have thought I’d become friends with a lizard? It’s hard to come by true friends in Florida, but I think I’ve found one.

I named him Doug in honor of former major leaguer, Doug Flynn, of the New York Mets. He wasn’t an outstanding player but he once hit three triples in a game.

I’m guessing Doug the lizard is a year old, a family man, and pretty active. He looks healthy, and I see him daily on our tiny little stone terrace. He is distinctive, with only half a tail, which is how Susie and I recognized him.

“It’s the same lizard all the time!” she said one day recently, noting that we couldn’t mistake his unique look.

He has a fun little home. I’ve got it lined with gardenias and a couple colorful vinca flowers. Amidst a small concrete slab, I’ve lined the area with white pavers and white marble stones. I weed it regularly, water the plants, and keep it clean. It’s surrounded by a tall, dog-ear fence with roses and more flowers on the outside.

I know it’s a tough life for a lizard, with predators all around, whether birds, snakes, or other critters. I put out snake repellent regularly, and the area has lots of little hiding places for Doug to raise his family and host friends.

He seems like a nice guy. He’s male because he does that goose-neck puffing-the-throat thing. From my research, I see it’s a thing male lizards take to prepare for a scrap or styling pose to attract the ladies. Who could resist?

Doug is a brown anole lizard, the most common in Florida. He changes color with mood and setting and likes to hang on the ground. Anoles grow their tails back, but it takes a month or more. I can see his getting longer, and I hope it grows back nice and healthy because he needs it for balance when climbing plants.

My research also tells me anole lizards live only a couple of years at most in the wild, but can live up to seven years in captivity. I thought about adopting him as a pet but I think I'll take a wait-and-see approach.

How a three-inch-long lizard doesn't fry on the concrete like bacon on a 100-degree day is beyond me. How he lasts that long without getting picked off by a bird is another miracle. He's quick but I've seen faster.

I think he likes us. I sometimes dump the last of my cup of water out on the terrace in the middle of the day to give him and his buddies a drink. Susie occasionally hangs the laundry on the line, giving the terrace a friendly, down-home feeling.

I hope I’m not misreading Doug. I have to assume he likes us and is thankful for our hospitality. “What a nice couple of folks!” he must think all the time. I bet his family likes us too, although, by the way he puffs his neck, I’m not sure how much quality time Doug spends with his family.

Do we have a ladies' man lizard in our midst? Whatever his lifestyle, I just hope he’s happy. Here’s to you and your family, Doug. Enjoy the heat, but stop and smell the roses once in a while.



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