16 January 2009

Junior Nature Scout

As a kid watching nature programs on tv, it never occurred to me that some day I’d see all those animals outside of a zoo. This is a blue-headed agama lizard. (Click the photo to go to the full-size on flickr.) I’m not sure if I’ve seen two different ones on our wall, or the same one who changed colors. The agama in the second sighting was brighter and had more of a turquoise head. They have brilliant coloring, ranging from light blue to bright purple. There’s also a red-headed variety, but I haven’t seen one here; they’re common to East Africa but I don’t know if they are found specifically in Burundi.

Other lizards I’ve seen here include the geckos and skinks that are found all over the place, inside and out. We saw a number of overweight geckos that we eventually deduced to actually be pregnant, due to the recent population explosion of teeny, tiny geckos.

I saw what I think is a monitor lizard one day on the lake shore. It definitely was not a small crocodile, and monitor lizard is the only creature I can think of that’s appropriate.

I saw a chameleon on our garden wall one afternoon. I happened to look up while it was moving. By the time I grabbed the binoculars it had changed color to match the stone and the shadows, but I could make out its curled tail and large face. It was so cool! (I also saw a smushed chameleon on the side of the road the other day. That was sad, but still a little cool to be able to see the body close-up.)

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