Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Desert Life

This post is part of Round 5 in the AW Blog Chain. Apparently the chain is the only thing getting me off (on?) my butt to post, so yay for AW!

In the last post of the chain, Razib explains how rain is both a blessing and a curse in Bangladesh. Living here on the edge (OK really in) the desert, it is sometimes hard to imagine a such lush green country where parts remain under water for weeks! Despite the dry weather we all have lawns as if we lived in the Midwest - ridiculous, but not much you can do about it if you are unwilling to fight your neighbors and the local homeowners association.

We can't completely escape the desert though - the local fauna simply finds space to live. In our old place, we had a bit of a black widow spider infestation on our patio. There wasn't much we could do except keep sweeping out the webs, and killing the mamma spiders as we found them.

No big spiders so far at our new digs, but there are some old friends, the fence lizards. They can range from 2 or 3 inch baby-size to 6 inches or so. They race along fences, walls, rocks and any other textured surface. Every so often they pause in a sunny spot and do what looks like push ups. Up and down and up and down, and then they are off again. What is neat about lizards is
that they have a protein in their blood that kills the bacterium that causes Lyme disease. A tick that bites a lizard is rendered relatively harmless. Not only are they fun to watch, they promote the public health!

There is one particular lizard that lives in a crack in the wall in our back yard. As I sit at the kitchen table I can see him as he edges out on his daily rounds. It is a bit comforting to know that our houses and lawns and pets haven't driven away all the wildlife.

Read the AW Chain!Next up: Matt at Fireflies in the Cloud

Previous Posts in the Chain
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Blogger Bhaswati said...

Interesting info on lizards there. I had no idea. I like watching garden lizards too. But spiders, they are a scary bunch.

11:17 PM  
Blogger Simran said...

Leaping Lizards Peggy! I didn't know they kill the bacterium that causes Lyme disease. My nephew had Lyme disease and it took forever for the doctors to figure out what it was so they could treat it.

Very interesting post. Thanks.

12:04 AM  
Blogger Matt D. said...

We have lizards galore also. There's one that hangs out on the bathroom window. My wife calls him Tom as in Peeping Tom.

1:08 AM  
Anonymous Razib Ahmed said...

" Despite the dry weather we all have lawns as if we lived in the Midwest - ridiculous, but not much you can do about it if you are unwilling to fight your neighbors and the local homeowners association."
YOu surely live in a nice place compared to me. HOwever, not having rain is a terrible thing. I really love the first rain that comes in APril every year.

1:51 AM  
Anonymous bk30 said...

At my old job, we had a group of lizards that lived in the bushes by our company smoking section. we would spend most of our break watching the lizards go about their daily routines. The young fighting the old for teritory and such. It always seemed to lead to interesting conversations. Lizards are cool

11:00 AM  
Blogger Harbormaster said...

Moving to Alaska from Arizona, the first thing I noticed is the missing snakes and lizards. Then again I don't know if I miss the snakes...

4:44 PM  
Blogger Mad Scientist Matt said...

Interesting. The lizards we have where I live are mostly anoles and skinks - I enjoy finding one of those little creatures.

We also have black widow spiders in Georgia, unfortunately.

8:11 AM  
Anonymous Laurie said...

We have several varieties of smaller lizards like geckos - not sure what the others are called. But at our last house, we also had our roof lizard family. Three lizards that ranged in size from 3 1/2 feet to 4 1/2 feet. And, one at a time, they invaded our garden a few times and once, even invaded our house. *ack!*

It's an interesting experience. O_0

8:36 PM  
Blogger Sounds of Serenity said...

I love lizards. My one ex had a leopard gekko that was just adorable. My mom didn't think so. Spiders are ok too, just not in my home. Not too many black widows here, in Northern VA, that I know of. Just lots of daddy long-legs and wolf(?) spiders. I honestly can't remember now if that's what they're called or not. :| It's the first name that came to mind. Apparently they're pretty poisonous so they can stay outside too.

6:39 AM  
Blogger Peggy said...

I have to agree about the spiders staying outside. I'm all for the catching of flies and other annoying pests, but that should be a completely outdoor activity!

1:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love lizards! Unfortunately, most of the time when someone mentions them or I see one etc., the memory comes back when my brothers and neighbors decided to give one of those poor things a ride on a firecracker! You can imagine how that turned out.

As for spiders- not much love.

6:09 PM  
Blogger Andrea said...

I don't believe I've ever seen a lizard up close. Don't see them around our house and don't know anyone who owned one. However, I HATE spiders.

When I lived in Texas, we had a problem with grass spiders. They would nestle in with our A/C. So when it broke, they would come out to play.

I can't stand spiders of any variety. I don't care if they are harmless or not. I just don't want to be around them.

10:42 AM  

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