Coming to the rescue: Lizards, Wrens and Spinebills

As I write this, there is at least one very scared skink lizard hiding under the filing cabinet in our study.  Yesterday I rescued two lizards which Luna brought in to me. Today I was given reptile gifts by both cats, and managed to rescue four or five of them (I lost count) but unfortunately a couple got away.

It’s funny that the cats only bring me skinks when I am trying to work on the computer.  Perhaps they are trying to tempt me outside with them to play.  They certainly create a hullabaloo when they catch a lizard, and don’t stop until I notice they have one. As soon as I notice what they have in their mouth, they let the skink go right at my feet.  Quite naturally, the skinks run for cover.  From that point on, it’s matter of who is quicker – the cats, me, or the skink.

My standard rescue kit is a drinking glass and a piece of paper.  If I am quick enough, I can scoop up the lizard in the drinking glass and take it back outside. If the cats are quicker, they either catch it in their mouth again, or try to move it out into the open floor, where they can play with it.  If the skink is quicker, it goes benath the very heavy and low to the floor desk which is near my computer station. Three skinks initially got beneath the desk and hid, but two have re-emerged.  I’m waiting for the third one to come out.  Surely it will have to venture out of its hiding place sooner or later.  If so, I hope to get to it before the cats do.

Close-up of one of the skinks I released from the study where the cats deposited it.
Close-up of one of the skinks I released from the study where the cats deposited it.
I deposited the skinks I cauge outside again.
I deposited the skinks I cauge outside again.
The skink rescue kit is a drinking glass and a piece of paper.
The skink rescue kit is a drinking glass and a piece of paper.

All of the skinks I rescued had already shed their tail, so it was difficult to know if it was the same skink over and over again, or a series of different ones.   Once, Luna also gave me the gift of a wriggling tail, so I think at least one lizard escaped before it was brought into the house. So far, I don’t think the cats have killed any of the skinks.  They like to chase them and catch them, but then they release them –  seeming to prefer the thrill of the chase.  They are obviously having a ball doing this, but the entertainment value has worn off for me.

In a way I am thankful that the cat’s attention has been drawn to lizzards rather than birds.  The Superb Fairy Wrens insist on coming into the cat enclosure all day long to forage for food in their usual places.  Adept in remaining one step ahead of the cats, they find their way in and out of the enclosure with ease.  I’ve seen the cats sitting quietly while the wrens flit about.  I’m hoping they have given up the chase, but I realise that it is not likely in the long term – they’re probably just too tired from chasing the skinks at the moment.

Far more of a concern is the pair of Eastern Spinebills which can also find their way into the cat enclosure.  Unfortunately the spinebills are not good at finding their way out again.  We didn’t even know we had any spinebills here until they became trapped in the cat enclosure. Unsure where to go, they flap around and bump into the netting, flitting from corner to corner and clucking in fear.  The cats sense they have a chance of catching these birds, and run around the enclosure beneath them, trying to find a way of climbing up to the netting.  Thankfully, they have not yet found a way of doing this, and it isn’t for the lack of trying. Fingers crossed, they wont.  We have left a few small gaps in the netting for birds to use as an escape hatch – if only the spinebills would learn where these are.

Eastern Spinebill
This Eastern Spinebill did eventually find its way out as I managed to herd it toward an escape hatch.

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