The lovely thing about living in the country is the huge array of wonderful wildlife we come in contact with.
At Somerset Farm we have quite a number of Jacky Dragons living around the machinery shed and a few around the house. The Jacky Lizard, or Jacky Dragon, is native to the south-eastern coast of Australia and was named in 1790. I read it was so named because they were as common as ‘Jack’, I guess Jack being a derivative of the popular name John and who doesn’t have a John or three in their family tree somewhere!
These dragons always scoot off quickly if we approach them, except Harold -Cynthia.
Harold -Cynthia being his own dragon, not a hand raised pet, was unique.
You may be wondering about his name? Well I didn’t know how to determine the sex of a lizard, so a friend suggested he looked like a Harold to her. But what if he is really a she? So, my friend suggested Cynthia. A double-barrelled name, dilemma solved, although I still always refer to Harold-Cynthia as he.
We first met in the summer of 2018. Harold-Cynthia was sitting on the corner of our veranda decking. He was shedding his skin and was rubbing against the wood decking. I grabbed my camera and started clicking away as he didn’t seem in the least perturbed by my close proximity.
After being his personal paparazzo, I sat down on the grass beside the decking and started talking to him. I even ventured tentatively to give him a gentle scratch. This didn’t freak him out.
Next thing I know he jumped down onto the grass beside me, then jumped onto my leg where he sat for over 20 minutes while I continued talking to him and taking more photos. The entire time he was looking at me like he understood every word I said. A friendship was forged.
Harold- Cynthia was so unafraid of us we had to watch where we were walking. I warned every visitor to watch out for him so he would not get stepped on as he hung out next to the veranda entrance in the lavender garden and he was so well camouflaged to his environment. He never ran away unless a huge shadow of a bird came over him. I often commented to my husband of my dread that Harold’s lack of fear would be the little lizard’s down fall.
I never thought I would be that person who caught blow flies in the house, pulled a wing off it then offered it to Harold-C. I knew nothing about Jacky Dragons but quickly noticed the bug had to be alive and moving before he would show interest in it to eat it. His mouth was the most stunning orange yellow cavern.
Harold-Cynthia caught this skink all by himself, no help from me! He managed to spit out the small wood chip without letting go of the skink then he ate the skink it in a few chews and gulps, I will admit the cannibalism did gross me out a bit.
Our contact was never forced, if he wanted to hop up on my leg or arm it was always on
I was always amused by his arm waving. He would run a distance then stop and wave his front leg in circles in the air. I am still unsure why he did this, some researchers say it is an aggression movement when other Jacky's are about, others say it is a passive movement and another thought is it has something to do with movement around the lizard. As Harold-Cynthia was the only lizard on that side of the house it wasn’t the first two suggestions. I really don’t care what this little antic was about, I found it cute and endearing.
Last year when late Autumn arrived, he disappeared. I was rather worried as I thought it a little early for hibernation and hoped he had not become a snake’s meal. My relief was enormous when he emerged again with the warmer weather, still packed with personality, just as friendly and grown larger.
Even a lizard likes a cooling swim in his own personal pool on a stinking hot day
You may have noticed I have been using the past tense for Harold-Cynthia. A couple of
weeks ago my worst fear became reality. I found Harold-Cynthia dead with an injury on his underside close to his front leg. He was lying near my cast iron garden setting in long grass. I will never know for sure but I believe my husband or I may have been the cause of Harold-C’s demise by putting the heavy chair leg down on him.
I never thought a little lizard would impact so deeply on me. Losing him is as bad as when one of my goats die. I sobbed for hours.
Wow! I'm a movie star. When do I get my own dressing room?
I walk outside looking for him then realise he won’t be there waving at me and water still leaks from my eyes when I think of him.
Goodbye Harold-Cynthia, thank you for enriching my life, even if it was for such a short time. I miss you so much.