Our Hitch Hiker from California

Posted on December 19, 2010 by sonjabarrie

Our Hitch Hiker from California

Yes we really did bring a Californian hitch hiker with us, we didn’t really want him and I am sure he didn’t want to come!

Before I start this story I need to give you a bit of background data about me and animals.  I am not an animal lover by any stretch of the imagination, we had dogs when we were kids but they were never ‘mine’.  We got cats when the kids were growing up, Jeanette is cat mad, but I only ever put up with them.

Now that’s not to say I could ever be mean to an animal, far from it, I will go out of my way to make sure no harm is done to one. I may think animals should be seen and not heard but as long as I don’t have to look after them then I am happy.

In fact I would rather look after 10 kids than 1 dog.

All this is what makes this story so bizarre. Here I am sitting in my office when I keep hearing a rustling sound.  I keep walking out to the living room whereby the noise abruptly stops. After a day or so of this I’m sure we’ve got mice somewhere but I decide to just stand in the living room and see if I can pinpoint exactly where the noise is coming from.

I stand there for what seems like hours but I’m sure it was only 20 minutes when the rustling starts again, this time I realize it’s coming from the 2 large pots of cactus I brought with us from California.

These 2 pots were outside by the front door of the house in California and when we were moving I picked up the pot, put the whole thing in a very large plastic bag and set it back in the water tray.  We had to move these ourselves as movers won’t take live plants.

As weather conditions here are not conducive to California’s cactus and succulents I had to keep both the pots in the house so I put them in the entry way in front of the sidelights by the front door.  It’s also so dry here I left them in the bags in order for them to acclimatize to the lack of humidity.

Back to the story.  The rustling was definitely coming from the pots somewhere so I got down on my hands and knees and carefully inspected each pot, water tray and bag and I couldn’t find anything.  I’m so puzzled by this I am rock still thinking and wondering what’s going on.  Next thing you could have scraped me off the ceiling!!!

A very small lizard suddenly tries to run up the side of the plastic bag only to slide right back down again. Not what I was expecting to say the least, a large spider? Maybe, a small rodent, definitely but a lizard, if you’d have told me I wouldn’t have believed you!

Great! Now what do I do, we have lizards in Utah but they are all winter acclimatized and probably hibernating 6 feet under in a burrow somewhere.  What on earth am I going to do with this?

I found a large clear plastic tub that used to hold other stuff but which is now strewn all over the utility room, I get Tim to carefully lift the pot while I extract the plastic bag and then I carefully decant the lizard into the tub.

Now I know they need warmth so I go get my heating pad and turn it on and put half the tub on it so he has a warm and a cool side.  I get a small piece of black fleece and create folds and hidey holes and place it at the warm end. I get the lid from a small storage tub and fill it with water.

Now what do I do?

No freakin idea!!!

OK. He’s warm and safe, I’m not going to drown him when I water the pot or squish him when I move the pot, panic over. Next step: my best friend Google.  It seems they like to eat wax worms or meal worms. YUK!

Trip to pet store, buy live meal worms, put 2 in tub.

Next day, take out 2 meal worms, put in 2 smaller meal worms.

Next day, take out meal worms, add sun lamp (apparently they like to bask)

Day 5 or 6, losing track of the days as nothing seems to work.

Back to pet store, he is less than 2 inches long and they only have BIG crickets, they recommend this tub of dried and vitamin enhanced insects.

Put a couple of insects in tub.

Next day take insects out, put in fresh insects.

Next day take out insects put in fresh insects only this time add a bit of water to them.

Nothing! Nada! Zip! Zilch! This is one picky lizard.

Back to pet store, they now have small live crickets, great! Taking home a goldfish in a plastic bag is one thing but a bag full of air and crickets?


OK, empty 6 small crickets into tub, but cooling racks on top of tub so crickets can’t escape and keep me up all night with their damned chirping.

Success! He eats one. Hallelujah, after almost 3 weeks I haven’t killed him and he’s eating!

And all this from someone who really does NOT like animals! Sheesh!

Our Lizard Hitch Hiker From California

Our Lizard Hitch Hiker From California, I guess the move to Utah traumatized him as he has lost his tail but it appears to be growing back now. This is three weeks after I put him in the tub.

Hitch Hiker from California

Hitch Hiker from California, as you can see he's not even 2 inches long. Poor thing probably misses his mommy!

You can't say my life ain't weird!



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