Working from home…
is something I am lucky enough to be able to do, and so on Thursday morning I was sitting in front of a wood burning stove coding (programming). I had started at just after 5 am, and had opened up the stove in the chilly room. By eight o’clock it was toasty.
I’m alone in the house, apart from Brock, who is pining for a bitch in the village. He’s locked in the kitchen sounding like damp chamois leather on a window pane. “Weeek! weeak!”
Out of the corner of my I catch something move. A rat? A Mouse?… A spider!!? – er no!
A common lizard out of hibernation, probably coming in from the woodpile.
Today Barney contacted the British Herpatological Society to see what we should do. He received this response.
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Trevor Rose <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, Jan 23, 2015 at 10:28 AM
Subject: Re: interupted hibernation
To: Barney Mewton <firstname.lastname@example.org>
You obviously know your stuff! I just wanted to be sure we weren’t dealing with an escaped captive, particularly as it is in your house, which is unusual as you say (but not unknown). I can only think it must have been hibernating in the foundations of your house; it would have to be very close by certainly.
It is a bit of a problem that it has awoken. Putting it outside now could be very detrimental unless you know where other lizards are hibernating, and it would have to be done when the temperature is just right (around 6-7 degrees C during the day)
If you wish, I could make some enquiries to find someone who could keep the lizard for a few weeks until the weather warms.
Otherwise, and if you feel able to keep her yourself, here’s what you need to do: you could keep her in a plastic, uncovered box (like the storage boxes you can buy in the high street for £5-8). As long as it is 8 ins or more deep, she won’t be able to jump out. Sand, gravel or even clean soil can be placed in the box as a substrate, a place to hide (a piece of flat stale would be best) and a small shallow water dish pushed in to the sand. Feel free to decorate the habitat anyway you wish, but these are the bare essentials. You won’t need any additional heat as your house will be warm enough, but she would appreciate being near good daylight. If you have a desk-top angle lamp, you could put that over the box for a few hours a day (especially when feeding) then she will be able to bask before hunting as she would in the wild.
Then it is just a question of feeding. You could try small earthworms, placed in a shallow dish (eg. coffee jar, jam jar or other lid). If she goes for these, you’re on a winner as they are very nutritious and easy to find. Any other insects you can find can be tried, spiders are actually their main food source in the wild. Food must be live though. If you are unable to find enough insects (difficult at this time of year), then maybe you have a pet shop nearby that sells crickets? They normally sell for around £4 per tub and should last for some time. The small sizes are best (up to 10mm long). These can be offered around ten or so per day. Feed her in the morning and she will forage for them during the day.
Once the frosts are away and there’s a reasonably warm spell (8-10 degrees C for a couple of days in a row) you will be able to release her somewhere that you have seen other lizards in the past.
Let me know how it goes, and if you’d rather someone else looked after her do let me know.
Good advice for the lizard in your life.