Per the ancient end of 38th November abstract lore… thing

brown anole Anolis sagrei on drier side of screen
It’s the end of the month, just in case this escaped your attention somehow, and also Friday, which is Ancient Lore day here at Walkabout Studios (that sounds so much more snazzy than “on this largely ignored blog” or “in this corner of a shared office,” doesn’t it?) And so we are doing double duty today, especially since I took practically no photos during November and certainly nothing worth calling an abstract. It’s been that kind of month.

We’re back in Florida, “we” being the imaginary beings who are present for this image as it is taken, or perhaps it means this brown anole (Anolis sagrei) and I, who actually were there on this rainy day back in 2004. The place where I lived had a screened-in porch right at ground level, and in Florida this means lizard territory, primarily these guys and the newly-christened Carolina anoles, formerly green anoles. This particular one had gotten in along the edge of the door and was on the inside of the screen, so staying relatively dry during the downpour that had completely saturated the screen – it’s unclear whether the reptile is pleased about this state of affairs or not. But while we’re here, check out the length of those middle toes in the back.

Oh, yeah, we’re in the Reptile/Amphibians folder now, in case you’re keeping track. Of course you are – don’t mind me, I’m being silly.

Very often, the main door into the apartment remained open while I was home, at least if the temperature permitted it, which meant that such exploring herps could venture into the main living area, where they became fair game to Meerkitten, who was much more of a hunter than Ben or Feralyn. I suspect the rainy conditions of this day kept her well away from the porch so she never found this interloper; at another point in time, I’d watched her spot one on the other side of the screen, and spent a frustrating minute attempting to bite it off of its perch. Frustrating to her, I should add – amusing to me, and providing no apparent impact to the anole, who stayed put with only casual glances around at the landscape as the cat on the other side, millimeters away from its belly, tried vainly to bite through the screen.

Right after moving in, Keet’n was out on the porch taking in the new smells, and saw one of the resident Muscovy ducks approaching. Beside herself with anticipation, she endeavored to crouch behind the small windowframe to ambush this oblivious bird that was waddling ever closer. Now, Muscovies, in case you are unfamiliar with them, are not ‘duck’ sized, instead being more along the lines of a small goose – in other words, about three times the mass of a cat; it was apparent that Keet’n’s depth perception wasn’t all that good. She became aware of this too as the duck came closer and its size more defined: she stopped crouching and sat up for a clearer look, then completely upright as if to say, “No, I wasn’t trying to ambush you – perish the thought!” In reality, I suspect she was preparing to flee should it prove necessary. The duck ambled past without notice, and Meerkitten watched it go incredulously, never having seen something that spelled out all the traits of ‘bird’ but fit into the ‘overfed lapdog’ weight class…

By the way, I say she was a better hunter above, but that’s relative. She had spent the first few months of her life feral, but had been strictly indoors for the following eight years, so her ‘hunting’ consisted only of what slipped into the place, which was generally lizards and once a frog. On another rainy evening, however, I was in my bedroom and heard her calling from the living room, that peculiar tone that cats have that basically says, “I have captured something.” This, naturally, brings the other cats around to see what’s happening, forcing the captor to growl meaningfully to protect its meal; it seems rather inefficient overall, but I believe the call is meant to summon kittens, and the bare fact that she was no closer to having kittens than I was did not bear on this instinct. Nonetheless I had to go out to see what she had run down across the savannah (living room carpet,) to find her proudly standing over an earthworm, one that had likely made it way onto the concrete slab of the porch in the sodden conditions. I admit to being vocally derisive of her carnivorous prowess, and did not allow her to keep her prize – cruel, I know. I could have mounted the head on the wall proudly I suppose…

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