More and more

Yesterday I was working on clearing out the front ‘garden,’ what I’ve taken to calling “The Jungle” because it’s become ridiculously overgrown with some kind of disturbingly fast-growing and unkillable trees, vines, briars, and raspberry bushes – we haven’t decided what we want in there yet, so it hasn’t been receiving the attention it should. And this one tree – seriously, the previous owners of the house cut it out, but every year we’ve been here (that’s seven so far,) the roots sprout a new sapling in another location (or four, this year,) and it’ll get over two meters tall in a single season.

Clearing out this stuff, while necessary, provided some misgivings, because I knew it was home to countless critters, but it was getting so bad that I couldn’t mow the lawn near it, so I started in and just kind of kept digging further. I made it a point, however, to keep shaking and disturbing the heavier stuff that I was pulling out, to scare off any occupants before they took a chance on getting injured. For good reason, too.

juvenile Carolina anole Anolis carolinensis peeking from cover
While I spotted a mantis and two frogs, it was this guy that made me get the camera, because it’s another juvenile Carolina anole (Anolis carolinensis,) which makes several different specimens found around the yard now, with a few adults of course. This is very pleasing to me, because I’ve wanted them established in the yard and the sheer number of juveniles I’ve seen indicates that it’s definitely happening. I’m not happy that I’m taking away some of their habitat right now, but we’re intending to replace it with better plants soon enough.

This morning, I was out back at the edge of the deck and glanced over at a potted hydrangea that we had, then immediately scampered inside to get the camera. Thankfully, it was still visible when I got back.

tiny juvenile Carolina anole Anolis carolinensis perched on old hydrangea blooms
This is in the back yard, many meters away from the others that I’ve seen, and incredibly tiny – but also not quite as spooky as most of the others, so I was able to shoot a variety of images. It looked quite thin, so I watered the leaves nearby to give it plenty to drink (even though there are several planter reservoirs in the immediate vicinity,) and intend to keep a few dead wood roaches nearby each evening. We have plenty of wood roaches appearing every night, and the ants adore stripping their crushed carcasses – and the anoles adore ants. I’m a guy.

tiny juvenile Carolina anole Anolis carolinensis splayed on hydrangea leaf
Nice, nearly full-length shot – look at those lovely toes. And we’re going to get a better sense of scale in just a moment. But first…

tiny juvenile Carolina anole Anolis carolinensis providing a lovely pose
This is my favorite frame, nice and dynamic, smooth curves to the body and all that. Some indication of their age can be determined by the shape of the skull, since that stubby little nose will quickly get longer (see top,) and the lower jaw fuller, until adulthood.

I said something about scale, didn’t I?

tiny juvenile Carolina anole Anolis carolinensis with photographer's fingers for scale
Not the best of shots, but it c’mon – those are my own fingers, shot wide-open because I couldn’t work the aperture lever, and I had only a couple of seconds to lean in to focus range before the little reptile leapt to another leaf. It serves its purpose, to a degree anyway, though it would help to know just how yuge my hands are. Seriously, the envy of every man and the delight of every woman.

Okay, no they’re not – about average, maybe slightly smaller. But I use them well.