Leaping Lizards

"Pull over!"

"I can't!"

"You've got to pull over. He's going to die."

"He's not going to die. I'll pull over when I can."

"Just do it now. There are a million places to pull over."

There weren't a million places to pull over, but pull over I did. Husband jumped out of the car as I stared at a hand painted sign warning us we were not welcome. Aloha, it read. Kapu. Kingdom of Hawaii. Land Reclamation. It wasn't the first sign like this we've encountered. But it's the first we stopped in front of, car pointed down the forbidden path. I watched as Husband circled the car, hands cupped, chasing the tiny gecko that had crawled onto the windshield while we were speeding down the Hana Highway.

Lizard safely ushered into the brush, I carefully executed a 20-point turnaround on the tiny path and off we went. We've heard the stories, heeded the warnings. We weren't trying to get into a territory conversation with an angry local. We were trying to save a tiny lizard.

One of many, many lizards. Luckily, neither of us have any fear of reptiles. Because these little suckers are everywhere. The good news is they eat the awful biting menaces that plague this tropical environment. The bad news is they are very adept at surprises. Especially when you live in an open air home. They don't wait for an invitation through an open doorway. If anything, they have an attitude of tolerance toward us. They tolerate our presence in what is really their home, their only rent payment the enjoyment of our squeals when one appears unexpectedly. Like the one recently in my pants. I've learned to shake out clothing before putting it on, no matter how little time it's been hanging or folded. Because nothing begs a shriek of surprise like pulling on one's shorts only to have a lizard scurry down one's leg.

Skinks and geckos are our most common house guests, although geckos are by far the most frequent seen. And heard. Did you know that geckos makes noise? It's kind of like a chirping yelp combined with a deep bark. And they are much louder than you would think for such a cute little thing. They are thought to be good luck and would never be exterminated. Any efforts to prevent gecko entry would not only be futile, but silly. Bugs are also unavoidable, but with these little guys on patrol the invasion will be much diminished.

Before we understood this balance, we scoured the interwebs for means of keeping these critters at bay - the lizards, I mean. Chemicals were clearly not an option. When we read that fresh garlic was a popular method, we immediately popped open a bulb and put some cloves along the open windows. After patting ourselves on the back for our problem-solving prowess, we noticed something a bit odd. A gecko. On the window sill. Basking in the sun using the clove as a pillow. At that point, we conceded to live in peace with the goofy little guys. We continue to amuse them with our surprised reactions, they keep the truly frightening bugs at a decent distance.

Most of the time.

Sometimes they need help. This is where things get hairy. Well, not so much hairy as eight-legged and colorful. Yes, that's right. I'm talking about spiders as seen in horror movies. I'm curious enough to make an effort to identify unfamiliar flora and fauna. Except spiders. Nothing could ever compel me to google the meat-eating monsters wearing abstract expressionist artwork in an effort to put a name to that nightmare.

Bottom line - we'll continue to welcome the skinks, iguanas, chameleons, anoles, and geckos. And pull the car over if one is getting more ride than he bargained for.


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