Sunday, August 21, 2005

Crocodile or Moorish gecko

Today was dull , rainy and threatening thunder all day. So we went to the English bookshop and met up with friends for coffee instead of doing anything active.

However, the other night i took some photos of a rare visitor - a Moorish or Crocodile Gecko Tarentola mauritanica . I had been going to take the bins downstrairs when i noticed him attached to the wall.

He sat very patiently while i took a multiude of photos at different settings to try and get a decent photo, since the automatic motion sensor light was activated by me being on the stairs.

These geckos are much bigger and more robust looking than the commoner geckos we normally see. This one is quite young but he looks nearly twice as heavy as one of the smoother geckos.

The skin in this case is really lumpy which give him the crocodile name as it really ressembles a crocodile's skin.

When we were living in Valbonne [inland from Antibes] we often saw a very large adult moorish gecko. He lived on an old olive tree that we passed nearly every day. My kids always loved to look out for him and he became quite used to us investigating him. My kids were just 2 and 4 at the time and i think they were convinvced he was actually a crocodile living up a tree. they used to say hello to Mr Gecko as they went passed and the gecko tolerated it stoically.

Geckos are very good at catching insects so they are good neighbours for humans. In fact, Geckos living in the house brings good luck -probably becuase they eat disease bearing insects.
A few years ago an old man told us that seeing the first gecko in January meant a lucky year - so they are obviously portentous creatures in superstition and folk magic.

Interestingly, these ideas about geckos and lizards being lucky seems to be worldwide- except for chameleons , who are seen as potentially evil, or at least potential givers of the evil eye.

If the gecko hadn't been so close to the ground i'd have tried to get a side on shot showing the skin. Maybe next time.

A friend of mine, Sherry Rogers has just finished illustrating a board book about geckos - i couldn't resist showing it along with these photos. [Book cover used with Sherry's permission]

I think these geckos are really cute.
You can see more of her artwork and printb out some gecko themed colouring pages here

On my way home from the beach the other day i walked past a couple of white flowers hanging over a fence and stopped in my tracks as i caught the scent - jasmine!
Even though most of the flowers are still buds, the scent was powerful enough to be noticeable.
Jasmine has an interesting smell - its scented oil is reputed to be anti depressant , confidence boosting and even an aphrodisiac

The flowers are like little white stars among the green leaves but they are packed with scent - or maybe it just seems like that now that many flowers are unscented.
Update on the bunch of grapes. Taken 10 days after the last photo which was posted on the 9th August. They are getting darker and will start to attract the attention of birds. The birds have been eating the grapes which are in sunnier parts of the garden and leaving seeds and sqashed grapes and plenty of their guano on the ground as evidence.


andrea said...

I really enjoyed this post as I love geckos and have even painted several of them climbing up my bathroom wall! There are a couple of my gecko paintings on this page in case you're interested:

Heather said...

Hi! Thanks for your comment on my photoblog (I didn't realize I had comments waiting for moderation)! I'm going to bookmark yours to check out tomorrow, when I'm less sleepy. :) :)

Caribbean Colors said...

My mouth is still watering for those grapes