I turned on the porch light late last night in hopes of catching Minty sleeping on his favorite peppermint leaf as he'd been doing the past couple of nights. I walked outside and looked. I didn't see him. I checked again a few minutes later. Still no sign of Minty...anywhere. My husband reassured me that he'd be back in the morning. I'm not a child, but I know he was trying to make me feel better. The truth, I feared, was that Minty was not coming back.
The girls discovered him on Wednesday night lounging on a leaf of my peppermint plant. We all sat down on the patio chairs in the backyard looking up at the tiny (perhaps newly hatched) lizard and I asked my girls what they wanted to name it. "I don't know", came the shrug from my 5-year old. I suggested "Minty" since they found him on the plant, but Cinnamon wanted to name him "Lulu". Saffron also liked Minty and we went with that. I told my middle daughter that the next lizard will be named Lulu.
I'm guessing that Minty was a product of these two...
My husband and I were fascinated (ok, me more than him) with the baby lizard and wondered what he ate since he looked to be starved - evidenced from his ribs showing through his skin. I turned to the Internet for basic answers to the questions we had: What kind of lizard is it? What does it eat? Do the parents nurture the babies?
I first determined that Minty was an anole lizard. Then I found out that those lizards ate live bugs. Sadly, the parents abandon the eggs and do not provide any sort of nurturing to their young. We had to take over and nurture this baby lizard...or did we? We had no intention of moving the lizard from its outdoor habitat, rather wanting to help it get some much needed food in its undernourished belly.
I figured the best way to attract ants and small flies was to place something sweet in the potted peppermint plant. I added a piece of baked plum (from the focaccia I made on Thursday), a lemon wedge, and two raspberries. Later that evening, I noticed all of those items were missing - traces of raspberry seeds on the step below the pot. Nobody moved them. Nobody, but perhaps that squirrel I saw this morning poking it's head in my peppermint plant.
Lesson learned? Don't mess with nature and don't mix raspberries with lizards. We simply wanted to help bring "food" to the lizard so that he didn't starve to death. "Survival of the fittest" will take over without a human's need to intervene.
I like to think that Minty ran off to the lush green lizard habitat under our window after being scared off by the squirrel, joining his parents and a host of other lizards - including "Dragon", a very large and fat lizard of a different species. Perhaps Minty will return one day...or perhaps that is simply wishful thinking.