Little Lizzie Lizard

Today we saw a lizard in our little garden. She was very active and very healthy. But, a year ago we found one in our cantina. She wasn’t very well at all. We christened her ‘Little LIZZIE Lizard’.

Read on to find out what happened.

Yesterday we found this little lizard in our cantina and it wasn’t very well. We called it Little Lizzie Lizard!

She looked so thin and lifeless and so dull that we were really afraid she would  die but we were determined to do our best and try to help her.  First we needed to find out some facts about lizards.  We have shared them and the story of Little Lizzie Lizard below.


Some Lizard Facts!

Lizards belong to an animal class called REPTILES.
Reptiles (with a few exceptions) are cold-blooded animals which lay eggs. They have a backbone, four legs and are covered in scales.   Lizards can be found all over the world except at the North and South Poles.

 Can you guess why? 

There are over 3,000 different types of lizards and they come in all sorts of shapes, colours and sizes! The smallest measures a tiny 7cms whereas the largest, the Komodo Dragon can reach lengths of 3 metres.
Lizards have four legs each with five little toes and they are very fast runners and very good at climbing. They also have a very long tail part of which can detach itself if a predator grabs hold! The lizard then grows another one!

They are insectivores which means that they eat only insects but some of the larger ones are carnivores and eat small animals,
Most lizards live in trees or under rocks and are more active at night. During the day they like to sunbathe!

 Why?? .
Well, it has something to do with the fact they aren’t found at the North or South Poles !!
Do you know what the climate is like at the poles?
Yes! Ice and snow and VERY cold.
You and I and all mammals like dogs and cats and rabbits and mice and horses are warm bloodied which means we are able to control our body temperature. To keep it the same even when the temperature outside changes. But reptiles and that includes lizards, are cold bloodied which means that they can’t control their body temperature. So they need to sunbathe to warm up!

This is why our little lizard was so poorly when we found her.   She had been locked in a cold underground room with no sun and was very, very cold.  She was also very dehydrated which means her  body was lacking in water and dehydration is very serious.  We couid tell she was poorly because she was so happy to be handled and that is NOT normal.   The poor thing hadn’t the energy to run away!


So!  The Jumbles came to the rescue!!

We had to warm her up and re-hydrate her which means we had to make sure she drank some water.  We held her near a bowl of water and were really pleased because she started to lap it up !

Then we found a nice big bowl and popped her in with a shallow bowl of water and then we put it in a nice warm spot outside but not in direct sunlight because it is VERY hot here at the moment.  We also gave her a little box just in case she wanted to hide!


Then we left her in peace but kept checking every hour.

After about four hours Lizzie Lizard was looking very different. More alert and a much better colour !  So we put a few ants and maggots into the bowl to tempt her to eat.  The DOG BISCUIT was not for Lizzie Lizard! It was just a quick way to catch some insects and transport to the bowl !


By the following morning Lizzie Lizard  was anxious to get out and, instead if wanting to be handled she ran off when we tried to touch her !

That was a good sign Lizzie was feeling normal again.

It was time to let her out !


And that’s what we did!

It was such a great feeling to have helped an animal recover and to have been able to return it to the wild.

Video of Little Lizzie Lizard’s recovery!

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Meet one of the oldest animals to inhabit the earth 

Yes! It’s the European House Centipede. Fossils have been found dating back more than 400 million year so it can definitely claim to be one of the oldest animals on earth!  Lizzie found it wandering around Jumble House and thought you would like to see it before we set it free again. 

What kind of an animal is it? Well it’s not an insect because it has more than six legs and it’s even got more than a spider!  A centipede belongs to a group of animals called Arthropoda. Crabs and lobsters also belong to this group. 

It’s also one of the fastest running like grease lightening at a speed of 40 miles an hour so it would be breaking the speed limit in all the built up areas of the U.K. or Europe!

100 legs? No!  Although the name suggests that they have 100 legs they just look like they have.  Most European centipedes have about fifteen pairs of legs. The legs are very thin and nearly as long as it’s body.  Centipedes can live for several years and they can regrow their legs which often get chopped off when a bird tries to catch them! They live in dark damp places like under rocks and wood and prefer to hunt at night. 

Are they dangerous?  No.  Just scarey because they are so wiggly and move so quickly.   They have poisonous front claws but these are too small to bite through our skin.  In the desert there are giant centipedes which can bite humans and this is a bit like being stung by a bee.  They use their claws to catch food for their dinner. They are carnivores (meat eaters) and eat insects and other bugs like worms and they may even eat their friends!  The larger ones can eat frogs and birds! 

But, despite their choice of food, Centipedes can be good mothers and some carry their eggs around until they hatch. 

For more on centipedes and to have a closer look at the one Lizzie Witch found at Jumble House, click on the link below: 

The European House Centipede

Praying Mantis

An interview with our breakfast guest.

Q. What kind of animal are you ?

A. I am a Praying Mantis!

Q. Why are you called a PRAYING mantis?


A. Because I hold my front legs up in front of my body which makes me look as if I am praying !

Q. Are you an insect?

A. Yes I am. I have six legs and wings and my body has three parts. A head. A thorax and an abdomen.

Q. Why did you fly into Jumble House this morning ?
A. Well, I was looking for something to eat in that tree across the road but it suddenly got very windy and I came here for shelter.

Q. What do you eat ?

A. I eat insects . Flies and beetles and that kind of thing.

Q. How do you catch them?

A. Well, I lie in wait and keep very still and quiet. When I see something that looks good to eat I leap out and grab it with my front legs. They are covered in spines so my dinner can’t escape!  Then I bite it neck to paralyse it before tucking in!

Q.How old are you?

A. Let me see. I hatched out of my egg in the Spring. I think it was March. Now it’s the end of August so I must be about five months old. That’s pretty old for a Mantis. We only live for a year.  Soon I will lay eggs and then my life cycle will be complete. Next spring all my little children will hatch out of the eggs as nymphs. They will look just like me but smaller and they won’t have any wings. But they will eat and eat and get bigger and bigger and have to shed their skin lots of times before they become an adult.

Q.Where do you live?

A. Anywhere I can find yummy dinners and that usually means in fields and in old buildings and in trees. But I don’t like the cold so you will only find me in warm climates.

Q. I like the way you turn your head. It’s cute!

A. Thank you!  I am the only insect that can turn its head 180 degrees. Kind of cool isn’t it! It makes it much easier to look for my dinner.


Q  Why are you that very bright green colour ?

A. That’s because I usually live in green places like fields and trees.  Because I’m the same colour as my surroundings it’s easy to hide from my prey.  It’s called camouflage.

Q. But you are not very camouflaged here in Jumble House.  I can see you very easily!

A. Yes. I know.  Now the storm is over I will be going soon. But I know you are very kind and won’t hurt me.

Q. No. We won’t hurt you . Thank you for coming to see us.  Can you fly?

A. Yes I can fly very well.

Good bye and thank you for sheltering me.

 

Wow! He’s BIG! 

Remember our Little Lizzie Lizard?  (See previous blog post). 

She looks a bit small compared with this one doesn’t she?  But then Lizzie is a typical European lizard and they don’t grow very big. These lizards are found in much hotter places like Africa and Asia. We filmed this one in Singapore. 

It is a Monitor Lizard and they DO grow very big!  (Although a few are very tiny) 

They do, however share some of the same characteristics as Lizzie Lizard. They are cold bloodied, have a scaley body, a partly detachable tail which will regrow and they lay eggs. 

Unlike Lizzie, however, they are carnivorous and eat fish and insects and birds and small mammals. 

Most are completely harmless but the Komodo Dragon (the largest Monitor lizard) has a weak venom (poison). 

They are also very good swimmers!  (Click on the link below). 

https://youtu.be/joVk-w5P26s
There is an old story (a legend) about monitor lizards which says that they are a sign that crocodiles are near by!  

We didn’t see any in Singapore!  This story probably came about because these lizards stand on their hind legs to check if any predators are near. 

Here’s a short clip of a monitor lizard: 

https://youtu.be/UlKzpfwY3gs

.

Maisie and the Hedgehog.

It was a lovely Autumn day.

Warm and sunny.

Maisie Jumble was playing in the garden. Maisie liked tumbling around.

She was just about go into a headstand when ………

‘Rustle rustle’

What was that? wondered Maisie.

‘Rustle rustle’

There it was again.

Where was the noise coming from?

Maisie looked up at the trees.

She looked down at the grass.

She looked right and then left.

Where was the noise coming from?

Then, from under the bushes came the

most perculiar little creature.

Can you guess what it was?

Here are some clues.

It was small and roundish.

It had four tiny legs.

It had two eyes and a little pointed face and snout.

It was covered in prickles!

You’ve guessed?

Yes! It was a hedgehog. A very young hedgehog.

Maisie thought it was SO cute!

She wanted to keep it as a pet but knew not to.

It is not kind to keep wild animals as pets.

So, instead, Maisie enjoyed watching it in the garden.

Maisie had read about hedgehogs in story-books but she had never seen a real

one before .

Now her head was full of so many questions.

Why are they called hedgehogs?

Why do they have prickles ?

Why are their legs so short?

What do they eat?

Why do they have such a pointed snout?

What kind of an animal are they?

Maisie picked up the little hedgehog very carefully and do you know what it did?

 

 

Yes! It rolled into a ball. A very prickly ball.

‘Ouch! said Maisie. ‘Now I know why they have prickles. It’s to stop other animals

from catching and eating them!’

Maisie watched the hedgehog for a long time.

She saw it nuzzling the grass with its snout.

‘I wonder what the hedgehog is doing,’ thought Maisie.

‘It looks like it’s searching for something. I wonder what it can be?’

 

Maisie needs some help to find the answers to her other questions.

Can you help her?

Where do you think you can look ?

Try the links below.


http://youtu.be/Llg0jMumwyI

http://www.hedgehogstreet.org/pages/all-about-hedgehogs.html

 

…. and here is a short video of Maisie with the hedgehog.

 

Today is BONFIRE NIGHT in the UK.

A very dangerous day for hedgehogs who like to sleep in piles of leaves and sticks.

 

 

 

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