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Leaping lizards in Mountain City

First, here’s a leftover tidbit that did not fit last week.

When the Hermann’s settled in Mountain City Oaks, Karen Herrmann worked at Seton Medical Center in Austin and Jim worked at Motorola in Seguin. Mountain City was in the middle of both work places.

Holly Cass worked with Jim in Seguin at Motorola. Holly retired from there and came to Wallace Middle School, where Karen worked as the nurse. They found out later Jim and Holly already knew each other! Small world.

In this world we live in now, research for this column is conducted from the chair in our office where I sat when a strange lizard outside the window caught my attention several weeks back. A Google search led me to the Herps of Texas website. Herpetology is the study of amphibians and reptiles, so it’s “herps” for short.

The Brown Anole (above), a native of The Bahamas and Cuba, came to the United States via Key West around 1900 and is becoming well established. (courtesy photo)

Travis J. LaDuc, Ph.D., Curator within the Division of Herpetology at the Biodiversity Collections, Department of Integrative Biology at The University of Texas at Austin answered my emailed inquiry that included a photo of the lizard that looked like an escapee from a science fiction movie set.   

“Looks like Anolis sagrei, the Brown Anole/ Non-native, slowly making its way across the state”, answered Dr.LaDuc. 

Should I try capturing the dragonesque alien? The helpful curator advised, “fruitless effort. They are slowly making their way across the state and will become firmly established, as they have across much of the southern US. “

With the species name in hand, I learned that the Brown Anole, a native of The Bahamas and Cuba, came to the United States via Key West around 1900.

The native Green Anole can change from green to brown. The alien Brown Anole is always brown, and it’s bullying out the Green Anole.

The Brown Anole has the uncanny ability to drop its tail as a defense mechanism.

So, what might eat the Brown Anole in Mountain City? Our roadrunners could eat the Brown Anole. And, sometimes squirrels eat amphibians.

Squirrels love whole peanuts we “offer” in a wreath feeder. We place a stand out from the wreath that’s hanging from a tree limb on a long wire. Access requires soaring through the air. And, more often than not the squirrel misses the target. Once a squirrel consistently reaches the wreath and accesses a peanut before dropping to the ground, we move the stand out a bit further.

If you’re driving around looking at the garage sales in Mountain City on Saturday, the Annual Mountain City Garage Sale Day, drive slowly past our house, near the end of Live Oak Drive, and you might see the flying squirrels.  And, you might see Painted Buntings!

Ron Tom pointed out to my visiting little sister, Marsha Moon, a young Red-Tailed Hawk in a tree near the street as they started out walking KissMe.  Those Red-Tailed Hawks are easy to hear.  Their raucous scream pierces the air.

What are you seeing and hearing? Please send tidbits to ptom5678@gmail.com (subject: Tidbit) or 512 268 5678.   Thanks!  Love to you, Pauline

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