The Rainforest Journal: Outing #18 – Day 5

(Friday 16-January-2015)

MONITOR MISCHIEF

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As usual this morning I start the day trying my best to sleep-in as late as possible, but – Thanks to my bladder – only manage to do so until around 10am. I sit up to unzip the tent and am surprised to see Junior sitting right outside the door, completely silent, bathing in the dappled morning sunlight.

*flickyflicky*

*flickyflicky*

“Wow you’re up early.”

“You can’t still be hungry man. Let let me wake-up a bit.”

I open the door zip a bit more, kneel out and empty my bladder on the Ants out front of the tent, shake, zip-up and get back inside to start the usual morning caffination routine. As I’m making and drinking each cup I hear the crunching of footsteps circling the tent over and over until I finally grab some cheese slices and start rolling them into, rolls, and toss them out to him. He grabs each cheese slice so quickly today that he’s snatched many on the first bounce.

“You’re lightning fast today Bruh!”

*flickyflicky*

This goes on for a while, with me stopping every few cheese slices to make another coffee or roll a smoke, until finally we get down to the last three or four and I tell him so.

Being a lizard he doesn’t have a fucking clue what I’m on about, but as the minutes Tick by with no further cheesy goodness appearing outside the tent he begins pacing in an arc on the same side of the tent, stopping routinely to rest a while before stomping back and forward again; tongue frantically darting in and out trying to sniff out the next piece of cheese – *flickyflickyflickyflicky*

I turn my attention to the next coffee while he wastes his time skulking back and forth, occasionally reminding him there’s only a few pieces left, and we’d best save them for tomorrow.

No sooner had I taken the coffee of the stove and started drinking it I hear loud, quick thrashing in the leaves right next the tent. I put down the saucepan and lean out to see what’s going on, since that kind of quick rustling isn’t a common noise for the lizards to make; just in time to see Junior running away with a bright blue microfiber cleaning cloth.

Nooo Dood, wtf.

“Noooo no you’re a fuckin tripper!”

Immediately I get a mental flashback of Broeski choking-down that big snap-lok bag, and the stress that caused me as – week after week – I didn’t see him. He was a regular, stopping by the tent and chilling out with me all day for just a little food and once he swallowed that fucking bag I didn’t see him again. On the day he actually ate it I immediately looked at him with a sense of sadness; he was a dead-lizard walking, and it would only be a matter of time before that plastic bag caused his bowels to become impacted and kill him.

For the first month I checked the markings on every Lace Monitor that crossed my path and none of them had that signature X on their forehead or kinked, black tail-tip and none were as big as Broeski; he was the biggest. By the third month I’d just assumed he’d died somewhere and that was that until quite out of the blue – just a week ago today – I’m out here on the last day of the outing when who should come stomping into camp and pig-down the pasta I’d left out for the Possums; Broeski himself, healthy as ever, with an appetite and attitude befitting a reptile his size.

No fucking way I’m letting this shit happen again, I quickly conclude, slip my boots on and get out the tent. Junior immediately reacts by running another few meters away, where he begins eating the cloth.

“Nooooooo.. You’re so fucking stupid, Bro spit it out – I’ll give you the last of the cheese.”

...

Of course he just goes right-on forcing this dry, fluffy polyester cleaning cloth down his throat so I try approaching him – slowly and casually, not sneakily, since I don’t want him to think I’m creeping up on him but it makes no difference; he’s off like a rocket and within about one second flat he’s a good ten meters further away from me.

*sigh*

I kneel into the tent and grab one of the last few cheese slices and get out. Now standing again, I see the cloth is already well on its way down his throat.

...

Again, I casually walk on over till I’ve closed the gap by a few meters, then slow down and try to reassure him, telling him that all I want is the cloth. I get within about four meters before he shuffles away again – this time taking just a few steps – to the base of the nearest tree.

Stupid fucking lizard!

At this point, I know chasing him isn’t going to work but he’s about to give me the only chance I’ll have to grab him; waiting at the base of this tree – cloth stuffed in his mouth like a gag – he couldn’t bite me if he tried.

I quickly run to the tree, causing him to jump on and start walking up it, but rather than simply run straight up the trunk he scrambles up then crab-walks around the opposite side of the trunk like a fucking spider and continues straight to the first fork some fifteen meters up. Faaark. Dood, you’re fuckin shitting me.

"Halfway up a tree choking on a dish-rag, yeah you really showed me!"

“Halfway up a tree choking on a dish-rag, you really showed me Bro..”

I stand around at the base of the tree, feeling like a stupid, clumbsy human for a minute or two before realizing that there’s just nothing for it now but to give him some space – so he feels safe enough to actually come down from up there – then just follow him until either he spews the cloth out or I get a chance to jump on him, pin him down and pull it out his throat myself.

Given the gaping chasm of difference in agility between him and me, the latter seems very unlikely to happen.

Maybe with a second person I could find a way to corner the little bastard but chasing one around on your own is like one of those silly old English comedy chase skits, and absolutely fruitless.

Waiting back outside the tent – just watching him up there – I eventually see him start clawing his way back down again. The dismount sure looks a whole lot less impressive than the climbing.

He gets down to about one meter off the ground, then simply lets gravity take care of the rest, landing with a painful-sounding *THUNK*

I smirk.

At the base of the tree again, the cat and mouse shit resumes briefly, before I notice that he’s starting to use his claws to pull the cloth out of his throat; where it’s still lodged. Finally, I think to myself as I stand and watch him pull the last part completely out.

Then he starts to eat it, again.

At this point, I wiggle the cheese slice around, then unwrap it and toss it over to him. He ignores the cheese and begins shredding the cloth with his claws; no doubt in an effort to make his second attempt at swallowing it easier. He holds it steady with his teeth, then hooks his claws in and pulls back with his head, just exactly the way a dog would hold a chew-toy down with their paws while ripping with their mouth.

He does this for a while while I watch him, but every now and then it slips from his mouth – still hooked by his claws – so now I realize all I have to do is interrupt him once it’s fallen out. I wait and watch, he chews. I take a step forward, he *doesn’t* move.

About ten more minutes drag by – me inching my way closer, tiny step by tiny step, until finally it’s out of his mouth a bit longer than the usual one second it takes him to bite into it again and so I take the last few steps right at him fast.

He quickly thrashes around the other side of the large Eucalypt we’re both standing near, leaving the cloth behind and finally, I lean over and snatch it off the ground. He doesn’t attempt to run any further; Lying just two meters away on the other side of the tree, he lowers his head almost to the ground, then looks up at me.

“What the fuck’s wrong with you Dood, trying to eat a rag. Stupid fucking lizard. No more for you. NAUGHTY.”

He doesn’t flick his tongue once.

Wet with lizard spit, but success!

Wet with lizard spit, but success!

The Rainforest Journal: Outing #18 – Day 5
5 Guidos (1 rating)

Jason
Animal-loving cleaner with a parrot.

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