This is Gordon the gekko on the kitchen window. We have a whole colony of these thuggish
looking Moorish gekkos who live in and around the crevices between the wooden planking of the cabin walls, so they are always close by, just waiting for the odd meal to come along. Fortunately their prey is all the types of creepy-crawlies that make me shudder, and we’ve got plenty of spiders, beetles, millipedes, centipedes, scorpions etc around, so much so that I’ve given up each night looking in and around the bed for stowaways! I keep seeing tiny little 2″ long almost transparent baby gekkos darting around, or it could just be that there is only one baby, who knows?
Sand lizards are very beautiful, with a sort of rusty orange stripe down their side. I’ve watched three of them play a game of hide-and-seek and it was quite hilarious; but of course, I didn’t have my camera with me then. But I did have time to fetch it when I came across Selina the sand lizard who somehow got herself trapped in an old terracotta pot. Here she is in all her glory.
The sand lizards live mainly in the oleander hedge just outside the door, stalking and hunting where they can remain immobile for long periods. If can manage to sit long enough then they eventually forget you’re there, and then the fun begins!
From time to time we come across the odd, discarded snake skin and for a summer, we thought a snake had taken up residence underneath the cabin, which is raised up on concrete pillars to protect the wooden legs from termites and other nasties. I managed to get this shot of Sally snake, but there have been many other types of snake that just move too quickly to identify or, to put it another way, I’m moving too quickly away from it!
Another favourite is the natterjack toad. During the mating season you can hear them all in the valley and on our land calling out their “nee deeps” to each other. It took me ages to figure out what it was, because the combined sound of hundreds of these lovely reptiles can often make it sound like something quite different. I thought they loved water and damp places, but we are at 850m above sea level, so they must come well out of their comfort zone in order to find a mate. This is Nigel the natterjack who was a particularly large specimen who made heavy work of climbing our bank. Pretty though, in a toady sort of way.
We drive about 1.5km on a dirt track, skirting around our valley to collect water straight from the mountain spring. The water passes through a small building where it is ‘processed’ in a basic way, ie filtered, then it comes back out and directed into a stone fountain with a tap. We fill up about 25 or so 5 litre plastic bottles with this beautiful water which is pure as anything. So why am I telling you all this stuff? Because one day we filled up the Brita water filter from one of the (clear) 5 litre bottles and placed it on the table to have with our meal. “What’s that wriggling around?” screamed one of our guests. The consensus was a leech and luckily morbid curiosity overcame the initial disgust as we watched the Larry’s amazing repertoire of shape changes as he swirled around in the jug . That’s the first and only time we have seen one, but how did he get there?