General chatter - TOTALLY off-topic - calling all reptile specialists!

10-16-2008, 08:46 PM
What IS this???

OK, so this deserves some explanation.

About 3 years ago, we move our lamp and find the smaller version of this creature right underneath. Well, my partner, being a delicate creature, panics. She jumps onto the counter and bursts into tears. I am similarly freaked, but ONE of us has to deal with it. So, I call my dad. And ask him what to do.

Between the two of us, we devise an elaborate trap, consisting of (no, I'm not making this up) a paper towel tube, a piece of foil, a snow cone cup, and a pair of tongs. So I coerce the THING into the tube by poking it (gripping the tube, one end of which was plugged with foil, with the tongs), and eventually it runs in. At which point I throw the snow cone over the open end of the tube, run screaming out to the street (I'm not proud) and fling all but the tongs into the gutter (I picked up the trash later).

That thing pictured? The older brother (or perhaps...grown up version?) of the thing I flung out three years ago.

I'm not girly about things, except those things that crawl. Particularly on weird bendy thin looking legs. With weird side flipper things. Also spiders. :shudder:

What the heck is it? And more importantly, is it currently outside of my apartment looking for revenge for throwing it into the street? (I'm kidding about the last bit. Sort of.)

10-16-2008, 08:57 PM
DS#1 wants to know if it has skinny legs and flipper things.

10-16-2008, 08:58 PM
YES. Skinny legs and flipper things - check!

10-16-2008, 09:02 PM
It appears to be a skink of some variety or another

I checked google, and there are two skink species native to California (not that it couldn't be an invasive species).

Gilbert's Skinks, Eumeces gilberti, and
Western Skinks, Eumeces skiltonianus

are native to California.

From the descriptions, and photos, I suspect that if it is one of the two, then it's a Gilbert's Skink rather than the Western Skink. The Western has distinctionve vertical stripes, and the Gilbert's Skink is solid green, grey, olive or brown and only the juveniles have horizontal stripes that apparently fade with age.

10-16-2008, 09:04 PM
Ew! and I'm not usually squeemish ....

10-16-2008, 09:04 PM
sounds like a skink.

Sorta halfway between a snake and a lizard. They're not poisonous ... really not dangerous at all. But if you're freaked out by snakes, they're kinda in the same category.

Pitch it outside and shut the door and you shoudl be ok! :)


10-16-2008, 09:04 PM
My daughter says it looks like a legless lizard.

10-16-2008, 09:11 PM
Interesting fact from a book I'm reading...apparently, people in areas that have no snakes, that have never seen a snake, and have never HEARD of a snake, will still recoil when they see one. An instinctual negative reaction to snakes is thought to be an evolved trait that is literally built into our brains.

10-16-2008, 09:24 PM
There was a cool animal planet show about Macaque's (monkeys). Aparently Macaques in warm climates have a very specific call for snakes (as opposed to their call for other dangers). They decided to see if Japanese Macaques (the snow monkeys that sit in their little hot spring jacuzzis) would recognize the call (whether it was so specific that monkeys who'd never seen a snake would know that it was a call for snakes).

When they played the call back to the warm climate macaques they'd react as if a snake was present (looking on the ground where a snake would be expected to be and showing fear), but when they played it back to the snow monkeys, they recognized it as a distress call, but not the nature of the distress (they didn't just look at the ground, they looked more generically around, including at the sky).

Fascinating stuff if you're super geeky like me.

10-16-2008, 09:26 PM
We can geek out together.

I'm currently reading "The Science of Fear". Its talking about all of our weird fear signals and how they get mixed up in a modern world, so we're afraid of things we shouldn't be and not of things we should.

I HIGHLY recommend it.

10-16-2008, 09:35 PM
It does sound really interesting. I'll have to check it out.

10-16-2008, 09:59 PM
My kids would dig your skink!! As would DH. I'm actually ok with it at this point in my life. But, absolutely NOT in my house. Well, maybe in a tank in my house. But not if it has a smell. Snakes emit this funky odor when freaked. I know this from snake catching with my four boys, as a summer activity. I have a feeling skinks do too. So, nope NOT in my house :)

Adios mandallin's skink!

10-16-2008, 10:09 PM
oh, frick.

I'm such a girl about creepy crawly things....I found a roach in our house about a year ago and packed up my DS and left the house until DH could come home and get rid of it.

You are way more brave than I would be in that situation.

10-16-2008, 10:22 PM
Interesting fact from a book I'm reading...apparently, people in areas that have no snakes, that have never seen a snake, and have never HEARD of a snake, will still recoil when they see one. An instinctual negative reaction to snakes is thought to be an evolved trait that is literally built into our brains.

What a fun fact! I have to say, I just experienced it... I looked at that link that SusanB posted, of the salamanders... and the ones that look like our salamanders around here (fat bodies, substantial legs/feet) looked sorta cute, but the ones that looked like snakes with tiny legs gave me chills. *shudder*

10-16-2008, 10:23 PM
Maybe it's because I'm from Canada and it's far too cold here for reptiles, but I would CRY if I seen that THING in my house haha.
The first time I seen a lizard I was in the Dominican Republic... it was staring at me. I almost fainted.
And this is coming from the girl who's favourite animals are rats. love love LOVE.
We may have some sort of reptiles here, but I've never seen one. Can you tell I'm a big city girl?

10-16-2008, 11:25 PM
Probably a skink. They are harmless things. I hope you won't hurt it or kill it. :(


10-16-2008, 11:35 PM
Wouldn't dream of it. Even when it was INSIDE my house the first time, I handled it with kid gloves (and a paper towel tube, and and put it outside. This second one was outside, so I skirted around it with my recycling bin and went on my way.

10-17-2008, 01:46 AM
i kinda like 'em. though i will admit the more snakey one are a little gross to me. i would totally have a snake or a lizard for a pet. but the kittie would probably eat 'em. :)

10-17-2008, 01:46 AM
DH says it looks like a skink. I've never seen one myself (and I spend my first 30 years living in CA.) I do understand your reaction completely.

I did happen upon my own "what the HECK is that thing" while we lived on the coast of CA though. I was sitting in a lounge chair outside and looked over at the arm rest of the chair, all that registered initially was 1. spider and 2. RED! I jumped out of the chair so fast! Upon closer inspection it was not a black widow, but a red backed jumping spider. I'd never seen anything that was so hideous and beautiful at the same time. Still, ick! Look for yourself:

10-17-2008, 05:31 AM
I'll never forget my sons (in kindergarten and 2nd grade at the time) carrying a bucket to the car when I picked them up from school one day. "Mom, can we have a lizard?" sure I say. They load up in the car, bucket and heavy leather gloves in hand. Now mind you, I always played with lizards, snakes, frogs and other "creepy" things when I was a kid, so I'm thinking "whats with the gloves?"
We get home, go into the house and I look at the lizard. WHOOLY CRAP! It's a HUGE SKINK, I mean, it's like 12+ inches long, a good 2+ inches wide and looks mean, now I know what the gloves are for!!!!!! Ok, this thing is NOT going to stay in MY house, uh uh, now way. So off to the pet store, well they don't want it, it's to big. So back home to figure out what to do with this thing. So while I'm trying to place this gela monster into a new home (rescue or?) I hear screaming coming from the kids room. I run in and my 5 year old is twirling in circles with the skink firmly chomped onto two of his fingers and I mean, all the way up to his hand. Of course he was wearing the glove, on the other hand (his brother was using the other one, at least they were sharing!). He was spinning and waving his hand so much it finally let go and flew right out the window. Appearantly the skink jumped up onto the side, trying to get out and jumped onto his hand ( guess little hands look like food!). So of course we had to take a trip to the ER, cause those suckers have BIG, SHARP teeth and they did a number on the little guy. Needless to say, now when my kids want to bring something home, I look at it first :D

Oh, I forgot to say, YES it's a skink and they bite!!!!!

10-17-2008, 01:31 PM
I used to find these around my old house--often times in MY SHOES. Needless to say I ALWAYS bang my shoes empty before I put them on. This is called a sun spider (it took me months to figure it out after I found the first one).

10-17-2008, 01:54 PM
Great. Thank you both - my dreams tonight will be full of BITING SKINKS and SPIDERS IN MY SHOES.

10-17-2008, 02:12 PM
Interesting fact from a book I'm reading...apparently, people in areas that have no snakes, that have never seen a snake, and have never HEARD of a snake, will still recoil when they see one. An instinctual negative reaction to snakes is thought to be an evolved trait that is literally built into our brains.

Totally OT here - just made me think - I wonder if that innate instinct to fear and avoid snakes is what made the original writers of the old testiment use the serpent as the image for the evil temptation..... (geek in training :D )

10-17-2008, 02:20 PM
These stories, almost make me happy that I live in a place where it is too cold for any of those creepy, crawly, scally, icky things! I ran into my far share of creepy crawlies when I was living in costa rica and I hated them.

I once got a gaint flying cockroach- it was just smaller than my fist- stuck in my hair. I got stung by a scorpian on the inside of my upper, upper thigh coz it was in my shorts.

10-17-2008, 02:40 PM
Amanda~I'm always happy to please!! LOL

As for me, things that crawl don't bother me so much (snakes, lizards, spiders). But those that move a bit faster are icky. Hopping (crickets, grasshoppers) and flying (giant cockroaches, butterflies--yes you read that right) scare the bejeebers out of me.

10-17-2008, 03:01 PM
ugh if i saw either one of those spiders i think i'd pee my pants! lol. i used to live in american samoa - i was very young and i don't remember a whole lot but I do remember the giant flying cockroaches!
they have these nasty but entirely harmless spideys down there too- banana spiders...

I do have two good family creepy crawley stories from Samoa though. Once we were all sitting in the dark watching TV when my grandmother just started screaming and jumping up and down and freaking out. One of our little gecko friends had lost his suction to the ceiling and dropped right into her lap. lol

Also once my mom was out doing yard work and noticed a stick in her cleavage - she went to brush it away and SURPRISE! it was once of these guys:
there was a lot of screaming that day too. hehehe.

10-17-2008, 03:52 PM
alinnell, I'm not afraid of butterflies but I'm terrified of moths! I once paid a friend to walk 10 blocks at midnight in the middle to come kill a moth that was flying around my room.

10-17-2008, 04:05 PM
Moths are very creepy. The worst ones are the huge ones. The biggest I ever saw was in Mexico--it had to be close to the size of a salad plate. Ewwww.

And that big green thing...double ewwww!

We get a lot of little lizards around our place. And sometimes they make their way inside. Imagine a little baby lizard--about an inch long or less. So cute! My husband doesn't like them, so either my kids or I catch them and put them back outside (to eat the creepy bugs!).

10-17-2008, 04:11 PM
Little geco's don't bother me, I think they're kinda cute...but I wouldn't want to touch one - EVER!

10-17-2008, 04:28 PM
Bringing back bad memories of a 24 hour period a couple weeks ago where we discovered in our house
3 geckos (babies - about 3 inches) high up on the walls in the family room. Looked something like this

1 tiny frog

1 skink (with legs) that my husband watched squeeze under the frame of the sliding glass door.

We occasionally see lizards (anoles) in the house, but we've never had such a festival of fauna before. I'd suspect someone left a door open except we know the one didn't wait for an open door.

Edited to add - Almost forgot, I stepped out the front door last weekend and felt what I thought were two large drops of water hit my head. I shook my head vigorously and a small frog landed at my feet. I must have felt his front and rear feet hitting my head. Ugh.

10-18-2008, 12:12 AM
We used to have bearded dragons.. they were fun.. I had one that thought he was cuddly, used to curl up between my neck and shoulder while I played the computer... and if you've ever seen them, you'll know, they are NOT cuddly.

My oldest son now wants a blue tongued skink for his birthday next month. Luckily, we'll be moving back into base housing when we move again when Daddy gets back from Iraq, and they're not allowed (whew... I hate saying no without a better reason than... eww, too much like a snake). So then he asked if he could have a tarantula.... NO NO NO... Spiders freak me out.

My sympathies mandalinn.. but unless you're sticking your fingers in their mouths, the most harm that skinks do is looking creepy.. They're actually one of the easier lizards to keep as pets (not that you would want to..).