As a writer, I spend most of my time working from home. You might imagine me in front of a computer, typing away at a desk with four walls and a roof, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. I spend 95% of my time, rain or shine, summer or winter, writing on my back deck under a lovely canopy. Why? Well, for one, I love the fresh air, and for two, there are so many amazing creatures in my backyard that often come close enough to touch because I’m almost always out there.
Honestly, I’ve had lizards play in my hair, baby wrens hop on my arm while learning to fly, and hummingbirds alight on my phone. Snails slowly traverse my armchair on a regular basis, and the cutest leopard-spotted slugs make frequent appearances along the deck railing (and once on my shoulder).
None of that compares to what happened this past year. I had a jaw-dropping experience while happily typing away on my phone that became the lizard saga of a lifetime.
The Mating Dance
From May to September, my back deck is the prime territory of a gorgeous female anole (a small green lizard indigenous to my area) named Tony. She spends hours racing across the string, lighting like an acrobat, leaping and scurrying while catching bugs and basking in the sun. One day, a male decided to scope her territory out and send mating signals, including puffing his red throat out and bobbing his head. I was enthralled with this development, as I’d already spent months observing Tony, and I was excited for her to have a companion (and baby anoles are adorable). I named him Jack. Not five minutes after Jack began his display, a larger and much older male, whom I christened Frederick, decided to make his move as well.
What ensued is something I’ll never forget. It’s common knowledge that green anoles can turn brown when they get cold. Not so commonly known is the vibrant blue crest and kohl black lining around their eyes when they start a mating competition. For over an hour, these two creatures went through a vast array of displays, with calculated movements designed to win Tony over while eliminating the competition. They viciously fought to win her over without once touching each other. It reminded me of a game of chicken, where two cars head towards each other, and the loser turns before a collision happens.
I managed to get the entire saga on video and live stream it through my Facebook, but I must say that Tony’s response was a bit shocking. Not only did I find Jack entwined with her the following day, but Frederick was the prime courter a week later. Needless to say, Tony ended up laying seven eggs in the plants on my back deck, and I cannot wait for her to return next summer! I seriously love my “office”!