Thursday, October 20, 2005

Gecko Tales

The little survivor

Last night's encounter with the gecko reminded me of another one we rescued, almost exactly a month ago.

This fella is actually survived some very rough handling by our cats, especially Iffy (a born huntress - I'm convinced that if we hadn't rescued her, and she'd survived to be a feral cat, she'd have chalked up a massive kill rate). K and I came out into the corridor to find all three cats staring at the same spot on the ceiling, quivering with excitement. This gecko was their target, and despite everything, he would've have been perfectly safe except for the next, incomprehensible thing he did.

He ran down onto the floor.

You can just see that a flap of skin is hanging loose behind his neck, where Iffy had clamped down on him with her jaws. I was convinced he was dead, but amazingly when Iffy opened her mouth, out he ran.

(Household cats don't hunt to kill, or eat - they're well-fed and have no need to supplement their diet with the occasional gecko. But they are bored ... extremely bored. I've seen our cats chase flies. I've seen our cats go crazy over a speck of dirt on the ceiling thinking it was a fly.)

What amazed as well was this: most geckos under attack would've dropped their tails by that point in time. A gecko under threat can sever its tail, which continues to wriggle and twitch in a most convincing manner, to distract the predator while the gecko makes its getaway ... a few grammes lighter. My wife and I have found as many gecko tails tucked underneath our rugs (which is where the cats tend to stash their playthings after they've expired) as we have found dead geckos.

For some reason, this fellow, in mortal peril for his life, clung on to both his tail and his dignity, and was released outside mostly unharmed, except for the wound you see.

tags:,,,,,

1 comment:

tscd said...

That's the thing about cats that makes them so human - torturing and killing for fun.