Coming back from the dog park last night, I ducked down into the creek near the TAFE as the tide was low; much nicer than walking the roads with Jambo on a lead. Just by the rail bridge I came across this dead blue-tongue lizard.
Is there anything more beautiful than a lizard, even when dead? His underside was spectacular, a mottled contrast to his dark, tea-coloured back.
I felt sad for him. I wondered if he was the same blue-tongue I’ve come across basking near the gap in the chain-link fence near by; it’s only about twenty yards away. But blue-tongues prefer the long grass, the undergrowth, the canopies of lantana. Seeing him here on the bare concrete was strange. What could have drawn him down here, or what kind of predator big enough to take him but drop him? I’ve seen swamp harriers around the creek but there were no talon marks.
Weirdly, his two front claws were gone. I couldn’t tell if they’d been bitten off or caught in a snare, whether they’d been cut off at death or lost and then healed over. Is this why he’d died? Had he lost them in a fight and then been unable to catch prey or feed himself?
I kept wondering about it, wondering about those stumps.
Then, this morning, I think I saw the culprit. Cats are usually very good at sensing human presence but this big feral moggy was completely engrossed in something in the beck, so engrossed that I got quite close (Jambo was off chasing rabbits in the gasworks).
We stared at one another for a while. This photo doesn’t do him justice: he was big and raggedy and looked like business. I have friends who are naturalists and the stories of how cats can wipe out an entire population of bilbies overnight are blood-chilling. I hope this fella isn’t going to take up residence in the gasworks.