Lessons from a Lizard

mf7After leaving the putt-putt course in Alabama, we headed to Florida to visit more family – aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandma. My children always find a lot to do when we visit, and one of their favorite activities is trying to catch the lizards that run around outside my mom’s house. This took on a whole new dimension, however, when the cat chased a lizard inside.                                 

We were sitting around the table with my mom finishing up breakfast when the cat raced through the door that had been propped open. I saw it pounce on something under my mom’s chair, then I saw a tail underneath its paws. 

“A lizard! Get the lizard!” I shouted, and everyone started looking around in confusion.

“What? What?” My mom shouted. By this time the lizard had gotten free, but the cat was still holding onto it’s tail. The tail had come off and was wiggling on the floor. 

“The lizard!” I shouted. “It ran into the bedroom behind the door!” A lizard in the house has nothing to eat, and it usually dies and dries up. “Get the lizard!”

Four children were still sitting around the table, and my mom was still hollering “What?” and laughing. The cat was the only one looking for the lizard, and the tail was still wiggling on the floor. 

I pulled John (age 12) from his chair and took him into the bedroom. The lizard was hiding behind the door against the wall. An easy place to catch him, or so I thought. 

“Get him, John!”

“I can’t.” 

“Why not? Look – he’s right there. Get him!” 

“I don’t think I can.” 

“He’s going under my foot. Ah!  He’s under my foot. Get him!”  I said. 

But within a moment the lizard had slipped out from under my foot, under the door again, and back into the kitchen, where the cat chased it under a bookshelf. The tail was still wiggling on the floor. 

“Somebody pick up that tail,” my mom said. John sat back down. Everyone else stayed in their chairs, laughing. 

“Oh, I’ll get it,” I said, grabbing some paper towel. I picked up the tail and threw it in the trash. There were quite a few lessons here, I thought. The first two were obvious: How To Catch a Lizard and How to Pick Up a Tail. But there are some good homeschooling lessons as well. What is the natural habitat of lizards? What do lizards need to survive?  Why do the lizards tails come off? Besides cats, what other predators attack lizards?

Life events do lend themselves to learning, don’t they?

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