🐾 Maybe the reason I love animals so much, is because the only time they have broken my heart is when theirs has stopped beating.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

African Striped Skink (Trachylepsis striata)

This Striped Skink was enjoying the sun on the wall of my bathroom court-yard garden and she was heavily pregnant (pic taken last October). Mating occurs between October and November, with a gestation period are 90 to 100 days, so I presume she was to give birth within a month or two, usually a single litter of 3 – 9 babies. Growth is relatively fast, sexual maturity is reached in 15 – 18 months. Last summer, my Skinks had several litters in my bathroom court-yard garden, much to my delight.

The African Striped Skink (Trachylepsis striata), commonly called the Striped Skink, is a lizard in the skink family (Scincidae). The species is widespread in Southern Africa, including extreme southern Angola and Zambia, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and parts of central and eastern South Africa.

Skinks typically seek out sheltered environments out of the elements, such as thick foliage, underneath man-made structures, and ground-level buildings such as garages and first-floor apartments. When two or more skinks are seen in a small area, it is typical to find a nest nearby. Skinks are considered to be territorial and often are seen standing in front of or "guarding" their nest area.

Two males squaring it off, ready to defend their territory

This skink is brown or bronze coloured with two yellowish stripes that run lengthwise on either side of the spine. Both sexes grow to a length of 25 cm.1 Their tails are often missing due to predators.

Monday, 18 April 2016

To bless this kind earth... and yourself

Now that we're over the worst of summer (and it really was the pits, with extreme heat-waves, temps in the 40℃'s and drought) and had some lovely rain to break the heat and drought, I'm enjoying time outside in my garden again. I just get absolutely cranky, and listless, when it gets that hot, and can't seem to get around to doing anything outside. But as we all know, we NEED to get outside, we need to spend time in nature, otherwise life becomes unbearable. Well, for me anyway. My plants and the birds in my garden are part of my family, and I feel as though I've lost track of what's going on in their lives. I just did the bare necessities during that heat, filling the water bowls and feed tables and the rest, like watering the garden, was left up to my trusty garden manger, Chrissie. I even thought of telling her to chat to the birds, because I wasn't getting round to it!

But my garden doesn't seem to have minded my absence. It's like a jungle out there after all the rain. Nature's revenge to neglect is that, when left undisturbed and given time, she will reclaim anything built by humanity. So basically, no need to feel guilty here, life finds a way.

 There's a pathway somewhere in there, totally covered now by Bulbine and Sword ferns.

Even the birds don't seem to have noticed my absence. No excitement or fluttering or welcoming twittering when I started spending time in the garden again. Maybe they were even pleased about not being constantly stalked by my camera. Eating and bathing and nesting carried on as usual, making me feel a bit unwanted...



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