Pied Beauty

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)

Glory be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:

Praise him.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Mediterranean House Gecko

These little night creatures were quite a surprise to me.  I lived in the Kansas City area from late 1994 through the end of 1998.  When I left the Houston area, I had never seen or heard of a Mediterranean House Gecko.  When I returned, they were everywhere!  I couldn't believe that they were so numerous!

(Photo: Tom Barrow)

Mediterranean House Geckos are native to southern Europe and Asia, but are rapidly spreading throughout the southern United States.  They are unusual lizards in that they vocalize -- you can hear them chirping to each other in the night, when they are most active.  Geckos eat insects, and quite a lot of them: they can eat their own weight in insects several times a week. 

Although their rather transparent skin can be startling, they are harmless to humans.  Their rapid expansion into most of the Southern US is a bit of a concern, because they are an introduced species.  It's not clear that they are harmful to other local reptiles, though.  In fact, they are fast being eliminated from most of Florida, by other, more aggressive gecko species.

(Photo: Tom Barrow)

The green anoles are suspicious, in any case...

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