Sunday, August 05, 2007

Zootoca vivipara, so that's what it is!

My new neighbour Alison, accompanied by her daughter Clare (actually, it was the other way round) popped round this afternoon, Clare anxious to show me the contents of her jamjar: a lizard-type creature about an inch long. I am flattered that they think that I know everything about Nature, and I don't want to lose face in front of a twelve-year old, so I put on my serious face (not easy when you are shirtless and in shorts from which two white legs descend like bits of knotted string}, and peered into the jar. Well, I do know enough to know that it was a lizard and not a newt, and I do know enough to know that it will be a common lizard. So I pronounce on it.
We discuss, we ruminate, we speculate, and then comes the dreaded moment: "Are the babies born live, or do common lizards lay eggs, like crocodiles?" At least I know that it isn't a baby crocodile, but after that, the bloom fades on my cheek, or rather the reverse. Then I notice the scientific name in the book: Zootoca vivipara. A pretty good clue there, I think you will agree.

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