Two weeks ago, I wrote about a mysterious creature living in my ceiling, scaring me witless in the middle of the night with its unmistakable noises coming from the ductwork.
Various friends suggested what type of creature it might be. A shrew? A cane toad? One of Guam’s few birds? I didn’t want to know. When I stopped hearing those distinctive sounds coming from above the dropped ceiling, I was thrilled. Every now and then I’d sniff tentatively, waiting for the smell of something dead to come wafting through the air vent, because that seemed like the inevitable future of any creature unfortunate enough to trap itself in an indoor metallic prison.
But the smell never came. Frankendoggy distracted me. And now I have reason to believe I was very, very wrong about my invader all along.
It all starts a few months back, when the hubster called me outside to look at a cute baby monitor lizard running around our driveway. The creature was about 10″ long at the time, mostly black with brilliant yellow scales dotting his slim body. We scampered around, trying to get a decent photo of him–I mean, how often do you get to see a MONITOR LIZARD in your driveway? This could lead to instant Facebook fame!–but he ran into the utility closet adjoining the carport. The closet houses the outdoor A/C unit and a few garden tools, and it didn’t seem worth unpacking the whole thing to find the little guy, so we called it a loss and retreated back into the air conditioning to examine our blurry monitor-lizard pics.
Fast-forward to today–Saturday, February 1st. The Manster and I spent the afternoon doing some yard work which, around here, feels more like beating the jungle into submission (and causing a gecko holocaust) than the light gardening it is in the mainland. We pressure-washed the carport, cut back the palm and banana trees that were encroaching into our yard, swept, cleaned, weeded, and tried to subdue the mess that results from a few months of agricultural apathy. At some point, we moved the vehicles out of the driveway so we could sweep all the dead leaves and rubbish away.
Little did we know that, at some point during the gardening-and-vehicle-moving-process, we were causing more than just gecko-infrastructure mayhem.
Here’s what (I think) happened.
*cue mysterious Pink Panther music*
The baby monitor lizard had grown up and taken up residence in our carport closet. It had found the gap in ductwork and insulation that we left unrepaired, enabling it to enter and exit the ductwork system of our house (until, presumably, it grew just a little too big). It lived in semidarkness, snatching the odd cockroach (or whatever it is that monitor lizards eat) that made its way into the utility closet, and sneaking out on occasion to explore the jungle that we had let overtake our yard.
And then one fateful day, when heading out for an afternoon stroll, it discovered catastrophic sounds and chaos coming from the jungle. So it sought refuge in the nearest available space: the wheel well of our Jeep, which we were just about to move out of the driveway.
We discovered him a few hours later when we got home from Bible study. There he was, the sad victim of yard work and civilization, lying next to the Jeep’s tire.
Manny and I held our very first monitor lizard funeral, and we finally got our picture.
I have a newfound respect for the critters on this island. Not sure whether to vow to better keep up with the yard work, or just to capitulate to the jungle while I still have the chance.