Monday, October 08, 2007

The Lizard King

This is Spunky, my iguana iguana. He's a handsome 7-year-old psycho, weighing in at 7 pounds and reaching a stunted, but still impressive, length of 37 inches from his nose to the tip of his regenerated tail. If I had known seven would be his lucky number when we adopted him as a wee hatchling, I would've named him Seven instead of allowing my daughter to pick his moniker. Maybe that's why he's got such a guanatude - would you want to be called Spunky all your life when you could've had a really cool name like Seven? Me either.

I've lived with iguanas for 15 years now. My first one, Kiwi, left us for the Big Cosmic Beach last year at the age of 14. (An iguana's lifespan is 15-20 years.) She was an awesome friend and went through some serious life lessons with me, including moving cross country. She was the most docile creature I've ever had the privilege of caring for. She's the reason I have Spunkalicious. We were at the vet with her on a false alarm (call it serendipity, but I think she planned it in the dreamtime) and the receptionist told me Spunky's sad story. My arm twisted up like Dick Cheney's morals and I offered to take him in until he found another home, except his rehab ended up being longer than most celebritys' stay in the Betty Ford Clinic. He's family now and will be here until I can find a way to release him back in the wild.

Spunks is more of a challenge than Kiwi was because he was abused, and though I was able to heal his body brilliantly, his little prehistoric brain refuses to evolve past his ancient history. He's much more chill than he used to be, but there are moments when he thinks he's a young Johnny Depp. In fact, two snaps after this photo he brandished his tail at my camera and told me to get the fuck out of his cage.

Based on behavior observations, I suspect he was wild caught instead of captive bred. I've looked for research groups going to South America that could help me put him back in the wild, but so far I haven't found the right people. My relationship with the Spunkmeister has changed my opinion on keeping exotic animals captive. Rescuing them from an abusive situation may be helping that individual out at the time, but it doesn't help the problem where it starts. It's been hard to say no, but as my little zoo dwindles down over the years, I'm no longer taking in exotic rescues. I'd rather help educate people so they reach the same conclusions I have before anyone else is living in a cage.

Lizards have become one of my strongest totems, along with Dragonfly. According to many indigenous peoples' beliefs, lizards represent the Dreamtime, regeneration, and messages from the Great Mystery. Animal Speak, by Ted Andrews also relates great powers of observation, objective detachment, and feigning sleep while basking in the sun. (Much easier in California than New Jersey!) All these things go right along with my personality and I'm honored and grateful to share my physical and etheric space with these awesome critters. :)

I am editing this post to note that I did not make the time of the post 7:07 on purpose. That's just how things happen around me. :) I love those little divine winks - they convince me I'm always right where I should be. I also fixed the picture of Spunky at the top since Blogger didn't seem to like the one I uploaded from the computer. Just one more reason to stop being lazy and figure out the beast that is WordPress. I know it's free, but Google makes everything so easy!

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