A Lizard’s Tale…er, Tail

Jules Rivera continues to add light humor to her Sunday nature strips, as in the central panel, below, of the escaping skink; and more generally, in the first-panel titles. In this week’s entry, the “Mark Trail” title appears on a trail sign (take that, pun-master Stephen Pastis!), whose distance is marked in kilometers.

This time, the Sunday animal-of-the-week is not specifically depicted in the past week’s strips (I think), but is offered as a thematic compliment to Reptiliannaire, the eco-rapper. As Sunday sequences go, I would have liked to see something unique to the California deserts, as opposed to a lizard “endemic to North America.” But is it even a California lizard?

This may surprise readers, but I’m no herpetologist. Nevertheless, I was intrigued by the subject matter and did some limited research on the “Interweb” (as local radio personality Joe Soucheray likes to call the Internet). I stand ready to be corrected here, but it seems that the “five-lined skink” is not specifically found west of Minnesota! Wha..?! Perhaps this was a simple “lookalike” mistake, as California does have the Western Skink, which very closely resembles the five-lined skink, and which also allows its tail to be captured by predators in order to escape with the rest of its body and life, intact. Still, the predator does get a snack, so this as a Nature win-win.

Note: I’m dropping my “gka” tag from here on. I started using it so that readers who might take issue with any entry will not assume it is Dennis’s post. However, I realized my name already appears at the top of the blog entry, anyway.