05 August 2008

Eggs and Hatchings...

Well, yesterday was busy around our house - not only have our chicken eggs hatched (another story, another day), but we also have had another "clutch" of babies put in an appearance - baby lizards (or margouillats, as we call them). The other morning, I was sitting at the computer, working on email correspondance when I heard this high pitched scream come from the living room, "They hatched! They hatched!" followed by several more little girl and big girl squeals. Jonathan's joyful cries soon joined in with his sisters'... but first I'd better give a little background to this story.

Since arriving in Niger, our children have been fascinated by all things reptilian: margouillats (the outside lizards), geckos (the inside ones - yes, they live in our house and as long as they don't fall off the ceiling on top of you during the night, it is really OK), skinks, tortoises, frogs, toads... even snakes (but those I insist on a respectful distance and no handling... yuck!). When Brendan was little, he'd catch lizards and pretend they were knights jousting on the back of his Fisher Price horses. The girls would catch them and treat them as babies in their Polly Pocket homes and accessories - we've even caught them brushing their teeth! Nadia informed us once that the month of May was so named because it was the lizard mating season. And for our children, this fascination with lizards has continued, even though Tim and I rarely notice or pay attention to them any more.




Several weeks back, Tim was leaving the studio and noticed that a mama margouillat had laid a bunch of eggs, right behind the back tire of our car, so he figured he'd bring a little surprise home to the munchkin set. He carefully gathered them up (in the sand where they'd been laid), found a large plastic container and brought them home so we could watch and see if they'd hatch. Several weeks passed... we watched and waited... all the baby lizards outside started hatching and were everywhere... some of the eggs started to dry up... but the kids tried to remain optimistic about 5 or 6 of them... and we continued to wait. Then, I heard that scream the other morning. I think it was Nadia - but they all sound really alike when they are doing that high-pitched, girlie squeal sort of thing!


Out of habit, they had checked their eggs - and found 4 baby lizards instead. In one of the other containers, was another baby lizard. I, personally, find these lizards rather ugly - but the kids all think they are just "adorable" when they are babies. They promptly scurried down the hall to show me - and then they decided to let the babies go so that they could find something to eat. All in all, the girls were quite proud of their success in "incubating" this particular clutch of lizard eggs. Too bad they didn't actually see the critters hatching!

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