Heimlich Maneuver on a lizard?…What???…

Oh, oh, Mr. Monitor Lizard picked up the rib bone intended for the warthogs! To see what transpired, please read below.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

A bit blurry in the dark, this thick-tailed bushbaby was a first-time visitor to our garden.

Anytime we aren’t on a game drive in Kruger National Park, on a drive in Marloth Park, shopping in Komatipoort, or out with friends, we’re on the veranda watching, waiting, and observing a vast array of wildlife who come to call.

Note her long pink tongue inside the cup.  She devoured the contents in seconds.

Although we’re fast approaching the busy holiday season where wildlife will be either hiding out in the bush or parklands or “dining” at many of the oft unoccupied holiday rentals where holidaymakers provide them with both “good-for-them” foods or not-so-good-for-them foods, all of which they eat with the same aplomb.

Sure, human leftovers, chips (fries), sweets, potato chips, and tortilla chips may taste, and even marshmallows may taste good to a kudu or bushbuck. Still, many of these foods can be toxic and certainly don’t add to their nutritional well-being.
When we noticed Mr. Monitor Lizard coming out from the bush, we were surprised how much he ventured out. They are timid, usually living underground in tunnels they dig. He was hungry and on the hunt.

Nonetheless, many wildlife like the taste of such foods, and we may not see them for days, if not weeks.  Some holidaymakers have already arrived but certainly not as many as we’ll see in the next few weeks, with Christmas only 15 days from today.  

We didn’t know how to get eggs to him when each time we’ve approached in the past, he rapidly slithered away.

Knowing our visitors may be sparse, we’re totally engrossed in each visitor that continues to arrive as we stay on the veranda, rain or shine, days and nights. The power outages continue but not necessarily following the schedule posted by Eskom, the power company.

This warthog is named “Basket,” shortened from Tom calling him “basketballs.”  Get it?  He and the lizard seemed fine in each other’s space.

It rained again last night, which, combined with the rain over the prior few days, is starting to “green” the bush.  Today is very cool and comfortable with a strong breeze. We’re loving every moment, knowing cool weather is short-lived in Africa.

As we’ve sat here on the veranda, we’ve had a few new experiences we are excited to share today. One was the appearance of Mr. Monitor Lizard, who seldom makes comes out from his hovel to see us, and he offered us a special treat as shown in today’s photos.

For the first time, he approached the veranda, looking at us.  He didn’t seem to like pellets, so we tried to figure out what we could feed him.

The photos tell the story of his visit.  He was looking for food. If we approach him, he rapidly slithers away, so we had to figure out how to help him out without scaring him. 56Tom suggested we toss him some of the many eggs we always have on hand for the mongooses.

He was scanning the garden looking for possible food sources.

There was no way to get the eggs to him without breaking them. So we tossed him 10 eggs. As the shells broke, the contents remained in many shell fragments, and he devoured each morsel, including eating many of the nutrient-rich shells.

Over a period of several minutes, Tom tossed several eggs his way.  He seemed very pleased licking the eggs out of the broken shells.

With warthog Basket in the garden at the same time, earlier we’d tossed him some bones left from Tom’s rib dinner at Jabula. Here I go, saying we give them leftovers!!! Hypocritical?  No. 

The minerals in bones are useful to warthogs, and they’ll readily eat any bones we provide. However, they have no interest in any meat. By nature, they are herbivores but maybe in desperate situations, and they may consume carrion.

Every so often, he stopped eating the eggs and shells to scope his surroundings and safety.

When we saw the monitor lizard pick up the bone, we freaked out. How do you do the Heimlich maneuver to a lizard? What if he choked? Worried, we watched intently, not knowing what would happen. Miraculously, he swallowed it right down with enthusiasm and went back to eating the bits of eggs and shells.

He paused when he noticed the rib bone left from Tom’s dinner at Jabula on Saturday night.

We read the following online, giving us peace of mind after he wandered off:
“While most monitor lizards are carnivorous, eating eggs, smaller reptiles, fish, birds and small mammals, some also eat fruit and vegetation, depending on where they live.”  Obviously, they have the ability to digest bone if they eat birds and mammals.  

Later on, during the evening after dark, when the scheduled power outage didn’t occur, for the first time, we had a thick-tailed bushbaby eat every last drop of yogurt we placed on the bushbaby stand each night. The usual smaller bushbabies had yet to eat the contents of the little cup, and the much larger thick-tailed bushbaby devoured it in seconds.

And…he swallowed it right down! 

From this site: “The thick-tailed bushbaby is a nocturnal primate with child-like cries, which gave cause for the English vernacular name. This is probably due to its diet and larger body size; this is the most social of all known bushbabies.”

For the second time in one day, we discovered these two situations, both of which added so much to our ongoing experiences in the bush.  Surely, in these next 66 days, until we depart Marloth Park, more wonders will come our way.

Be well!  Be happy!

Photo from one year ago today, December 10, 2017:

Boulevard scene in Arica, Chile, while on a port of call during the cruise. For more photos, please click here.

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