WE were walking along the Heather Highway, a road that connects the Great Central Road, just west of the small Aboriginal community of Warburton, with the famous Gunbarrel Highway, a track that is ‘highway’ in name only.
Ahead of us was our convoy of nine vehicles all pulling Australian made camper trailers, led by our son Trent of Moon Tours (www.moontours.com.auOn your Coast2Coast adventure from Sedona in SA to Cape Carradrin in North West WA.
Being Tails and Charlie it became routine to travel with the main tag once again in our career, and we were cruising along admiring the wide open spaces and distant horizons when the CB radio crackled into life. .
“Watch out, there’s a lizard on the road … pushing a tin can!”
“What?” I thought, “That’s not possible!” And after a few seconds of contemplation, I knew what it was.
Less than a minute later we saw the lizard and it was ‘pushing’. But he wasn’t pushing him, instead his head was stuck and without help he was doomed.
In fact, I had seen and photographed such a stranded animal somewhere in Central Australia before, but I couldn’t remember which trip or where I could find the photo. The lizard was now dead, its head stuck in a beverage can while its exposed body was just a skeleton scavenged by crows and ants.
As we jumped out of patrol, the lizard, sensing our vibration as our feet hit the dirt, turned to run but ran into the piles of sand that lined every outback track and road. Is. Before she could recover, I caught her, her struggle strong and insistent.
“Moral of the story is don’t throw your trash in the scrub or out of the car.”
But his head, like an arrowhead, slipped into his tongue and then his head looked for a splash of moisture – or some ants that are almost always found in such beverage cans. – was rigid static, form and its reverse side. Facing the scales does not allow him to remove his head from the opening.
While Viv restrained the beast, I went to the toolbox and grabbed a set of tin snips. What followed was a delicate operation as I cut the tin from its neck … if lizards have necks. Once I opened the box he was very combative at first and bit me, but he soon settled down as I worked the tin around his body.
He was lucky, his tough hide was not even scarred by the sharp edge of the drinking vessel. And once we got him out of his state, we found some water and offered him a drink in our cupped hands, which he slipped into his mouth and sucked.
While we assumed he’d been trapped for less than 24 hours (how long does a lizard live in a box?), he was still thirsty and had been through four handfuls of water for a while. Before he looked around wondering what else was in store. That day.
We dropped him right off the side of the road, where he stood, dazed for a few seconds, before he got his wits about him and took off towards the bush.
We returned to the patrol, feeling great that we had rescued a beautiful lizard – a brilliantly marked desert monitor – well done for the day.
The moral of the story is don’t throw your trash in the scrub or out of your car, because something as simple and seemingly harmless can end the life of a native animal, including a lot of dying. What a horrible way to do it. . So, crush the cans and dispose of them properly.