In Memory of our Bearded Buddy, Randall

If anyone ever told me I could get attached to a reptile with a snake-looking tail, I would have laughed at them….then along came Randall.

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Awaiting his masters return from AZ

 My older son had always wanted a lizard, and when he was younger, my answer was always “no way.” That’s because they looked so cold and sneaky, and well, snake-like.  I had absolutely no idea how fun and lovable certain kinds of lizards could be.

 After we moved into our new house, we were out enjoying our local pet store, just for fun, and to my utter disbelief my husband pointed out this Bearded Dragon lizard to my son and suggested we buy it for his room!!  I gave him one of “those” looks, but it didn’t matter…an hour later we were driving home with a new member of the family.

Enjoying a crawl up the fireplace

His sleeping quarters were in my son’s room, but that didn’t stop him from exploring the house! I really didn’t mind, I could see he was gentle and my son obviously loved him…and more importantly, he wasn’t prone to having “accidents” outside of his cage, whew!

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Not intimidated in the least by “Miss Kitea”

He did cause a little mischief on one of his early explorations when he somehow managed to crawl behind the kick-board in the kitchen and get stuck under the cabinets. Of course, this happened when we were due to meet up shortly with friends…but we couldn’t very well leave a dragon under the cabinets while we were away. My husband finally had to pull out the crowbar, ripping a piece of the kick-board to extract Randall, but the important thing was, Randall was safe and we would not have to keep our friends waiting.

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In the beginning I managed to pet Randall on the head, he liked that, but I was not too keen on the idea of holding him.  I just couldn’t get past that his skin looked so snakelike, especially his belly, and his tail, well, that looked just like a snake minus the head.

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With his special buddy
On a guided house tour
Enjoying his bath

I was slightly horrified when my son asked if I would be Randall’s caregiver while he took a senior trip to Arizona for a week, oh dear.  The training began.  I had to get used to holding Randall, not just tossing lettuce and crickets into the cage and checking his lights.

Well, it was wintertime, and for the week his master was gone, Randall and I became Hallmark-watching, fireside companions!


I would hold him in the evenings against my fuzzy red robe, and he would “snuggle” in till the movie ended.  I would then, reluctantly (can you believe) go put him back in his cage for the night.  Yes, Randall and I were now buddies:)

Of course, I couldn’t be in charge of Randall for a week without giving his cage a little make-over….a woman’s touch so to say:

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Cage before make-over
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Randall suspiciously eyeing “decorated” pillar

We enjoyed Randall for close to four years. During those years, he endured many tail-chasing episodes from our cat, but never allowed himself to trust our dog, Princess.  If she entered the room, he would at times turn partly black, indicating anger or stress, and kept a wary eye on her till she finally left his presence.

We will always miss our little buddy, especially my son, but we have many fond, loving memories of the lizard who crawled into all of our hearts to stay.♥

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Randall and Miss Kitea enjoying a “fireside chat.”


“Wild” Night!


Well, I can tell you, we had close encounters of the wild kind last night that were just a little too close for comfort for me, and for the rest of my household.

There will be no critter pictures in this blog-for one thing I don’t photograph this particular member of the wild, and also, I don’t generally sleep with my camera.

I went to bed around nine with a nasty head cold.  It was too early to sleep, but I thought I’d listen to my i-pod and just rest.  Not too long afterward, I heard quite the commotion, and the sound of agitated voices told me something was amiss.

Somehow, I knew…..probably because of my distrust, dislike, distaste, ok, total hatred of these critters…. exactly what was amiss!

I had heard of these things getting into homes before, so it was always tucked away in the back of my mind. We all have them, those things you hear about happening to others, but you just pray you never have to encounter yourself.

It wasn’t long before my younger son, who discovered the intruder, came to confirm what my worst thoughts had already surmised….we had been invaded by, none other than, a snake. There, I “said” it-I don’t even like to type the word.

You have to understand, I do love nature, I really do, but these things are in a class all by themselves.  I’ve heard all the arguments….”They eat mice, and moles… we need them to keep the rodent population down” and, my favorite, “Black snakes eat copperheads.” Ok, I’m not sure of the truth behind that one, but just in case, the black ones may remain. So far, however, the only populations my eyes have witnessed them trying to control have been frogs, fish, chicken eggs and birds. My outside cat does a wonderful job of keeping down the rodent population, and she doesn’t slither.

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“Gladiator Gabby”

Ok, back to the story, and why on earth there is a sword leaning against my pink couch.  After two hours of trying to find this snake, my husband and sons finally call it a night and decide to give it another go in the morning. As for me, my groggy head overcame my fear of snakes, and I was just ready for some sleep.  This is where the sword comes in.

My younger son, who we can always depend on for high security, informed us he was sleeping on the couch in our bedroom, yes the pink one, and is prepared to battle the foe should it get past the rug he insisted on stuffing under our bedroom door. Funny thing is, well, actually not so funny, he had had awful thoughts of a snake attacking me in my bedroom before this event, so he was foregoing sleeping in a bed to protect his “snakeophobic” (ophidiophobic -for you proper folks) mother. Trying to hurry things along, I told him there was no need for a rug under our door….boy am I glad he didn’t believe me.

After collecting Miss Priss-and all her creature comforts-to sleep safely in our bedroom as well, he stuffed the rug under our bedroom door-thank God-and we all got some sleep, well, a little anyway.

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I awoke to the sound of thumps in the hallway….right outside of our bedroom door.  My husband, who as he says-and I’m so glad it’s true-has the “reflexes of a cat” was stomping the thing into submission (in his slippers) after throwing the rug, yes that rug, over him to keep him from escaping!

Well, there you have it, the story of our wild night that I lived to tell about…because, as everyone around here knows, there is no innocent until proven guilty, all brown snakes  are copperheads. It could have very well ended up in our bed, which would have very well been the end of me. So, I have much to be thankful for on this lovely spring day- though I am keeping a very wary eye out for movement!!

∼ Jen