Another creature we’ve already seen and learnt a lot about. As we saw with the wild unknown lizard, their reputation as a daydreamer is due to the sun basking behaviour which a lot of cold blooded animals engage in.
I watched a really interesting talk about lizard genetics and studying them can help us learn about historical climate change and movement of lizard populations. It can also help predict future species movement and distribution meaning the ancestral memory is important for future survival of the species – knowing where the lizard may move to gives us the chance to protect specific environments. Whilst the lizard may look like they’re daydreaming, perhaps they’re really tapping into ancient knowledge.
Whilst I was looking into Australian beliefs and folklore around the lizard, I found that the shingleback lizard kept popping up. Shingleback’s are monogamous and a member of the blue tongue family. Based on a quick google images search, the lizard pictured isn’t a shingleback but I want to mention a few stories about them.
In central New South Wales, mirages were called “shingleback’s water”; the shingleback lives in very dry areas where it’s hard to find water and it was believed he drank the water from the mirage.
The shingleback also features in some stories about stealing fire. They walk slowly, because they stole the sinews from the emu to move quickly and the emu stole them back. There are no shortcuts, you can’t steal the secret to running fast, you have to practice and patiently build up your own capacity and you have to accept your own limits. Indeed, some lizards even make use of flaws in the landscape to help them hide as they move around through the cracks in the rocks.