I'm finally getting another turn on this thing, and it turns out I have a friend for you to meet today. He's an unusual fellow, as you'll soon see. So, let's find out who - and what - my new friend is. Shall we?
Hello there, friend. What’s your name? If you have an unusual name, or there’s an interesting story behind it, I’d love to hear about what your name means, or the story behind it, so please share if applicable.
Hello. My name is Newt. Not a good Aussie name, I know. (Rolls eyes) We have some serious Harry Potter fans in our family, and I guess because I’m an unusual pet, I was named after Newt Scamander from Fantastic Beasts.
Ooohhh! Well, even if it's not the best Aussie name, I think it's great you were named after someone from Fantastic Beasts. I know who that Newt guy is... We're huge Harry Potter fans over here. The human caretakers - especially the Mummy human - love it. We watched the movies again not too long ago actually. Erm... Sorry. I'm getting a bit off topic here. So... Yeah... What species and breed are you?
I am a blue-tongued lizard, or skink, as some people like to say. I prefer the term lizard. I am a native animal in Australia. There are six different species of blue-tongued skinks, although some species are found in New Guinea and Indonesia.
How interesting. For those who don't know what a blue-tongued lizard looks like, describe your appearance. I have photos to show those who can see them in a moment, but there are people out there who can't see them, so please describe yourself too, for the benefit of those who can’t see the photos, and may like to know what you look like.
Although lizards in my breed are mostly friendly, we are often mistaken for a snake. This is because we like to hide under things, like fridges, and we only stick our head out to check out what is going on. We have the same pointy nose, and flat head like a snake, and our skin looks very similar. Except there are a couple of significant differences—like we don’t have fangs or venom. And if they just waited until we stuck our tongue out before dragging out the shovel or calling the snake catcher, they would see our flat and wide dark blue tongue. Yeah, I bet you won’t find any snakes with that. But for some reason, people don’t stick around that long when they think they have seen a snake. I can’t imagine why.
Also, another huge difference, well not so big literal in size, are our legs. Yes, that’s right, people. We have legs—four of them. They are only tiny compared to our bodies, but our front legs are just under the spot where our head joins our body, and our back legs are right before our big fat tail joins our stumpy body.
We are covered in grey scales with charcoal stripes and grow to about 40cm long. I shed my skin, like a snake, a couple of times a year. Oh, and just because we don’t have fangs, it doesn’t mean that we can’t give you a nasty bite. We have a powerful jaw.
WOW! That's extremely fascinating. Thanks for describing yourself so thoroughly, and giving us some information on your species at the same time. I'm sure everyone enjoyed learning more about blue-tongued lizards. I know I did! Maybe it will help them understand you guys are generally friendly, and check better before assuming you're snakes. Anyway, Newt, on the subject of where you come from, what sort of place do you live in? Who do you share it with?
My home is a glass enclosure that looks almost like a large fish tank, except it opens from the front. I have a light that brings me UV rays and a heat lamp that turns on every time my enclosure gets too cold.
Currently, the bottom of my home is covered in sugar cane mulch. I am alone, well kind of. My human bought me some crickets to eat and decided to put a couple of them in my enclosure. I was happy with this because they are tasty. I was a bit slow in eating them, and before I knew it, they had babies. Lots of babies! Now I get sung to nearly all day and most of the night, and let’s just say that I’ll probably never go hungry again. But then again, listening to them sing for another thirty years might be a bit much. Eventually, I will want some peace.
Yes, it might get a bit much after all that time. Well, I hope you can deal with it. Also, 30 years? That's impressive! That's even longer than my potential lifespan. I'm sure you have to find a lot to fill all that time you have. Speaking of which, what’s your favourite thing to do?
Oh. Hehe. My human makes my enclosure look neat, and I love to dig through all the sugar cane mulch and make a mess. I dig under my water bowl and tip it over. And I love to build tunnels through the mulch. I also play hide and seek. I am so good at hiding under the mulch that they can’t find me. This happened a lot in winter. I don’t move or eat as much in winter, because I am a reptile and it is cold. So, I hide and sleep, and sleep. After a while, my human family comes looking for me. They say it is because they want to see if I’m alive. I know I’m alive, so I don’t understand why they need to disturb my sleep. Although, when they do come looking for me, I love to hiss at them. I’ve never bitten them, but I love seeing them flinch when I hiss.
I don't blame you for hissing. What is it with humans and disturbing us when we're napping? I mean, really! Sometimes we're just relaxing, or enjoying our favourite activities. They bug us when we're playing sometimes too. Hey, Newt, speaking of playing... Do you have a favourite toy? If yes, what is it?
Not so much a toy, but I love my log. I have a hollow log in my enclosure, and I love to lie in it and occasionally stick my head out of the hole and look around.
That sounds like fun! Hey, speaking of favourite things, what’s your favourite food?
I can’t get enough of big fat juicy snails. Yum. I also like blueberries and fresh mango. Oh, and also crickets. Although there are so many in my enclosure that I don’t want to eat them, I guess they are more like friends these days. We share the same water, and I share my vegetarian food. Besides, it’s a little freaky eating your roomies.
Yeah, that would be a bit awkward eating your roomies. Thankfully that's not something I have to worry about myself, since nothing my human caretakers feed me could become a potential friend. By the way, speaking of the human caretakers, what’s the one thing your human does that you love most?
I love it when my human feeds me fresh blueberries and snails and flinch when I hiss at them. Haha. That never grows old.
I bet that's great fun for you. Probably not so much for them, but never mind. We have to keep ourselves amused, right? Besides, sometimes they do things we don't like too. Speaking of which, what’s the one thing your human does that you hate most?
I don’t know why they don’t get it. I just want to be left alone. Especially in winter, when I sleep for days under the sugar cane mulch and haven’t crawled to the top to say hello.
I don't know why they don't get it either. Sorry about that. Hope they figure it out. Hey, I hear your human is a writer... Has she written anything about you? If yes, can you tell us about it? If no, do you think she will in the future?
My human writes lots of books. She hasn’t written about me, but she has written books with dragons in them. They look kind of like me, so I guess I was her inspiration. I’m going to run with that theory.
Sounds like a good theory to me. So, what do you do while your human writes?
She spends hours and hours writing, so I fill in the day sleeping. I go for a little adventure in the morning. That’s when I like to mess the whole enclosure up.
Sounds fun! I sleep a lot myself, especially in the day. OK, Newt, well... I think I've taken up enough of your time. I mean, you obviously have a full schedule. Plus, you did say you mostly like to be left alone. So, we should see about ending this. Before we do though, is there anything else you’d like people to know about you?
Not really. I like my privacy.
OK, fair enough. Well, thanks for letting us invade your privacy for a bit. It was great getting to know you, and learn about blue-tongued lizards.
Katrina Cope is an author of several Young Adult and Preteen/Middle Grade novels. Each of her released books reaching the top 100 in certain categories on the Amazon’s Best Sellers Rank – a few even as high as number one.
She resides in Queensland, Australia. Her three teenage boys and husband for over nineteen years treat her like a princess. Unfortunately though, this princess still has to do domestic chores.
From birth, she has been a very creative person and has spent many years travelling the world and observing many different personalities and cultures. Her favourite personalities have been the strange ones, yet the ones under the radar also hold a place in her heart.
During her last extensive travels, she spent 16 nights in a bomb shelter on a Kibbutz 8 kilometers off the Lebanese border. It was to avoid Katyusha bombs that the resident volunteers decided to name her after (she is still trying to work out why).
Katrina’s online home is at www.katrinacopebooks.com
You can also find her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Or send her an eMail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Chosen: Book 1 Valkyrie Academy Dragon Alliance.
Wingless Valkyries are useless to the future of Asgard–that's what is drilled into them at Valkyrie Academy. Determined to break the mold and help reap warriors for Valhalla, Kara breaks the rules and finds herself in the most dangerous position yet–facing the wrath of Mistress Sigrun and Odin.
Or that is what she thinks until she realizes a dragon is stalking her.
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I hope you enjoyed getting to meet Newt, and learn about blue-tongued lizards. Oh, and about Newt's human caretaker too. Show them you enjoyed this post by sharing it around or commenting on it. Better yet, do both those things.
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