Skip to main content

A Lizard Named Larry


Last week we discovered a little lizard on the second floor of our new home in Huntington Beach, and it sent the household into full-action mode.

Henry, our aging and almost deaf Yorkie, is driven by his nature to hunt down and kill lizards, rodents, and any other small pests that might threaten his fiefdom. He was in full alert over this intruder in his home. Carmela’s reaction was a bit different. The lizard sighting launched her on a quest to save it from both her beloved puppy and any other dangers it might face wandering around upstairs at our house.

To Carmela, lizards are just another creature that she is determined to protect, BUT they belong outside, not in an upstairs bedroom. So, she got down on her hands and knees to try to lure the little lizard out, while Henry kept trying to crowd in so he could kill and eat the little guy – not necessarily in that order.

My assignment was to sequester Henry in another room, while Carmela attempted to rescue the little reptile. First, she got a transparent plastic container with the plan to flip the container over the lizard and then slip a thick piece of paper under the little guy. Then we would flip the container over again with the paper trapping the lizard inside.

But it didn’t quite work that way. She had the container all ready to go, but when I prodded the little guy to get him to move toward the trap, he charged Carmela, who was laying on the floor with her face toward the lizard; she screamed in horror, threw the container in the air and jumped back.

“Well,” she tells me, “he was running at me so fast, I just panicked.” We try it again, only to have the same result.

On to Plan B. We take a smaller plastic container, slice a little trap door on the side, that we can bend up, lure the lizard in with a treat of corn chips and tomato leaves (the leaves apparently to make him feel like this was not a trap) and wait for hunger and curiosity to do its magic. But magic never occurred and Plan B was also a failure. Actually, it was such a failure that the lizard ran out of the office, down the hallway and into the master bathroom.


On to Plan C. By this time, Carmela has named the lizard – Lawrence, or Larry for short – and gotten a flashlight to lure Larry into a cardboard box that she had strategically placed with the flashlight shining into it. After about 20 minutes of her lying on the floor perfectly still, the lizard slowly inched his way from behind the pedestal sink into the box. With stealth-like moves and careful planning, we managed to fold up the sides and trap Larry inside. And because Larry had a name by this time, we had a sacred obligation to ensure his safety and happiness. So we took him outside, found a nice grassy area that had enough plants around to give him coverage, had Henry say good-bye to his new brother, and opened the box.

But Larry the Lizard did not scurry away. It’s a though he understood that Carmela is a soft-hearted woman, who meant him no harm. He sauntered out of the box, looked around, took a deep breath and considered whether he liked the new environment or not.

Finally, he decided it would do, and then scurried away to see where he fit into this new world.

It’s not just lizards in the house that Carmela protects. It’s also lizards in their natural environment.


There was a time not that long ago, when Carmela came across two crows, trying to eat a lizard in the middle of the street. The lizard was fighting back, but the crows were pecking at it, trying to pick it up and fly away.

Now, the way I see it crows have to eat too, and they may have hungry mouths to feed back at the nest. But that’s not how Carmela sees it. She sees it as two big mean crows picking on a little guy. This from a woman who loves veal, salmon, pork, tilapia and numerous other formerly living creatures. I am too wise (or maybe too cowardly) to bring up such inconvenient truths when Carmela is on a rescue mission.

She shooed the crows away and tried to get the lizard to run back into the weeds. By then though, the lizard was in full fighting-for-his-life mode, and that’s when he up and bit Carmela on the toe of her sneakers. Her toe was fine, but she was a little put out that the creature she was saving was so ungrateful for her help.

She finally stomped her feet and got him to retreat to the relative safety of the weeds. Mission accomplished.

Of course, there are advantages to being married to a soft-hearted woman. The only reason I still exist on the planet is that she also has a soft spot for me in her heart, no matter how much I may annoy her.

I know, and she knows I know, that if I ever fall down and some crows think wow, this will feed all our friends and families for weeks, she is not going to let that happen.

I know it, she knows it, and now the crows know it too.

– George Lee Cunningham

If you would like to subscribe to our work, you may contact me at and let me know and you will get an email reminder of blog postings. Your name will not be shared and you may cancel at any time.