Monday, June 30, 2008

Note to self:

Remember to keep Mike's claws trimmed.

Because Mike is usually completely relaxed when I hold and carry him, I don't notice when the sharp pointy extension that grow off the main part of each claw grows long enough to do some serious damage should Mike decide to dig in.

As he did the other night.

Our nightly routine has been long established. Most evenings, he climbs down from his basking area, makes one last pass at his food dish, and heads off to my bedroom, where he climbs up into the bed, secreting himself under the covers. There I let him stay until 9PM or so, when I go haul him out and put him back to sleep in his room.

He always reminds me of a very young child who fell asleep in the car or in the living room or wherever, whose mom or dad picks her up and carries her to bed, without the child ever waking up. Mike pretty much did the same, or at least faked it well, keeping his eyes closed and body completly relaxed, legs still down along side his body in the classic "swimmer" position.

Until a couple of nights ago. He was not just more wakeful, but cranky-wakeful, not happy that I was relocating him from the soft down and flannel nest that is my bed to his heated throw-rug-and-towel-and pillowed nest. When I went to put him down, he grabbed on to me, with the result that one of his hind claws scraped along my upper chest, from clavicle nearly to my armpit.

Interestingly enough, if you look closely just above the scratch (yes, it bled, and yes, it appears to be slightly infected, and yes, I'm taking care of it topically), you will see a white line that runs at a 45 degree angle towards my neck. That would be from a green iguana scratch many years ago. Thanks to the autoimmune craziness caused by multiple tick borne infections, I get some really interesting scarring...

Of course, with Mike, it doesn't really matter how well I keep his claws trimmed because I can't trim his scales. And I'm not talking about the sharp dorsal crest that runs along his back from his neck to the tip of his tail. No, I'm talking about all of his scales, except the ones on his head, gular skin, and upper chest. Here's what his scales do when Mike slides sideways off my arm:

So, how does an animal so well adapted to the sandy rocky debris-strewn ground Cyclura evolved in come to relish, nay, demand sleeping in a cushy bed? One of Nature's enduring mysteries...

You'll have noted the gap between my post on the murdered blue iguanas and this one. For quite a while, I could not bring myself to post my usual breezy posts, as the thought of what was done to those iguanas sickened me, as it still does. But as the people of the Cayman Islands are moving on, building more secure enclosures, increasing security, and raising money to continue the ongoing conservation efforts, so shall I.

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