But monitor lizards this big are very fast! And trust me, when they don't want to be caught, (which is apparently always,) they don't make it easy! They can bite, and they make a terrifying hissing sound to boot! In addition, there tail is a perfect whip. And they're not afraid to use it!
Well, yesterday we got home just in time to hear our MAF neighbors yelling "monitor lizard!" loudly from their back yard. The chase was on! Paul was closing in when it ran straight up the vertical rock retaining wall in his back yard, and into the neighbors yard above. Seconds later there was barking from the dog up top, followed by a flying monitor lizard, launching clean off the even higher retaining wall into our yard. Unfortunately, (or perhaps fortunately, seeing as how the alternative would have been a painful splat,) the big brute did NOT land on our cement patio 15 feet below, but rather plopped right into our net-enclosed trampoline! He was trapped! And MAD!!! Very MAD!!!
The adrenaline was pulsing through my veins, and somewhere in the distance I heard voices, many voices, (my wife's, my kids', my neighbors',) saying things like, "Don't do it, Dave!" "He'll bite you daddy!" "Watch his tail!" "Your crazy if you get in there!" But there was one excited voice that I heard above all the others. The anticipation and expectation in Britton's voice drowned out all the common sense and warnings from the other bystanders. "Get him dad! You can do it! I know you can, dad. Don't let him get away. Don't hurt him. Do it dad!"
In the end, his was the only voice I really heard--I had no choice! How could I let my boy down? This was my big chance. You see, several years ago on the south coast of Java I found myself in a similar situation--my son yelling "Get him dad!", and me facing off with a giant monitor lizard. Except that time it truly was a giant--at least as long as me, if not longer. And it only ran a bit before turning around to face me. There comes a point when proving your manhood to your boy has to be weighed against the value of him growing up with, as opposed to without a dad--or a maimed dad. I came up with a bunch of lame excuses about not wanting to hurt it, and look how scared the poor fellow is, etc. etc. But as the big lizard proudly walked away, I could see the disappointment in my son's face, even as he said, "It's o.k. dad. We'll catch a different one."
Not this time! Never again! I don't care if this thing is a salt water crock! It's not getting away from this dad! I'm a man on a mission! Sooooo, throwing caution to the wind, and not allowing even a moment to rationalize my decision, I jumped straight into the trampoline and caught that sucker! And the rest is history. Britton was beaming from ear to ear! He was so, so happy with his monitor lizard, and did numerous Steve Irwin impersonations in front of the video camera. He absolutely loves God's wildlife, and always wants to take good care of it! So a few minutes later he let it go. But trust me. This was one of the best days of his life. And b/c of that, it was also one of the best days of mine! :)
Here I am transferring the critter from my hands to his. I wish you could hear the concerned mommy, pleading from a safe distance not to let her poor boy be devoured by this horrific dragon creature! :) Tanner is looking on.
But look at them! They're both so happy! Truthfully, we couldn't get Britton to hold him tight enough to satisfy our concern. But Britton was to concerned that he'd hurt it, and would rather "convince" it that he was friendly. The lizard never tried to get away.