Dont You Eyeball Me

This is a cautionary tale. Be wary of the lizards in the gardens beside the Portillo Visitors’ centre in Teide National Park. They know no fear and some even have aspirations to change species.

I was kneeling down beside a rock, trying to take a photograph of some which were leaping across the volcanic rocks like mountain goats in their bid to get closer to a Spanish family who were throwing titbits of food, when I noticed a particularly big fellow eyeballing me. Before I knew it, he leapt from the rock and landed right on my shoulder, where he clung on as though he was auditioning for the part of the macaw in Pirates of the Caribbean.

I’m not scared of lizards, but I have to admit to being completely freaked by his boldness and let out a noise which would have done a 13 year old chica, who’d just had a spider put down the back of her T-shirt, proud.

It might not have been manly, but it did the trick. He catapulted himself back to his rocks and I retired to a distance that even the most athletic of reptiles would be unlikely to manage to cross.

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