Tuesday, 30 September 2014

The Latest Visitor to my Garden!

While working at my desk, I looked out to see this little face poking up from an inspection plate on my patio. Who could this be?

Spring's warmer weather is bringing our reptilian friends out of their dormant state. They emerge hungry (and sex-starved); it is the breeding season where males will be on the move in search of a mate.

This friend is a Blue Tongue lizard that has been living in my garden this week. For all we know, it may have spent the entire winter in that quiet, cosy hole.
Blue Tongue lizards are very useful because they will control snails, slugs, beetles and other garden pests. You can see the remains of 'morning tea' (a snail) in the bottom right of the photograph.

Australia Zoo and the Australian Museum have excellent information about blue tongue lizards. More information sources are included in the reference list at the end of this blog entry.

I am thrilled to see that my attempts to create habitat for native creatures must be working.  "Geckos Galore" shows ways in which I have encouraged reptiles to visit my garden. "Backyards 4 Wildlife" is a very useful resource if you would like to do the same. 

(Just for the record, two days before discovering the blue tongue, we had a skirmish with a Giant Centipede* in our hallway (!) which is another story - two native creature discoveries within two days! We must be doing something right.)

Not all native creatures are attractive but I feel it is still important to support our native creatures by creating mini ecosystems in our own gardens to compensate for the continuing loss of habitat caused by urban development. Our native animals are facing a difficult battle to survive due to the ignorance and carelessness of humans.

In honour of my beautiful and fascinating garden resident, I went searching for crochet patterns with a lizard theme, starting with June Gilbank's (of Planet June) animal amigurumis (available to purchase). I love the way that June imparts interesting factual information the animals in many of her pattern descriptions. 

There is a real mix in this list of free patterns and patterns to buy; ranging from simple, basic shapes to highly detailed designs.


Post Scriptum: On 13 October 2014, June Gilbank released the instructions to create a Frilled Neck Lizard by adapting an existing lizard pattern. I have added the details to the list below.

Crochet Patterns

Ami Amour, "Charming Chameleon" PDF pattern to purchase:
Ravelry <http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/charming-chameleon>

Bates, Natalie, "Lizard", free pattern:
Talli's Designs blog, 1 July 2007 <http://tallis-designs.blogspot.com.au/2007/07/lizard-pattern.html>
Ravelry <http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/lizard>

Blumenbunt, Raphaela, "Gecko Frecko" free pattern in German, English & Danish:
Blumenbunt web site <http://blumenbunt.blogspot.de/p/gecko-frecko.html>
Ravelry <http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/gecko-frecko>

Cranmer, Elizabeth, "Leftover Lizard" pattern to purchase, Ravelry: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/leftover-lizard

Crochetroo, "Australian Reptiles of the Land–Bookmarks & Motifs", pattern to purchase:
Ravelry <http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/australian-reptiles-of-the-land---bookmarks-and-motifs>
Etsy <https://www.etsy.com/au/shop/crochetroo>

Delvon, Sonea, "Crocheted Alpine Newt", free pattern, Ravelry download: <http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/crocheted-alpine-newt>

Forever Stitchin, "Lizard Crochet Pattern", PDF to purchase:
Ravelry <http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/lizard-crochet-pattern-by-forever-stitchin>

Gilbank, June, "Chameleon", pattern to purchase:
Planet June web site <http://planetjune.com/shop/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=11_17&products_id=202>
Ravelry <http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/chameleon-6>

Gilbank, June, "Gecko", pattern to purchase:
Planet June web site <http://planetjune.com/shop/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=11_17&products_id=94>
Ravelry <http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/gecko>

Gilbank, June, "Iguana", pattern to purchase based on the Green Iguana (native of Central & South America):
Planet June web site <http://planetjune.com/shop/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=11_17&products_id=235>
Ravelry <http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/iguana>

Gilbank, June, "Frilled Lizard" pattern to purchase; this is an 'expansion pack' for the "Iguana" pattern listed above, to turn it into a Frilled Neck Lizard (native of Australia): http://www.planetjune.com/blog/frilled-lizard-crochet-pattern

Harvey, Cait, "Amigurumi Crochet Lizard", CH Design, pattern to purchase:
Etsy  <https://www.etsy.com/listing/97087772/amigurumi-lizard-crochet-pattern>
Ravelry <http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/amigurumi-crochet-lizard>

Horrocks, Sarah, "Chameleon Sidekick", pattern to purchase:
Craftsy <http://www.craftsy.com/pattern/crocheting/toy/chameleon-sidekick/25137?NAVIGATION_PAGE_CONTEXT_ATTR=PATTERN>
Ravelry <http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/chameleon-sidekick>

IlDikko, "Giorgio the Gecko Amigurumi", pattern to purchase:
Etsy <https://www.etsy.com/listing/126638554/giorgio-the-gecko-amigurumi-crochet?ref=sr_gallery_5&ga_search_query=gecko&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_ship_to=US&ga_search_type=all&ga_facet=gecko>

Lion Brand, "Gecko Bookmark", free pattern: <http://www.lionbrand.com/patterns/80356AD.html>
Ravelry <http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/gecko-bookmark>
My crocheted geckos from this pattern can be viewed at Lupey Loops "Geckos Galore".

Mosley, Beverley K., "Plurp, the Little Lizard", free Ravelry download pattern: <http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/plurp-the-little-lizard>

Vitale, Mariella, Muffa Miniatures blog: http://muffa-minis.blogspot.com.au/, creator of "Teeny Tiny Chameleon" as featured on Knithacker.com <http://knithacker.com/2011/09/06/miniature-chameleon-by-muffa/>
This was so cute, I was compelled to put a link in just to have a look. Sadly, I could find no pattern on the blog or Etsy shop.

OohLookItsARabbit, "Komodo Dragon", PDF pattern to purchase, Etsy: <https://www.etsy.com/listing/98846151/komodo-dragon-digital-download-crochet>

Planet June by June Gilbank, web site: <http://planetjune.com/>
Contains many amigurumi animal patterns of both domestic and wild animals.

Princesse X, Yarn, Fabric & Stuff, "Lizard Book Mark" free pattern:
Princesse-X blog: <http://beadz-yarn-stuff.blogspot.com.au/>
Yarn, Fabric & Stuff blog archive: <http://web.archive.org/web/20091214175814/http://yarn-fabric.blogspot.com/2009/08/lizard-book-mark-applique.html>
Ravelry <http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/lizard-book-mark>

Ravelry, search term "lizard": <http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/search#view=captioned_thumbs&page=1&sort=best&query=lizard>

Read, Brigitte, "Cute Chameleon", pattern to purchase:
Roman Sock web site <http://littlegreen.typepad.com/romansock/shop.html#tp>
Ravelry <http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/cute-chameleon>

Skene, Ellie, "Gecko", free pattern:
Cosy a Go Go blog <http://cosyagogo.blogspot.co.uk/>
Ravelry <http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/gecko-3>

Tulipsquare, "Teeny Tiny Lizards", pattern to purchase, Etsy: <https://www.etsy.com/listing/61620804/teeny-tiny-lizards-crochet-pattern-no>

Valdez, Rosaura, "Blue Lizard", free pattern in English & Spanish:
Ravelry <http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/blue-lizard>


Backyards 4 Wildlife, "Attracting Wildlife to Your Garden" web page: <http://www.backyards4wildlife.com.au/index.php?page=attracting-wildlife-to-your-garden>

Blackthorn, Rhianna, "The Blue Tongue Lizard", online article, WIRES Northern Rivers, updated 14 January 2014: <http://www.wiresnr.org/bluetonguelizard.html>
This article provides a lot of very detailed information with added advice about lizards in home gardens.

Lupey Loops, "Geckos Galore", blog entry, 27 February 2014: <http://lupeyloops.blogspot.com.au/2014/02/geckos-galore.html>
This blog post about crocheted geckos contains information about Backyards 4 Wildlife and attracting lizards to your garden.

Australia Zoo, "Reptiles–Blue Tongue Lizard", online article: <http://www.australiazoo.com.au/our-animals/reptiles/lizards/blue-tongue-lizard>

Australian Museum, "Eastern Blue-tongue Lizard", online article: <http://australianmuseum.net.au/Eastern-Blue-tongue-Lizard>

Australian Museum, "Giant Centipede, Ethmostigmus rubripes", online article, updated 23 December 2013: <http://australianmuseum.net.au/Giant-Centipede>

*South Australian Museum, "Reptiles & Amphibians", web page: <http://www.samuseum.sa.gov.au/research/biological-sciences/reptiles-amphibians>

South Australian Museum, "South Australian Reptile Keys" web page:  http://www.samuseum.sa.gov.au/research/biological-sciences/reptiles-amphibians/south-australian-reptile-keys
This page contains links to different 'keys' to help one identify lizard species; e.g. geckos, goannas etc.  The Blue Tongue lizard is a type of skink.  The key to skinks is scheduled to be posted on this page in November 2014.

*South Australian Museum, Collection Manager of the Ichthyology Section, North Terrace, Adelaide SA  5000, personal email contact, 24 September 2014 : <http://www.samuseum.sa.gov.au/>
"The Giant Centipede is rare around Adelaide (I've never found one) but is frequently found in the drier parts of the state. It's a very variable species that can be slaty grey to brick red, banded or unbanded, depending upon locality.
"This species is not particularly dangerous - I was bitten by a small one and it only caused minor pain for a few hours - but large ones should definitely be treated with caution."


  1. What a treat to see it emerging from the hole :-)
    Tracey xxx

    1. I feel very privileged, Tracey. My little friend hasn't moved on at all but emerges every day some time between 11:00 a.m. and noon to bask in the sun before toddling off under the pot plants (raised on bricks) and to the leaf litter in the garden beds beyond.
      I am happy to see your comment Tracey, as I haven't seen you around the blogosphere for some time. I hope you are well.
      Have a happy day,
      Jodie xx

  2. Hi Jodie, hope you are keeping well!
    My, what a charming fellow, this little lizard friend! (I want one, too!)
    I find them fascinating! Does he like toadstools? I just crocheted some last night... ;)
    Have a lovely weekend!
    Ingrid xx

    1. G'day Ingrid, I am as well as can be, enjoying a nice break for school holidays.

      Today I saw the lizard emerge and thought "It looks skinny today" and my daughter observed the same. On closer inspection, the markings looked like blotches instead of bands, indicating that it might be a different lizard, but before we could be certain, it raced down the hole again.

      Later as it was poking its head out, its mannerism seemed different to previous observations so we are 90% certain that we have a pair! We think the first lizard may be a female and the new one is a male that has come to join it.

      We don't have red and white toadstools like your woods. We did have a giant brown toadstool in the garden during our cold wet winter but lizards are dormant at that time.
      What will you do with your crocheted toadstools, Ingrid?

      I am expecting fine weather this weekend and the soil temperature is warm enough at last to plant my potted tomatoes into the garden. I also hope to finish some crochet projects this weekend.
      What are your plans?

      Wishing you and everyone a happy weekend!
      Cheers, Jodie xx

  3. What a cutie! I remember all the cute lizards from when I lived in Sydney! The cats used to chase the smaller ones and we had to rescue quite a few from the pool...

    Take care

    1. Do you know which type you had in Sydney? Sydney is home to the Eastern Blue Tongue - my grandmother used to have them in her garden in western Sydney. They do need water to drink from time to time which is why they may have been attracted to your pool. I have put a small saucer of water on the patio not far from the lizard hole.

      Domestic cats are major predators of Australian native wildlife and a major threat to many smaller species, including reptiles, especially when cats escape and become feral. It is a serious problem. The effects are often devastating.

  4. I didn't see the lizard in my garden at all this summer (2015-16) but today my neighbour spotted it under his hot water service! I am pleased it (or one of its relatives) is still alive nearby.