Visiting Jamaica is truly a sensory experience. Not only does one see astounding beauty and feel that warm Caribbean sun, but one also hears every night a collection of chirps, croaks, and hoots that fairly falls between a symphony and a cacophony. This unmistakable ruckus, which persists until birdsong takes over at dawn, is the work of an array of nocturnal lizards and amphibians. While the local (and vocal) tree frogs eluded my gaze, the lizards on the grounds of Hotel Mocking Bird Hill were anything but shy. In fact, some were a bit too curious for their own good, like this lizard I found lounging in the dregs of my papaya juice one morning:
Gecko on glass
This gilt-eye interloper is Aristelliger praesignis, otherwise known as the Jamaican Croaking Lizard. Croakers are insectivores, which doesn’t explain why this one wound up in my glass. After I extracted my pound of flesh in the form of a few images, I set it free.
Rumor has it that croakers are extremely unwelcome in Jamaican homes but I didn’t observe any untoward animosity towards these or any other lizards during my stay! Of other lizards, there were many. Most of them were typical anole species. All of them were awesome, which may be an unscientific, overly sentimental way to describe wildlife observations but, hey, where I grew up, we didn’t have cool lizards crawling the walls!
Jamaican Brown Anole (Anolis lineatopus)
Jamaican Giant Anole (Anolis garmani) – juvenile