Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Oscar, our beloved Dragon.


Don't be alarmed by the headlines below: Sydney is a totally safe place to visit! 
As it happens, when we sometimes get our act together, like cleaning up the 
harbour, somewhat lessening pollution, or as it may be, also causing serious 
problems to our environment by continuing to warm up our planet by still putting 
profits ahead of the future of our children, changes happen, for better or worse, 
in terms of fauna and flora behaviour.

So while we have made some progress in terms of having whales increasingly 
visiting our beautiful, cleaner Sydney Harbour during their migration, the 
persistent drought in Australia has also made some species move from their 
traditional habitat to more urban areas in search of food. Here are a couple of 
recent examples in our neighbourhood:

However, this post is about our beloved Eastern Water Dragon that we were 
lucky to cohabit with in our garden for a few years.

Eastern Water Dragons (Physignathus lesueurii) have always been here: some 
say they actually go back twenty million years. They often became semi-tame in 
the suburbs, since they don't have many enemies, besides cars and perhaps 
dogs. Our companion (let's call him Oscar - he was a male, because of his red 
chest during the mating season) came inside a couple of times, often had his 
morning banana hand-fed, and generally enjoyed our company undisturbed. He 
loved lazing in the sun (they're cold-blooded, so need the sun to store energy for 
the night). In fact, sometimes I caught him keeping warm in the pool at night.

It was always such a thrill to see Oscar after his winter hibernation, showing up in 
the garden again after a few months of sleeping, looking very thin, but otherwise 
behaving as if nothing had happened, asking for his breakfast.

Ben and George, the pugs, were totally as ease with Oscar, which was so good.

During the last times we saw him, there was also a dragon youngster in the 
garden. They didn't seem to interact much, so I'm not sure if they were 
'together'. Eventually they both disappeared, and haven't returned.

Hope you enjoy the family photos of Oscar:

Franz Ehmann
Boy, am I scared, 2002
Lambda print, 88 x 88 cm, edition of 5

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