Half an hour before leaving Mitchell for Phillip Island, we received a unique going away present -- the sight of a dragon lizard laying two of her eight or so eggs in our garden. We even watched her cover them with sand and then scamper away.
Pet-friendly accommodation (for the five nights we were in transit) ensured we had a relaxing trip south. And of course, the moment we arrived in Victoria I began feeling cold!
After any long car journey I'm always thankful when, at the conclusion, we arrive safely and without incident.
Back on Phillip Island we found our garden ablaze with red geraniums, blue agapanthus and lush green grass. Much to our dogs delight, the garden is hopping with rabbits. Although I know rabbits are in plague numbers on Phillip Island and an introduced pest, I love their cuteness. So I'm glad our dogs never actually catch them. But chasing rabbits is good exercise and great fun -- according to Major and Del.
Stego has been in our care for 22 years, and since we bought him as a 15-year-old, this makes him a very long lived pet. 37 years is an exraordinarily long life for a stumpy-tailed lizard.
This year we left him to hibernate on Phillip Island because the Mitchell floods wrecked his Mitchell house. Our close friends Jeanette and David kept his enclosure well trimmed and fed him as the weather warmed up. So he was active and eating right up until our return. I hope he died in his sleep, peacefully.
Stego has travelled widely and has visited schools, community environment groups, radio and TV studios. He features in my book Alternative Pets, both in text and photographs. He lives on through my book and in my mind as a much loved and amazingly intelligent creature. My life is richer for having had Stego as a friend.