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Cape Town wildlife VIII

This is the eighth post in my monthly series on the fascinating nature I encounter here in South Africa.

My biggest problem right now is deciding which photos to show you this month – between our adventures over Christmas and adding a birdbath and a new bird feeder to our garden, I have enough wildlife pics for at least three posts! But I’ve decided that this month I want to talk about the lizards in my garden. (Please don’t be squeamish; these little guys are totally harmless, and they’re really helpful to have around because they eat bugs and stop my garden from being overrun with insects.)

It’s hard to believe there’s such a variety of wildlife in one small back garden – I’ve found three completely different types of lizard, and and they are all very small (5″ long or less) and non-threatening. I love having them around – it’s fascinating to be able to watch them.

PS – keep reading to the end; I’ve saved the best for last!


There are lots of little geckos in the garden, although we usually only see them when we move something they were sitting behind or inside, and then they run like lightning to escape to safety! That makes them very difficult to photograph; these are the best photos I’ve managed so far.


As you can see from the pics above and below, their colouration is quite varied, so I’m not sure if they’re all Marbled Leaf-Toed Geckos, or if we actually have a second species too.



Our Cape Skinks are a little more scary looking – they have long smooth snakelike bodies and flicky tongues. It’s only when you spot their tiny legs that you know you’re not looking at a snake! They also move lightning fast, but if you sit still for a while they get braver and come out to sunbathe or look for insects. Of course, they only do that when I don’t have my camera handy, so even in my best photos, they are half-hidden in foliage…

A Cape Skink – or is it a snake?!

No, it’s definitely a lizard – you can see the leg more clearly here.


You can’t imagine my excitement when I looked at our wild peach tree one day and saw a bright green Cape Dwarf Chameleon looking back at me! Completely different from the other lizards, the chameleon’s camouflage involves moving veeeeeery slooooowly and swaying, so their motion looks like a leaf blowing in the wind. And it works! It’s very hard to spot, even when you know it’s there, but once you do, it’s great for taking photos. Just look at these:

How amazing is this?! Look at his two-toed feet.

Colour changing from bright green to blackish green (yep, it’s the same chameleon in both pics!)

Tongue shooting out to catch food – his tongue is as long as his whole body, with a suction cup on the end…

Perfect accuracy with the tongue grab – tasty insect acquired.

This pic just made me laugh – I feel like he’s about to reach for his top hat and cane and break into ‘Hello, My Baby‘ 😉

I still can’t really believe I took these photos in my own garden – it’s like having my own private zoo! I think it’s partly because we have an older house (1920s) so the garden and our big tree are very established, and there are lots of wildlife habitats. And it’s partly because I go outside most days and actually look for wildlife in the garden – I bet that, if you have a garden, there’s more interesting wildlife in it than you realise! (Although you probably won’t find anything as cool as a chameleon, sorry…)

I hope you’ve enjoyed this month’s photos! Please leave me a comment if you did – I’ll stop posting if/when you get bored with seeing my pics, so I’d really like to know that you’re still interested.


crocheted gecko pattern by planetjune
In case these pics have inspired you to crochet a lizard of your own, my Gecko pattern might be just what you’re looking for. And I’m pretty sure there’ll be a PlanetJune Chameleon coming at some point in the future! 🙂


  1. Mrs. Hemenway said

    Super cool wildlife! Keep it coming, I’m jealous of your variety of animals, birds, lizards and insects! I see mostly scraggly crows and seagulls.

  2. Chelita said

    My middle son would go insane to be in your gardens! What beauty!

  3. Jessi said

    Gorgeous June!! Love the wildlife posts! Incredible to think that these animals live right in your back yard!

  4. Tina T-P said

    Oh, my gosh, what fun to have such cool little dudes in your garden! Great pictures – especially the chameleon! Thanks for sharing. T.

  5. Simone said

    What great pics! And I’m so jealous that you just have to step outside to see a real chameleon – squeeeeeee!!!

    On the nonsense side:
    With three different lizards in your garden, you can play “Stone, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Lizard, Lizard, Spock”! 😀
    (Hint: “The Big Bang Theory”:

    • Kateryn said

      Hahaha! I was about to comment: “a real chameleon – squeeeeeee!!”.
      You beat me to it! (proof June fans are high quality people, no doubt)
      And I love the Bigbang quote, too. (further proof)

  6. Oh my, those pictures are amazing. I teach 1st grade and love science and nature. Those would be so cool to see in person. Thanks for sharing them.

  7. Gillian McMullen said

    Fabulous photographs, June, you are a professional. I enjoy your wildlife postings so much!

  8. Spring said

    Great photos and I love learning about the wildlife in your area…so interesting!

  9. Those lizards are so cute! I love it when I see the shy little snake that hangs out in my vegetable garden! Please do keep posting!

  10. Gail E said

    I LOVE seeing your photos! Please keep posting them!

    We have skinks her too, and they usually make me jump before I realize it’s not a snake. I’m not afraid of snakes or skinks, but am very respectful of snakes . . . Very respectful~:o)

  11. Becca said

    What a thrill to have these in your yard. And the “Michigan J Chameleon” shot is so great!

  12. Theresa said

    Your wildlife photos are AWESOME! Not only are you artistic in the fiber arts but photography as well.

  13. Walden121 said

    I love seeing your pictures of the wildlife! The chameleon is definitely has a wonderful personality!

  14. Stephanie Cloak-Sander said

    Love the Geckcos! Crochet one is great.

  15. Cindy G. said

    I love that you’re sharing these wildlife pics! I’m a bit jealous that you get to see so many cool critters. And, the shot of the chameleon tongue is fantastic! I’d love to see a chameleon ami, too…

  16. Jemma said

    What an awesome sight! You truly are lucky to spot a chameleon. It’d be an interesting pattern for sure 🙂

  17. Gemma said

    Please continue with the wildlife posts! It’s great seeing the wildlife in a climate so different to England. I do keep a look out in my own garden, but I’ve yet to see anything as exciting as a chameleon. 😉 The grey dagger moth caterpillars were pretty special though.

  18. Lindy said

    Really interesting and great photos, including that last one! Love your own crocheted gecko too.
    Lindy xx

  19. Monica said

    I just love this series! As I’m not able to enjoy these types of beautiful creatures! I just LOVE the Chameleon!!! I would love being able to look outside and see one of those just walking along! (or climbing along) So lucky! Thanks for sharing!!!

  20. wink said

    I love all these animals! How cool that they’re in your garden! 😀

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