Zoom the Quarantine Lizard

A few weeks ago, I was sitting in my living room here in the suburbs of Charlotte, N.C. when I saw something move quickly out of the corner of my eye as I reached for my glass of water on my coffee table. My boyfriend, who was sitting next to me, didn’t notice whatever blur I saw. I asked him if he saw something and he said I probably have already been quarantined too long at a couple weeks in.

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A couple days later I found myself working from the very same couch and coffee table combo. This time, just a foot or so beyond the coffee table, I saw a brown lizard move scurry quickly from our rug to under our couch.

I screamed.

Not because I’m afraid of lizards (because I love them) but because I had no idea how to get the lizard back outside. Being from the suburbs of Chicago, lizard break-ins were not something I grew up knowing how to handle. So I screamed to my boyfriend. But, he did not hear me from his office upstairs.

I spent the next 20 minutes or so looking under our large sectional couch with the light from the back of my iPhone trying to locate our reptilian, unwanted houseguest. My boyfriend appeared behind me in the kitchen laughing asking what was I doing. After telling him:

  1. There’s a lizard in the house.
  2. I have no idea how to get it out.
  3. I told you so.

He took a few minutes to help me hunt the lizard taking up residence under our couch before having to go back upstairs since his work break was done.

I tried to go back to working as normal but I could not shake the idea of sitting innocently on the couch and a lizard just popping up on my shoulder like some strange quarantine comedy movie. Also, again, I love lizards so I was curious how it go in and if it was poisonous or not – with the latter being my MUCH larger concern.

I wondered to myself if poisonous lizards were a thing out here? I know snakes certainly are but lizards?

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I started to do research to identify what I saw. I identified my friend as a possibly five-lined skink but wasn’t entirely sure since I saw him zoom by so fast.

It was in that moment I decided to name it. Zoom. Appropriate because he moves fast and Zoom being such a hot new tool for quarantine for video conferences. What could possibly be more fitting?

Later that night we began our quest to capture and release our tiny intruder. As we ate dinner and watched TV, I noticed a suspicious little head poke out of the vents of the fireplace. We now knew where he was calling home. Every so often, this brave little reptile would put more and more of his body outside the vents to begin his escape. However, whenever one of us got up, he squeezed himself back in but still enough to give him a good view of the room.

This went on for hours. But he kept hiding faster than we could catch him. We went to bed and decided we would look for him again in the morning.

The next day, we found him still lurking just outside the fireplace in full view but he scurried back in. At one point, I scooted our large plotted plant near the fireplace to see if he would try and jump on it to get out. It almost worked as he would occasionally get out and inch himself ever closer to the plant but again. Every time we got up, he scurried back in.

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We eventually gave up thinking we would never catch him and settled with the idea that he would just live here.

About 20 minutes later, I got up to grab water from the kitchen and alas, that little sucker was hiding by the counter. We grabbed a box that we had placed nearby to catch him, scooped him up and let him outside to his freedom.

We thought we would never see him again. We grew attached to that obviously a little-too-smart lizard so his freedom was bittersweet.

But there is a happy ending for everyone for this story.

In the past week, we have discovered he has taken up residence under our sunroom. We often see him basking in the sun on the top step, just feet from where he broke in like Santa.

Now we hope for the day he just splits the difference and calls our sunroom home.

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