Friday, October 10, 2008

To find me, follow the geckos

If you want to find your way around Washington park, or to Washington park (um, that's where I live -- read the blog more often if you didn't know this), then follow the geckos because they'll show you the way.

Once you manage to find the road to Washington/Slagbaai park, which doesn't have any major turn-offs, the way is finally clearly marked with little gecko pictures. All of the trails are also marked with geckos.....just not frequently.

And if you get lost on the way, there is a phone booth conveniently placed in the middle of nowhere.
I actually live below the small mountain in the picture below.....right about where the little gecko is pointing.

Once you get to the park, you'll see reptiles and dinosaur descendants (birds) everywhere. If you look closely, you'll find geckos everywhere. I was getting into the shower the other day and this gecko was standing in my way. It was not very responsive. It crawled onto my hand and I put it up on the ledge. It crawled onto the wall and then I heard a small "slap." Apparently, it dove off of the wall back onto the floor. Fortunately, given scaling laws and the relationships between surface area, momentum and terminal velocity, gravity is not something that such a small animal has much to fear. Regarding gravity and animals falling, J. B. S. Haldane said it best,

To the mouse and any smaller animal it presents practically no dangers. You can drop a mouse down a thousand-yard mine shaft; and, on arriving at the bottom, it gets a slight shock and walks away, provided that the ground is fairly soft. A rat is killed, a man is broken, a horse splashes. For the resistance presented to movement by the air is proportional to the surface of the moving object. Divide an animal’s length, breadth, and height each by ten; its weight is reduced to a thousandth, but its surface only to a hundredth. So the resistance to falling in the case of the small animal is relatively ten times greater than the driving force.
I picked it up again, took a few photos and monitored it for increased responsiveness. Over the next day it lived in my shower and then the following morning it was gone. Now it only visits on occasion.

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