A Blog Around The Clock

This story is making the e-mail rounds and I cannot resist posting it here. I started rolling on the floor laughing about a quarter into the story. See how far you can go and still keep a straight face (under the fold)….

If you have raised kids (or been one), and gone through the pet syndrome, including toilet flush burials for dead goldfish, the story below will have you laughing out LOUD!

Overview: I had to take my son’s lizard to the vet.

Here’s what happened:

Just after dinner one night, my son came up to tell me there was “something wrong” with one of the two lizards he holds prisoner in his room.

“He’s just lying there looking sick,” he told me. “I’m serious, Dad. Can you help?”

I put my best lizard-healer expression on my face and followed him into his bedroom. One of the little lizards was indeed lying on his back, looking stressed. I mmediately knew what to do.

“Honey,” I called, “come look at the lizard!”

“Oh, my gosh!” my wife exclaimed. “She’s having babies.”

“What?” my son demanded. “But their names are Bert and Ernie, Mom!”

I was equally outraged.

“Hey, how can that be? I thought we said we didn’t want them to reproduce,” I said accusingly to my wife.

“Well, what do you want me to do, post a sign in their cage?” she inquired (I think she actually said this sarcastically!).

“No, but you were supposed to get two boys!” I reminded her, (in my most loving, calm, sweet voice, while gritting my teeth).

“Yeah, Bert and Ernie!” my son agreed.

“Well, it’s just a little hard to tell on some guys, you know,” she informed me (Again with the sarcasm!).

By now the rest of the family had gathered to see what was going on. I shrugged, deciding to make the best of it.

“Kids, this is going to be a wondrous experience,” I announced “We’re about to witness the miracle of birth.”

“Oh, gross!” they shrieked

“Well, isn’t THAT just great? What are we going to do with a litter of tiny little lizard babies?” my wife wanted to know.

We peered at the patient. After much struggling, what looked like a tiny foot would appear briefly, vanishing a scant second later.

“We don’t appear to be making much progress,” I noted.

“It’s breech,” my wife whispered, horrified.

“Do something, Dad!” my son urged.

“Okay, okay.” Squeamishly, I reached in and grabbed the foot when it next appeared, giving it a gentle tug. It disappeared. I tried several more times with the same results.

“Should I call 911?” my eldest daughter wanted to know.

“Maybe they could talk us through the trauma.” (You see a pattern here with the females in my house?)

“Let’s get Ernie to the vet,” I said grimly. We drove to the vet with my son holding the cage in his lap.

“Breathe, Ernie, breathe,” he urged.

“I don’t think lizards do Lamaze,” his mother noted to him. (Women can be so cruel to their own young I mean what she does to me is one thing, but this boy is of her womb, for God’s sake.).

The vet took Ernie back to the examining room and peered at the little animal through a magnifying glass.

“What do you think, Doc, a C-section?” I suggested scientifically.

“Oh, very interesting,” he murmured. “Mr. and Mrs. Cameron, may I speak to you privately for a moment?”

I gulped, nodding for my son to step outside.

“Is Ernie going to be okay?” my wife asked.

“Oh, perfectly,” the vet assured us. “This lizard is not in labor. In fact, that isn’t EVER going to happen. . . Ernie is a boy. You see, Ernie is a young male. And occasionally, as they come into maturity, like most male species, they um . . um . . . masturbate. Just the way he did, lying on his back.” He blushed, glancing at my wife.

We were silent, absorbing this.

“So, Ernie’s just … just . . . excited,” my wife offered.

“Exactly,” the vet replied , relieved that we understood.

More silence. Then my vicious, cruel wife started to giggle. And giggle. And then even laugh loudly.

“What’s so funny?” I demanded, knowing, but not believing that the woman I married would commit the upcoming affront to my flawless manliness.

Tears were now running down her face. “It’s just .that . . I’m picturing you pulling on its . . . its. . . teeny little . . ” She gasped for more air to bellow in laughter once more.

“That’s enough,” I warned. We thanked the vet and hurriedly bundled the lizard and our son back into the car.. He was glad everything was going to be okay.

“I know Ernie’s really thankful for what you did, Dad,” he told me.

“Oh, you have NO idea,” my wife agreed, collapsing with laughter.

Two lizards: $140.

One cage: $50.

Trip to the vet: $30.

Memory of your husband pulling on a lizard’s winkie: Priceless!

Moral of the story: Pay attention in biology class.

Lizards lay eggs.


  1. #1 IanR
    September 9, 2007

    Shouldn’t that be most lizards lay eggs? :)

  2. #2 coturnix
    September 9, 2007

    Yes, but viviparity is very rare in lizards (unlike in snakes) and those 1-2 species that sometimes do it are not sold as pets in the USA.

  3. #3 coturnix
    September 9, 2007

    To be clear, live birth is common in some groups of reptiles (e.g., snakes) but it is very rare in lizards. Here are some pictures of lizards giving live birth. None of those species are easily found in pet stores in North America and, in any case, a leg would never be the first part to show up at the cloaca.

  4. #4 Graham Steel
    September 9, 2007

    I suppose you *had to be there* to truly appreciate this. That said, you have done a triff job of transposing this *world first* biology lesson from the home to the blogosphere.

    And thus, a new expression was born:-

    “Who came first, the Lizard or the Lizard”.

    V V funny……

  5. #5 Your pulling my leg
    September 9, 2007

    Lizards lay eggs. (not legs)

  6. #6 cynthia
    September 9, 2007

    It’s not just lizard biology that people forget. I have twins, a boy and a girl. I couldn’t count the number of times people said this to me:
    “Oh, how wonderful, boy-girl twins! Are they identical?”

  7. #7 Alan Kellogg
    September 9, 2007


    Boy/Girl identicals? It’s very rare, but it happens. How it happens is clearer than why it happens.

  8. #8 kelly kelly kelly
    September 9, 2007

    lizards can lay lots of eggs but a big fat elephant can crush em all.

  9. #9 Za
    September 10, 2007

    Alan, I think you missed Cynthia’s point. Twins can’t be identical if they are different genders.

  10. #10 Azmeen
    September 10, 2007

    You should have taken pictures.

    But then again, you wouldn’t want bestiality folks hanging on your blog 😛

  11. #12 kaythaney
    September 10, 2007

    oh wow. that’s hilarious, bora.

  12. #13 Akshay
    September 10, 2007


  13. #14 Kate H
    September 11, 2007

    This is a take-off on an old hamster story, just with lizards instead.

  14. #15 ThisWeekInEvolution
    September 11, 2007

    A gift catalog NPR once sent me included a turtle plush toy you could unbutton to see baby turtles inside.

  15. #16 Rodrigo
    September 11, 2007


  16. #17 Brat
    September 11, 2007

    Haha…..that’s hilarious!

  17. #18 knobody
    September 12, 2007


    the term identical with regard to human twins is used synonymously with monozygotic twins. while boy-girl twins might not be identical, Alan’s point is that there are rare, but documentated cases of boy-girl monozygotic twins, what most people would call boy-girl identical twins.

  18. #19 Kusum Rohra
    September 13, 2007

    LOL… that’s howlarious 😀

  19. #20 Reed A. Cartwright
    September 13, 2007

    When I was in elementary school, my friend had a pair of lizards and we ended up watching the female give birth. It was cool. So much for viviparous lizards are not sold in pet stores.

  20. #21 Meredith M. Clancy
    September 18, 2007

    As a vet student, I feel I should share a story of this ilk that circulated through the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine:
    A woman called an emergency vet on a Saturday afternoon regarding her pet duck, who “had worms.” The animal was “straining” to pass the worm, but owner didn’t want to bring in her little male duck to the expensive emergency clinic. She asked if it would be ok to pull the worm out, and when that didn’t work, told the clinician over the phone that she was going to cut it so that it wouldn’t block the cloaca so the animal could defecate.
    Well, the next Monday, she arrived at her normal veterinary clinic and told them of the emergency phone “consultation” and her decision to cut the worm. She told them the worm was probably dead as it’d been bleeding quite a bit since she cut it on Saturday.
    Her veterinarian examined the duck and gasped.
    “That wasn’t a worm; that was the phallus!”

    Apparently some people didn’t read
    Carl Zimmer’s article

    … and never think you can make a diagnosis over the phone!

  21. #22 Ross
    September 20, 2007

    “Lizards lay eggs”

    Not here in New Zealand they don’t. All our indigenous gecko and skink species are viviparous. I didn’t get the point until the last line.

    I look forward to you posting a description of how you answered your son’s inevitable questions, after he has had a little time to think.

  22. #23 Coturnix
    September 20, 2007

    I doubt the author of the story, the Dad, will ever read it here in order to answer your question.

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