Until I took this photograph, I didn't know that lizards sniffed the air with
a forked tongue in search of the scent of their prey. I have seen lots
of lizards in my life, and I now suspect that all of them were operating
tongue in cheek.
Mr. Lizard is a permanent Resident of the Hole in the Wall on the north side
of Langkawi in Malaysia. The reason he is swimming around with his
tongue flicking in and out is because he's on the prowl for chicken.
He knows there's poultry out there somewhere, and he's going to find it.
Every day dozens of tourists visit the Hole in the Wall to observe the
feeding of wild eagles. As soon as tour operators throw scraps of
chicken in the water, dozens of eagles swoop down from the sky and
effortlessly pluck the chicken entrails from the water. You hear the
fluttering of their wings as they streak down from the trees and snatch
their prizes from the surface.
But eagles aren't the only ones who participate in this feast. The
small scraps of flesh left floating on the surface invites other scavengers
to develop a passion for poultry. Hence, we see the lizards with their
forked tongue gliding through the water in search of an afternoon snack.
In humans, the nose knows where the chicken is. In lizards, the nose is
mainly an air passage, and it's the tongue that knows where the chicken is.
This lizard's tongue scans the air and water for the succulent smell of
Mr. Lizard isn't tame, but he's used to being around humans, and he goes
about his chicken lickin' business paying little attention to us as we motor
by in our dinghy. He knows that we aren't there to harm him, and
besides, if we approach too closely, he instantly submerges beneath the
surface where he will be safe.
Eagles and lizards are like the Air Force and the Navy patrolling the Hole
in the Wall for tidbits of chicken flesh. If this dynamic duo ever
decides to go global, we'll have to notify every Kentucky Fried Chicken
store in the world that they are at risk. We're putting these guys
under constant surveillance, and we already have contingencies in place if
the eagles ever fly out of line, or if the lizards become aggressive and
attempt to extend their domain.
Everyone at Kentucky Fried Chicken needs to know that at the present time
they are safe. This is a level one situation, and they can enjoy their
chicken and biscuits in peace.
For now, life is good. If the situation should change, the authorities
will let you know.