It’s interesting to see how my decision to travel to Nepal next May and trek to Everest Base Camp has exposed me to so many new experiences.

Having to train for this trip has forced me out of the comfort of home and opened up the world of flora and fauna to me. I’ve always enjoyed trips to the country, I used to love camping when the family was young but I’ve never been one to get overly close to nature, particularly when it involves things with scales and sharp teeth. Lately though I’ve become so much more adventurous and I’m taking bigger steps outside my comfort zone.

On my hike around Bells Rapids a couple of weeks ago I came across a veritable menagerie of wildlife. Driving in on the approach road I had to slow down to avoid three turkeys strolling across the road, oblivious to the danger from the oncoming car and the Christmas season. Seconds later and a rabbit shot across in front of me while a couple of kangaroos bounded across the track half way through the hike. No partridge in a pear tree though.

None of those guys hung around for me to take a photo but this little fellow wasn’t quick enough and we managed to get a closer look. I will point out that you should never handle a snake – no matter how small – unless you know what you’re doing. I don’t, so I left it to my training partner while I played the role of photographer from a distance.

This last weekend though was one of my braver moments when we came across a couple of Blue Tongued Lizards sunning themselves on the track. They kindly obliged and allowed us to get a closer look.

Now I should point out that all things categorised as creepy or crawley generally have me in avoidance mode, but my spirit of adventure must be kicking in because I was coaxed into making this guy’s acquantance.

The Blue Tongued Lizard is generally friendly and slow moving so I figured I shouldn’t be in too much trouble. They are often found in backyards in the more bushy areas and quickly become used to humans, you generally have no trouble getting close to them but again, don’t pick them up if you don’t know how.

Posing for the camera and looking suitably viscious

They have a big head and long body with short legs and small feet. Their unique feature is their bright blue tongue and though I’ve seen quite a few lizards over the years I’ve never actually spotted their blue tongue.

And there’s that blue tongue

If you get your finger anywhere near this guy’s mouth he will latch on and it will hurt but his main defence when under threat is bluff. He’ll hiss and open his pink mouth shooting out his bright blue tongue in an attempt to intimidate.

Very impressed with myself – this was the bigger of the two!

I’m feeling very brave after that little encounter.

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