The short stick in the dusty distance moves in the heat and you are not sure if it is the shimmering haze off the gravel tricking your eyes. Then it moves again and a little more determinedly albeit awkwardly. You slow down and get ready to swerve to avoid whatever it is. The stick waddles with a little more purpose as you apply brakes, and as you get closer it moves forward with the appearance of having a stiff back, slipped disk or some other spinal disability. Turns out on closer inspection to be this very determined little fellow who stands up to the Canon poked in his face – gaping his mouth wide and presenting a slightly bizarre blue tongue. Potentially dangerous for him if our curiosity is any guide – we are more inquisitive than deterred.
Bulyninnie, and this part of South Australia in general seems to be full of these lizards, related to the Blue Tongue, one of which alarmed one of my kids once by climbing into bed with her. All she saw was its scaly back and imagined a snake had come on board. She had the good sense to lie still but still managed to convey her alarm through the whole house. Poor lizard.
This guy settled down after a few minutes (put his blue tongue away, stopped hissing and lowered himself down from his aggressive posture) and hunkered down behind his lunch (they are herbivores) and watched the camera. I am not sure if he looks like a little old man or a baby. Either way they are quite endearing in their own way, shuffling about in the desert doing their own thing. The minute you think there is nothing alive in the desert except 40 squillion flies (half of which are using your back as a layover) one of these guys shuffles onto the track in front of you to remind you it is not quite as desolate a place as you imagined.