The Lizardicus Jamaicanus


Photo by Bernzilla

The lizardicus Jamaicanus, or the Jamaican lizard, is a truly formidable reptile. Although the species typically grows to no more than 4 or 5 inches long, do not be fooled by its tiny stature.  With no more than a twitch of its tail, and a blink of its eyes, this diminutive creature is powerful enough to petrify a perfectly healthy, full grown adult, male or female.

There are in fact twenty-two common types of this species. living in Jamaica. However, I shall introduce you to just two. The first is the lizardicus Jamaicanus greenicus, or the Jamaican green lizard. This type is the less fearful of the two, since it tends for the most part to live outdoors, in the trees, away from humans. However, it has been known on occasion to sneak stealthily into people’s homes through open doors or windows. The mere sight of this creature is certain to create mayhem and chaos as persons scramble to escape through the nearest doorway.

The second, more formidable type of this species is the lizardicus Jamaicanus croakitus terroristicus , commonly known as the croaking lizard. This type has a ghastly white translucent skin. Its croak, which some scientists claim is its mating call, is in fact its war cry, which it uses to warn all humans away from its newly claimed territory.  Shrieks of terror are a certain sign that a croaking lizard is in the vicinity. Entire houses will be evacuated in fear and trembling until such a creature has been banished from the home.

Certain intrepid individuals will employ such means as broomsticks and rolled up newspapers to attempt to chase away, maim or even kill the creature as its presence can by no means be tolerated.  Fortunately, actual attacks are, in fact, rare, although occasionally one will hear of the creature pouncing upon its unsuspecting victim without warning.  The most heinous and vicious attack involves the creature landing upon a person’s head, and allowing itself to become entangled in their hair. Much screaming and crying and desperate hair cutting would have to be involved as brave rescuers attempt to release the victim from the clutches of the predator. Survivors will tell you that such an encounter scars them for life.

Indeed there is no lizard in the world quite like the Lizardicus Jamaicanus, as none of its cousins which reside in other parts of the world are able to inspire quite the same level of fear and terror as those that live in Jamaica. This Jamaican reptile is truly a remarkable creature.

photo credit: Bernzilla via photopin cc

About Theresa C Givans

I was born and raised on the rock, that is, my awesome island home, Jamaica. I currently reside in the cool hills of Mandeville, where I spend my time writing fiction, blogging, and hanging out with my husband and three children who keep me laughing every day.

Posted on February 3, 2014, in My Fiction and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. Theresa..I think you are truly terrified of Lizards and so it comes out in your writing….I think also the Jamaican fear of lizards is more of a cultural thing than having anything at all to do with the lizards themselves.Personally I do not want them coming in contact with any part of my body because they are cold and eerie looking. What you say of green lizards is true as they avoid coming in contact with humans and are seen in houses extremely rarely.In fact if they see you before you see them their first reaction is to hide. As to the croaking lizard whether mating or battle cry that sound is not to be appreciated by anyone…people fear them because of their “stealth approach” the way they move slowly and deliberately…while keeping an eye on you! Also many myths exist as well as some true stories.The fact that they can leap long distances in relation to their size have some people believing that they can fly and so they are seldom out of range which adds to the fear!

  2. Loved reading this – wondered for a moment if you’d seen me in action – fleeing the house at the thought of inhabiting common space with Lizardicus Jamaicanus Croakitus Terroristicus. Passed the article on my kids who replied…”ohhh, my side hurts”, “ROTFL” – I guess they had a chance to relive my terror – real or imagined. Thank you for a wonderful article!

  3. Very nice article. Check out an article i wrote about Lizards too 🙂

  4. Too funny! I think I may have accidentally voted no to being scared of lizards. I am afraid of them but only if they get too close. My cat brought one in the house as a gift the other day*shudders.

    • Hah. Well, the good thing is that the cat will get them for you if they get in your house. lol. I never understood why so many Jamaicans are so afraid of them. Especially persons from Kingston. I guess those in ‘country’ are a bit more used to them.

  5. You know, Chris, I actually do know somebody that it happened to, believe it or not. Although I’m pretty sure the poor lizard did not do it on purpose.

  6. So, I think the hair-groping croakers is folklore from yesteryear. My grand parents always warned me that it will happen and I always defiantly asked, “why did it happen to you?” I am hard pressed to find one person I know that this has happened to. LOL Chris Liv

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