Thursday, February 3, 2011

Something Big Lives Behind My Stove

There are few good reasons to pull a stove away from the wall in anyone’s house. Maybe there’s a portal to a secret dimension where you never grow older or there’s a treasure vault hidden by a bootlegger in decades past. I was simply looking for the stove model # and what I found was horrifying.

Typically the items discovered behind any large appliance include Chinese takeout menus, diamond-grade pasta noodles, the fridge magnet letters X or J and maybe a pet hamster that has long since been eulogized and buried. But what I saw sent me reeling. I wouldn’t even dare take, let alone post a picture. Cast about on the tile behind the stove was a ring of spider appendages that looked like a skeleton poking up through the sand in the desert. Each of the eight, L-shaped, stiff-haired legs measured nearly two inches. Absent were any other body parts. Something big ate this spider. Something big lives behind my stove.

Should I not be content that the hideous creature that entered my house uninvited has been unceremoniously dispatched? It’s bad enough knowing the spider was inside these walls but something captured, killed and devoured this beast.

Days later I noticed a conspicuous pile of scat on the floor. It looked like a tiny tootsie roll left in the sun to long. I cleaned it up. The next day there was another. I cleaned that too and like a kid waiting for financial compensation from a tooth fairy, I came out the next morning to see if something had been left behind again. And it had. Not particularly magical.

My dad was visiting that day and I asked if he knew what it was. “That’s skink poop” he said with absolute certainty. It should be noted that not only have I cleaned up his quote for this post, but he is also an expert on the matter.

Days later I spotted the brilliant turquoise tail of a juvenile Five-lined Skink (Plestiodon inexpectatus) zip under the fridge and suddenly it all made sense. I made a deal with the skink – you eat the spiders, I’ll clean up your poop.


  1. many species of poop are you cleaning up after in your home now:)

  2. Skink poop, huh? Thanks for keeping it PG:)

  3. Of course I'm an expert on Skink Scat. And others, too. Just today Dr. Joel Sheahan commented that I was a Walking Enema for my ability to make monkeys vacate their bowels prior to transport. It was a compliment.

    I think.