I should have known better than to let it happen. Then again, sometimes we all goof up and I guess I goofed up today. I did it by starting off doing something I do every year once the nice weather rolls around. I did it only with good intentions but sometimes good intentions are not enough so I took precautions when I did it and thought they were enough but I should have known better. The precautions apparently were not enough.
What I did was I put my tortoises and one remaining Uromastix out in the yard to sun themselves. No, I did not just plop them down out in the middle of my yard. Although I well could have done that with my female Hermann's Tortoise and maybe even with my newly acquired male Hermann's Tortoise, there was no way I was about to allow my three small Redfoot Tortoises or the female Uromastix to roam around out there. The Redfoots are small enough to possibly get under my gate (though it would be a squeeze) and the lizard (the Uromastix is a lizard) could have easily squirmed through anything or climbed over anything to escape. So I put them all into a pen, that I built a few years ago, just for the purpose of housing my animals outside so they could bask in natural sunlight now and again. Being it was a few years old and made of painted plywood, let me just say the weather, the sunlight, the termites and time have all had their effects and there are a few eaten away spots. One hole near the top where the hinges for the screen cover were screwed in and one in the bottom front corner. I had no worries about the hole up high, none of my animals could get to it to get through it. The lower one was right at ground level so I covered it over with a few bricks snug against the wood. Nothing was getting out, that is at least not without help and there was no one to help them get out so they were just not going to get out that way. I was satisfied and left them in there but I should have known better.
Then the dogs heard the lizard scampering about and the tortoises plodding back and forth and they got curious. I had to shoo them away a few times but then they lost interest. To make sure they would not pester the lizard, the tortoises usually are not bothered by the dogs unless they try to use them as chew toys, I decided to put the dogs in the house. Then I went outside to enjoy some left over BBQ while sitting on the patio. Once I was done, I went inside and puttered around online in a gun forum. When I went out later to try to talk my wife into taking an evening ride, or to go to Home Depot to buy some flowers for the garden, I also decided to check on my critters. I noticed a much bigger hole in the front corner of the pen. It was dug away, or so it looked, from outside. Then I realized my wife had let the dogs back outside to join her in enjoying the nice day. I suppose, that as usual, if they are not barking up a storm she pays them little attention as they roam around our postage stamp sized backyard. She had been reading a magazine, about dog training of all things, and also had been relaxing and just taking it easy. Then she chatted to one of our next door neighbors over her fence. I guess she had not been paying much attention at all to the dogs. I thought she knew better, but I should have known better. I know the blame is not hers and I am the one who should have known better. You see, about 2 years ago, one of the dogs chewed up one of my tortoises, putting a few nice grooves in its shell, after my wife left the dogs outside unattended with my tortoises. I warned her that time but must admit today I did not but I should have known better. I just thought she knew better even though I was the one who was responsible for them but I should have known better. I guess I just figured all would be well but I should have known better.
Well anyway, it looks like the dogs, or at least one of them, went at the corner of the pen paws flailing and dug out the old hole, making it bigger, and knocking away the bricks that had been flush against the inside of the pen while doing so. That done it wound up that help actually had been there for the lizard to escape. I thought there was no chance of that but I should have known better. As it turned out they really did help one of the inmates to escape, specifically the Uromastix. I thought it was secure but I should have known better. When I came in either I should have insisted that the dogs stay inside or I should have brought in my little sun worshippers and put them in there inside enclosures but I left them outside thinking all was well but I should have known better.
Now we have a lizard on the loose all because I should have known better and done something in a different way. Hopefully it will not terrorize the neighborhood. Even better would be if a neighbor sees it and calls me to come rescue it. I do not have a lot of hope but then again until all hope is dashed to the rocks below the cliffs, hope springs eternal but I should have known better in which case I would have still had the Uromastix and not needed to depend upon hope to make things better.
Later for you, I have a lizard to look for.
All the best,