© 2005 by John and Susy Pint
Holes in the desert? Big deal!
We dhubbs have been digging them for ages!
Forget about those caves for a while and join me
on a really fascinating exploration... of the world of dhubbs!
(That's Thucky in Arabic...
which means "Smart Guy")
ALL ABOUT DHUBBS
First of all, you Webbies outside Arabia will be surprised to learn that a dhubb is not just another pretty lizard! We are the true masters of the desert, far better adapted to our arid homeland than any camel or bedu. We can get along quite well on just a few plants and no water at all (Never touch the stuff myself). Since our bodies are ectothermic, we don't have to use up our food to maintain a certain body temperature -- we just assume the temperature of our environment and if you want to know what that is, just look at any dhubb's skin. At night and early morning, it's dark grey, but as the day warms up, it changes to beige and even to bright yellow when it's so hot that nobody but us would think of trotting across the sand.
Yes, for us dhubbs, your "room temperature" is freezing and we can barely move, but as soon as it's a nice 50 degrees C (120 F) outside, we feel great and you should see how fast we can run!
One more detail about our skin: some uncharitable types have characterized it as "baggy!" Well, what do they know! The truth is that our skin is nice and loose when the temperature is cool (great for sleeping!) but it fits us just fine once we turn mellow yellow.
When it comes to desert reptiles, we're among the biggest. My uncle Asfar, for example, is over 60 cms long! You wouldn't want to be around him when he snaps his tail, which, by the way, is covered with hard, very pointy spikes. And, let me warn you, when a dhubb clamps its jaws on something, there's no way on earth you can induce it to let go!
After reading all this, you may think of us as being very ferocious, but the truth is, our favorite activity is sitting still! Yes, there's nothing we enjoy so much as a good long stretch of peaceful immobility (I could spend all day at it!)
Now, if humans come along to disturb our reverie, the standard procedure is to puff ourselves up to an awesome size and let out a frightening hiss that clearly means "Back off, dork!"
Unfortunately, the dorks of this world usually start chasing us instead of backing off and we are forced to return to our dhubb holes. These we construct just big enough for us to pass through. Our standard ploy for avoiding capture is to squeeze deep into the hole and inflate our bodies so not even the strongest aggressor can pull us out. And, of course, the only thing that aggressor can get his hand on is our spiny tails.
Well, for ages it was a pretty fair fight. Only the wiliest of bedus could catch us, usually by pure stealth, but their motives were understandable: they needed food just as we do. But, alas, today people chase us just for fun and even resort to dirty tricks to catch us, like attaching a tube from their car's tailpipe to our holes, subjecting us to suffocation and an ignominious surrender. Well, how can we fight that?
Now you can see why they've put us on the endangered species list. You humans have wiped out the oryxes and the ostriches, the gazelles and the hubaras and the next to go will probably be us!
You know, the desert never was an empty place. No, it's always been full of life! But too many cars, too many guns, too many roads and too many people are going to produce what nature never intended, a true desert, a place where nothing can survive, not even the perfectly adapted dhubb.
Show the world you care about dhubbs!