A Conversation for Colours of Wildlife: A Couple of Short September Excursions

Geckoes, skinks, and the limpopo

Post 1

paulh, hiding under my bed

When my family went to Maui, my brother saw geckoes climbing the walls.

Before he became a famous writer of children's books, Doctor Seuss designed ads. One was for a service station, and it included skinks. In Cat in the hat, he had a creature called the Gink, which was a cross between a gunk and skink. I don't know if a gunk is a real creature, or he just liked word play. smiley - shrug

I first heard of the limpopo River in a Rudyard Kipling book. The story was about an elephant child who went to the "great grey-green greasy Limpopo River, all set about with fever trees,” where he was too inquisitive about a crocodile. The crocodile grabbed the elephant's nose and pulled it, giving him a trunk. Is
the Limpopo greasy, or was Kipling, like Seuss, fond of word play. Are there even elephants in that area?

Geckoes, skinks, and the limpopo

Post 2


Hi there! Geckoes abound over here. I've house geckoes in my house and dwarf geckoes in my garden. We've also found some thick-toed geckoes in the veld over here basically in the town.

Never heard of a gunk! At least, aside from the ingredient that is used for a lot of food-like products these days.

Kipling was just being funny! The Limpopo is typical South African river, i.e. about 90% dust. Well not quite... it does hold perhaps more water than most. I was there just a coupla weekends ago in fact. And the fever trees are there indeed, as are the elephants and the crocodiles. And there was enough sand in the riverbed that I was able to cross over to Botswana, first time I've been there - no passport checks or nothing! I just stood in Botswana for a few minutes and then crossed back to the good old R of SA.

Geckoes, skinks, and the limpopo

Post 3

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Post Editor

smiley - rofl That's a wonderful story, Willem! In the Southern US, we do silly things like telling people, 'From this mountaintop, you can see parts of three states!' like that was something... I remember that my uncle (a builder) had a house near a promontory like that once. Or was it four states?

But crossing the Limpopo to stand in Botswana sounds delightful. smiley - laugh

Also, thanks for clearing up our mental picture of the Limpopo. I'm not a Kipling fan. In 1889, he spent the summer in Beaver, Pennsylvania (not far from here). He ran around in a pith helmet and puttees. He was probably the most exotic thing they'd ever seen in those parts.

Geckoes, skinks, and the limpopo

Post 4

paulh, hiding under my bed

I sometimes wonder what it must have been like for Kipling to write "The Jungle book" while holed up in a house in Vermont during the winter.

I read "Kim" because experts told me it was Kipling's masterpiece. I enjoyed the depiction of the Grand Trunk Road. The plot became more and more complex as Kim got further into his espionage work.

It is this complexity that leads me to think I will not use Kim in my najopomo. I might not use *any* Kipling, unless I can read through enough of his works in Project Gutenberg. (I've written 28 chapters so far, with two to go.)

Have any 19th century authors written fiction involving geckoes?

Geckoes, skinks, and the limpopo

Post 5

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Post Editor

Not that I know of. If you get Amazon Prime, watch 'One Lane Bridge'. A gecko features prominently in that one. smiley - laugh

Geckoes, skinks, and the limpopo

Post 6

paulh, hiding under my bed

So does the movie "Wall Street." smiley - winkeye

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