The first half of the day was overcast; it looked like rain, but none was predicted. I was running late for lunch -- I'd just realized I was scheduled to be working at the circulation desk at my usual lunch time, so I needed to run and get some food. Class had just gotten out, and people were also streaming in and out of the library. Foot traffic is funneled through a bottleneck (a bridge of sorts) immediately outside the library door, and I was going against the tide. Oddly, there were two young female students standing still in the middle of the flowing crowd, one of them shaking a half-opened umbrella at her side and both of them looking upset. At their feet was a very large lizard. Okay, it wasn't a Gila monster or anything, but I'm used to lizards a couple of inches long. To my eyes -- and apparently to the students' as well -- it was a big frickin' lizard. "It fell out of my umbrella!" the umbrella-wielder said. It didn't seem to be hurt, but it wasn't going anywhere either. Both ends of the bridge just lead to more concrete. The girls were eager to depart ("there's gecko shit in my umbrella!"); since I, of course, cannot mind my own business where critters are concerned, I found myself standing guard over a bewildered San Diego alligator lizard. I stood directly in front of it, forcing some annoyed people (none of whom even glanced down) to go around me; the lizard was clearly going to be squashed within the minute if I moved away. I was just slightly too far outside the doors to wave to any co-workers inside for help. Since it was lunchtime, I thought surely somebody I knew was bound to walk by shortly, but the lizard was recovering from its shock and starting to make little feints at moving away. If I could just leave for a minute, I could grab some kind of container to transport it to the canyon out back, I thought. Finally another student stopped to look at the lizard, with a more "aww" than "eww" expression. I asked her to watch over it for a minute, ran back into the library, found a copier paper box, and ran back out. The student was taking her guard duty seriously, actually sitting in front of the lizard. We herded it into the box without any difficulty, thank goodness, and I thanked her and took the box back through the library and out the back door to the canyon.
I also grabbed my camera while I was inside, so I have pictures!
For scale, with the only thing I could find in my pocket, a credit card. He's got a pretty long tail, which means it hasn't been broken off for a while!