For a long time, we had a gecko sitting on our porch. He/She (there's no good way of telling the sex of a gecko – but from now on, I'll call it 'her') would roam between the front porch windows, sticking her head up, watching all around, and entertaining the humans inside the house. Every now and then, she would climb up the bay window and stare into the house. We thought she wanted to come in.

When folks visited us, we were careful to make sure that the gecko didn't run into the house. A few times, she almost got inside, but we closed the door fast and she ran away.

Every day, she was there. When we opened the shades in the morning, she was hanging right in front of us. When we looked outside at noon, she was climbing the side of the house. At night, she seemed to be disturbed when we closed the window shades.

We named her "Silly" since she spent most of her time on the windowsill. Also, her behavior was rather silly. She seemed to get annoyed whenever we opened the front door. Her "neck balloon" expanded if we walked on our porch. Why did we dare to invade her space? She seemed to sleep in the peace lily plant right next to the front door. She enjoyed it (we think) when Jim watered there.

We began to think that she was our pet. When she wasn't there, we wondered why. When she showed up, we were enamored of her and watched her closely. Many times, we drove into our garage and looked carefully at the porch window. We said, 'Silly's there" or "The girl isn't home."

One day, Silly's behavior got frantic. She jumped around the porch window and kept swelling up her neck. We thought that there was a predator nearby that scared her.

The next morning, a very small gecko was sitting on our porch swing arm. It looked like a mini-Silly. It stayed on the swing arm for most of the morning. Silly was nowhere to be found.

When the little gecko jumped off the swing and ran into the yard, I thought to myself "That's Silly's baby."

Sure enough, Silly has not been back since. She apparently did her job as a guard for the newborn and is now enjoying a brief vacation.

Isn't nature wonderful? Even gecko Moms try hard to be protectors of their children. All of Silly's behaviors these past weeks have been devoted to the care of a young one.

I am sad that Silly is gone, but I'm certain that she remembers the peace lily on our porch. The next time she's ready to reproduce, hopefully she'll use the same cradle.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO CONTACT DR. SMITH, SHE CAN BE REACHED AT HER EMAIL: JSMITH1313@CFL.RR.COM [1] OR IN CARE OF THIS NEWSPAPER.