The curious case of the Connecticut commuter lizards

This vintage typwriter is our featured image.

“And I thought hedge fund guys were the only ‘reptiles’ slithering in and out of Greenwich on Metro North.”

So I came across a really interesting article in the Connecticut Post yesterday. I mean it. It was really cool.

Apparently a Harvard researcher has determined that “non-native Italian wall lizards” are making themselves at home in Greenwich. And he has a fairly outrageous theory about how they got here.

He says they might have taken Metro North. Seriously. Check your calendars. It is not April 1. Then click the link above if you haven’t done so already. Yes, the story is legit. I wouldn’t kid you about something like that.

Alexandra Bogdanovic
Founder/owner of In Brief Legal Writing Services, Alexandra Bogdanovic. Photo by N. Bogdanovic

But back to the matter at hand. This guy claims a bunch of these little critters have been living in The Bronx for a while. And then, for reasons known only to them, they decided to move. Since they can’t drive and it would take forever to walk, I guess they decided to hop some northbound commuter trains to explore life in the suburbs.

“It’s a really nice expressway for them to travel distances,” Colin Donihue told the Post. “Those little guys move pretty fast.”

Can’t you just picture it? Dozens of little creatures — resembling miniature versions of a certain gecko of insurance advertising fame — riding the 6:37 p.m. local? And I thought hedge fund guys were the only “reptiles” slithering in and out of Greenwich on Metro North. Cue rim shot…

But in all seriousness, Donihue says the wall lizards probably followed the train tracks — which afford protection from predators, warmth in cold weather and shade in warmer weather.

Donihue has reportedly observed 15 to 20 lizards in some yards and estimates there could be up to 1,000. Determining how far off the beaten path — er track — they went will help him refine the estimate.

He is also trying to determine if they have made it to Stamford yet.

Personally I doubt it. I live just steps away from the New York State line, and I can see the Metro North train tracks from my house. But, no, I haven’t seen any Italian wall lizards in my yard.

I’ll let you know if that changes.

All aboard! Amtrak OK’s limited pet travel

This vintage typwriter is our featured image.
Amtrak train photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic
Amtrak train in Washington, D.C. Photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic

The new year brings a new option for people who want or need to travel with small pets.

Now through February 15, Amtrak is allowing passengers traveling on trains between New York and Washington D.C.; Boston and Norfolk, Va.; and Brunswick, Maine, and Boston, to bring their dogs and cats along.

The service, announced in November, is classified as a “pilot program” and as such includes numerous stipulations. For one thing, the length of the entire journey can not exceed seven hours. Passengers traveling with pets must begin their journey at a staffed station where Amtrak workers can verify that certain requirements have been met. Pet owners must sign “pet waivers” and submit them to station staff, conductors or other train crew prior to boarding. Due to limited availability, Amtrak urges people who want to take advantage of the service to make reservations well in advance.

Here are some other things to consider:

  • Passengers must remain with pets at all times.
  • Pets must remain inside their carrier at all times and may not be removed from their carrier while in stations or onboard (sic) trains.
  • Passengers must keep their pet carrier under their own seat. Pet carriers are not permitted under the seat in front of you.
  • Pet carriers are not permitted on train seats.
  • Pets are not permitted in Business class, Café Cars or other food service cars.

To see more fine print, including the rules pertaining to the age and size of acceptable pets, click here. A quote from Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman can also be found in an article recently posted on

Personally, I applaud Amtrak for implementing its new plan. I think it’s a fantastic option for people who don’t want to subject their pets to the rigors of flying or even a long drive. But given Eli’s propensity for puking and incessant meowing on long trips, I definitely have my “reservations.”