Antifreeze and Critters (Shallow Thoughts)

Akkana's Musings on Open Source Computing and Technology, Science, and Nature.

Wed, 15 May 2024

Antifreeze and Critters

[Lizard inspecting a rock for traces of that yummy antifreeze] My Miata blew a radiator hose and dumped out all its coolant, so I needed to do a radiator flush and fill.

Turns out that's kind of a nasty job on an NB (second-gen) Miata. The radiator drain plug is accessed through a hole in the tray under the engine. Once you get it loose enough that coolant has started to drip out, if the screwdriver slips, it's impossible to get it back on without getting coolant all over the screwdriver, flashlight, your arm, your face and hair, etc. And once you do manage to loosen it enough, it pops out, sending coolant gushing everywhere onto the engine undertray, from which it comes out the back and sides and it's impossible to catch it all in a drain pan.

So that left me with quite a mess to clean up afterward. I started by pouring the used coolant into a container with a secure cap: I've always heard warnings about how kids and pets will try to drink the poisonous stuff because it tastes and smells sweet. We don't have kids or pets, but there are plenty of wild critters and we want them to stay healthy too. But there was still a lot of coolant all over the garage floor and driveway, and various tools and containers that needed to be washed.

While assembling the pressure washer, I noticed a fence lizard had come out from between a couple of rocks and was making a beeline for a drip pan that still had some coolant in it. I ran over to chase it away, and got there just as the lizard was starting to lap at one of the puddles in the pan. Most lizards run away whenever you get near, but this one held its ground and wouldn't move until I nudged it with my hand, at which point it scurried back to the rocks a few feet away, where I could see it was still keeping an eye on things.

I returned to the pressure washer, but the lizard kept creeping back to the coolant spill. I had to spray it with water several times to keep it away from the mess, but it only retreated a few feet, to where I could see its head between the rocks.

I didn't have a camera on me, and didn't want to leave the mess unattended while I fetched one. Only after I finished did I grab the camera to get a photo of the coolant-loving lizard.

I guess I did a good enough job cleaning up, because the lizard nosed at some rocks, sniffed around, and finally turned and walked away. Not enough sweet stuff left to be tempting. Whew.

Funny, when I read the warnings about "kids and pets" I never thought I'd need to shoo away a persistent lizard.

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[ 15:23 May 15, 2024    More nature | permalink to this entry | ]

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