Stripes – The Sustainable Robin Chat


I was looking out of the window one morning at the rain coming down. My humans said it’s coming down in buckets, but I really couldn’t see any buckets – it was just falling out of the sky. I kept looking to see if I could spot the buckets.

After a while the sun came out and I still hadn’t seen any buckets. But our water tanks where we store the rainwater were full to the top.

“That’s really good,” my Shirley human assured me, “but we still have to use the water carefully because there is a long dry summer ahead.” Yippee, no baths for me!

Then I saw something really strange. There was a lizard baking in the sun, just as I like to do. I thought about going out to talk to it because we have a lot in common and we could be friends. I was about to get up off the windowsill when I spotted a bird coming to talk to the lizard.

“It’s a Cape Robin Chat”, my Sheraine human said.

But to my surprise he didn’t talk, he just grabbed the lizard and shook it until its tail came clean off. That’s right; it just lay there wriggling in the sun. It was quite gross, even for a cat. Then the bird dropped the lizard and ate the tail. Now what’s the lizard going to do without a tail? I wondered if the children would know.


“Don’t worry”, Sheraine said, “lizards are very special and can actually grow another tail. When they get caught by a predator their tails fall off and wriggle around so that the predator will go for the tail and the lizard can run away and grow another one. It’s the lizard’s survival mechanism.”

I looked puzzled, so she explained that it’s a trick to stay alive.

But I think the Robin also knows about the eco-thing. You see, I now understand that we should only take what nature can grow again. My humans call it being sustainable. I think my friend the Robin knows that if he leaves the lizard it will grow another tail that he can eat next time he spots the lizard.

So you see, the Robin knows about sustainability too.


Activity suggestions:

Can you spot any lizards in your school or home garden?
Explain why lizards like to lie in the sun.
What colour is a Cape Robin Chat?
Try to explain in your own words what ‘sustainability’ means.

This story can be printed as a an A5 pamphlet by downloading the pdf file below, printing it back to back on A4 paper (landscape orientation) and then folding in half. -> THE SUSTAINABLE ROBIN A5


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