Gus was my suburban lizard medicine project. Unfortunately, I’ve not got much happy news on this patient's update.

After a couple of weeks of attempting to medicate this backyard lizard with antibiotic-infused crickets (put the buggers in a bag with a hefty dose of injectable Baytril, shake ‘em up and release in front of the sick lizard in question), it was clear Gus’s illness had bested us both.

How do I know? I found his skeleton on a limb of an outdoor bench.

At first I thought it couldn’t possibly be Gus. Although the bench is smack in the middle of his territory, the skeleton looked so puny relative to Gus’s robust fleshy frame. But when I looked closer, the tell-tale jawline bulge was still there, looking more than ever like a cancer—not the simple infection I’d hoped the antibiotic would cure.

You can’t fix them all.

Funny, though. Gus’s is the first lizard skeleton I’ve found in years. The bugs he’d ordinarily have feasted on had picked his bones clean—all but the abnormal flesh around his oral lesion. It was almost as if my backyard friends had conspired to let me know my intervention had been futile. Or maybe it was Gus’s way if saying: thanks for trying.