Critter Stories

There are always lots of exciting events or situations involving critters, of all shapes and sizes.  The rainy season has once again arrived and with it come all kinds of shifts in territories for the critters, many of the smaller less appealing ones especially are looking for a warmer and drier spot, and this is usually your home.  So we are being much more observant around us, especially during the night when such things tend to be more active.

The other day we had to get up very early in the wee hours so that we could catch the red-eye bus in the city to head to the bigger city for the day, and so the generator went on with the lights and the coffee maker and lo and behold what did I find in my kitchen at this ridiculous hour?  A scorpion, a very tiny scorpion that would pack a powerful sting if it had connected with a person, was trying to hide on the wall behind the counter top.  In the past year of living in this house we have found five scorpions in the house, I found four of them, one of them in my bedroom and the others not.  It happens.  They like nice cozy hiding spots for during the day, so attention on now before putting on clothes and shoes, or moving things around.  Finding five of them in one year is not bad, really, could be a lot worse.  I can imagine all the ones we didn’t find!

There was also an ant pilgrimage that took place just before the rains settled in, I was checking out some plants next to the house when I saw the troops moving…big black ants on the move, droves of them.  These guys are called ‘the cleaners’ and the best thing to do is get out of the way as there is no stopping them.  So I checked out their pathways and saw the marching army moving in from the jungle, along the bamboo lying on the cement, up the walls of the house in a few places…OMG, they are heading for my window!  So I ran upstairs and looked, sure enough they were now in my room, and heading for the kitchen…they would most likely cover most of everything as they moved on through, eating every bug or something that was in  their path, and then they continue on their journey to who knows where.  All you can do is bless the little buggers for cleaning up along the way, and wait for them to be gone.

There are also lots of bugs hatching out, and when the night settles in outside, these swarms move inside where there is light – candle or other – and they can be pesty or bitey or just be.  But there are the no-see-ums that really can leave a red itchy welt, and I have had lots of those lately all over my body, from outside or inside the house, in my bed or working in the garden – it happens.  Right now as I write this I can feel the little munchers, but not much can be done – they come through the screens on the windows and they find their way in when the house is open, during the day or whenever, I do not know.  There are certain mysteries in life and this is surely one of them.

And then the spiders, they are always around, and there is a choice about spiders, either you tolerate the spiders or you deal with a lot more bugs in and around the house.  So we allow the spiders to build their webs under the eaves of the house outside and catch what they can.  I draw the line about coming into the house, but there are those less intimidating varieties that stay small and light that invariably live in the house, in all corners around the walls and ceiling, and they also are relatively harmless and do their job.  When the spiders get too populous, we remove part of the population to elsewhere.  If they encroach on my personal space, for example hanging out my laundry and fighting the amazing tenacious and durable web lines attached to my clothes lines, or to my hanging laundry (they build back so fast!), then I take action.  I speak frankly and directly and let them know that they can stay ONLY if they respect my boundaries, and usually they do.  We have an amiable relationship, and this is good.

And there are the cockroaches, the interminable and relentlessly present creature that we all abhor.  They can jump and fly and they come in all sizes.  They like to camp out in places that are strictly forbidden, yet there they are again and again.  We have an ongoing battle with them and we are winning, it is absolutely mandatory that action be taken on site of one of these nasty creatures, as they multiple like crazy.  Off with their heads!  Or really, whatever you can do to get them gone.   Mate is known to throw them against the wall when they crawl over him in the night (ewww, disgusting), or slap the crap out of them on the floor as he patrols during the night.  I prefer bait…it works, they die.  Mi casa es su casa NO.

And of course with the rains comes the regrowth of the jungle, and for the past couple of weeks we have watched the jungle on a steady march toward the house.  And with it comes what lives within it, critters – snakes, bugs, whatever!  So the other day we tamed her back a few meters, and there is more to go but a little bit at a time.  A friend was telling me the other day that she had a helper cleaning in her yard a week ago, all of the leaf litter and summer spillage from the trees was gathered and burned, and within the leaf litter two not too friendly vipers were found – one in the front yard and one in the back – and she lives just outside of town!  We live way out here and this is more THEIR territory than it is ours, and now that the grass is getting tall quickly, much more difficult to see what lurks within.  Next thing you know these snakes will be making themselves cozy under the house, in the bathroom or bodega or some planter with vegies or something!  No thanks!  So our attention is full on now for such things as these guys are way quicker than me, and it is a long way to the hospital.

As we were leaving the other morning at that ridiculous hour of the night in front of the truck on the road we had the privilege of watching an anteater, as he shuffled on down the road.  It was a small one and so cute!  They are raiding the termite nests right now, as the nests are all full of very ripe brooding nests ready to hatch and take flight to find new territories, and the anteaters help to keep the populations tamed…somewhat.  However, even though all the creatures have their jobs, the termites and the ants and the cockroaches will never be ‘in control’, there are termite nests everywhere!  But then, with tree falling season here, you have to have the termites to break down the wood, right?  And with so much jungle wood to feast on, why do they insist on living in your house?????  Ahh, the curiosities of life.  Cement houses are good in the jungle.

An opportunity to live in an even more jungle location came through the internet yesterday, however this one is on the water of a big bay.  We fell in love with this bay years ago, however to live right on the beaches of this bay where the jungle is a force…well, after the excitement of the opportunity wore off we began to consider the reality of it.  First of all, it is really snakey there, I mean snakes are the rule and the rulers, and usually(there, in that place) the snakes are the baddies, the most deadly kind.  I remember a story of a friend that used to live out there and one of his friends was bit by one of these baddie snakes and he had to be hauled to civilization in a boat (no other access) then on to a hospital.  He survived, but not without permanent damage.  Does this sound like fun?  Hmmm….no, I don’t think so.  We have enough snakes here and we don’t see them all that often.  Besides, there is no room for horses or a garden, and that just won’t do for us, not to mention the high population of crocodiles that live there.  We are going to pass on the deep dark jungle house, with no screens and lots of bats and snakes and, and, and.

My beloved Howlers are singing the morning alarm, the doves are starting to hoot, the Laughing Falcon is laughing at what fun may come and there is light in the sky – another day beckons.  What will it bring?  After the second eclipse of a triple eclipse sandwich occurred the other day – the solar eclipse – the chaos has once again been released and anything is possible.  So I guess we will head down the coast and check out the crocodiles, yeah?  You never know what might be out there to see, to find, to make your day or provide another adventure.

Buena Dia!

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Author: Elena in the Jungle

Living a very simple reclusive and self sustaining life way out in the jungle with my husband, growing as much food and medicinal plants as possible, I find my freedom and sanctuary in the amazing and spectacular array of life that surrounds me, gifts of Gaia, most especially while traveling around on my horse.

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