Despite all that’s happening in the UK to make us feel that it’s not somewhere we want to be, it has one very big selling point: the lack of scary creatures! It’s one thing to know, intellectually, that there are big and venomous bugs in Mexico, but it’s another thing entirely to meet them face to face.
So who have we met?
Well, we began in Oaxaca where we didn’t actually encounter very much wildlife but the compound cat did bite me for no reason at all. Cats are little fuckers.
Whilst in Latuvi (in the Sierra Norte) we examined a dead snake and a dead lizard. We also stopped to watch a dung beetle go about its work. On a walk through the hills we came across a house with dead guinea pigs drying on sticks. Oh, and of course, there were piles and piles of chapulines (grasshoppers) in the markets because they’re a local delicacy.
We then moved to Tulum, a jungle and beach paradise. Here we did meet more living things: we were lucky enough to share our house with some of the biggest ants we’ve ever seen. We also had a few cockroaches that visited every now and again. I HATE cockroaches. They’re just disgusting to look at and the idea that they were in my house was quite upsetting. We regularly saw huge iguanas, smaller lizards and geckos all over the place. We also found a few dead snakes and a dead dragonfly. Trips in to the jungle showed us frogs, trees full of the biggest caterpillars we’ve ever seen and monkeys. And who can forget the day SG spotted a tarantula in our kitchen?
We figured it wasn’t going to get any worse than a tarantula in the kitchen and then last night, in our Merida home, we were lucky enough to have a scorpion in our kitchen. Serious levels of ‘ugh’. Col was in there, barefoot and in the dark. He yelled and the scorpion scuttled away. Luckily he saw where it went. As with the tarantula experience, we did what any sensible person would do and whipped out our cameras to get social media proof of what had happened!
We realised that SB had heard all the commotion when we heard noises at his door. He was dithering, trying to figure out if he’d get in trouble for coming out. I went to get him and put him on the kitchen counter so he could see from safety.
It was then time to figure out what the hell to do! We actually wondered if the scorpion was dead because it stayed very still for a long time. It wasn’t but I suspect it was as scared of us as we were of it. Col decided he didn’t want to use a dustpan as there was a chance it could escape while he (yes, he, no way I was going too close) was saying goodbye to our guest. So we found a big bucket and a piece of cardboard and trapped it as you would a spider. It did not appreciate the bucket at all but we felt safe so, meh.
Col took it out to the road to find a drain in which to dump it while I put SB back to bed and looked up what to do if bitten by a scorpion.
Here we also share the house with ants of varying sizes. We try super hard to keep all food closed away but the kids don’t make that easy. Our house has lots of mosquitoes too, sadly, but as yet, no cockroaches thank goodness. We regularly see ‘hairy caterpillars’ speeding around in the garden. I haven’t seen these since Rwanda where one left a nice scar on my arm. I’ve been ‘attacked’ by them twice and really don’t feel the need to ever deal with their nasty spines of poison in my body ever again.
Of course, we’ve also been lucky enough to see numerous species of monkey, enormous butterflies, herons, pelicans, flamingos, crocodiles,stingrays and many unknown beautiful birds on our travels. We have swum with turtles, been pooed on by an iguana and seen dolphins play alongside our boat. That list is definitely worth a scorpion or two…I think.