Bichos Muertos is the name of a game I play with my students after I give a charla. The purpose is to review material discussed that day by making teams race against each other to answer questions I ask. To mix it up a little I’ll sometimes ask them to bring me back something other than an answer. For example, a shoe, a watch, a cell phone, until finally the last thing is a dead bug (bicho muerto). It’s a lot of fun and my kids LOVE it.
However, in my house this game takes on a whole new purpose and love is not the word I would use to describe it. Basically, I kill any and all living creatures that enter my home. I know it sounds cruel, but as a single lady living in a tiny village in the middle of Honduras it must be done.
Let’s talk about all the fun creatures I’ve had the pleasure of meeting while innocently hanging out in my house.
Geckos – these are one of the few animals I let live and mostly because they help eat things that like to bite me such as mosquitoes, ants, and spiders. I can stare at these little guys for hours. I once even got a late night ‘Skinemax’ showing of two geckos enacting in foreplay. It involved strobe light flicks of the tale, cat and mouse chases, and catcalls from both parties. It entertained all the lucky volunteers who stared at the ceiling for probably an hour mesmerized in disbelief by the gecko porn we were watching.
Millipedes – my new farm house was infested with them when I first moved in. I even looked up how to get rid of these creepy crawlies only to discover it involved filling any cracks in the house and eliminating any leaks. Good luck finding that house in Honduras – it does not exist. Luckily the numbers have significantly dwindled upon my first couple weeks in the house.
Wasps – I have some of the biggest wasp nests hanging from my roof outside. For obvious reasons I do not disturb the nests and only spray with raid the small nests that are inside my windows. The screens protect me from any angry wasp retaliations.
Tarantulas – I was reading a book on my bed when I looked over and saw a tarantula the size of my fist taking a late night stroll across my floor. Only slight panic escaped me as I scanned my room looking for the answer. I was unable to put up my mosquito net because of my cement walls & roof so I decided it had to die. I squashed it with my hiking boot. Then I left it there so the ants could devour it, and that they did. There must have been a thousand ants that came to eat its remains – by morning there was not a single trace of the tarantula.
Scorpions – My first experience occurred in my host family’s house in my bathroom. I rounded the corner and stopped dead in my tracks as I saw a creature I had never seen before in person. I ran back into my bedroom, frantically called two other volunteers to discuss my options, put my rain boots on to prepare for war and then searched the bathroom to find out where it had run off to. I found it under a suitcase and smashed it with my hiking boot. I think I’ve used these boots more as killing tools here in Honduras than I’ve used them to actually hike.
The next experience was much calmer. I spotted the scorpion walking across my living room floor, snapped a couple of photos of it, and then crushed it under my flip-flop.
However, my most recent experience did not go so smoothly. I put on my backpack and had just walked out of my house. As I bent over to pull my keys out to unlock my fence, a scorpion fell directly from my shoulder area into my sports bra. Throwing all my bags to the ground, I bent over grabbing at my shirt and bra trying to coax it out. I think all the jiggling only scared it further into my bra unbeknownst to me. Although I did not see it fall I could not see or feel the scorpion in my bra so I decided it was safe to pick my bags back up and walk to the bus. Ten minutes later I got to my bus, found a seat near the back and tried to calm myself down. But then I looked down and noticed legs poking out of the top of my shirt. Holding for dear life nestled comfortably between my breasts this little guy was not going anywhere. I silently scream to myself so as to not draw any more attention to the only gringa on the packed bus and was finally able to flick him out of my bra. Thankfully I received no stings and only exposed my breasts to a couple of people from my community.
Snakes – I had been sewing a baby blanket for a couple of Peace Corps volunteers that had accidentally gotten knocked up while down here in Honduras, so at the time my floor had a lot of scraps of fabric in random places. Even though I had just swept, the long dark thing on the floor didn’t set off any alarms because I thought it was just a scrap I had missed. Then I stared at the fabric and it occurred to me that maybe it wasn’t a piece of fabric. Nope, the more I stared the more it began to resemble a snake. Yep, definitely a snake. I found my camera and returned as it coiled into a ball and allowed me to snap a quick photo of it. The flash freaked him out and sent him slithering into a corner of my living room. Since I have no idea how to identify a poisonous snake I decided it had to go. Unfortunately I feel too guilty to tell you how I got rid of the snake. Just know that some other animal(s) had some enjoyable feasts off of its death.
Ants – There are so many types of ants down here it’s crazy. You have the tiny almost microscopic ants that cover any dish that food once touched. You have the bigger sugar ants. Then there are the mean black ants that love to bite and the larger carpenter ants. There’s also the leaf cutter ants that become violent when disturbed. Finally my least favorite ant of all – it’s the flying ants. They are so obnoxious! These ants lay eggs inside walls and doors and then all hatch at once during one lucky sundown and begin flying around your house and ceiling all at once. With hundreds of ants flying around and trying to get into your food, drinks and in your face it gets a little crazy as you’re left to run around with one hand occupied spraying raid everywhere and the other hand swatting down the ants. The only plus side of this is you get in a good workout trying to rid your house of these crazy things.
These are just a few of the animals that I deal with on an almost daily basis. I can’t even describe the number and or size of the wolf spiders I have in every corner of my house.
Can’t wait to discover what’s in store for tomorrow. I’m hoping I’ll come home one day to find a cow in my house like I saw in one house they’re building down the street. At least then I won’t have to kill it.