It’s a Jungle in Here

Written by: Rika

 

WARNING: IF YOU CAN’T HANDLE PHOTOS OF SNAKES OR SPIDERS, PRESS “BACK” ON YOUR BROWSER NOW!

There – you’ve been warned.

And here is a harmless lizard for you before the scary photos commence:

harmless lizard_WWLOR

Isn’t he cute?

 

I live on a beautiful island in the Western Caribbean called Roatan. In the beginning, I thought the most dangerous thing that nature dished out here was a coconut falling on your head, or a juicy mango on the ground causing you to slip. I’ve since found out the hard way that this isn’t necessarily true. I’m currently housesitting, and this house is literally in the Roatan jungle. That’s okay with me. But what I didn’t really realize was how many creepy crawlies live in the jungle too (city girl, much?) until I moved here.

The Good News: I’m not scared of snakes, spiders or scorpions.

The Bad News: The above only applies if they are outside in their own home. Not inside mine.

New behaviors have become a routine of mine here that I never even realized I was doing until I recently had a visitor call me out on it: Quickly shutting outside doors to prevent anything from scampering in. Checking the bed for scorpions before getting in for the night. Shaking out clothes, towels and couch cushions prior to getting them anywhere near my body. Always having a machete and snake poking stick near the front door and back balcony. Watching the tarantulas obsessively night after night to figure out their hunting pattern so that I may steer clear of their areas. Keeping the toilet lid closed lest something decides to come in that way.

And then I started finding large snake skins around my house:

snake skin_WWLOR

That was fun.

Or how about the time I heard a splash and found a frog coming up out of my toilet?

Oh, hey. Just hanging out here for a minute. No worries. At least I'm not a snake!

Oh, hey. Just hanging out here for a minute. No worries. At least I’m not a snake!

Or the time we found a boa curled up in our dive shop?

dive shop boa_WWLOR

4ft boa, just chilling at the dive shop...

4ft boa, just chilling at the dive shop…

Ummm…did I also tell you about the three tarantulas who live in a tree right beside my front step and come out every night to their little “spot” and hunt? Sad confession – one night I got drunk and decided to hack one up with my machete because it jumped at me and these things are poisonous as shit. Though on the bright side, it did bring on rainy season. So there’s that.

Can you spot all 3 tarantulas? I'm sorry to say, Mr. Middle One has met his maker.

Can you spot all 3 tarantulas? I’m sorry to say, Mr. Middle One has met his maker.

Here's a tarantula & some monkey lala lizards trapped in my cistern overflow area. They all went down but couldn't get back out. I rescued the monkey lalas with a stick but bonked the spider into the water. Sorry spider.

Here’s a tarantula & some monkey lala lizards trapped in my cistern overflow area. They all went down but couldn’t get back out. I rescued the monkey lalas with a stick but bonked the spider into the water. Sorry spider.

This is jungle life, welcome. Stopping to let a snake cross the road on my way to work is no longer a novelty, it’s a routine. Last night I caught a ride home with a friend and as he pulled up, his headlight shone on my scooter, which was crawling with 3 boa constrictors. Um, kinda glad I didn’t go try to start that up in the dark. Lesson learned the easy way that time, thankfully.

Here's one of the snakes that lives by my house. Sometimes I find him in the yard, or sometimes I find him outside the door to my deck. Sneaky bastard. The locals call this type of snake a "Captain Sawyer". Why? I don't know. Someone probably just made it up one time. That's what happens on islands.

Here’s one of the snakes that lives by my house. Sometimes I find him in the yard, or sometimes I find him outside the door to my deck. Sneaky bastard. The locals call this type of snake a “Captain Sawyer”. Why? I don’t know. Someone probably just made it up one time. That’s what happens on islands.

In the last three days, two guests at the resort I work at have been stung by scorpions in their beds, and one of the other dive instructors went to change back into his dry clothes after a dive and there was a scorpion in there too. They swear it’s not as bad as a bee sting so I guess I could handle it since I survived my very first bee sting a few months ago here, but I really have no interest in running into one. So far, so good. Keep your fingers crossed for me…

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Rika

About Rika

Originally from the Great White North, land of the Eskimos and igloos (that’s what’s really up there in Canada, right?), Rika arrived on a Caribbean rock called Roatan in early 2012 on a holiday and learned to SCUBA dive. Then she came back a month later. Then she came back two months later. Then she came back and forgot to leave. Over 1200 dives (and rum punches) later, she is now a PADI Master SCUBA Diver Trainer and still gets a kick out of her divers being scared of nurse sharks. She’s learned many things from island living including how to live with slow internet, navigating muddy roads on a scooter and a fairly dirty dance move called the “wine”. She can now understand Spanish and speak island English like a local (her parents are very proud). Known around Roatan for being fearless (hacking up tarantulas with a machete when they venture too close to her house, or jumping off the top of a bar into the ocean for free shots), Rika has made many bad decisions on the rock that have turned into great stories…if you ply her with enough rum or a freshly-caught tuna, she’ll share. Follow her adventures and misadventures over on her blog, www.cubiclethrowdown.com.

CURRENT ROCK OF RESIDENCE: Roatan, Honduras

ISLAND GIRL SINCE: 2012

ORIGINALLY HAILS FROM: Saskatchewan, Canada

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13 thoughts on “It’s a Jungle in Here

  1. Yikes! We don’t have snakes on St. Croix because we have the infamous mongoose. They kill snakes and eat snake eggs so after they naturalize, voilá, no more snakes. Takes a few generations though.

    But scorpions? “EEEEK”! We once had a scorpion “hatch” on our sailboat because of a piece of driftwood I just HAD to have, turns out there were scorpion eggs somewhere in the wood and we had baby scorps all over the place..dammit! Threw the driftwood overboard right away. Found babies for days after…

  2. This post suddenly makes me feel very loyal to the little lizard that likes to hide in my laundry basket. Thank you for putting VG “wilderness” back into perspective!

  3. RE Tarantulas – “and these things are poisonous as shit. ”

    Actually, they’re for all intents and purposes harmless to humans. They can bite and do have venom, but it’s mild – equivalent of a bee sting or less.

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