Snakes, and Scorpions, and Cockroaches– Oh my! Creepy Creatures I’ve Met in my Travels

Living in a small, one room apartment on a farm in Israel, I shared my cozy abode with a mouse.  At first I didn’t really mind, but as time went on the mouse became more and more bold.  Finally, I decided to do something about it and purchased a couple of “glue traps”.  But when I checked the traps the next morning, instead of a mouse I had caught a couple of cockroaches.  I was not disappointed.  After all, the cockroaches were bigger than the mouse.

Today I live in Mexico and oversized roaches (why are bugs so much bigger in warm climates?) are still a big part of my life.  Descending from my fourth floor bedroom to the kitchen on the bottom floor for a midnight snack I feel apprehensive.  After dark, the kitchen is not my domain. Flicking on the light I immediately see dark little bodies scurrying to the corners and I know the roaches are out.

Roach! (smaller than some I’ve seen). Photo by Jason Scragz.

The Place You REALLY Don’t Want to See a Cockroach

The most disgusting cockroach story I’ve heard came from a friend of mine who was living in Honduras.  She got up to answer the call of nature in the middle of the night and discovered a roach lodged in the roll of toilet paper.  In the panic of flailing arms, flying paper and spinning tubes that followed, the roach landed on her chest and then proceeded to roll down her body and into her pubic hair.  It’s funny- only because it happened to someone else!

Scorpions – the Creepiest of Creepy Creatures

Roaches aren’t the only creepy creatures I’ve met.  The place at the top of the list is reserved for scorpions.  Even relatively harmless ones are spooky looking.

My first scorpion encounter also took place the year I lived in Israel.  On a hot, sunny day, working in a tomato field, my coworker suddenly yelled for my attention.  He was from Gaza and spoke little English.  I spoke no Arabic.  Yet as he pointed to a large, iridescent blue scorpion in the sand, there was no mistaking his meaning.  His gestures clearly indicated that this little bug was dangerous.

Standing about a meter away from the scorpion, he carefully removed his shoe.  In a swift movement, he launched the shoe as a missile and smashed the scorpion.  Then he cautiously moved closer and hacked at it with a shovel.  I will never know whether his actions were appropriate or overly-dramatic, but his fear was real.  He believed the scorpion to be deadly and I was in no position to argue.

Here in Guanajuato scorpions are common, though supposedly not dangerous.  I am told that the scorpions one encounters in the next city over, which is at significantly lower elevation, are quite treacherous and that if you are stung you should proceed immediately to a hospital.  I’m hoping never to meet one of these “blond” scorpions.

Once you get over the initial fear and disgust of finding scorpions in your home, the worst part is the clean up.  Small ones aren’t bad.  You smash them and scoop up their remains with a tissue.  The bigger ones (10 cm’s) however, are a bit messy.  When you squish them they leave a large puddle of putrid brown liquid.  I wouldn’t want to speculate about what’s in this liquid, but I guess it’s good to have motivation to mop the floor once in a while.

Wine anyone?

In China it was not uncommon to see these creepy creatures bottled up.

Along with a poisonous snake.

In liquor.

Intended for human consumption.

They say that the venoms cancel each other out.  I didn’t try it, but you should feel free…

Published in Mexico

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Seasoned traveler, avid reader, over-eater, clumsy but determined hiker and wannabe Spanish-speaker.

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