Sunday, 25 March 2012

Colombian creepy crawlies

Moving to a tropical country brings a few surprises. Our first night in our apartment, there was a gecko above the bed. I've seen a few lizards, the best one being a green basilisk or Jesus Christ lizard about 2 feet long doing what he's famous for and walking, or rather running, across water.

On the wall outside our door was a terrific preying mantis.

Of course there are plenty of cicadas ("chicharras" in Spanish) adding to the atmosphere in the evening, but some are a little too loud!

There are some unwelcome visitors which I've not had to deal with before. Dry-wood termites have set-up a home in the bathroom door frame. They've hatched a few queens so we need to spray the other wood to prevent them spreading. We're changing the door frame of course. This is just one of the white workers.

There are an enormous number of other insect types - ants, colorful butterflies both large and small, moths including some giants with at least 25cm wingspan, plenty of large beetles, some strange bees, some small variety of which took a liking to Elena's hair in the La Flora Park which had her not a little worried!

There are not too many flies here, but sadly a few mosquitoes ("zancudos" in Spanish, not to be confused with "mosquitos" which are midges, I think). I was getting bitten at night and two of the bites reacted by swelling up. Now I'm keeping windows closed and using a mild repellent every night and that is working.

Every evening large numbers of insect-eating bats set out to feed in the surrounding trees to help clear the mosquitoes! I don't know what species they are, but I brought my bat-detector, so if I can record a sono-gram, I might have a chance to identify them. They also come to drink in the swimming-pool in the evening, and I managed a blurry shot. Being swooped-on by bats makes swimming at that time a little more interesting! I did see a huge fruit-bat too briefly. Vampire bats do live around Bucaramanga and since they spread Rabies, it pays to be a little careful.

I haven't seen any other mammals yet, except for red-tailed squirrels. Best to end with something fluffy ;-)

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