Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Wide-mouthed Frog - Domestic Wildlife

Here is one of our non-paying lodgers.

The resident fauna of a house in (our part of) Africa and the UK have both similarities and differences.

The cockroach spans climates and continents. Domestic cleanliness is in order and, thankfully, we are not honoured with their presence either in Africa or the UK.

House spiders are also common to both localities.

Mice and rats, not so common in the UK nowadays, are more common here. In fact, I had to rent a cat (I pay her board and keep) to evict a rat last year. She is a pain-in-the-proverbial - but preferable to a rat.

I seem to remember ants being ubiquitous in the UK - here they are rarely seen inside a house.

I have different feelings about different residents - our friend above is quite welcome as its diet includes other, unwelcome, residents. Other welcome residents are geckoes and the house spiders - although in a previous residence in the city we found a Tarantula in the backyard. Obviously, the cat loves them - a cat stalking a gecko is quite fun to watch (shall we bet on the outcome?). The frog stands less of a chance.

Coincidentally, I have just phoned my great friend Talia, down in the city, who has this morning found a snake on her living-room floor. So we discussed domestic wildlife and she complained of the pan-tropical Scolopendra centipede which gives rather a nasty bite - fortunately, not a problem here 250 metres higher.

Unfortunately, our frog and gecko lodgers cannot cope with all our unwelcome guests or find them unpalatable.

There is a tiny but visible fly, associated with the tree Cedrela odorata (good timber). This tree is ubiquitous and there are various around our house. The fly gets in and has a bite, although not malaria-carrying, comparable to that of a mosquito.

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