Snakes, spiders, spring and scaring lizards

One of the fun things about living in the middle of the bush is that you're sharing your house with lots of other creatures.  Sometimes this isn't so fun when it is a solifuge/sun/camel spider, aka the tarantula of Namibia.  If you don't know what one of these beastily things is, it's cross between a sandy coloured scorpion, a hugely overgrown ant on steroids and a spider that seems to run as fast as a cheetah.  I'm not scared of spiders (I used to own a tarantula as a pet) but these things give me the creeps just because they are SO speedy and erratic!  Plus their jaws look about the same length as the size of their body and apparently can give you a nasty (but fortunately not poisonous) bite.  As I can never bring myself to killing animals, I have instead employed myself as Manager of a relocation project to get all the solifuges out from my house and back into the wild where they belong.  This usually means being very hasty with a glass and a piece of cardboard to imprison the little creature before the relocation takes place.  However, being nocturnal animals, I only ever see them when it gets dark.  As I don't really like wandering around in the dark here (you sometimes hear funny noises and are never quite sure what they are...) I usually leave the prisoner waiting on my table doing time overnight before I move it to its new home outside in the morning.  I do leave a little gap between the glass and the cardboard so it can breath overnight, of course.  One night not too long ago I managed to catch another of these creepy crawlies, placed it in a Scotch glass but by the morning it had escaped!  Cheeky little fiend.  Fortunately I've not seen the little bugger again.

I just hope that Frans has eaten it.  Frans is my resident gecko who I see every evening come down from the ceiling to feast on the multitude of bugs in my house.  Last week, I think Frans had an argument with his missus because there was a strange squeaking sound coming from a shelf high up on my wall, and when I went to investigate, it turned out to be two geckos in quite a squabble over something.  Quarrelling geckos sound in between little mice and a dog toy.  A few days later, I think Frans had been kicked out from the penthouse suite of the area above my ceiling and came down to the peace and quiet of my wall.  For some unknown reason, he decided that the great artwork that James had drawn for me would be a great place to hide behind.  Little did he know that all those moths and ants that he'd been eating had piled on the pounds, and his weight could not be held by the bluetac adhesive to the wall.  Down crashed Frans and off he scuttled to another secret hiding place away from the angry missus.
Spring has officially arrived into Namibia and the signs are starting to show.  Just yesterday I saw a flock (?) of butterflies dancing around in the afternoon sun, and last week I was pleased to hear lovebirds calling outside.  I went to see and a pair perched on the fence next to my house.  They're beautifully colourful birds, looking (and sounding) a lot like a small parrot.
The temperature is also rising here; today it's 33 C and I have seen that the weatherman has predicted it to be 35 by Monday - ouch!  During the heat of the day the only thing you can do is try to find some shade.  I have been glad to do office work during these hours, as my English pale skin cannot tolerate the blazing sun here!
As some of you may know, I have quite a fondness for things with teeth and claws.  The farming family here have three very charismatic dogs to keep me company – a Rottweiler mixbreed called Sally, a Boerboel-ridgeback “guard” dog called Oscar who acts more like a teddy bear, and a border collie-Staffie mix called Amy.  All three are great, but Amy in particular seems to have taken to me like a pig takes to mud.  Sometimes she even escapes her yard to come hang out with me for the day.  I have a feeling it’s because I’m the only one that likes to play THE ONLY GAME IN THE WORLD (at least to her); fetch.  She could play fetch literally all day long if she had a willing thrower.  A few weeks ago I accidentally threw her stick into a rather stinky bucket of rotten water.  Here is what then went down... (click for a larger picture)
Amy's cross-breed genetics make her super-fast, high energy, loyal, strong-willed and up for a fight.  She’s been known to kill jackals, warthogs and baboons in her time, which is no easy feat considering how big and ferocious particularly male baboons and warthogs can be.  Yesterday I was sat working at my computer with the front door open (as it's far too hot to have it closed) and heard something on the porch.  I was astonished to see that a large monitor lizard was sunning himself right outside my front door!  Amy must have noticed what I was looking at as she got up and ran after it; the lizard darted for the tree next to my house where I think he lives, hissing loudly at her in defence!  I'm glad she didn't catch him because I've been told they're useful things to have around as they eat snakes.  Now that it's heating up, I'm sure all those sinuous creatures will be awakening and I certainly don't want one coming into my house!

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