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.
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!