Thursday, May 05, 2011

Wildlife, of the Six and Eight Legged Variety

One thing I was concerned about when I moved to Australia was, to use the words of my friend Sheila, all the “creepy crawlies”. In particular, the spiders, which are 1) some of the most poisonous in the world and 2) very, very scary. At least in my opinion. After living here for almost a year, I can say that although we have had good luck with the creepy crawlies, I don’t like them and next time we move, I want it to be to someplace that has fewer of them.

Currently, there is a giant spider in my courtyard/garden area. He is fairly harmless, or at least he’s not one of the big three poisonous ones. I do not like him at all though. Fortunately for his sake, he’s gotten large enough that I can no longer deal with him at all. Killing is not an option, because I am too scared to get in his general vicinity. So I just stare from afar, with a look of disgust on my face, while Ethan says things like “Cool!” Ethan does not realize that there’s a reason spiders are part of the Halloween horror folklore, along with zombies, vampires, witches, and Godzilla. Scary!

Less scary to me, but perhaps more disgusting, are the giant cockroaches. They live in wet areas, near drainpipes and downspouts, and sometimes make it inside via the pipes, windows and doors. I don’t particularly like them, but they aren’t so scary – more startling when they run out at you from underneath something.

Fortunately, I live with Fievel the Cockroach Slayer, who has finally recognized his true calling in life. That little dog is a cockroach killing machine! If I see him staring under the furniture, wagging his tail furiously, I know he’s got his quarry cornered. He bites the cockroaches until they flip over and play dead, and then he either bites them again when they start moving, or we kill them with a shoe. It can get a bit gross at times, because he drools a lot when he gets excited. One night I went out into the courtyard and it was like a cockroach horror movie – dog drool and cockroach parts everywhere! Still, he’s a big help because he’s pretty fast, and manages to get them to where we can kill them pretty quickly.

All of these creepy crawlies are a direct result of living in an area that is both warm and humid. In Alaska, we didn’t have these problems. I have to say, I’m really glad we didn’t move someplace further north, like Brisbane or Cairns, which are essentially in the rainforest. I just don’t think I could hang with all the giant spiders around.


Anonymous said...

When squashed, do your cockroaches disgorge a whitish stuff that smells like Jergens lotion? The ones in FL do so I've never been able to use Jergens. Ours also fly and are called (euphemistically, I think) Palmetto bugs. Supposedly, true cockroaches here are little brown ones that aren't so scary. I don't like any of them, regardless of the name. I'm also very watchful when walking under palm fronds...


Anonymous said...

Hooray for Fievel!!

~M again

Anonymous said...

I also do not like spiders, handling an instinctive fear OK unless I get surprised by one. Australia might not be the place for me! Those female funnel-web spiders are described as quite big!

I sort of miss those big Tarantulas we used to have in Arkansas though. Talk about big! but not poisonous at least.

Uncle Carl

L said...

Mom, the cockroaches do contain that white stuff, although I've never noticed a particular smell. We call them "Bavarian" cockroaches (like Bavarian cream donuts).

Uncle Carl, my coworker frequently has funnel webs in his yard and keeps threatening to bring one in to show me. He says that they'll put them in a jar and then shake the jar up to make them rear up.

I would not like the tarantulas. I never saw any in AR, thank goodness. I don't think I could have handled that.

Carlw4514 said...

I have a trivia question for you, I'd be surprised if anyone can get it without guessing... Something I learned from living in Arkansas. Maybe Forrest knows it or not... It sounds like a joke but isn't.

How are Tarantulas like Elephants?