I was the kid who went scouting out tadpole ponds, lifting up rocks and capturing pill bugs and blue bellied lizards, finding the best milk weed in hopes to watch caterpillars morph into monarch butterflies. I liked critters until they got a whole lot bigger and a whole lot creepier.
Shortly after moving to Minburi, a suburb of Bangkok, I was informed that this area is known for snakes but that I would be okay because I have kids, kids are loud, and snakes don’t like loud noises. Great security. My children quickly joined in the neighborhood hunts of empty snake eggs and egg pieces, but where there is a snake egg shell there now is a……you get the idea. To make it worse, I have found myself talking about the effect of snakes on other creatures, like color of dead frogs! “Is is black?” “Um, no. Why?” “That’s good, the black ones have been bit and killed by cobras.” As if a dead toad smashed in front of my driveway isn’t bad enough!? There are also fast snakes, like the green one that dropped down in an s-curve from my neighbors rain gutter and caught a bat mid-air. I didn’t actually see the snake, but I did see the dead bat in the middle of the street (do bats count as creepy critters?). Then there are the big snakes, really big snakes. Good news is I have not had one at my house, bad news is there was one down the street from my house last year. As a cat-lover and kitty owner of two, I was not comforted by the sight of it’s belly. Note to my cats, you have no hope of being outdoor animals.
In my classroom
Oh crap that’s not a toy
Way too big
Get out of my space
Pose for a picture, son
Or maybe not
Please get rid of it
She just killed it with her hand
Spiderwoman is real
“Ms. Elissa, I want to share today. There was an alligator behind my washing machine!” Maybe not an alligator, but my son was pretty darn close. The monitor lizard that decided to cozy up behind my outdoor washing machine (more than likely looking for a cat to snack on) was huge and might as well have been an alligator. Being a Buddhist nation, the beast was not killed. It was merely relocated to the pond down the street. Not comforting, but at least it made for interesting show and tell.
Paederus littoralis, Rove Beetle, Creechy Bug
Never heard of them? I hadn’t either, until today. In Pre K, the floor is frequently our laboratory. Sitting criss cross, we were building and exploring when I asked my Thai friend Faa, what the red and black centimeter long bug was crawling across the mat? “Don’t touch!” She captured the critter in a plastic container, sliding a book underneath. Quickly grabbing her phone, she confirmed that we had caught a paederus littoralis! Little bug, no big deal. Oh so wrong! Googling this insect was a mistake. You can’t kill them because doing so makes more come, and they don’t actually have to bite to hurt you. The pain, blisters, and potential long-term damage caused by these little nasties had me packing up my students and evacuate my classroom for the morning while the school searched for any other insects. None were found, but my eyes are pealed!