House Guest

One of the “perks” of living in a perpetually warm climate is the amount of creatures one discovers in one’s house. From the ants – who can be a royal pain, and who seem to like the cakes/muffins/cookies (take your pick) which I bake and leave out to cool and come back only to discover at least one has been invaded by the little black pests – to the snakes, rats, frogs and monitor lizards which can be found in the yard, most likely without their heads, as a result of their lost battle with the three dogs we have.

I still remember the day I saw a huge monitor lizard for the first time. It was sunning itself on the concrete wall that separated our house from the next one on the left, and the first thought that crossed my mind was, oh my God, what’s that crocodile doing there?!? I stared at it from behind the safety of a window, couldn’t help but admire its long body, small head and the tongue darting in and out of its mouth. That’s when I realized it wasn’t a crocodile. The mouth was too small and the snake-like tongue didn’t fit the picture either but in my panic I wasn’t thinking about such obvious details. Oh, to have a camera at that very moment! By the time I went downstairs it was gone – back to the green wilderness at the back of the house.
We have moved to another house since then, and the biggest excitement we’ve had so far was the nocturnal visit of a small rat that came to nibble on the fruits on the kitchen table. Bananas were his favorite and that was his undoing. We caught him in a cage, released him far from the house on a field and not long after he was back. Or maybe it was his brother, who knows. The bananas on the table didn’t lie. So we took out the cage again, caught him and took him even further away. He didn’t come back, I’m glad to say. As much as I liked Ratatouille (remember that movie?) this one didn’t quite fit the picture. And I doubt he could cook, that would have been just too good.

The gecko is by far my favorite “house guest”. Although in the beginning I found it creepy to live in a house with those little creatures running here and there (now don’t imagine hundreds but two or three would be a more accurate number), these days, after more than a decade, I find it quite amusing. Sometimes I catch them, holding them carefully, and just look at the little bit of grey life in my hand, its little heart beating wildly under the thin soft skin, the legs trying to scramble free and once it has escaped, it vanishes with the speed of which only those small creatures are capable of when frightened.
This morning I saw one of them behind a curtain in the house. I hoped it wouldn’t move while I went and got the camera. It didn’t, not much anyway, and the sound of the device didn’t scare it away. There it is, our little house guest.

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