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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

Critters of the Tropics

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC | Wednesday, 20 June 2012 | Views [3314]

Wherever you go you're going to encounter critters. It may be ants in your kitchen or a fly buzzing around your lounge, or it may even be a bee that lost itself on its way back to the hive. When you visit the tropics, whether it's your first time or your 50th you notice a huge difference. They're five times more numerous and up to ten times larger than what you're used to! Last week there was a giant moth flying around my bedroom at Monica's house.

Giant insects have never scared me. In fact they're likely more scared of us than we are of them. To be accurate, we owe our existence to these various little creature that most of us humans are scared shitless of! We wouldn't be able to grow food without worms. Spiders are predators of many harmful insects; it's believed the amount of insects spiders consume in a year are equivalent to the weight of the entire human population! Tubagua Eco-Lodge is exactly what its called: an eco-lodge. Therefore we need to be ecologically friendly at in tune with nature. Insects and arachnids are living creatures and should be treated with as much respect as you or your pet (or any other animal).

As we were introducing ourselves the other day, a beautiful millipede slowly crept by. Whilst most people would be freaking out over this "big bug" I admire it.

"Millipede" comes from a Latin word meaning "1,000 legs" but millipedes rarely have more than 200 or 300 legs with the highest known number being around 700 legs. Like a roly-poly, millipedes curl up defensively when they're in danger. The only other time I'd seen a millipede before is at the zoo, an insect exhibit, or at PETCO.

To the untrained eye, a leaf insect may look just like another leaf but these creatures are splendidly beautiful. Have a look at what we saw on our dinner table a few nights ago:

Insects aren't the only small "critters" you'll find here. Lizards of all colours, shapes, and sizes abound here and in around Tubagua and elsewhere in the DR. Like a chameleon, this tiny lizard blends in well with its surroundings.

Frogs must like to jump and jive on the toilet seat!

Perhaps this is the creature that will make you go "Ahhhhhhhh!!!!". This photo is courtesy of volunteer Torrie.

Earlier I was lying down, almost fallen asleep. Then I suddenly hear one of the girls scream "Oh my god it's a fuckin' tarantula!" It sounded terrifying, as if they were being held at gunpoint or mauled by a dog. I didn't immediately get up but when I did I walked down and several of the girls (Janine, Angelica, Jullia, and several others) were outside of their bunks. They asked me to go into their room and search for the tarantula and kill it, and in trying to get to the room I broke the tarp that separates the two rooms. Moving around bras, phones, iPods, and bottles of perfume I spot the tarantula whilst everyone is freaking out. With no fear whatsoever I'm trying to remove it whilst Torrie sneaked in for a photo. Teo is just as fearful of insects as any of the girls and with his shoe in hand was ready to send the spider to a quick death. Quickly I pull his shoe out of his hand and I get a Ziploc bag and rescue that poor tarantula. Feeling sorry for it I get it away from the girls and up to an area where it can live and thrive without the possibility of being killed by someone's shoe. Courtney leads me to an area to release it and in the midst of doing so I hear there's another tarantula. Unfortunately that one wasn't so lucky. 

We're volunteers and we have to represent and make a good image. And when it comes to insects, tarantulas, and other creatures, everyone has to understand that we're in their home more than they're in ours. When I was younger I used to kill insects but my father would always say "what if someone did that to you?" Therefore I don't like to kill living things just because they wandered into my space. After all, chances are they never meant to visit me. 

Critters are an essential part of the tropical experience! They must be respected, and you'll appreciate it later on. The tropics are filled with dense plant growth, sticky heat, unique calls, and large insects. It's their home and they're there to stay, so enjoy it!

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