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Knowledge is Important

14 Aug

Over the past few months I have written several times about creatures that I have come across since I have been here. Those creatures have included snakes, scorpions, tarantulas, frogs, Howler Monkeys, and spiders. Some of the creatures are venomous and some aren’t but it is important to know which is which so you can be protected.

When my husband and I made the decision to come here one of the things we did in preparation was to research the types of animals we might run across. We wanted to be prepared. Back in my neck of the woods in Ontario the worst wildlife I had to deal with was mosquitoes. When I travelled up north then I had to be concerned with bears and snakes, and of course deer flies, black flies, and more mosquitoes. Those deer flies and black flies were painful and they generally travel in swarms.

But, as I didn’t travel up north very often these types of natural interactions were not part of my daily life. Here in Belize, though, that is a different story. I have come across 4 scorpions since being here, 3 of them alive. I have come across 3 snakes, two dead and one alive (just a small one in the back yard). I have seen a dead tarantula on the road.

I was visiting with some friends one day and the subject changed to the bot fly. The bot fly is pretty common right through to Canada, also called the gadfly or the warble fly. I never really knew anything about these flies until I got here though. The bot fly of Central America lays its eggs on mosquitoes and when the mosquito lands on you the hatched bot fly larva falls off and burrows its way under your skin, where it munches merrily away on your muscles. After learning of this one, I spent a few days researching and let me tell you the YouTube videos are gross.

And the ants – those things bite and sting, and just generally irritate my skin. I don’t know if it is just me but apparently the type of ant I am accusing of stinging me doesn’t bite. Yeah, well tell that to the little beasts.

The ants and spiders and scorpions that I have come across have decided to invite themselves into my home. This is where research is really important. You need to know what to do if you get bitten, how to treat yourself, which ones are venomous to people and which ones aren’t.

Whenever I have ventured out to the jungle I have always gone with at least one person carrying a machete. I haven’t seen anything during these jaunts that I would run from but I certainly would not want to go in unprepared.

I write this post, not to scare you away from visiting Belize, but to ensure that you are prepared to enjoy your visit. I went weeks before I saw any wildlife and it was a couple of months before my home was invaded by the scorpion and the spider. When you decide that you are coming to Belize, do your research about the wildlife that you may possibly come across. While some of them are more toxic to people, others are just magnificent. Listening to the Howler Monkeys brings a smile to my face. I have seen a female toucan, and I have seen so many different varieties of butterflies and dragonflies. I researched the type of animals I might run across before I came here so it wasn’t a surprise when I saw something that could inflict a great deal of pain on me.

Remember, knowledge is important.  And the more knowledge you have about the area you are travelling to, the less likely you will be surprised by what you find when you get there.

Huntsman Spider, Gecko, Fer de Lance, Scorpion

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Posted by on August 14, 2012 in Flora and Fauna

 

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