You've never seen spiders like these. As big as your hand, striped or hairy legs, noticeable pincers...definitely nightmare-inducing (especially if you just happened to watch a movie with a certain creature named Shelob...I still remember waking up while scooting my pregnant body out of bed at triple speed. I dreamed a huge spider was over my bed.) Thankfully, the big guys aren't around too often.
Did you know scorpions are in the spider family? Oh, the things you learn from homeschooling! We actually haven't seen too many in our direct neighborhood, but our teammates once saw an interesting kind in theirs.
One time we were returning with baby Caleb from a few days away at a cheap self-catering hotel called "Bed in the Bush." It had a few bedrooms (one with an air conditioner unit!)...well, in the bush. As we drove up to the little camp, we saw baboons running away. I kept an eye on our little crawling tyke to make sure no crazy baboons would kidnap him. We found a scorpion or two in the bathtub there.
We couldn't stay long, because Seth need an MRI for his bad back. I still remember sitting in the back seat beside Caleb, feeding him cereal in the truck as we drove away early that morning, when suddenly a big black scorpion scuttled out from beneath a few books beside me on the seat, not a foot away!
"Augh! Augh! Stop! Pull over!" I screamed. Miraculously I held onto the cereal. Seth handles all critter murders in our family. I was sooo glad Caleb wasn't stung!
These aren't the little ones I remember seeing at college in Florida (which were the first I'd ever seen). These are 3 inches long. If you've ever been woken up to a 3-inch cockroach crawling on your arm or head...let me rephrase that. If you've ever woken up to find yourself frantically snatching at something crawling on you only to fling it away, turn on the light, and see a big brown cockroach--then you might be a missionary.
We were doing pretty well with exterminating these guys, but then in 2010 our one adult male church member died. We stored his widow's belongings when they cleared her little shack for visitors for the funeral. A whole cockroach colony moved in with that storage. It took at least a year before things were under control again. And these guys leave little marks of their presence all over the kitchen cupboards.
Unfortunately, I read in a kids' book (good ol' homeschooling again!) that cockroaches can live for a long time without eating (2-3 months maybe?) and that they can live off of cardboard. Isn't that depressing? No wonder they never seem to die in the attic.
On that optimistic thought, I'll leave you to enjoy the thought of summer approaching (those of you in the northern hemisphere, that is). :)
If you're a missionary, share your critter stories here!