Over the last several weeks I have been the recipient of a variety of new ‘housemates’. Both desired and not.
First, Rat/mouse made herself at home in the back of the gas stove, and so I acquired a little calico cat from the village to find it. The cat had no name, and so I decided to call it ‘Maw’, which is ancient Egyptian for ‘cat’. “Maw!”
However, Maw was not interested in Rat/mouse, because 4 days ago she presented me with her own 3 little ‘rats! Now, she’s caring for these:
So I brought Bebe over from the village, whom I have had since about 2003, when he was given to me by a friend to baby-sit – but didn’t want him back. Now he lives in the village with the goats. He’s a good mouser, but also very destructive, and already has demolished one window screen. I think Bebe has done away with Rat/mouse, plan to pull out the stove tomorrow to be sure.
A few nights ago I was reading, and out of the corner of my eye thought I saw Rat/mouse – who appeared ENORMOUS. In fact, it was a huge toad. Toads like to live in a house during the day, and go outside at night to forage.
I have already 2 small ones (about 2″ long, each) who have decided to camp in the house during the day, and it is also quite ok to have this huge, new toad, who has already made hasty work of some of the cockroaches.
As to how toads can themselves be eaten in Africa, see here.
Last week one of the staff presented me with a very large tortueuse, who is living in the yard and coming in the house at night to stay in his box. Tortouses are pretty intelligent – he already recognizes me, and his water dish and his food dish (not necessarily in that order). Weighs about 3kg and is about a foot long.
I have a lovely Belgian Shephard, named Hamdy (after my Rhodesian Ridgeback of the same name who died of a parasitic disease.) Hamdy was given to me as a pup a few years ago by a Belgian who lives in the Congo and who breeds them. I wanted to breed him to Brochette, who is a lovely (and far less agressive dog) than Hamdy – both were being kept with the goat herds and so I got Brochette over to where I live a few days ago, but we decided not to bring Hamdy over until I can find another pretty agressive guard dog for the goats.
Other uninvited housemates that are more or less around all of the time include geccos (great for catching mosquitos and other insects), roaches (whom toads like to eat), and crickets (ditto).
Sometimes snakes come into the house – most, very poisonous – but I will do another blog about that, and other local wildlife that we generally try to avoid / keep out of the house.