Weekly Photo Challenge: Sticky Gecko Toes

Weekly Photo Challenge is Texture

Last night two geckos were outside clinging to my kitchen window mating. This may be the best gecko porn I have ever photographed! I wondered how they pulled off their gravity-defying feat.

A little research led to the discovery that geckos can stick to surfaces because their bulbous toes are covered in hundreds of microscopic hairs called setae. Each setae branches into even smaller hairs called spatulae.

When the tiny hairs contact a wall, ceiling, or glass surface the van der Waals force kicks in. This physical bond happens when electrons in the molecules of the tiny gecko toe hairs interact with the molecules in the surface, like the glass. They create an electronic attraction. Who knew?

The balance of the forces and the angle of the hairs allow them to scurry across surfaces quickly. So, they really don’t have a sticky substance in their toes, it is all due to the physical forces of nature. Isn’t Physics amazing?

Other than Humans in Cuba and Mexico

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” ~Mahatma Gandhi

I take too many photographs when I travel. That’s the truth! Yet, when I review the photos I take, they all tell a story than I will remember. Cuba and Mexico had delightful birds, dogs, cats, reptiles, and other creatures. Surprisingly, they all appeared to be in good health and well fed…not like the animals we see in Nicaragua.

The birds of Cuba sang lovely Cuban melodies.

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Look Up! Thoughts on the Rio San Juan

“Have you noticed how nobody ever looks up? Nobody looks at chimneys, or trees against the sky, or the tops of buildings. Everybody just looks down at the pavement or their shoes. The whole world could pass them by and most people wouldn’t notice.”
― Julie Andrews Edwards, The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles

We just returned from a week’s trip down the Rio San Juan in Nicaragua. It is a 192.06 km river that flows east out of Lake Cocibolca into the Caribbean Sea. What a spectacular river it is! So full of life. But, you have to LOOK UP.

On the Rio Bartola, one of the thousand tributaries of the Rio San Juan, we met another boat. They are all pointing up at something. What could it be?
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Caiman Point

“Crocodiles are easy. They try to kill and eat you. People are harder. Sometimes they pretend to be your friend first.”
                                      ― Steve Irwin


The Punta Jesus Maria is a beautiful point of land on Ometepe Island. It entices many tourists where the sweet waters converge and swirl around a long, narrow spit of sand, which extends into Lake Cocibolca. It also entices investors, like the Chinese, who want to build a Tourist Volcano resort at this point for one of their tourism sub-projects.

The entrance to the Punta Jesus Maria spray painted in protest of the Chinese.

The entrance to the Punta Jesus Maria spray painted in protest of the Chinese.

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My Husband: The Snake Whisperer

“When a woman teams up with a snake a moral storm threatens somewhere.”
― Stacy Schiff, Cleopatra: A Life

Marina shouted across the fence, “Ron, Ron ven aquí rápidamente! Hay una serpiente en mi cocina.” “A snake?” Ron shouted back. As usual, it was after dark on a Sunday night, and we lost our electricity.  I swear, the weekend electricity guys flip a switch every Sunday night leaving us in the dark for two hours. I picture them snickering and snoring in the Union Fenosa office.
IMG_2600Ron and I grabbed a couple of flashlights and squeezed through the barbed wire fence separating us from Marina’s house. Marina was standing on a plastic chair in her kitchen waving the only light she had…her cell phone. “Quick, help me trap the boa constrictor in the wall,” she ordered. “We’ll kill it tomorrow.” Stumbling around the dirt floor kitchen, we spotted some bricks and covered the top holes in the cement block wall. Trapped for the night! We lent Marina a flashlight and whispered, “Sweet dreams” (because their three grand babies were sleeping) and headed home shaking our heads wondering what the next morning would bring.
IMG_2601Early the next morning Marina shouted, ” Ron, Ron ven aqui.” With machete in hand, she was determined to capture and kill the giant boa sleeping in her kitchen wall. Now, we are not snake killers. If they are not poisonous, we trap them and set them free. Boas are beautiful and they eat rats, which is probably why it was in her kitchen wall. But, tell that to Marina, a protective grandmother. A moral storm was brewing.

With a mirror, flashlight, and a ladder, Ron spotted the boa near the top of the hole. He tried pouring warm water down the hole to flush out the boa, but it only aggravated the enormous snake and it retreated farther down. So, Ron chipped a small hole in the cement block, found his tail and started p-u-l-l-i-n-g.
IMG_2603Meanwhile, Adioska was screaming, Marina had her machete in her hand, and Don Jose was comforting his grand babies. This picture is priceless. You can just feel the fear!
IMG_2604But, Ron kept p-u-l-l-i-n-g. That was one strong boa!
IMG_2606Success! Isn’t it a beauty! Marina rushed forward with her machete. “No, Marina,” I explained. “We’re not going to kill it. We’ll put it in a sack and take it far, far, away from your house.”
IMG_2608Marina wasn’t sure. “You’ll take it far away? she whimpered. “Certainly,” we promised. Meanwhile the boa was getting restless. It tried to wrap around Ron’s arm and he lost his grip on the boa’s head. It only bit him once. Jose ran forward with a big sack, and Ron dropped it comfortably into its temporary home.
IMG_2609I have no fear of losing my life – if I have to save a koala or a crocodile or a kangaroo or a snake, mate, I will save it. Steve Irwin
“Stephen, do you want to see the boa?” Ron said reassuringly. But, Stephen ran for his life in the opposite direction. “Dustin, do you want to see the boa?”  Dustin took a few tentative steps toward the sack. He peeked in and soon wanted to touch it. Maybe a new snake whisperer is born.

Ron took the wiggling sack to the new airport. Just as he set the sack on the ground to release the boa, a big, fat rat ran across the path. “Perfect,” Ron told the boa. It looks like it’s lunch time.

Have you seen the movie, Snakes on a Plane? Let’s keep our fingers crossed that we never hear the quote below. LOL

From the movie, “Snakes on a Plane” : Neville Flynn: [TV edit] Enough is enough! I have had it with these monkey fighting snakes on this Monday through Friday plane!