Halloween..blood oozing from the necks of peacefully sleeping victims..eight legged hairy monsters rising from graves weaving their evil doings..stinging devils ambushing the unsuspecting with a venom so powerful that the prey’s tongue is numb and unable to cry out for help.
Who needs to decorate for Halloween when your worst nightmares surround your every move in the tropics? Four vampire bats are sleeping in my coconut fronds, waiting for the dead of night. When they awake, a heat sensor in their nose will lead them to Princessa’s neck ( the pregnant cow sleeping in our yard) where the warm blood is closest to the surface. Walking on all fours with their bodies lifted off the ground, they will approach my magnificent sleeping beauty like an army of waddling miniature ghouls. With their razor-sharp incisors, they will make a neat incision without waking her. Then, the vampire bats will lap up her sweet blood with their tongues. Princessa will bleed for hours because the vampire saliva has an anticoagulant which causes the wound to seep for several hours.
The vampires will ambush Princessa night after night. The amount of blood that they ghoulishly lap won’t hurt her. However, diseases such as rabies and Chagas’s disease may kill her, if an infection from the bites doesn’t ravage her pregnant body first. The vampire bats quench their hunger with blood…all kinds of blood. It makes no difference if it is human, cow, chicken, dog, or cat. Blood…sweet blood…it’s all the same in their books. That’s why we sleep with nets over our beds. There are many blood seeking critters in the tropics. The vampire bats, though, are my worst nightmare.
If you have arachnophobia, visit the tropics for a big adrenaline rush of fear. It beats walking through a haunted house where fake, black plastic garbage bag tarantulas are hanging around on clothes lines. Come to our house for Halloween, where you can experience fear without paying a cent. We have hundreds of the hairy eight-legged creatures creeping around our porch, and burrowed in our garden. They are usually harmless to humans; the venom they inject with their fangs is no worse than a bee sting.
Actually, I have come to admire these slow and deliberate moving nocturnal predators. They are fascinating to watch. They spin a trip wire at the entrance to their burrows, alerting them of prey. Then, with their long appendages, they seize the insects, inject paralyzing venom, and liquefy the remains. They suck up the insect milkshake with their straw-like mouth openings..a tasty midnight snack. Yum!
I have nightmares about the stinging devils. I awake in a fearful sweat, unable to cry out for help because my tongue is numb like I just received a shot of Novocaine. Scorpions…hardy survivors of the fittest. They have an incredible ability to adapt to the harshest of environments. When food is scarce (insects mostly), they can slow their metabolism to a trickle, enabling them to use little oxygen, and wait out the insect drought. Yet, when prey is near, they can spring into action quickly. Did you know that if you put a live scorpion in the freezer, you can thaw it out in the sun the next day and it will walk away like it was just taking a little siesta? I’m on the hunt for an ultraviolet light because scorpions are fluorescent when placed under an ultraviolet light. UGH! Scorpions…my worst of worstest nightmares.
Happy Halloween everyone! If you are looking to be scared out of your wits, you are welcome to visit us anytime. Vampire bats, tarantulas, and scorpions celebrate Halloween every day of the year here!