So one afternoon, the Earth Goods animal mob starts making all manner of racket in the production bay. There was barking, hissing, the sound of paws and claws scraping across the concrete, and all sorts of alarming noise coming from the corner nearest the bay door. I dropped what I was doing and hauled ass, because there are a variety of possibilities that could be the source of the chaos, and a lot of them are just not good to think about.
For one, there’s a mature Black Widow Spider that makes her home in that corner. She is secretive and keeps to herself, often skittering into a narrow space between the bay door and a nearby cabinet if she feels threatened. I don’t mind her being there – I think she’s way cool, but I am also keenly aware of what could happen if she was unfortunate enough to draw the attention of of the cats, and heaven forbid should she lose her mind and take off across the floor – I have no doubt that she would not survive the experience, and there’s the distinct possibility that she might take one of the dogs or cats down with her.
Then there’s the snakes that occasionally decide they’re tired of life in the great outdoors and would like to move uptown. They will make their way in under or around the door, and take up residence in the first hiding spot that they come across. Then I have to fight my way through the wall of furry bodies to see exactly which one of us – the snake or me and the animals – should be the most concerned. Normally it’s the snake that has more to to worry about, as the ones we usually encounter are non-poisonous and are more bluff and bluster than actual fight. However, it pays to be cautious, because every once in a while, one will surprise us, sporting diamond shaped pupils and big fangs. They warrant the donning of gloves and covering up exposed skin before removal is attempted, for sure, because the goal is to return them to the outside without harm to us OR the snake.
A lot of the time, the fuss is about a five-lined skink that creeps in and then climbs the walls frantically upon realizing his mistake or one of those giant hornets who are capable of carrying bomb racks should the notion strike.
However, the intruder on that day was totally unexpected – it was a very large, very pretty Rhinoceros Beetle that was on it’s last leg. Gauging his level of maturity to be quite far along, I figured he didn’t have many days left anyway, so I decided to see if I could make them pleasant for him. I picked him up and he clasped onto my fingers – Rhino Beetles are not in the least dangerous and can cause no harm to you, despite their ferocious apperance, so I was not at all concerned about rescuing him from the mob bare-handed.
I took him into the kitchen and stuck him on my shirt while I rummaged in the fridge for some goodies for him, ultimately deciding on some melon pieces. After putting one in a bowl, I set him down close to the treat and watched to see what would happen. The response was instantaneous and more than a little humorous – he trundled over to the melon and tasted it. Then he got closer and closer to it until he was grasping it. Gradually, as his intoxication grew, he began to tilt to one side and eventually ended up keeled over, grasping the melon like a baby would a bottle. He stayed that way for hours. I figured he was in a sugar coma, but what the hell – he was obviously in ecstasy, and I was willing to bet it was the greatest moment of his life. Following his binge, he woke up spry and spritely, and remained that way for the duration of his stay with us, eventually succumbing to age.
What unusual critters have you been fortunate enough to share your space with?