Monday, 27 January 2014

Giant Centipede

We continue to wait for the Wet Season. We have lived here more than 20 years and have never seen the Wet Season so late. We have yet to see a cloud of white ants swarming to our kitchen light and there seem few spiders and insects. Yet with the recent slight increase in humidity and dampness amongst the fallen leaves, a creature most often seen during the Wet has surfaced: the Giant Centipede (Ethmostigmus rubripes), 7.5-16 cm (3" to 6") long.

Our bedroom has no electricity. When we retire in the evening, we use torches as we walk to the bedroom in order to avoid stepping on snakes, tripping on the stairs, etc. Once in the bedroom, we scan the room to confirm the absence of snakes, large spiders and centipedes.

Two nights ago, we found a Giant Centipede on the wall beside the head of the bed. Neither of us wanted to leave it there. Centipedes are night predators, they are simply looking for food, and they are not particularly aggressive unless you accidently or intentionally mash them. But, that many legs make me nervous....

So began the Giant Centipede Wrangling Event to evict the critter from our bedroom. There is room for only one person to stand beside the bed to begin the eviction. J volunteered. I stayed out of the way (hey, I wrangled the last one!) but attempted to keep my torch beam focused on the centipede. My Hero held his torch in one hand and a soft bristle push broom in the other. Hoping the centipede would climb onto the bristles for a ride out the door, J set the bristles gently next to the centipede. Instantly, the centipede dropped to the floor and began racing towards the dark under the bed. J plopped the broomhead in it's path and vigorously swept it toward the end of the bed, that is, directly toward himself. He then performed a short, mad dance. We both lost sight of the critter. We finally spotted the centipede, legs churning and again heading for the dark under the bed. Regaining his cool, J executed an elegant sweep of the broom, adding a masterful curve around the end of the bed and directing the centipede toward the door where the dog stood, looking puzzled. I got the dog to move after a tense moment. One last shove of the broom and the centipede disappeared off the far side of the verandah. (NOTE: no critters were damaged in this event.)

We both slept like logs. It's a good sign, finding a centipede: the Wet is coming.

Post by M in JaM

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