Thursday, June 16, 2011

Kickass Costa Rican Wildlife: Geoff the Desk Gecko


Actual tarantula photographed in my first apartment here.  
Thankfully I am not very frightened of critters. Considering where I live, I would be a nervous wreck if I had any kind of insect or arachnid-based phobia. Especially now during the rainy season when all the tarantula holes are being flooded out by the constant storms we have that seem to only let up for a few hours at a time. I was also raised by a wild injun mother who always impressed on us that killing a spider in your own house is incredibly bad luck. I have carried that belief with me into adulthood more out of respect than superstition, but this has hamstrung me on more than one occasion. It would be so much easier to simply crush the dinner plate sized bird-eating spider that decides to just walk casually into your children's room. But I always opt for the trap and release method which results in a lot of screaming, climbing up on tables, and smacks from a broom wielded by a terrified Tica.

Luckily my office/man cave is offset from the rest of the house, and it is basically an enclosed portion of the back porch. I keep the door to the outside open the entire time I am here because few things are as intoxicating as the breezes here. That and during the day, I would roast like a chicken if it weren't open. But having this outdoorsy feel to my workspace comes with a very steep and often times terrifying price. On more than one occasion I have been enjoying some music and a videogame late at night with only the PC monitor for illumination, only to look down at my feet or glance somewhere on my desk and spot a multi-legged intruder. I can't express in words how awesome it is to be playing a game like Resident Evil or Alien vs. Predator, and then glance just a little bit to the side and see a real face full of fangs and beady eyes... Good times...

I first met Geoff on a rainy night about three weeks ago. I was up late playing Civ5 while listening to Free Thought Radio and sipping on some locally made sugarcane-based distilled goodness. Just happy as a clam. I was playing as the Mesopotamians, and I was well on my way to dominating the earth via scientific research victory. I was trying to find a way to get the Japanese to surrender a town to me when I felt something crawling on my mouse hand. I jerked it back and looked down to see a cockroach much larger than my thumb scuttling across the top of my desk. It had just walked across my fingers on its way to a corner without showing any fear or hesitation at all.

I respect spiders but I hate cockroaches, especially ones that make me spill my Cuba libre and interrupt my strategizing. I immediately looked around for something to righteously smite this little prick, but the trick would be not to destroy any of my equipment in the process. I realized that being buzzed and pissed off at the same time was a combination that tends to wreak havoc on expensive computer gear, so I sat back down and looked around for the thing to maybe figure out a smarter way of going about my revenge.

House Gecko macking on a spider
He eventually emerged from under my keyboard, and I saw him try to make his way towards my monitor. But he only got about halfway there before a head sprang out from behind it, also under the keyboard, grabbed it, and started crunching it down. As it was trying to work the huge bug down it's gullet, it creeped out from under the keyboard and I got to take a good look at my new found friend and officemate. Geoff is a House Gecko (Hemidactylus frenatus) about 4 1/2 inches long, and ever since that night, he has made random appearances either on my desk or the wall of my office. I literally cheered for him as he crunched down that cockroach and gave me the satisfaction of watching it happen. It wasn't a quick death.

He ate the bastard ass-end first, and it took a while to get it down. In fact, you could still see the thing's antennae twitching around as it disappeared. Unfortunately though, Geoff didn't want to stick around after his meal. As soon as I raise my glass to toast him, he darted behind my desk and shimmied up the wall into a corner. But I did see him again a couple nights ago on my desk again, chomping on a spider that probably would've mysteriously ended up on my head had he not dispatched it. And also, Paty (my fiancé) saw him walking up the wall in the twins' bedroom the night before last, just being his kick ass self.

He always ends up disappearing before I can grab the camera, but one day I'm gonna snap a shot at him while he's in action post it for you guys.I've owned dogs, cats, snakes, and even a hamster. But no other nonhuman resident of my house has ever been more welcome than this little guy. I would never want to put him in a cage as he performs a very valuable service for me and my family, but I wanted to show you a little video that demonstrates incredible quickness and acrobatics these little guys have...


So it's been communicated to me that maybe you guys would like to see more bastard wildlife as well? Let me know, and I'll mix them up a bit! 


14 comments:

Patti D. said...

You are really brave, I could never share a roof with those animals, NEVER!!!

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phosports said...

looking at spiders dont freak me out, when i cant see them it freaks me out

Zombie said...

blehhhh... spiders... :p

A Daft Scots Lass said...

Holy Fucking Crap on a Cracker!

The_illustrative_Mind said...

I need 5 of those ASAP!

Banacek said...

You could set up cage matches between the various bugs and lizards that live there and make money that way. Just a thought.

Melanie said...

Ok, this just went from "when" to "if" solely based on the picture of the tarantula. IF I ever take you up on your offer and visit you and your lovely family, you best put Geoff on alert. He shall watch over me when I sleep.

Gloria said...

I dont like spiders my dear Aaron!! and Esperanza hates them! thanks by your lovely comments my friend, hope all of you are OK specially the twins!! lot of work! didn´t?? but the time go fast! look mine! je,je gloria

Kicking Rocks said...

lol that spider looked bigger, or is that gecko huge???

Autumnforest said...

Jeez, it's a fucking war zone in your home, huh? You might have a terrifying remake of "Them!" on your hands if you start filming the grizzly power matches between badass bug versus badass lizard versus badass spider.

ed said...

didnt know geckos were so useful, need to get one myself

Astronomy Pirate said...

Yeah, spiders don't bother me much either, but there's plenty of them in my basement. I kill them more for being pests than fear. Also, geckos and other reptiles are totally awesome, that video was amazing, munching on the butterfly.

Megan said...

gross.

i guess...i like wildlife, but it would have NO business making an appearance in my apartment without invitation.

(here comes a random nonsense story) when i first moved to texas when i was in the military, i was walking outside and saw a tarantula!!! i freaked out (ok...im from virginia...we just don't have those things there)and had my friend run inside to our dorms and get a shoebox of mine. i got the spider in the shoebox and took it inside to our command staff and told them someone lost their pet. yea...you basically can get where this is going ;-)

have a great weekend!

Jeff said...

I have a house in Costa Rica too, and the insects are amazing. Love your blog.