Thursday, January 14, 2016

Of Mouserats, army ants and other small creatures

Earlier this week I prepared my second attempt at a Mouserat trap, using a design I found on the web in a rare moment of somewhat working internet. I baited it with peanut butter and oatmeal. The idea was that the mouse crawls into the tube to get the bait, and its weight makes the tube fall into the bucket. I filled the bucket about halfway with water, hoping it would drown. Otherwise it would just climb out. (Large bins are not easy to come by in the village.)

As I was doing that, the kids knocked on my gate. They had news for me-- the linthumbu (red driver ants) were back. Sure enough, we found them all over the grass in my yard, concentrated in the now abandoned termite mounds. (The termites left once the heat wave started up again). Great.

I put poison out where the ants were, getting bit on the toe by one of the large soldier ants in the process. Curse words did follow.

Then I saw this cool caterpillar by my house. Normally I might have tried to move it elsewhere to save my seedlings, but it's been so dry that I haven't planted anything yet. So it can chew on the weeds all it wants.

While I was inspecting the caterpillar, a little frog or toad hopped by in the dirt. It was the size of the tip of my thumb.

While I surveyed the ants in the fading light, a mosquito kept insistently buzzing near my ear. It's about that time of year again, I guess. First flies, then mosquitos.

Unfortunately, the Mouserat trap failed. The tube just fell into the bucket of water. I used a toilet paper tube for it, but I think maybe the tube was too small. As a Mouserat, it's bigger than most mice. So I will have to find a bigger substitute. The Mouserat seems angry at its near capture, as it is making a ton of noise tonight, and knocking over all kinds of stuff. Maybe it is hoping to keep me awake so that I will be too tired to try and trap it tomorrow night. Pretty good plan, actually.

All this, on top of normal stuff like cooking, doing dishes and lesson planning. I love nature, but I wouldn't mind a little less of it around my house right now.

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