Spiders and Snakes and Ticks, oh my!

When we first arrived in Tanzania last September, the spiders that were hiding out in our cottage unnerved me to no end. However, what seemed very large at the time is now what I would call ‘the friendly size’, like a kids’ meal at McDonald’s.

Scary critters!

We’ve moved onto much larger ones now, like the Baboon spider.  When one of those is discovered it is announced by Steve yelling “Holy Sh!t!!! That has quickly become the last thing I want to hear from him. I know immediately it’s because of some horror that I don’t want to see. Recently he yelled it out just before going to bed, as he walked by the sofa and almost stepped on one with his bare feet.  Don’t Google this spider – you’ll never come to visit if you do*. And that little snake in our bathroom one evening? It was also announced in the same way. In fact, I have heard him say that phrase countless times in the past almost six months. It is never because of anything good, like we won the lottery, or something fun and festive.

Scary Critters, part 2…

But nothing compares to the seven-foot python that met its demise on the property while we were away at Christmas.

Ricky Again
Ricky, the Helmut Guinea Fowl

Sadly, we learned its last meal was one of the guinea fowl that used to roam the land here. There was a fussy pair of these birds that always stuck together – we had named them Lucy and Ricky due to what sounded like constant bickering.

Alas, Ricky is no longer. I will spare sharing the photo of that snake with you. I woke up to a picture of it (with its full belly distended) sent to us via WhatsApp one morning while still in Naples. Made me gasp, and I believe I yelled ‘Holy ShIt!’, even though we were 8,000 miles away.

In that moment I considered cancelling our return flight.  Somehow though I’ve worked through the angst of knowing that these guys are out there, in amongst the brush and grasses.  I’m really working on letting go of things that have previously scared me. Death is all around us, and in the bush it most often comes about in ways that are hard to witness.

But, then you think about how life goes on and do start to take everything in stride. And, there are baby eland and zebras galore now, so we get to enjoy the beginning of the life cycle with them just a stone’s throw away. It’s always what you focus on, right?

The guard dogs on the property have the occasional (alright, more than occasional) ticks on them which get plucked off by hand (not mine, mind you, but Steve’s or really anyone else’s that lives here). Followed by a smashing with a nearby rock or hard object, we do what we can to expedite their journey to tick heaven.

A few rather large geckos, pale and almost albino looking, live on our ceilings and walls. They are great at keeping six and eight legged critters at bay, so we happily share our space with these guys. One evening I watched a gecko on one wall intensely focus on a moth that had alighted on the adjoining wall. In a nanosecond it launched itself through the air on to the moth and consumed it in the blink of an eye. That poor moth never knew what happened.  I knew though I would be seeing the moth again the following morning, in the form of a lizard turd on our sofa.

We hope you’ll still come and visit!

So let us know when you would like to come visit and if we can help arrange your accommodations and book a safari for you – LOL! I promise, you’ll quickly get used to all the scary things as they really are few and far between. Your greatest takeaway will be how incredibly magnificent this country is – the people, the wildlife, the birds, the scenery, the culture.

You’ll be gasping too, but for all the right reasons.


*Baboon Spider – actually a very cool creature. I read all about it on an Instagram account I follow, and suddenly I felt I could co-exist with this creature after all. Not in our house, though, but outside is just fine!
Here’s a link to their post if you want to check it out: https://www.instagram.com/p/CYogMu2NdYM/ – make sure and read all about it. And then check out the rest of their account – an incredibly beautiful lodge called Ngare Sero. You might want to stay there a night or two when you come to visit.

*Featured image by Tanzanian artist Eduardo Saidi Tingatinga


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