This is kind of old news by now, but I finally had my first cacata in my house. Compared to some other volunteers’ sites, my site doesn’t seem to have as many – although I’ve heard multiple people here say that you can see the babies marching down the street when they hatch – and of the few I’ve seen in my site none had been near to my house. They supposedly come indoors when it rains to avoid getting wet, and we have had a lot of rain recently (esp. with Isaac having just passed), but if they are seeking dry, my house is not necessarily the best place to seek during storms as it usually gets wet inside as well. I had been on a pretty good streak, the mouse hasn’t made an appearance in a while, I don’t see many roaches anymore (and the few I have seen Tiguere has killed and eaten), no giant centipedes (just a bunch of the babies, which are easily disposed of), not even the chicken jumping up and down on my tin roof (although I had to chase a dog off of my roof last night and the roof is now bombarded by giant avocados falling from a tree which partially hangs over my backyard).
It was 11pm at night, there was no luz and Tiguere was nowhere to be seen – he doesn’t usually andar the calle at night, unless he gets himself accidentally locked in the colmado, so I called his name a few times to make sure he wasn’t causing trouble. With no response, I grab my flashlight and see that he is sitting staring into the bathroom … at a tarantula which is reared up ready to attack.
Still without a machete and too late to borrow a neighbor’s, I started a mental checklist of what I had in my house that I could kill this thing with. I’d heard of another volunteer using his bug spray like blowtorch to light one on fire and briefly considered using a frying pan, before I remembered all the scrap wood dumped behind my house which my neighbor and I have been building furniture out of. I ran outside, grabbed a piece of wood, paused to take a few pics, then bashed it. There are a lot of cacata stories that go around, including how they jump and will occasionally play dead, so I half expected this one to spring back to life as I carried the carcass outside.
A few nights later, again without luz, I hear some commotion next to my bed. Grabbing my flashlight, which I keep inside my mosquitero for just these circumstances, I figure it is probably Tiguere climbing over my med kit … which it was, except he was climbing over the med kit to get to a second cacata which had silently crept in the dark to within about a foot and a half of my face! As I wasn’t in the mood to get out of bed and go cacata killing, I figured I would see if Tiguere would kill it for me. He chased it under my dresser and the two stayed under there for a while without any sound. I shine the light under and see Tiguere lying down with no sign of the tarantula, great. With it already having gotten that close to my face, I didn’t really want to go back to sleep knowing that it was somewhere around my bed, but I by now I had lost track of it and Tiguere had lost interest. After much searching and throwing of the cat into and under the few pieces of furniture which I own (trying to get him to use his spidey senses to find it and herd the tarantula into the open), I noticed that the tarantula had doubled back on its tracks to where I had already searched and was now against the far wall under my bed. Working in our cacata bashing duo, the cat went under, chased him out into the open and I decided to give Tiguere a second chance to see if he would kill it himself.
The cacata did its best to escape, but feeling cornered reared up and with two legs poked at Tiguere’s eyes, at this point I intervened with my stick (now marked in bright red letters “HANDLE” on the non-hairy/gutsy side) and gracias a Dios we have been cacata free ever since.