Thursday, 11 March 2010

She is all legs

What you see above is a Scolopendra gigantea. They are almost everywhere in Venezuela.

I love mountaineering and trekking. When I arrived in Europe and went on trekking trips with Northern friends, they would ask me: why are you always looking at the stones and earth like that? I realised I was doing exactly what I had learnt to do in Venezuela as a wee child: always check out for poisonous snakes or insects before putting a hand in or on any spot. Of course, in Northern Europe you have to watch out for loose stones and the like, but you don't really have to be as cautious as in Venezuela when it comes to avoiding small animals. In fact, even at my home, which is in a city but right next to a mountain, I would always check shoes or boots I had left outside by pressing them through before putting my feet in. Poisonous ants were always hard to spot.

My brother forgot the drill once and he got stung by a scorpion. It was extremely painful for him and had he been smaller it could have been fatal.

Scolopendrae gigantea eat, among other things, tarantulas. You would not like to put your toe into a shoe with one of them inside. They can easily reach a foot long or long for your foot. Well, you would not want the tarantula either.

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