Jungle Zoo Madness Part 1 of 3: Uninvited Guests

Saddle-backed Tamarins feasting on the bananas in the store room.

Saddle-backed Tamarins feasting on the bananas in the store room (photo taken by Anouk-Lisa Taucher).

When you live in the middle of the jungle, it is inevitable that some wild animals will in some way or another make their home amongst you.  In many cases, this is not really based on anything that can be seen to resemble a mutual understanding.  Some we adopt, whilst some “adopt” us, without us having much of a say in the matter.  Some animals “pay” for their accommodation while others just expect to be accommodated like the Saddle-backed Tamarins that raid the banana store every afternoon.  There are also always the kind that initially appear to be so “cute” and “adorable”, but soon their true colours are revealed and their deviousness and impure intentions are unmasked for all to see.

One such instance was when we moved into our new room next door to Kevin and Anouk (the other Resident Naturalist couple).  They have been telling us about the very ‘adorable’ rats that live in their wall.  Adorable only because they have babies that “meep-meep” in the night.  Seems harmless enough…  During their stay in our walls, they have engineered a network of entry points into both our bungalows – gaping holes that they seem to love gnawing on in the middle of the night.  The turning point for me was when I first encountered one of these critters in my bathroom.  Instead of running away from me like any decent rat would do, it just stared at me as if I was the one intruding on its space – the nerve! I started lobbying for the removal and, if possible, the destruction of these intruders; especially because they kept me awake all night with their incessant gnawing and squeaking.

Regrettably, I did not receive much support from our neighbours.  That was until the night of the Snickerbar… Anouk gave Kevin half of her Snickerbar when they worked in the field, but Kevin decided to save this precious snack for later.  When he finally decided that it was time to reward himself with this chocolate delight, he discovered that the rats devoured his Snickerbar.  They climbed into his backpack and STOLE HIS SNICKER!  Kevin made the very wise decision there and then, that the rats need to go and that the only way to achieve that is to burn down the entire bungalow with the rats still inside – they deserve no less!  DIE EVIL SCUM OF SATAN!  Fortunately, Arles, our trusted friend and local super hero, came to the rescue and simply closed up all the holes, which, strangely enough, kept the rats at bay so far.  The only sign that they have ever been there are the fleas they left behind in Kevin and Anouk’s bed…

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