One of the major adjustments we have to living in Bali is dealing with the bugs and other creatures. Back in Mount Hawthorn (Perth) we thought we had an ant problem. That is nothing compared to our kitchen here. The Balinese style housing with open kitchen and living areas is appropriate for the climate, but it also means the house is open to nature, and there is plenty of nature around here.
You cannot leave anything out on the bench or it will be covered in ants before you know it. We have invested in sealable containers to lock away food, and a lot of other food has made it to the sanctuary of the fridge.
The little ants invade our food, but it is the big ants that we have to look out for, as they bite! If you step on them (which is highly likely as they crawl around on the floor) they give a nasty sting that has caused a few tears around here.
Our first introduction to the wildlife in our villa was the huge resident spider right above the shower in our bathroom. The housekeeper soon took care of that, though a smaller spider has taken over the spot almost immediately, and there is probably no shortage of reinforcements after that. A big stick is handy every time you take a shower.
The spiders are actually on our side, if you consider that they catch and eat mosquitoes. There is a high risk of catching Dengue Fever from the mossies so they are one of the Bali bugs we want to avoid. The use of insect spray, application of Rid and sleeping under a net has not stopped the kids from getting bitten. We don’t know the solution to that one.
We have a pond running down the side of our villa, with a few fish and frogs. They are not as numerous or loud as the place we stayed in Ubud a couple of years ago, but after it rains we find frogs jumping through our kitchen. You have to tread lightly when walking around at night.
Maybe the snake we found under the kids’ bed might have been looking for frogs. We didn’t know if it was a dangerous one. We called in the house keeper, who to our surprise was a little afraid too. We live right in front of the rice fields, and there have been a few sightings of snakes around the property in just the few weeks we have been here. This one was long but very skinny, but on the main road near here we saw a very large snake squashed by the traffic, we wouldn’t want to find a live one that size in our house.
Rob opened up a draw to see what was inside, and to his surprise, a mouse jumped out. We have found his hiding spot and have seen him scampering across our lounge room a few times now. I think he raids the food in the bin, but he doesn’t bother us too much.
The ants and beetles seem to be attracted to the toilet if it hasn’t been flushed. Unlike Perth, where you try to conserve water by not flushing every time, you have to flush otherwise you’ll find all sorts of surprises in the bowl!
They keep on coming. Today we found another creature on the toilet seat.
There are squirrels here too. We think they go for the coconuts, and occasionally our bin during the night.
Geckos are another creature we are happy to have about. They remind us of our time living in Darwin. They are very inconspicuous, the only sign being their interesting clicking noise, and their droppings, and we don’t like it when they leave them on our heads or in our plates at the dinner table! We have a giant one that lives above our bed, fortunately our mosquito net catches all his droppings before they land on us. We haven’t managed to get a photo of it, as he is very elusive and only comes out at night. We also found one in the fridge in the morning, he was looking cold and not too happy when we opened the door.
It is nice to see dragonflies around the garden, another memory of Darwin. We have a couple of them that are seen at the same spot each day zooming and fluttering around catching insects. We have named them appropriately zoomy and fluttery. We are fairly sure that zoomy is crazy because it literally just flies back and forth in the same 50cm line just above the water for hours in the evening. Back and forth, back and forth, back and forth…dizzy now!
The geckos are not the only lizards around our house, there are a few of these bigger ones living in our gardens. They have a lovely yellow stripe down the side of their torso. They are always quick to move out of your path.
It has been a surprise to see so many scorpions in the house. It is not an insect we have really come across before in the wild. We are not sure if they are dangerous but we keep our distance anyway, as we don’t really want to find out.
Not sure what that is above. Is that a cicada? We certainly have plenty of those around as we hear them. There are always unidentified insects around. A cool grasshopper on our bed netting?
We also have plenty of cockroaches about, not much different to our place back in Perth.
One day a chicken walked through our living room. Why? Getting to the other side we assume.
There is also a mysterious animal that comes during the night, and rummages through our bin – we think it is a cat but we have not caught it in the act yet. Maybe the mouse? or the possum?
Having gardens as part of the house means all the usual garden creatures are living by our side. Butterflies …
and snails …
We have compiled a fairly extensive list of creatures, not bad for only having been here for just a few weeks. Initially it was hard, but what we have learned is to let them be, trying to be one with nature, unless they jump on us – then they die. But generally, if you leave them alone, they will do the same thing? There is sure to be more to add to the list, so stay tuned!
“Rob, Before you publish the latest blog, you need to add Komodo dragon. No kidding, I just saw one in the bathroom! It heard me going to the toilet, so I was sitting down and then I heard it climbing up the tree and away, it was unbelievably huge. OMG”