08 January 2007

The Gecko And The Scarab

I do not know what it is about my tiny balcony and the injured and dying creatures that seem to seek it out. A few weeks ago, it was a gecko.

I have the little guys all over my apartment. They come out at night to chow down on the bugs and other insects that are about. I have daddies and mommies and right now one or two babies. I talk to them on a nightly basis and they seem to respond to my voice.

Generally, they are on the ceilings or walls and stay off of the floor. Sometimes they cling to the outside of the living room screen window, but I had never before seen one on the floor of the balcony. Actually, I think the one I found was napping on the underside of the bottom of the balcony door, and when I opened it, he fell out.

At that point I was sure I had just startled him, as he didn’t dash off. I tried to get closer to see if he was all right, but decided that would only stress him out more, so went back to other parts of my apartment. When I went back later, he was still in the same spot. Maybe he was confused; it was still a few hours before dusk, and the geckos are nocturnal. When I next checked, I didn’t see him.

Relived, I stopped worrying about him and went on with life. But the next morning I saw that he was still there, although he had moved up to the inside of the door frame. This was not good. What do geckos eat? I couldn’t really catch a fly for him, although I guess I could have nabbed one of the spiders that also share my house. My only hope was a piece of lettuce.

I hoped he was just tired. I didn’t see any injuries, he was breathing, and his eyes were moving, but he certainly wasn’t going any where quick. I worried that he was in discomfort, but could not even contemplate stamping on him to end it all. After all, he might just get more chipper in a few hours.

For the next 24 hours, I kept a watchful eye. His location was never more than a foot from where I first found him. At this point, I knew he was a goner, but just couldn’t think of how to end it all for him. When the ants finally started to gnaw at his still living body, I knew it was time for Euthanasia by Freezer. I loaded him into a small plastic container and popped in the deep freeze.

And then there are the beautiful scarabs that fly in at night if I don’t have the screens closed. They are the most incredible, iridescent green, about an inch long. I often find them in the hall outside my apartment, dazed and confused, and hunkered down on the floor. It is easy enough to pick them up and toss them back out into the night. Or sometimes I find them dead inside my apartment, not really sure how they ended up there. I tried to preserve one with a craft varnish, but the ants started to eat right through it.
I had hung my clothes up to dry the other day, and noticed a scarab plastered to a t-shirt. Again, being day time, I figured he was snoozing. I completely forgot about him until many hours later when I brought in the laundry and threw it on the bed. Oh no! The scarab! I checked the shirt he had been on and saw nothing. I then checked the balcony, and he was lying on his back on the floor.

Gently, I picked him up and put him on top of the washing machine. He was alive, but certainly not flight worthy. Once again, I went for the lettuce, and laid a few pieces out in front of him. When I went back some time later, I was truly surprised to find that he was actually munching on the lettuce. Finally, a creature was responding to my attempts at first aid.

I left him there overnight, and he happily ate his way through a ton of lettuce and pooped all over the washing machine. But I could see he was never going to get airborne again. I had to freezer him. I knew that the ant invaders were lurking just around the corner, ready for a feast.

So now I have three, cryogenically preserved beings in the ice box. The praying mantis is still there. I want to dispose of them properly. Maybe wrap them together in little critter shrouds. But people go through the garbage here, separating out recyclables. Either my little buddies would be desecrated, or the cleaners will think I’m a witch. I should probably just go bury them in an empty lot. Whatever I do, I should do it soon. I would hate for anyone to go into my freezer looking for ice cubes, and end up with a mini-coffin instead.