Critters and Creatures – Oh, My!

An elegant iguana at the Westin Golf Resort in Conchal, Costa Rica

Since I began my travels, back in August 2015, I have run into a wide variety of living things I might not have had the pleasure of meeting if I hadn’t left home.

The first and smaller scorpion – in Portreo, Costa Rica

While I had been introduced to bark scorpions in Arizona, by waking up with one just six inches from my face, I hadn’t ever seen the huge black variety until I found one in my shower in Costa Rica and two in my kitchen in Guatemala. Hands down, scorpions are the scariest creatures I’ve run into – up close and personal at least.

One of the geckos in Phnom Penh

I have had resident geckos several times – first the ones in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, who lived on the walls of the downstairs restaurant. In Siem Reap – again Cambodia – I had a very noisy one I named Gary, who got very pissed off when I turned the lights on at night. Now I have Ernesto and Benito (thanks, Beth, for the names), two friendly rather flat geckos that chase each other around my shower mostly.

brown bat
Brown bat – not cute


Last week, my landlord and her handyman had to beat ten bats to death. They were establishing a colony in the upstairs outdoor living space and had to be eliminated. To her credit, Rosie tried to get animal control come out and relocate them, but no go. I had been sleeping with my window open (no screen) at night and was a bit freaked out, but I recovered my composure and am now back to open air sleeping. I researched the sound brown bats make and am on alert for that chittering sound should they try again to make our “arriba” their home.

This terrible photo is proof I actually saw this thing. See the next picture for more
seven-legged spider
Yes, there is a such a thing as a 7-legged spider!

I have been through two stages of spider fright – paralysis and acceptance. Paralysis occurred when I spotted this horrific thing with suction cups for feet on a wall in Bali. It was outside, so not much I need to do about it, except to return to breathing eventually.

For some reason, I was fine with a biggish (about the size of a quarter) spider in Guatemala because it crawled on me but didn’t bite me. I screamed and shook my leg and it went flying. Later, I frequently spotted it but couldn’t bring myself to kill it and it was way too fast to trap. I have forgotten the name I gave him – it might have been Frank – but one day I found him lifeless and removed him to the outdoors.

I enjoy iguanas and they are everywhere in Costa Rica and I’ve even recently spotted one here in Manzanillo. They’re basically friendly and everyone knows they eat bugs, so … okay.

A young howler monkey.

Finally, my absolute favorite critters – howler monkeys. I can’t remember if I’ve already told this story on the blog, but a re-telling won’t hurt. Vanessa (my daughter) and I were in Playa Grande, Costa Rica, and I was trying to build a client base on Upwork so I was writing outside by the pool at 4:30 a.m. when I heard the most ferocious growl. I froze and it came again. I knew it wasn’t very close but it was extremely loud and my first thought was that it was a jaguar. I decided it probably wasn’t going to eat me and went on writing after a short exploration at the gates to our hotel. The next morning the owner laughingly told me it was a howler monkey and it was only about a foot tall. What?! I came to love their sounds and would wake most mornings in Potrero, where I stayed for a month. I tried hard to get a picture couldn’t manage a decent one, so I’m adding the one above plus here’s my own attempt.

Not much after an hour of trying to get a decent picture.

In Potrero, Costa Rica, I also frequently ran into lovely gentle creatures, cattle. I was always a bit thrilled to walk alongside them.


A whole family of cattle, with several calves


I’ve rather enjoyed my encounters – even the scary ones – because they add a little flavor to life. I will however pass on sharks, gators and such.

This iguana stood perfectly still as I took a pictures of its evil grin


Author: Kathy Lynn Hall

I've embarked on the lifestyle of vagabond as a solitary woman and I'm excited about sharing my experiences with you.

2 thoughts on “Critters and Creatures – Oh, My!”

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