Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Near Death Experience

This week, we found a new visitor at home. We are no strangers to visitors in the house like the usual assortment of lizards, crickets, spiders, and small flying creatures. The lizards and spiders are friends mostly, as they eat the malaria-ridden mosquitoes that sometimes find their way inside our doors. The crickets are just funny, as they flop around and get completely disoriented. And the kitten-sized rats and lower-on-the-food-chain snakes have yet to penetrate our fortress. But this time, we came perhaps closer to death than ever before inside the comfort of our own home. While sitting on the couch reading a book I noticed a flash of movement beneath my feet that ran from one piece of furniture to another, and this one wasn't familiar.

This little guy is what we uncovered, and he was pretty quick moving when threatened. Using our incredible skills of discernment, we assumed that this bug was not a good one to have around, and we might want to use care. In the days following, we learned that the creature is known as Tandu in Swahili, and I'm not yet sure of the English or Latin name. A bite from the Tandu will not kill you directly, but will certainly send you to the hospital (we're told), as his poison will make you swell up like a balloon with leprosy. Many people however, have allergic reactions to this fella's bite, and their lungs as well swell shut... we hear that's not good.

In this photo, our friends are helping us to attack, capture, and kill the poisonous creature (the size of a small pencil) with the most sensible thing we could find: a machete. The best quote of the night came from Aaron. In response to "I'm trying to help you," and my attempt at scooping the bug onto the machete, he said, "I'm trying not to kill you!!" In the end, the little critter was cut in two, thrown outside, and the next day we mopped the floors.

So who's ready to come visit?

Swahili word for the day is Tandu, and it's that thing in the pictures.


the bradley effect said...

Wikipedia has a reasonable explanation:

The Tandu are a fictional extraterrestrial species from David Brin's Uplift Universe. Physically they are a spindly insectoid species. They are capable of regenerating severed limbs and even heads. If forced to humiliate itself by conversing with a member of an alien species as an equal, a Tandu will cut off one or two of its own legs as a form of ritual purification. A Tandu who has been deemed by his superiors to have failed unforgivably is expected to commit suicide by cutting off his own head (the body survives and eventually grows back a new head, but presumably the original personality dies with the brain).

Paul R said...

that critter looks like one of those dragon floats in a chinese new year parade

Anonymous said...

the Internet dictionary I found translates it to Centipede and is not dangerous

Michael & Joe Joe said...

I think I like the extraterrestrial explanation the best. It seems the most likely!