A Room of One’s Own

And you thought that I didn’t have any roommates.

I was out of town for a week and a half for MCC retreat, and when I got back, I discovered that the geckos and spiders had taken over my room. I figured that this was a relatively small price to pay for the general absence of flies, wasps, mosquitoes, and rats.

I’ve always been fond of spiders, and the Wall Crab Spiders that are most prevalent here are harmless to humans, and presumably eat insects, though I’ve never seen one of them doing so. They’re about as big as a half-dollar and lie almost perfectly flat on the wall when not moving. They don’t spin webs. I’ve had a handful of them in my room since I got here. As I have a low startle factor for spiders, I like these just as long as they don’t die and plummet abruptly off the ceiling, which has happened a few times.

I don’t know that there are more spiders in my room now than when I left two weeks ago. What is true is that a particularly fine specimen has taken to hanging out either on my window or on the curtain.

The fellows that have really moved in are the geckos. When I first got here, I would see them occasionally, darting out of sight through the crack to the common area, or running in and out of the window before I got a screen up. I found them fascinating, but they were small and fast and camera-shy.

Not so anymore. They’re still small and fast, but since I’ve been gone, at least three of them seem to have decided that this is their room and than I am but a visitor. I’m sure they’d scramble if I made an attempt to actually catch one, but I got about fifteen inches away while taking this picture, and the fellow just looked at me.

I like to watch them. They stalk bugs, or each other, or wander around for no reason I can determine, and their feet make little whirring sounds as they cross the drawing S gave me that I have hanging up on my wall. Sometimes they jump from vertical surface to vertical surface, which I think is about the coolest thing ever, or they’ll do little dances around each other. I wonder if those odd circling skitters mean
“Get out of here, you upstart!” or
“Are you a boy gecko or a girl gecko?” or
“Hot, isn’t it?” or
“You are one good-looking piece of lizardflesh! Are you doing anything later?”
or something else that hasn’t even occurred to me.

My only complaint is that they sometimes leave little droppings (“poos,” as the safari guides would say) on whatever happens to be underneath them. But even the best roommate has some annoying behavior.

Roald Dahl named the lizards on his ceiling, or possibly one of his friends did. I think my three deserve something nicer than Hitler and Mussolini, though. There’s a little one and two bigger ones, the grayer of which is pictured above. Let me know if you have any brilliant ideas.

It’s always skinks at the office, but only geckos in my room.



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11 responses to “A Room of One’s Own

  1. Toby

    You could name them Kaspar, Melchior, and Balthazar. Or Athos, Portos and Aramis. Or Ron, Harry, and Hermione. Or Aglaea, Euphrosyne, and Thalia.
    This is fun.

  2. Esther

    Why don’t you ask them their names? They probably think it rude of you not to have when you’ve obviously moved into their home territory. Would you please include pictures of all three? I love the idea of living with geckos. Merry Christmas to you!!

    • No, no, no! This is Zambia. If you’re visiting someone’s home, you may announce your presence with “Hodi,” a sort of verbal knock, but the host initiates conversation. The guest just walks in and sits down if there’s an obvious free chair and waits to be addressed.

      No, I won’t include pictures of all three; I’ve taken approximately 30 photos of geckos and gotten two as good as the one I posted here. They’re surprisingly difficult to photograph. Or possibly it’s the light in my room.

  3. I love that gecko! I’m glad you have some company in your room. I suppose your ratties aren’t as nice as my ratties or you’d like them, too.

    Happy Christmas!

  4. Vorindi

    My sister thinks you should name one Liz (after Ms. Frizzle’s iguana) and another Suz (after the lizard from Talking to Dragons). She doesn’t seem to have come up with a brilliant idea for the third one yet.

  5. Erica

    You remind me of my old roommates when I was living in Hainan island, the most southern and only one tropical province in China, the many spiders and geckos I’ve lived with during the four years I was there. I’m sure they are different. Spiders there are smaller. They leave their cocoons everywhere. There’s something special about gecko in Hainan: they sing. They make noise like birds to claim their territory. Once they pick a place, they stay. I’m not as cool as you are to your roommates. I’m OK with spiders, but are terrified at the sight of a gecko. I can’t even look at the photo in your blog.

    • Too bad. At least you can be fairly confident of not having gecko roommates in your current surroundings. The roommates I’m not fond of (aside from flies and mosquitos) are mud wasps, who thankfully usually don’t stay for long, but are large, intimidating, and noisy when they do, and also like to build little nests on the walls and ceilings. One flew in the other day, sounding like a miniature jet plane and carrying a partially paralyzed caterpillar!

      I have to say that singing geckos sound pretty cool to me, although we might need to have some discussions about noise levels and quiet times, depending on what hours they keep.

      You can join my Zambian neighbors, who are TERRIFIED of chameleons (they think they’re poisonous) and will kill them on sight. Personally, I find this unfortunate, since I think the chameleons are even cuter than the geckos. I will admit that their odd, slow-motion method of moving might seem a bit freaky.

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