So things move at a different pace here in the Costa Rican jungle. After the relentless onslaught of Venezuela my body was in need of a change… and what a change it got!
Being completely alone in the jungle has some real benefits. Being at one with nature… becoming attuned to the ebb and flow of jungle life… having all the time in the world to ponder life’s great imponderables. All was going so well, so peaceful, so perfect…. until they showed up!
Geoff warned me to be aware of a possible nighttime incursion. He told me it would be swift and without warning. They would swoop in, undetected, do their damage and then disappear like shadows. If I’m perfectly honest I thought these were the ramblings of a Yorkshireman who been alone for WAAAAAY too long… no, no, no Fray! Heed the crazy man’s words!
And then they struck!
The only warning I had was when the dogs whimpered off. They were keeping curiously far away from their bowls… and then I saw.
The Toad Wars had begun!
I’m a lover of most animals, with my well documented exception being mosquitoes, as well as spiders and cockroaches. Everything else gets a VIP pass in my world! Slugs, vultures, yaks… the more the merrier! The same has always gone for my amphibian friends… that was until I met Bufo Marinus!
So what’s my beef with El Sapo Grande? Geoff initially told me that they come onto the patio, climb into the food bowls and eat all the pet food. Most normal pets would take umbrage with this and kick their asses themselves… no, no, no! Our pets are wusses! They’re scared of the big fat poison sacks the toads carry around behind their eyes:.. well yeah, okay, point taken. So this is where I step in… they drafted in the big guns!
First night… boom!
So the dogs and cat hate them (and pet food isn’t cheap around here either!) so I dutifully get to work with my broom, gently shooing him along until he hissed at me! DUDE! You climb in my bowl and then have the cheek to hiss at ME when I turf you out? Keep moving before I get all French on your ass! (Editors note: What? Eat some cheese and surrender the broom? Bad example! And it’s Frogs you dimwit!)
So that’s how the next few nights played out. The dogs would freak out, I’d turn into Nora Batty and shoe them along. A peaceful co-existence.
But no, they just couldn’t be happy playing out or nightly little game… they had to ruin it. How? I hear you ask… they sh#t on my patio!
Now I’m a tolerant guy. If they weren’t happy, all they had to do was say. Raise your grievance in a civilized manner……….. YOU DON’T DEFECATE ON MY PATIO!!! You’ve got a whole freakin rainforest to pooh! Why on my patio??? And it’s not just one dump! No, no, no! They spray their fecal matter all over the place! Sticky, smelly piles of turd scattered around the grounds!
I spent nights watching the patio… broom in hand… waiting, watching! I’d see one approaching and pounce, sending the little blighter hopping back into the jungle…… but sneaky toad soon grew wise to my tactic! They employed counter measures. They tried sneaking in from different directions, coming earlier than usual… they even tried waiting me out! For a few nights I sat up until the wee hours, standing my ground, but this soon began to take a toll on my health and sanity. Then one day I snapped. It was around 4pm. I had over 2 hours to prepare myself before the nights onslaught. I put the kettle on and waited for it to boil. It whistled. I stood. He hopped!
THEY WERE IN MY HOUSE!!!
That was the last straw. Desperate times called for desperate measures. I got straight on t’internet and downloaded a copy of Sun Tzu – The Art of War!
Ol’ Sun was a pretty clever guy!
It was clear that my strategy thus far was massively flawed. To beat my enemy I must first know my enemy! And so I hung up the broom, retired my banshee wail and simply observed. What did they want? The pet food was now raised way out of reach… so why did they return? Was it just a nice place to wipe their bums? I needed to understand their thinking… so I watched. For days I watched and photographed. There are some big fatass toads out here!
I discovered their secret entrances/exits and plugged them. There would be no more ‘toad in the house’ incidents! (“Praise be to Jebus”, said my fragile mind!)
Still they came… night after night. And then I began to notice a strange trend:
After hours of research I learned that they are quite adept at managing the local mosquito population, and after careful observation I witnessed them chowing down on the winged devils. My position instantly mellowed.
If you eat your quota of mosquitoes you can flatulate all over my doorstep! HELL, I’ll even provide the toilet roll! Come on toads!!! Tuck in!