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Penny's Peace of Paradise

A gringa and her family's adventures living in Costa Rica.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Sapos, Snakes and Things that Gnaw in the Night

I recently heard about the danger of toads(sapos) to dogs here. We lived through a whole rainy season up on a ten acre farm, without a sapo incident, but since we moved here our new friends have shared their personal experiences with us, and it's frightening! If a dog takes a sappo in their mouth, or just licks it, a hallucinogenic substance on their skin is dog poison. The dog will quickly go into convulsions, lose muscle control, and will die in short order without getting help. The dog needs to be given egg whites with milk to counteract the poison and save their life. I understand that there is something that you can get a the local pharmacies also, but knowing we have the antidote here at the house is comforting. I explained the danger to the kids, and what to do if they see our dogs messing with a toad. We all cracked and separated an egg and I showed them where medicine syringe was. Sure enough, the next afternoon, they saw our dog pawing at a sapo outside their bedroom window. I ran out in the pouring rain to chase it out of the yard, and we kept an eye on our pup for a while. Fortunately, he was fine. The poison presents as a is also a hallucinogen, and if the dog survives, they are apparently drawn to sapos in the future, this according to the locals here...

Our home in located in a valley, so the water table is just below the surface of the ground. Our landlord said we would get "large worms" coming up near the pool and finding their way into it during the rainy season. Now, I can put a worm on a hook for fishing without wincing, but if a worm is upwards on five inches long, and thick as your index finger...that's a snake, not a worm! I do not do snakes, can't even watch them on tv, deathly afraid!!! I have only seen a couple large slugs in the pool so far, much to my relief!

When we moved here, we bought whatever furniture and appliances we needed, but at the time, a nice bed was not in the budget. We bought a mattress, cement blocks and a piece of plywood, just like college days. A couple of days ago, it was two o'clock in the morning, and I awoke to a loud gnawing on the plywood directly below me. It was so vigorous, I could feel every scrape of the vermin's teeth. It had to be "rat sized" given what I was experiencing! I woke my husband who mumbled something somewhat reassuring and fell back asleep. So, hoping the vermin would resist the urge to come traipsing up on the covers, I scooted over onto my husbands side and attached myself to him so as to survive the rest of the night. The next day my husband caught the intruder, and of course he was one of those itty-bitty little mice that look like a dollop of whipped cream, have a British accent and wear red velvet boots. We are surrounded by sugar cane fields and now that the rains have begun the number of these charming interlopers has increased in our casa. As I have often said about my children, "Good thing they're cute!"


At May 23, 2009 at 9:25 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Greetings from your old Gringa friends - Alyssa, Jen, Chris and Sheryl. We are all gathered here to celebrate Ashton and Decker's birthdays!

We were reading your blog to catch up with your adventures. Hope you, Marshall and the kids are doing great!!!



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