Saved by a Tin Bag

 

Above. Evidence of its presence

An accommodation near a body of fresh water located in the remote tropics has its advantages, for example, the easy enjoyment of wildlife and water activities.  In addition, there are other adventures or “animal surprises,” as you will read here.

For over two weeks, I stayed in the same room, which was located seventy paces from the lakefront. Up until that time, everything went well while I stayed in that room, until one night, a few days after heavy rains.

I lay in bed. My eyes were closed, and I sensed something.

~~~

A few days prior, I finished the contents of a powdered milk bag, which was a large multi-liter size bag, which had a relatively thick water-resistant foil lining with a plastic zipper seal. I thought the bag would be suitable to store things, so I rinsed it out in hopes of reusing it. I stood the bag up so it could drip and dry. Through the day or night, the packet must have fallen flat on the floor, next to where I slept.

~~~

I thought I was alone, and I heard the crunch of the foil lined bag. My ears perked up. While half asleep, I panicked. “What the hell was that sound?” I looked over to where the bag lay, and it was just dark. I could not see a thing.

I got up and out of bed and tiptoed to over to look at the time: it was a little after midnight. The room was dark, and if a creature was in my room, I did not want to startle it, so I got a flashlight and shined it toward the place where the bag crunched.

Then, I saw something slimy looking and wavy. The light from my flashlight reflected off of its beady eyes. I still did not know what it was. Then, it moved a few inches over, away from the bed and towards the corner of the room. The move was not loud nor dramatic: maybe if it moved over a bit, it thought that I would not notice it, and it would escape my detection.

Aghast, I went over to turn on the bathroom light to make sure I did not hallucinate. Now, with more light, I could see better. Again, I shined my flashlight towards the corner, and two slimy creatures, one on top of each other, were in the corner. The one on the top was large. At its widest point, it was six inches wide.

Adults average 10–15 cm (4–6 in) in length; the largest recorded specimen had a snout-vent length of 24 cm (9.4 in) .
Brandt

“It looks like frogs,” I thought.

I thought the animals could be poisonous. Those slimy things could jump all around the room, especially if my room fan blows wind in the direction of these creatures. Right then, I decided to wake up the hotel host.

I threw on a suitable outfit and got my keys to the room and opened the door. Suddenly, one dog barked, and then split seconds later, three dogs started to bark, possibly startling the entire hamlet fast asleep in this remote place.

For fear a dog would come into my room or bite me, I abruptly closed my door.

I still heard no human response. I waved my flashlight out my window and continued to wave it. The dogs did not stop barking.

A minute or two later, my host, a local man in his 20s or 30s, from outside the kitchen, in the dining area, stood 50 feet away from me. A young woman and a seven-year-old boy were by his side. All were visibly still half-asleep. Then host asked: “What’s going on?”

I said, “There is an animal in my room.” I paused. “Two [animals]!!!”

As he came nearer to me, he asked, “What [animal] is it?”

With my arm and hand, I gestured a hopping action.

Rhinella horribilis. Photo by Katja Schulz.

He said some words I did not understand, probably, “frog.” Then he asked, “Where is it?”

I pointed to the corner in my room and then turned on the bright overhead fluorescent light. Then, in case the creatures jump all over the place, I walked away from the door of my room.

He went into my room, came back out, and seconds later, returned to my room with a broom or rake and dustpan, which was attached to a long handle.  He went into my room and came back out with the two frogs on the dustpan. When he tried to move the frogs off the dustpan, they moved a little, the young woman who was present recoiled. I recoiled too because she recoiled.

He released the frogs somewhere outside close by, while I went to my room.

Seconds later, he said the frogs came in my room through the door.

So, I said, “So I should close my door during the day?”

During the day, I usually leave it ajar, but once sunsets, I close my door. Then I thought. “I have hiking shoes that keep the door ajar. And my roller board suitcase keeps the door from opening further. Those two frogs hopped over my hiking shoes or sneaked in when I momentarily left the door open? How long have those frogs been in my room?” I thought. Just thinking about these things while I lay down crept me.

After the frog incident, I did not go to sleep until 2:30 am that morning.

I then sat on my bed and saw that one of the frogs left its feces on my computer cord. See the above picture of the feces on the cable.

Then I laid in bed. My mind was still active, and I researched the difference between a toad and a frog. “Were the frogs in my room poisonous?” and the curious part, “How do they mate?”

At that very moment, while I was in bed, I looked on the internet and I realized they were mating in my room.

As a side note, I had to go through this research process with every animal I interacted with or came across, or bumped into—whether egrets, ducks, exotic birds, horses, cows or other creatures. I looked at where, when and how they reacted and responded to my presence—whether they looked at me, avoided me, went away from me or bit me.

The more I laid down in bed, the more I decided not to mention, even in passing, about the recent frog encounter to the host, mainly for two reasons. As there are always some kids around the place, my true story could scare them.

Imagine if a kid knew that while he slept, there would be two slimy creatures next to him. If I were scared, kids could be just or even more scared by such an event that can happen to them as well. And, I would have to mention animals mating, which opens too many other topics.

I decided I will let my host determine what he wants to tell the young kid that was present during the “frog removal” or the others in the hamlet about why there was commotion from my room.

The next morning, by six a. m., two people were up and awake. Perhaps they slept through the dog barks and commotion the previous night. Then an hour later, I got out of bed.

Regarding the frogs, I interrupted their courtship, but life continues at the farm/nature and wildlife preserve in this remote part of Central America.

Epilogue


What was in my room on the night of April 21, 2020, were cane toads:
Rhinella marina (Bufo marinus) or Rhinella horribilis. The toads were giant, about six inches. I could barely see the legs as the body was much more pronounced than the legs. The size described and the pictured matched to be a toad.

Therefore, the toads in my room were poisonous to animals, and let us not find out how they can be harmful to humans. Instead, I went up against my next creature. Question: what is a small animal that can give you a hell of a time? See Chapter 3: Revenge of the Jungle Ants.


Biography
Brandt, Laura A.; Mazzotti, Frank J. (2005). “Marine Toads (Bufo marinus)”. Wildlife Ecology and Conservation 11. University of Florida.

Chapters

  1. This Side of the Hemisphere: Easy Access to Wildlife
  2. Saved by a Tin Bag
  3. Revenge of the Jungle Ants
  4. The Bird from Heaven
  5. The “Research” Center
  6. TBD
  7. What A Cow Would Do That a Sane Person Would Not Do
  8. What Stands Around A Lot and Is Ready to Strike?
  9. Wild Horses that Try to Mind Their Own Business
  10. Birds Take Turns to Pick Up Food
  11. TBD
  12. The Dizzying Calls of This “Concert” Bird
  13. The Birds That Keep Their Distance
  14. TBD
  15. TBD

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