In two days, we saw a variety of critters and I’m sure there will be many more. At the resort, there were the “house geckos” with us in our cabana – again a throwback to our Guam experience, where we always had a few hanging out with us. Dinner at the bar / restaurant brought out a species of tree frogs which apparently worship sconce lighting (okay, or maybe it’s the bugs that are drawn to the glow). And then there’s the now-infamous lightning bugs – Bill was speaking and I kept getting distracted by little blinks of light in the windows behind him, until I finally remarked, “Either you’ve got lightning bugs here or there’s some single-eyed organisms out there looking in.” Hey – in my defense, I was so tired by then (see previous “fried brains” post) that speaking in complete, much less coherent, sentences was getting beyond me. After a long pause, Bill said: “Well, I’d say something but I don’t know you well enough yet.” So my husband graciously supplied the punch line (I’ve got yer one-eyed organism right here!). After the group laugh at my expense, I suggested that, on that note, we head for bed.
We were solidly asleep and awoke in the dark to some cacophony that sounded like a flock of geese going berserk. Monkeys?! Birds?! Not sure, but eventually they quieted and after a while our pounding hearts did too.
I asked Bill about it in the morning and he said, oh, those are chacalacas – a bird sort of like a pheasant, and common in Belize and other warm places; and that something in the forest must have disturbed them roosting.
Chacalacas! I thought I loved Belize already, but now I LOVE Belize. Any place with an animal called a chacalaca is my kind of place.
But wait a minute, back to the “something in the forest that must have disturbed them roosting” – oh, it was probably a jaguar. Yes, I knew they have them in Belize, but I assumed they were probably further inland – you know, some place where I wasn’t going to be living. Apparently, not. Les and Michelle have seen jaguar cubs on the road before, and one of Bill and Jenny’s dogs was hurt quite badly by a jaguar after treeing it, just off the trail to the Mayan ruins nearby. Well, okee dok, then, we have jaguars.
Les and Michelle also reported that they found an injured toucan, named it Skittles (!), and tried to nurse it back to health, but it didn’t survive. So, toucans, too, which I also expected would be further inland somewhere. Also some brilliant orange and yellow birds I haven’t yet identified, and at least one persistent little fellow who wanted to fight its reflection in the side mirrors of our rental car.
The morning after the chacalaca incident (good title for a mystery novel? I may have to remember that), Ray was standing on the cabana porch looking out at the bay. I was inside getting dressed but also looking that way through the windows, when both of us saw something large-ish moving across the still water. It looked like a stick, except that it seemed to be propelling itself in a more or less straight line. Ray took off at a lope to see what he could see, but came back reporting that it must have just been a stick after all. Hmm.
Well – again, not. Another neighbor on the point greeted us later with “Hey, did you guys see the crocodile on the bay this morning?” Apparently the mouth of the New River (recall ferry crossing post) empties into Corozal Bay somewhere on the other side of the Mayan ruins, and the crocs occasionally foray out into the open water.
So – I’ll swim off the pier, but cautiously. And not alone. And probably not at daybreak or sundown. Or at lunch time, or before siesta, or … okay, just kidding. It’s not as if we don’t have alligators all over Florida, right? And panthers. And snakes and assorted other fun stuff. Just that, we think it’s our world, here – and it feels a little more like the animal’s world, there. Which might be a good lesson…