My first snake encounter at the farm was a Wolf Snake. On paper, it sounds like it could be a scary creature of the night. It has backwards facing fangs! It’s nocturnal! In reality, it is a very small and harmless snake that eats lizards and cockroaches.
local name: Ahas Tulog (sleeping snake)
Picio our caretaker said that this snake is called ahas tulog because it keeps its head resting on its body even while it moves. Here it is scurrying away from the veranda, in regular snake fashion. It was curled up in one corner when Tonji spotted it. This snake grows up to 2 feet long. They are called wolf snakes because “the anterior teeth of their upper jaw are enlarged, but they are not venomous fangs.” (from this website)
That evening, the moon was so big and so bright that it lit up the sky.
This is the aerial show that greeted us in the morning:
Barn Swallows! At least 40 of them swooping through the air. They started off in front of the cottage, swept over the roof, and then moved over to the left side of the cottage. I was cheering them on, because I think they are responsible for our current, rather fly-free status! Go Barn Swallows! Swallow those flies!
video by Tonji Ramos using his phone
Some wasps were slowly building a nest on the top corner of our kitchen door. I was hoping that they were harmless, non-aggressive wasps so I could just leave them over the door to repel flies and ants. When I’m at the farm, I automatically go into conservation mode and am reluctant to harm even wasps. After some internet research and an inquiry on the Philippine Biodiversity Net group on Facebook, I had to accept that my wasp nest as repellant was a bad idea. Wasps will sting if they feel threatened.
Tropical Paper Wasp
Still, I didn’t want to kill them. I just wanted them to rebuild in a more suitable, low traffic area. Wasps are considered beneficial insects. They pollinate plants and eat caterpillars, larvae, and other insects. The recommended technique for driving away wasps is to smoke them away. Our caretaker Ruel decided to just knock down the nest with a stick instead of using smoke. About an hour after he knocked down the nest, the wasps came back with reinforcements! Our pair of wasps became 4 wasps, back at the same spot of their old nest! We used the smoke technique after that!
And here is a tiny feather that I found in the kitchen. Another surprise that turned up when I opened up the house. It’s probably from a Eurasian Tree Sparrow.
I wonder what I’ll find next!