Looking out my backdoor.

After a week that saw us eating beef tongue and armadillo tamales, the banana republic has decided it's more fun to bring live animals to gringos. This week has seen three new friends at the Eldridge Ranch.

1. Mangero

So, I got a call last week from Steve DeLisle who was here working.

"Kaleb, are you at your house?"
"Okay. I'll be there in a few minutes. I have something for you."

I thought, "Alright, more cans of Skyline chili!" What I did not think was of a miniature green toucan on stick. But as surely as the sun rises, when Steve arrived, he arrived with Mangero, the mango-eating Emerald Toucanet. 

Although I felt awful for keeping him tied-up, he was pretty neat. The plan was to keep him around a week or two to see if he was going to do okay in captivity, and if no, let him go. Unfortunately, Mangero went all Patrick Henry on me and chose death instead of life without freedom. I found him lifeless on the floor of the shed on our second sunrise together. Give me liberty or give me death indeed. Sorry about that buddy.

2. Huge nameless snake.

A couple of teenage guys came walking into the yard with a big feedsack suspended from a pole they were carrying with big smiles on their faces. "This," I thought, "will be good." Sure enough, I was pleased with what was in the sack.

Caption Foreground: Big dumb happy white man, with big dumb unhappy snake.

 Caption Background: Big dumb, prideful turkey.
What was presently unceremoniously dumped from the sack was a 7-ft long common boa constrictor with a girth alarmingly similar to my leg. It was a beautiful, dumb, slow-moving creature. Our neighbors thought that it would make a charming pet, Stacey however, disagreed. I had also instantly come to the conclusion that I had no interest in giving it food.

The snake himself and the feathery reason that everyone here kills them. (These things eat chickens.)
As opposed to seeing the thing go the way of the toucan or the machete, we threw him back in the sack and drove him down to a nice deserted area and let him free. I assume he's now happily eating someone else's chickens down that way.

3. The rats.

In addition this week, we received some useful additions to the family known as guatusas. Apparently, they're actually Central American Agoutis. For rodents, they're fairly cute and unobtrusive, kind of a mix between a rabbit and a guinea pig.

The reason we say they're useful is that we received a breeding pair (male and female if you're wondering how that works), and they're edible. So, these animals here are the pets, the forthcoming children will be the breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Let's hope they're tasty.

On a somewhat serious note, these were actually a big blessing. We were looking to identify a local animal that:
  • Could be eaten in one meal. (Almost a necessity since refrigeration is not available.)
  • Breeds easily. (They're rodents.)
  • Is accepted locally as a food source.
  • Adds valuable protein to the diet.
  • Could be trialed at low cost.
Needless to say, these fit the prayers fairly precisely. We're looking forward to giving them a taste over the coming months and see how they do in captivity. They're apparently fairly common captive animals in the rural areas. They are hunted for food, but in captivity, they're viewed more as pets. So, the only introduction to the party would be the idea of seeing them as hairy chickens. Please pray for this process that the idea is accepted. If accepted, it could lower the hunting pressure on the surrounding population and lead to a new unique food source for local communities.

Other pets:
In addition to the three above (to clarify, of these three, only the rats live with us now), Echo is still with us and doing quite well. He's growing rapidly, and in no danger of being eaten.

We'll see what the next week might bring.

Damos gracias a Dio por: el monton de animales nuevos que viven aqui cerca a nosotros. (We give thanks to God for all the new animals that live here close to us.)

1 comment:

  1. I just learned there's a restaurant a few miles away from Dayton that is known for serving interesting meats. Elk. Buffalo. Rattlesnake.

    Do you think Stacy might be willing to eat boa mixed with rice and vegetables?

    Phil H