Saturday, February 7, 2015

All hail the butiki

Pictured: Not actually a butiki. He'd never sit still like that

Butiki (house geckos) are an everyday sight in the Philippines, and an everyday annoyance for those locals and ex-pats who aren't as Zen and culturally tolerant as I am. lol

But seriously, finding one of these little guys in my kitchen every once in a while is one of the very few 'annoyances' that I'm actually able to enjoy as a quaint, exotic touch in my tropical life. I'm less forgiving of the loud karaoke, cat-calling, shameless public urination and other 'traditions' perpetrated by the more advanced species of local fauna outside that should really know better.

As we leave our bedroom's fifth floor suicide window open all the time, butikis are free to come and go as they please - scurrying along the wall, looking constantly on edge and presumably keeping down the mosquito population before returning to the outside world through the window or that imperceptible gap in the air conditioner we never use. It's unlikely that it's always the same lizard, but they are polite enough to stick to a one-in, one-out rota most of the time, which is appreciated.

That was the case until a couple of weeks ago anyway, when one of these 'visitors' broke the unspoken agreement (well, they don't speak English and I don't speak tuk-tuk-tuk-tuk-tuk, though I've given it a try) and set up shop as our unsolicited pet and neighbourhood pest controller for keeps. I don't have the heart to tell him he's not exactly welcome either. I bloody hope he's a he, I don't want to discover eggs in my slippers.

I hope he's at least helping to eat the casebearers before they eat all of our clothes. I can only stomach a couple per day myself. I have more accidental pets than I realised

I learned early on that a butiki's favourite place in our flat is the fridge. Specifically under it, in some imperceptible compartment that presumably leads to Narnia or that place the Pied Piper took the kids and the rats. A land of pests, excessive children and a constant musical din? Maybe I'm already there.

I've searched for this hiding place in vain several times, emptying the fridge and inspecting it all over, and I've had to admit defeat. The butikis always venture out after a while, and a few times I've succeeded in catching them in bags, boxes or on other surfaces they foolishly cling to like they've watched Jurassic Park and think our vision is based on movement, then I put them out in the corridor so they can go and bother someone else. What else am I going to do, chuck them out of the window?

This stubborn butiki ventures out too, mainly to do his daily poo on the exact same spot on the kitchen floor because he's too fancy to do it under the Kelvinator 2 and he knows I'll clean it up like the slave I am. It's better than him hiding it, but I'll still be sure to rub his snout in it if I ever catch the blighter.

In Kelvinator 2 the Kelvinator is the goodie this time and he's sent back in time
to prevent the evil K-1000 from... someone please send me some work

Some evenings I see him out of the corner of my eye, sneaking inside the bedroom, behind the cabinets and towards the outside wall, but he never has the heart to leave. When my wife leaves for the weekend (your what? Shh, that's not important right now) and I see the butiki out and about, I literally jump at the chance and chase him all over the place, trying to catch him before he inevitably goes back under the fridge and it's game over. When the wife's away, the husband and the butiki will play Tom & Jerry. I can't deny I make similar howls to that unlucky feline, and like the cocky rodent the butiki always wins.

I don't see any option but to live under this butiki's tyrannical rule until our lease ends, cleaning up his arrogant peanut poos every morning and 'forgetting' to take down the food bin some evenings to attract a tasty insect or two for his highness' pleasure. I would like to have an actual pet to boss me around some day, but until we have a house and I'm ready to make that commitment (any other major life-changing commitments you've made recently that you'd like to tell us about?), I'll continue trying to convince myself that having a reptile living under our fridge where we keep our food is a positive experience. All hail the butiki.

Update 14/02/2015

A few days with no poos or heads peeking out from the fridge, I think he's finally left us. The disappearance coincided with the appearance of our first cockroach in all the time we've lived here, which was quickly dispatched out of the window, so my guess is either a Kafkaesque metamorphosis took place or the elusive cockroach was Jerry to the butiki's Tom and he no longer had a reason to stay.

My jubilation didn't last long, as my typically negative wife suggested the butiki could have just died under the fridge. But unless its corpse is hiding in the same impossible crevice it used to live in, I think we're free. What's that smell?

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