Up where I live in the Oakland hills, there’s lots of wildlife. We encountered quite a few species not seen in the UK.
Just this morning, as I was walking down the path in my yard to catch the Transbay bus, I noticed something strange on the ground. I looked closer, and saw that it was the head, antennae and front legs of a large insect, like a beetle. I was concerned that it might be a cockroach – I’ve not seen any in the wild in the Bay Area, but I did see some in San Diego. Notably, I saw one in the authentic Mexican hole-in-the-wall lunch counter that my colleagues took me to when I first arrived. Tip: tear open the corner of your carnitas burrito to let the grease drain out first.
This insect chunk was lying on its back, so to get a better look for identification I grabbed a twig and flipped it over. Two horrible things happened. One, a little swarm of ants crawled out – I’d interrupted their breakfast. Two, the insects legs waved a little. It was either still alive while the ants burrowed around in its brain, or (preferably) there was some residual nerve spasms going on. Either way, gross. In fact, I was so en-grossed that I nearly missed my bus.
While on the bus I did a bit of google image searching, and I’m pretty confident it was the remains of a large long-horned beetle. Not a cockroach, thank goodness, but something that lives in dead tree stumps, of which there are quite a few near my house.
So here’s the latest tally of wildlife I’ve seen around my place here in California:
[table id=3 /]
Nice to know that so much of natures great tapestry is right on our doormat. Or hiding under it.