one of my hardest living in mexico lessons: the critters!

one of my hardest living in mexico lessons: the critters!

This article took awhile because I had to find a few photos that I knew I’d taken, but had “filed” away. The reason they were tucked away is because they’re not photos I wanted to come across by accident, but also didn’t want to delete.

The photos I’m referring to are my critter photos. One of the (and I really mean THE) hardest realities I dealt with after moving to Mexico were the insects.

I wouldn’t even know where to begin except to say I seriously did not sleep one night through for the first four months I lived here. After that, the only reason I did fall asleep is because I was exhausted.

At the time, the problem I had was ants. They were everywhere in my little Cancun house. Not just on the floors, but on the countertops and even coming out of the ceiling light fixtures in the hundreds.

I was traumatized! I was a woman in my late 30s (at the time) and had always lived in a metropolitican city where the sighting of more than two spiders inside my apartment in one winter warranted a fumigation.


Now here I was living with insects, of which spiders were the least of my problems. I lived in that house for a year and wow…yeah, the cockroaches too. It was an extremely difficult time, but since I was determined to make Mexico work, well, let’s just say I sucked it up.

My solution was to finally encase my bed in netting. It took me years to get used to the insects here (I no longer sleep in netting btw). And if you’ve been following, for the record, I’m not a squeamish city girl. I’m an outdoor person who grew up tent camping, something I still do to this day (which is easier now that I’m used to all the bloody insects).

Anyway, I eventually left Cancun and moved to the burbs of Playa del Carmen where ants and cockroaches eventually became the least of my worries. I love trees and nature so perhaps I should have expected this…but I didn’t.

Over the years, I’ve had a good variety of “everything” in my house. I’m not talking about furry creatures or even the small lizards and large iguanas that run around here freely. This is my personal experience “ick” file (apologies to all the entomologists out there). This list also includes things that crawl, swiggle and fly.

I dug up some of my most memorable (unbelievable!) finds that I caught on camera and want to share a living in Mexico reality with you. If you’re going to live here.

Obviously not all of these are insects, but they are all critters. I like looking at live things (critters) and I love living here in the jungle part of my city, but yes, it does come with a dose of reality of what ELSE also lives in the jungle part of my city.

My least favorite are scorpions. I have found them on the inside of my outside screen doors, one walking along the top of my sofa (I was there too, that’s how I saw it) and several in my house including the one from the shower. That shower scorpion was alive. I noticed it when I flipped over my suction bath mat to replace the drain cover. He was belly up, trapped by his claws in one of the holes.

Not all my critter experiences are bad, though. I once went on the upstairs rooftop patio of my house to find a monkey drinking from my pool while a second kept watch. I snapped a pic with my phone before chasing them away. When I went back up the next morning, there was a huge monkey poo in my pool! True story! I drained the pool and moved it downstairs to the front yard.

Yep, he’s drinking from my pool!

I’ve had a few critter encounters when camping too. Once while swinging in my hammock with a morning coffee I kept hearing a “plump” followed by a small splash into my cup. There was nothing obvious around me, but when I looked up, there was a large iguana a meter from the top of my head spying on me. His movements caused small pieces of tree bits to fall into my coffee.

I also had a good giggle at this. I was camping during our last blue crab season. I left my tent to use the toilet. When I came back, I saw this large crab just starting to make his way up the mesh of my tent, which I didn’t want because his claws would likely make holes, so I approached to shoo him away.

When I did, he reared up his largest claw in a kung-fu stance. He was ready to take me out! I laughed and while doing so, he shimmed up the side of my tent…the mesh side!…and over the nylon top where the last I heard, he slid down the other side into the night.