Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Enter Zorro

The alarm rang. It was 2am. I got up to flip the switch to stop filling the swimming pool. The only available time to empty and fill the pool is at night after classes are finished. Pablo emptied and cleaned the pool earlier, and all I had to do was turn off the pump when it was full. After only a two hour sleep I was groggy. I stumbled from the bedroom into the dining room and slipped on an enormous pool of water. Oh no! Did the nozzle on the five gallon water jug get stuck open again? Upon closer inspection, I noticed the water jug was fine, but the cat dishes were licked clean and their water dish overturned. What the..?

There are a lot of cats who sneak in at night for some kibble. But they are just that: sneaky! They leave a few crumbs and a million ants behind. Ok, and an occasional odor in parts of the house, but in general, they don’t piss where they eat! (I put this into different words a few blogs ago with regard to my office positioning.) Anyhow, I was half asleep so I made a mental note to clean up the mess on my way back from my primary task. I went out through the open iron gate to the patio and turned off the pool pump. When I returned I shut the gate. I entered the bathroom located off the dining room and was sitting on the toilet when what appeared to be the biggest, most deliberate and bold rat I have ever seen just sauntered from inside the shower stall, slowly walked past me, and out the door like he lived in there. What the…?

That woke me up! I reacted and the monster scurried toward the iron gate which I had just shut. The creature was trapped. He tried to run up the stairs but I turned on lights and it scared him into trying to escape through the ironwork. He got stuck. That is when I realized what it was, a “zorro” or coatimundi.

This is the little creep stuck in the grate. In the photo it looks rather cute, but walking past your feet while in a compromised position…a rat of a different color. I thought these guys were a kind of possum, but after the research I did today it seems they are in the raccoon family. To add to the confusion, my research frustrated me. I wanted to know if the word is “coatamundi” or “coatimundi” and was able to get that straightened out, but when I looked up “zorro” all the sites were showing me foxes. Perhaps it is a “yucatequismo” (colloquialism) and there are no foxes. The bottom line is I had to get it out of the house. I started throwing things toward it to scare it down the grate on the outside. If it was stuck or scared stiff, I am not sure. Pablo heard shit flying and he came running, luckily not slipping in the giant pool of spilled water. This won’t sound too nice but he grabbed a mop and another long handled object and whacked it off the iron. It scurried off away from the house, up the tree into the animal haven of abandonment next door.

I went to check on the kittens. The water and food dishes that I had placed next to the cardboard cat shack for Moka were all askew, water all over the floor. On further investigation I see that raccoons like to wet their food in water, but with those giant snouts they must need a larger receptacle. Besides the cleanup, that is all there is to this story. After two decades of living in the tropics, this is my first run in with this animal. And hopefully the last one INSIDE the house! We have babies to protect!


Theresa in Mèrida said...

Great photo of the zorro, it actually looks cute. They are bold little creeps. I haven't heard that he came back, so the mop whacking must of worded!

Tom and Debi said...

I think what you have there is a possum zorro, not a coatimundi zorro. We have them all over, they are quite bold and lumbering. Not real fast movers, or overly concerned about our presence. But they do not like the light.

Linda Dorton said...

Theresa, it was sort of cute. Or shall I say it is sort of cute. It has not returned to the house but it is quite "at home" around here. It was out walking around three nights ago when we cleaned the pool. Bold little bugger.

Linda Dorton said...

Thanks Debi, I did what research I could but did not come up with a suitable answer. It is a possum zorro because I had always been under the impression that these inhabitants were in the possum family.

The first time I saw a couple of these creatures in the Mérida madrugada, before I moved into this house, I thought they WERE the biggest rats I had ever seen. Of course I had been drinking all night and was sitting out by the street bs'ing and the whole thing is probably exaggerated in my pickled brain.