A very great deal of people are quite put off by cockroaches. They tend to evoke repulsion in a way that Spiders and Snakes sometimes do suggesting that humans may have a hardwired response built in. Cockroaches spread germs and we maybe genetically trained to be repulsed. Sadly though our natural fear is naively for all cockroaches when only about 4 species have really evolved to associate with humans. There are over 4600 species of cockroach currently described almost all of which are harmless. Cockroaches occupy many different habitats and they began their evolution away from termites in the Devonian, about 150 million years before Dinosaurs. Maybe we should actually give them a bit more respect then no? Like as in respect your elders. Also think about this: 4 out of 4600 species of cockroach are invasive or troublesome but for the Great Apes it is 1 (guess who!) out of 7, a much greater proportion.
Here are some pics I took recently of a Burrowing Cockroach which I believe is a member of the Blaberidae, or the Giant Cockroaches. When I handled him he was very powerful and could wedge or push under my hands in the same way that a mole cricket and other burrowing things can. Here are some pics:
This is a new species of snake that we recently found on Tumaren. It is a Desert Black-headed Snake (Micrelaps vaillanti or so we think. Exciting to find new species after all these years hiking this bush.
We had our first rain last night. It has been two months since the heavy rains we received in January. Many Migrant birds have been around recently. On a recent birding safari we got a Booted Eagle, and hundreds of Whittethroats and Willow Warblers. In the past few weeks we have also had an Irania hanging around our security boma and 10 days ago about 60 European White Storks stopped in to spend the night with us on their way northward.
Last week on safari we saw a Blue Headed Tree Agama. This is the first time that we have noticed this spectacular lizard here in Laikipia. We saw a male in full breeding colours. He was bright turquoise under his chin and bright blue all over his body. When we tried to get closer he became duller and almost blended in the with tree becoming a mottled green/brown. Has anyone else seen this lizard in this part of Laikipia? Of course we did not have a camera with us but I will try and photograph him this week.
We have Lesser Kudu on Tumaren but interesting enough they are not recorded on Mpala, our neighbor across the Ewaso River with what appears to be ideal habitat. I would be very interested in anyones ideas about why this species remains so localized in northern Kenya.