Things I Learned as a Field Biologist #129
When studying monkeys in a reserve solely maintained for the purpose of protecting the insanely high endemic biodiversity and number of wasps and bees living therein (because, yes, such things exist), the ways in which one may be stung are infinite in their variety. These include:
1) While literally running after monkeys down a hill so steep you’re doing that frak-my-legs-can’t-catch-up-with-my-momentum kind of run. You’re mainly concerned with dodging trees (as you very well should be), but you should also watch out for the three wasp nests you’ll hit on the way down. At face level. It is the wet season, after all.
8 stings. Mainly on the face and arms.
2) While slowly, deliberately crossing a river on precarious stones, until the monkeys attack the fire wasp nest 20 meters above your head. And then continuously inside your shirt and hair as you run alongside the river. And then STILL in your hair even though you’re completely submerged in said river, because you really should have worn a hat today, stupid. It is the dry season, after all.
23 stings. Mainly on the scalp and neck, but also on your torso and arms.
3) While cleaning the trail with your machete. DO NOT INSTINCTIVELY SWAT IT AWAY WITH YOUR MACHETE.
1 sting. On the upper lip. And a really close call with that machete, you ass.
4) While just standing there, minding your own business. And you’d better run this time, because these particular bees are Africanized. And they’ll follow you for a kilometer. And they won’t stop stinging. And the buzzing is terrifying and low. And this can happen every day because the killer bees interbred with the local bee farmers’ hives. Because invasive species are life ruiners.
14 stings. Mainly on the face, neck, and hands. But that’s pretty lucky, because your field partner got 78 and had to go to the hospital.
So if you’re studying monkeys in a reserve solely maintained for the purpose of protecting the insanely high endemic biodiversity and number of wasps and bees living therein, and you hear a buzz, don’t just stand there…
this is fantastic and also terrifying.