Pick on someone your own size…


The soil is a grey colour in Kezi, bleached hard by the hot sun. Occasional clumps of grass push up between large grains of sand. Small holes litter an open patch. Animal ambushes.
A Matabele ant, traveling fast through the bush as if on a trajectory, marches along. Matabele ants are huge. They have hard shiny skins, and giant pincers at the front. They are a glossy black. They sting, but only if you annoy them, or stand on them. At some times of the year, they group together and march along in black rivers, thousands of them. Through the bush, over roads. If a car drives over them, they let off a distinctive smell, which unless it has been experienced cannot be described. They sometimes let off that smell even when they are marching through the bush, undisturbed.
At other times of the year, they are solitary, as today. Picking its way along, it climbs over the occasional clump of grass, or heads for the few open patches in between, never deviating from its predetermined route.
A spider, alerted by minuscule vibrations on the surface of the soil rushes out of a little hole in the middle of the open patch. It dashes over to the ant, appears to hug the shiny back end. Falls off. Retreats. The spider’s tiny front pincers cannot penetrate the shiny armour and the ant continues without even a hitch in its step. Not with the smallest deviation of its course does it indicate it has noticed anything at all, untoward.
Utterly outclassed, the spider retires to its hole, to await something more in its league. Something softer, its poison shafts can impale.





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17 responses »

    • It was an extraordinary sight – and provided a moral too! See what happens when you are sitting communing with nature!!!
      I’m still to find a decent pic of an ant. Im sure Ill get one sometime – then I’ll post

      • I was on my best behaviour…
        I have an amazing ability to stick my foot (most the time, feet) into things and have to go back and apologise!
        What was very obvious with the spider and the ant, was how utterly outclassed the spider was. Most people shudder and cringe and think immediately about poison etc and yet when faced with that shiny hard body, the spider had no chance at all.
        “Picking on someone your own size” is a rule I made after being in business for a few years. I realised people’s morals are very different depending on which business they are in and also what income bracket. Looking around at the surviving businessmen in Zim at the moment, it appears I was right!

      • haha yeah that was cool. Especially how quickly the spider gave up too. Should probably pick on ants with no hard bodies next time!

  1. Good one, Frankie, I can almost smell them, sharp and very distinctive. You never got in their way, as kids we somehow believed they could band together and devour you!

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