Creepy Crawlies


There are lots of insects and other creatures at the hermitage, and respect should be shown for the fact that they were here before you and you are the ones disturbing them.


There are the practical issues of personal danger to consider, though risks are not high.


If you are allergic to bites and stings, some of these might be more dangerous to you than stated.


Weaver Ants

The tiny black ones have a very mild bite but tend to travel in columns across the paths so it's easy to tread on one of these and have a few ants get onto your feet which can itch a bit. The small red ants are pretty much the same but the bite is a little more noticeable, although they can still be brushed away. The larger red weaver ants (shown here) are more aggressive and have a more painful bite. They don't tend to let go easily either and often they die in the process of removing them.


Asian BeeBees
There are a few different types of bees and wasps and all of them appear to be perfectly happy if you leave them well alone. They will buzz around you while you are meditating and possibly land on you for a closer look, but they will not sting you unless you agitate them. If you allow them into your ears they will harvest your earwax and tell the hive of your whereabouts. Soon you will have lots of bees coming to see you and this can be distracting for yourself and others. It's an interesting experience, but not one that's recommended.


There are lots of butterflies around the hermitage, so there are lots of caterpillars too. Some of the hairy ones can cause skin irration, so it's best not to touch them. Usually only seen in leafy areas rather than inside.



These can be a bit nasty, but are are reasonably rare indoors and apparently they leave well alone if not disturbed. The small ones are as long as your finger, with the big ones can get up to 25cm long and all of them move in a snakelike fashion. Bites are reputed to be very painful but non-fatal and so they are probably the main thing you really don't want to be bitten by at the retreat. There are stories of arms and legs swelling up and people spending a few days in bed in pain, but other people have continued to meditate after a few painkillers.


These don't tend to come into the dorms but you'll hear them a lot, especially if it's been raining. The worst thing they can do is keep you awake, though there are a few warty toads out here that it's best not to touch.



From baby ones a few centimeters long, to fat old ones, these can be seen everywhere on the hermitage, including in your rooms. They are completely harmless and the worst they can do is fall on you when you're meditating and give you a scare.


Young ones are just a few centimetres long, but older ones can get up to 15cms or more, and they are all completely harmless. Pick them up or touch them and they'll often roll into a ball.


They have their own page here.


These come in different colours and sizes and have a sting that's nastier than a bee sting, but not as bad as the centipedes. It's uncommon to see one.


King CobraSnakes
These do live in the area, but seldom come into the hermitage from what the friends say. Occasional harmless green snakes can be seen, but worries about cobras and vipers being a problem are really quite unfounded. It's possible, but very, very unlikely.


Ranging from little ones to big ones like the one in the picture, these are pretty common here, with the biggest getting up to about 15cm across. They're pretty timid and will run away if you try to brush them out of your room, and as they'll probably come back anyway, it's best just to let them be. A few of them can jump, but it's more like hopping about and none have the ability to launch themselves at your face from a distance. None of them appear to be aggressive, though the big brown ones aren't that pleasant to have around if you don't like this sort of thing. Though many of them are capable of giving a bite, none of them are poisonous.


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