On The Camel Fly


dog afflicted with camel flies

Of the macroscopic earth creatures that feed on the bodies of other creatures, the tick is surely the among the most lazy. The tick’s method of hunting involves hanging onto something until a large mammal brushes by and he is able to fall onto his victim. The tick can wait like this for nearly endless periods. If the tick ever finds a host, his presence may very well pass completely undetected. I want to suggest to all those that have not experienced the camel fly, that it is a good fortune that the tick is this way.

Imagine, if you will, a tick several times the size of the average specimen. Imagine this very large tick can fly. Finally, imagine that he has been fitted with a cold cunning and a driving hunger for the blood of mammals. Now you have a tiny, nearly indestructible vampire. Such an unfortunate creature exists in Kenya, and bears the name Camel Fly.

Between your fingers, a camel fly feels like a hollow button made of stiff leather. His skin is the color of sand, and his heart is blacker than midnight on the far side of the moon. One of the most disheartening sights I have seen in the animal world is a sad dog, his head literally bowed with the weight of camel flies attached to his neck. Mercy is not known to the camel fly. He makes no pretense of hiding from you. His bite is painful and he doesn’t care if you know it. Only man can discover ways to kill him. The
most widely prescribed method is fire. I have known some success by placing the fly between the sharp edges of two stones and applying great force. I have heard children say it is possible to twist their heads off, though I have not seen it done. In my opinion this puts soft human skin much too close to adamantine insect jaws.

The true awfulness of the camel fly lies in his intelligence. The method of evasion used by the camel fly has no parallel in the black and house flies commonly known to humanity. While a fly may be shooed away easily, a camel fly is another story. When you strike at a camel fly on your skin, you may think you have hit him off, when in fact he has just moved to the other side of your arm, or leg, or even onto the back of your striking hand. He will doggedly stick to you no matter how hard you flail at yourself. Worst of all though, is that wherever he is attached to your body, he is always facing
you, watching your eyes. If you ever have more than one camel fly on your person, and you do not begin to feel a twinge of panic then you are a stouter person than I.



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