Tag Archives: Firebrat

Fernando (Brave Traveler), the Firebrat

I’ve been meaning to post this for awhile now. Catching up on projects like this will help mark time until our cold winter weather gives way to warm spring sunshine. This is a story about a brave little bug that came back in my suitcase from our pre-covid trip to Mexico. His name was Fernando. The drawings are something I worked on during the long rainy days we were stuck indoors.

My husband took me to Los Cabos, Mexico in January 2019 for some sunshine.   It gets so dreary and dark in the Pacific Northwest that spending ten days visiting the Baja Peninsula confers many health benefits.  These include replenishing your vitamin D levels and improving your mood if you suffer Seasonal Affective Disorder.  

Getting to Mexico from Seattle is a bit of a journey – the worst of it getting off San Juan Island since our ferry system is reliably unreliable.  We flew Alaska Airlines direct to Los Cabos.  They have newer planes and nice flight attendants, so our experience was pretty stress free.  We rented a car in Los Cabos and began our adventure, but since I’m not a travel writer, this story isn’t going to be about traveling through Baja.  Trust me that we got the sunshine we needed.  Our experience in  Mexico was mostly wonderful.  The people were nice, food delicious, and we felt safe.  Caveat…my ONLY issue was with our airbnb hostess who let her cat free roam and it brought me an injured gecko.  Being Drago’s mom has increased my awareness of how Herps (reptiles and amphibians) are susceptible to pain just like we are.  It’s not cool to let your cat go out and torture wildlife.  That’s in your control as a cat owner and please be a responsible cat owner.  Keep kitty in a catio, on a leash, supervised with you watching closely when outdoors, or INSIDE!  Rant over.  

This is Fernando’s story:

Fernando lived in a little driftwood “casa” on a Los Cabos beach where he could lounge and enjoy the warm sunshine every day.  Little did I know I was sneaking Fernando back into the USA when I picked up that piece of driftwood to bring home as a souvenir.  My bad.  Very bad for poor Fernando.   I didn’t know he was clinging to his casa, scared out of his wits.  He was completely hidden, and even managed to evade detection by customs when we flew home from Mexico to re-enter the USA.  I discovered the tiny, unhappy stowaway when I was unpacking my suitcase once we got home.  Since he was alive and needing care, I also decided he needed a name. I came up with the name Fernando, which means “brave traveler” in Spanish.   I guess Fernando was pretty brave to leave his homeland and family behind.  We promised to repatriate Fernando the following year, but sadly that didn’t happen.  The pandemic happened.  Fernando was stuck in the cold, dreary PNW that winter.  Although he was provided with a warm stove for heat, food, and water,  he didn’t live long enough to return to Baja.  Poor Fernando.  I tried to visualize a happy ending for him.  Viva Mexico!  

Fernando was very happy living on the beach in Los Cabos. His favorite activity was to broil himself in the sun while reading Gringo Daily.

Fernando found himself on an involuntary trip when the tourist picked up his driftwood casa to bring home as a souvenir. Poor Fernando.

He was miserable on the flight – leaving his home and heading to the very cold, very dreary, and very gray skies of the Pacific Northwest. Poor Fernando. No more sunshine. 😦

When he was discovered, Fernando’s hostess tried to make him as comfortable as possible. He got a nice warm spot by the fire.

Fernando dreamed of returning to Mexico. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, but we hope that Fernando’s spirit made its way back to that sunny beach. RIP Fernando.

Here’s a morphological illustration of Fernando the Firebrat. While I was pretty sure Fernando goes into genus Thermobia, I could be wrong. Given that he was found outside on the beach, he may be in another genus within the family Lepismatidae.

The END. 🙂