When Thoughts Grow Wrong

Rodent Bot Fly -https://www.whatsthatbug.com/2018/08/07/rodent-bot-fly-12/

The dead mouse lay prone on our sidewalk.

Odd, I thought. Why here? Why didn’t he eat it?  Our cat brought home at least one field mouse daily, but he’d typically deposit his catch on our back porch, then settle in for a feast. I often found entrails or a dismembered foot after one of his hunting forays, but never the whole mouse.

I retrieved a shovel and aimed the blade at the carcass so I could dispose of it.

Then the body wiggled.

Well, part of it did. I bent over for a closer look, and what I saw could have been straight out of a horror movie.

Something was writhing from a hole the size of a quinoa grain alongside the mouse’s spine. Like an accordion, the brown creature squeezed and stretched until, one leathery pleat at a time, it emerged from the mouse’s flank, a dark brown gelcap, only corduroy, fatter, spiny, disgusting.

And squirmy. I watched, repulsed, as it rolled off the mouse and twitched on the concrete, leaving the mouse hollowed out, gaunt.

A grub of some kind, I figured. I quickly scooped the disturbing creature and the emaciated mouse into the trash, then raced inside to learn more.

Turns out I had been watching a (not so cute) Cuterebra larva—a rodent bot—emerge from its host.

A bot fly (like the one pictured above from WhatsThatBug.com) laid her egg somewhere near the mouth of the rodent’s burrow. It hatched when the ambient temperature rose, then the larva attached itself to the passing mouse’s fur. When the mouse licked or blinked or sniffed, the creature migrated inside and began growing. I found the results on my sidewalk.

Oh, I wish stuff growing inside me horrified me as much as that scene did. Stuff like wrong attitudes towards people. Stories I tell myself about them and assumptions I make. Assumptions that seem so harmless at first.

Harmless until they grow in me, affecting my words and behavior—even rewiring my brain’s neural connections until those negative thoughts evoke physical stress reactions. Like a bot in a mouse, they can consume me. Worst of all, they can shrink and displace love, if I let them.

If you have the stomach for it, click the link to Hal and Cristina’s Travel 4 Wildlife blog and imagine that the larvae you see are assumptions you made about someone that are keeping you from responding to that person in love.

Want them to keep living in you? Why not change your mind?



“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.” Philippians 4:8.

“…we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5

“A new command I give you: Love one another.” John 13:34

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us…”
1 John 1:9


“. . .as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:12


#loveoneanother #botfly #Cuterebra #parasite #Godforgives #brainscience




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Love the outdoors? I can take you there. Rural & wild PNW posts and photos from a naturalist, faith writer, and author of three books, including the award-winning novel Sugar Birds. Member of Redbud Writers Guild.

6 thoughts on “When Thoughts Grow Wrong

  1. Great post, Cheryl. I shared it with a certain 18-year-old young man. Good discussion about “stinkin thinkin” followed.


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