There were a lot of unpleasant wildlife in Viet Nam, snakes and other reptiles and insects along with wild pigs, monkeys, deer, and bears. There were scorpions, leeches, large centipedes, millipedes, termites, fire ants, spiders of all description and a hairy caterpillar which left hair like bristles in your clothes that made huge welts on your skin, the shirt or trousers were unable to be worn again as the bristles could never be got rid of.

Wasps, bees and hornets made up more of the bitey, stingy section. The mossies were so bad that each morning and night we would squirt insect repellent into your hands and then cover your head, arms and uniform where it stretched tight on your skin as they could get you through a shirt or trousers. Even after that you still had a cloud of mossies around your head. There were all kinds of wildlife distractions. Just a few we had to contend with.

Leeches up and down my legs
Mossie bites as big as eggs
Red ants and termites in my hair
Such inconvenience just ain't fair

Scorpion in my pack just bit my hand
Now ain't the pain just simply grand
Darned big snake just sidled past
Going slow but he moves fast

Hairy caterpillar just left his mark
It's bad now but just wait for dark
Rolled my sleeve up, found a tick
Been there a while he's fairly thick

Centipede's just wandered up
Killed the sod with my coffee cup
It ain't nice to see them on the ground
A hammock's the best bed now I've found

Peter M. Anderson, W3 Coy, 1969-70

Read more about Peter Anderson's Vietnam experience here.

Reference: 

© Peter M. Anderson. Not to be published or reproduced without the permission of the copyright holder.

How to cite this page: 'Pests - Poem', URL: http://www.vietnamwar.govt.nz/memory/pests-poem, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 5-Sep-2013