Oh rats!

It’s early Friday afternoon and everything is ready for the weekend so what do we do with the rest of this dreary wet day? It’s been raining non stop for about 18 hours! Fortunately, I’ve been keeping a list of things to blog about!

With the exception of birds and sea life, Saipan doesn’t appear to have much in the way of wildlife. What it does have, however, is rats! For a girl from Alberta, Canada’s only rat free province, this was a little disconcerting but I quickly got used to seeing the occasional rat scurry across the porch. They weren’t as big and ugly as I expected them to be but when I discovered that they were raiding the cat’s dish I decided to take action. I started bringing the dish into the house after the cat had her morning meal. That seems to have taken care of the problem. I haven’t seen a rat for awhile and the kitty has learned to wait patiently at the door every morning for me to bring her her food.

Though we’re not willing to share the porch with the rats, we’re quite happy to share it with the geckos. After all, these cute little lizards eat insects and they’re really quite fascinating. They actually have adhesive feet that allow them to walk across the ceiling or scurry up a pane of glass! And did you know that geckos chirp? I didn’t. Geckos are nocturnal so we rarely see them until after sunset. I’d noticed the occasional loud chirp in the evenings but it took awhile for me to realize that it might be coming from these tiny critters. Sure enough, according to Wikipedia, geckos are unique amongst lizards in their ability to vocalize. Apparently, they make these chirping sounds to interact with other geckos. If you want to hear what they sound like, click here.

It’s kind of nice when we’re hiking through the jungle to know that we’re not going to round a corner and come face to face with a bear as we might in the Canadian wilds. I suppose a tiger or a leopard might be more fitting but they aren’t here either. In fact, there aren’t even any dangerous snakes. There’s actually a program that actively works to keep the the island snake free, much like Alberta’s rat control program. If you see a snake, you’re supposed to kill it then immediately call 28-SNAKE! Hmm… I hope I don’t see one. I’m not really up on the best way to kill a snake!

By far the biggest animal control issue on the island is the stray dogs. According to a recent survey there are an estimated 10 000 to 20 000 of them and the number continues to increase! The municipality has recently introduced a licensing program for dogs and already pet owners have registered approximately 1000 of them. Apparently, the revenue generated will be use to build a permanent animal shelter but clearly it won’t be able to house the thousands of unwanted animals that wander the streets. Sad.


2 thoughts on “Oh rats!

  1. A world without snakes and rats sounds OK to me. I remember the rats coming into the house when I was young. I would hear them in the attic and cover my head with the blankets. Stray dogs could be a real menace especially if they are hungry and aggressive, What a shame it has not been dealt with before it got to this state. Sorry it is raining so much, We too have been under the rain clouds, though the rain has not been bad.

    • The sun is peeking through again which is a good thing since we have a Family Fun Day planned for after church tomorrow and it’s supposed to involve water balloons and other outdoor pursuits.

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