Saturday, October 24, 2009
Geckos and mice and cockroaches, oh my!
This is just a bit of the wildlife here in Kiribati, and we can enjoy it right in our own home. Geckos are regulars about everywhere. They hang out around the lights at night and around the kitchen during the day. We enjoy them because they eat the bugs, but are annoyed when they poop on us, which I hope is understandable. When we can catch one, I mean when someone else can catch them (like Conn or Tanielu have been known to do) they get fed live to the chickens. This must be a real delicacy to them because they sure do fight over them and you can really see what the pecking order is out there. Another delicacy for the chickens is mice. Conn beats any cat around here in catching mice. He says he used to leave mice and rats alone because it's been said that if you leave them alone, they'll leave you alone. Until, one night when he was young and woke up to a rat chewing on his toes and fingertips. After that, it was war! To date, since we've been here, Conn has caught 9 mice and 1 rat. The chickens are loving him. Most of the time, he just stomps on them but his most interesting trap was a roll of tin foil. The mice like to run on top of the food safe, which is where the foil was. They would run in one end and peep out at me from the other end. When I alerted Conn to this, he was on the task right away. There were 2 running between the table and the food safe. He watched them for a few minutes and found something to close one end of the cardboard tube. They both ran into the tube and he turned it up and put his hand over it. He found something else to close the other end (so the mice wouldn't bite him) and laid it on the ground and stomped on them. The two mice quickly became chicken food. Another proud moment for Conn (and not so proud a moment for the rat) was late one night on his way back from the shower. The rat was sitting on top of a rice bag looking the other way from the door where Conn was entering. Conn saw it, and without thinking twice slapped it into the wall where it fell to the ground knocked out. It wasn't dead yet, but Conn was quick to make sure he was going to complete the task at hand. He grabbed the rat by the tail and laid it out on the rocks. The rat's body began quivering and Conn chose an adequate sized rock to bash its head in the rocks. This eradicated the last thoughts of living the rat may have had. Since this was late at night, when chickens should be sleeping and ours were, Conn just put several rocks on top of the dead rat and waited until morning to feed it to the chickens. Now, mice are about 1-2 inches plus tail while rats are 4-6 inches plus tail. This rat was almost too big for the chickens, but I guess they found a way because it was gone when we checked later. Oh yes, did I also mention cockroaches? Well, they are here too, as in everywhere else in the world. But geckos also like to eat cockroaches, if they can swallow them. We saw a gecko battling a roach and the roach almost won if Conn hadn't intervened. The gecko had the roach in his mouth, but the roach was still alive. It was struggling to get out and the two were coming closer to where we were sitting. Geckos are not fans of people and also are not the bravest of creatures. The slightest move will send him running away. So, when the gecko saw us move, he was quick to move in the other direction and, unfortunately opened his mouth just enough to let the cockroach go. Again, Conn was quick to react and slapped the roach to its death. He threw it back to the gecko, who was now on the other side of the room. The gecko just grabbed it and ran. It was pretty amazing to watch. We're thankful for the things we probably wouldn't experience elsewhere in the world, however wacky and weird they are! I'm sure thankful to have Conn the Exterminator on my side.