The Philippines is in the tropics, so things grow quickly here. There are all kinds of plants and animals all around. Having lived most of my life in cities in the US, I was used to the assumption that there are spaces reserved for humans, where other animals only rarely tread. Here it’s a bit more mixed up between the species.
The cockroaches here are not merely humongous, they also fly. I realized that while they are bigger than the cockroaches I’m used to from the US, I did see some this size in Florida once. In Florida they call them palmetto bugs. But according to wikipedia, palmetto bugs have short wings that are useless for flying. These cockroaches here really do fly. Not that often, but when you least expect it they may fly right past your face. We’ve found the best solution for them is spray – get the can that says Cockroach Killer on the label. It works pretty fast. Whereas if you step on them or flush them down the toilet you may not actually kill them.
I’ve seen bees here the size of lemons. OK, that includes their wings, but even the body part is maybe 4 times the size of the bees I’m used to in the US. I’ve seen one moth that was the size of a large grapefruit, again including the wings. Lots of smaller moths that have little clear wings. They are attracted to light, easy to kill, but very annoying.
Mosquitoes here can carry not only malaria but dengue fever. Dengue can be fatal to children, less so to adults, but it can make you very sick for weeks, as it did to a friend of mine here. Lots of smaller insects like ants of all sizes, termites, and things I don’t have a name for.
We also have lizards, which eat the insects. Most Filipinos live in harmony with the lizards, as we do here. I once saw a lizard actually eating a moth here, so I know they’re on my side. But one day there was a horrible smell in the bedroom, it turned out there was a dead lizard there. There are spiders too, of all sizes, and I suppose they also eat insects. Their webs are sometimes annoying. Walk in a place where we haven’t been recently and you’ll get web all over you (and it’s not the world-wide kind).
Sometimes you can’t even see the insects until they are on you, or you find yourself scratching later. At least twice I’ve been sitting here at my desk and something dropped into my hair.
Then there are the mice. Little tiny ones that can hide in the walls. We managed to catch a few with the little glue trays. Of course then you have to pick up the tray with the still moving little body on it and dispose of it. A few weeks ago Dindin went to visit his family for a few days. I called him one night because I saw something, larger than a mouse. First I had heard it, rustling the plastic garbage bags in the hall where we keep the garbage. Yes, we had a rat, actually it turned out we had rats. Seemed like he might be too big for the glue tray, so the sales person at the hardware store recommended the fly paper. Well he just balled that up and ignored it. The glue tray held no interest for him. We tried a mousetrap, he got the cheese out without springing the little trap. I bought a cage trap, but when I got it home I realized it would not kill him, and then I’d have this large, living animal to contend with. So we got some poison. We had been concerned about poison because then we could have a dead rat smelling up the place and not be able to find it. But they sell poison that works slowly and slowly causes blindness, so the rats seek the light.
Well after a few days, we found 2 small dead rats outside on the lawn. So it apparently worked. They were larger than the tiny mice, but not as large as I had feared. About half the size of a small banana. Disposal was fairly easy. Now, I know some of my friends will object to the cruelty, and perhaps I should have used the cage and taken the animal elsewhere, but wouldn’t that be likely to just cause problems for some other people? This country is full of people – almost 100 million of them. I think we did a public service by killing those rats and mice. At least we did a personal service for our household.
I haven’t actually seen any snakes, but they are here. It’s a consideration in landscaping. You don’t want areas of thick growth where the snakes can hide. You want to be able to see the dirt. I actually like snakes, but I don’t want to be surprised by any.