Thursday, January 24, 2013

Critters of Samoa


Spiders

No poisonous ones in Samoa!  Thought I’d start on a positive note.  There are ones though that like to chill in the showers that are the size of your hand.  They move super slow though so you know, don’t worry about them.


Millipedes

Not much to worry about, just don't step on them!  They have acidic fluid inside so they’ll leave a minor burn.  You’ll know them from the centipedes in that they move in a straight line and curl up into a spiral when touched.

Snakes

None on Upolu.  Woo!

Cockroaches

Yeah, they’re all over, get over it.  They can’t bite, they don’t sting, and they’re not poisonous.  Though they do have jokester streak where they like to fly at your face while you’re in the shower.  Somehow they always head for the nose, why is that?  Out on Sava’i, there are even some green ones.  Yummy.  Samoans tend to deal with them by scooping them up and throwing them outside.  My advice is to ignore them.

Ants

These would be the annoying aunts or uncles who come for a visit and never go away.  They come after the most random items (computers, dirty underwear, retainers, etc) and are difficult to disperse.  Once they catch a scent, even killing the ones in view won’t guarantee a complete removal, as they’ll just come back the next day.  The best advice I can give is to not have any food in your room, whatsoever, keep your computer in a large bag, and if you really want to go the extra mile, spray your room once a week to kill any hidden critters.  They have the rather helpful talent though of cleaning up dead bugs for you.  If you’re super bored, watch as they make a ring around a cockroach then carry it off somewhere.  It’s almost better than HBO.

Centipedes

The true archnemesis of Samoa.  They can grow upwards of 6 inches, with legs thick enough to gross even the stoutest person out.  They have the nasty habit of biting rather than stinging people and their bites pack a wicked wallop.  Even the tiny babies, only an inch long cause your leg to twitch from shoots of pain.  They are wicked fast and like nothing better than crawling into bed with you as it rains outside.  The easiest way to kill one is to scream like a girl at the top of your lungs until your host family comes running to take care of it.  If that method is not available or preferred, then it’s suggested that you take Mortein (bug spray) in one hand and a shoe, hammer, umbrella, etc in the other hand.  The Mortein sufficiently slows them down and the other object is excellent for killing it after multiple blows.  I had the unfortunate experience of one crawling up my skirt and biting my inner leg and don’t care in the least to experience it again.  You’ll know them from the millipedes in that they move in a swishing S shape and you can see their legs.


Mosquitoes

There seem to be quadruple here what there are in the entire US combined.  Where bug spray and you’ll be fine.  If you forget and one gets inside your mosquito net at night though, you’ll wake up looking like you have chicken pox.

On to the good!

Birds

My brothers like to bring back the mini-parrots that they find in the banana trees (sorry, I’m not a bird expert).  They can’t fly so they can’t run away and they’re super colorful.  The birds here are quite a bit more colorful than the ones in America.


My brother holding such a bird
Bats

Really big which is really good because they eat a huge amount of those pesky bugs mentioned earlier.  I like to sit outside and play cheerleader as they swarm after them.


Geckos

Much cooler than the Geico Gecko.  They’ll walk across your ceiling making chirping sounds to one another.  Usually you’ll see them chasing after bugs.  One of the most heart-warming sights you’ll see is two geckos pulling on opposite ends of a cockroach.  Aaah the animal kingdom.

6 comments:

  1. ah ha hahahhaha this is hilarious!

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  2. Your comments about the centipede "atualoa" are great!
    Faiaoga former teacher on Upolu

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    Replies
    1. I think you may have confused USA mainland bats with the Samoan flying fox (fruit bat). The flying fox does not eat insects

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  3. The bats eat fruit and are the size of a small dog, hence the name 'flying fox'.

    I was seven when we moved to Samoa. They had a four foot wingspan, I had a four foot wingspan. I never, ever sat outside at night to 'cheer them on'. Never.

    The coconut crabs were almost as big as the bats.

    The spiders were considerably bigger than my hand.

    Don't even talk to me about palolo worms.

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  4. The bats eat fruit and are the size of a small dog, hence the name 'flying fox'.

    I was seven when we moved to Samoa. They had a four foot wingspan, I had a four foot wingspan. I never, ever sat outside at night to 'cheer them on'. Never.

    The coconut crabs were almost as big as the bats.

    The spiders were considerably bigger than my hand.

    Don't even talk to me about palolo worms.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hahaha. Thanks. This is helpful in the aftermath of my latest run-in with a centipede. I tweeted your blog. Oi aueee.

    ReplyDelete