Any rodents on the islands?

Aug 10th, 2003, 09:34 AM
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My wife and I have stayed at many upscale hotels and mom & Pop places in Nevis, Abaco, Eleuthera, Exuma, New Providence, San Salvador, Cost Rica, Bimini, etc. and have noticed rats everywhere. Maybe because of my love of nature I notice the neat survivalist creatures crossing beams or scampering behind bushes at night time at places like the Four Seasons in Nevis as well as mom & pop operations which I tend to like much better than upscale places. At any rate, they came here on ocean vessels and scamper down cruise ship ropes, jumping into the harbor waters and swimming ashore. But, don't worry, there are very few poisonous snakes on the caribbean islands, since the imported mongoose has populated most of them, and have killed off all the venemous snakes. Although I will literally chase down and pick up to inspect a rat before releasing it; I must admit I had to change my diapers on the island of Eleuthera, when I sat on the toilet at 2am one Bahamian night. Much to my surprise, a local tree frog was in the toilet bowl, gave a high pitched screech and leaped out of the bowl when I stood up, passing by my face. Just to let you know, about anything may scare you unexpectedly more than rats in the Caribbean. Oh, a 7 foot boa did glide over my lawn chair at a pool in the evening at a hotel in Costa Rica...I think he was looking for rats. Robert
Robert is offline  
Aug 10th, 2003, 02:28 PM
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The worst thing I ever saw was in Islamorada (FL Keys). A scorpion as big as a dinner-plate on the livingroom wall.

We got out of there from a dead sleep in 5 minutes,and left important things (Heinekins and crab legs in the refrig.).
maryann is offline  
Aug 10th, 2003, 03:00 PM
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There are no rats or mice on any of the islands !!
Rusty is offline  
Aug 10th, 2003, 04:33 PM
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I sympathize as the only phobia I have is with rodents. I am sure that they have been on every island we've ever been to, but the only ones I've ever seen were in GC, Westin hotel on the deck and we saw one in the USVI eating pizza and several traps around. I had nightmares that night about rodents crossing our hotel room and biting my toes. Yuck!
Knowing is offline  
Aug 10th, 2003, 05:24 PM
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I was in a dimly-lit, hut-like bathroom at a jungle hotel in Costa Rica one night when I felt something furry brush against my legs.
It was a tapir - turned out to be one of the cutest animals I have ever seen.
gualalalisa is offline  
Aug 11th, 2003, 10:25 AM
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I have encountered rats in several places but most prominently in Jamaica. I've seen them behind kitchens, in cabins, in the caves of Negril's cliffs, in elevators, walking across the 'catch of the day' in a beach-side restaurant, and in and around several bathrooms.

If you only knew how many there really were, just out of sight, you could get very nervous.

Not as bad but plenty in PR. None in St. Thomas or St. John.


mm is offline  
Aug 11th, 2003, 10:38 AM
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You will probably find fewer rats in the Caribbean than in NYC.. take a look at this article
cartera45 is offline  
Aug 11th, 2003, 10:38 AM
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One memorable villa stay on Nevis included a rat chased all over the villa by my husband with a broom, and the security agent at the airport in St. Martin finding a big live scorpion in my suitcase.
He just zipped it back up in there and said I could deal with it when I got home as "the X rays would kill it."
(It was dead when I unpacked in the middle of my driveway.)
We also saw rats in St Lucia.
Diana is offline  
Aug 11th, 2003, 11:16 AM
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Peter Island is rodent free!
IslandGrl is offline  
Aug 12th, 2003, 10:47 AM
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Sorry, but Peter Island and all of the Caribbean islands have rats. The mongoose is a carnivor, and was introduced centuries ago into the sugar plantation islands; i.e., all of the Caribbean including the British and U.S. Virgin Islands from South Asia and Africa (Riki-Tiki-Tavi) to control the rat population. Fortunately, for the rats, it didn't succeed because the Mongoose feed during the day and the rats come out at night. Man, once again, screwed up the natural order, because the Mongoose devastated the local snake and bird populations's (ate baby birds and eggs in nests), including many other small mammal populations. With no snakes left, like our Pilot Black Snakes in the U.S. which feed on rats, the rat population took off. When man introduced a predator like Riki-Tiki-Tavi into the Caribbean, which is fast enough to go a few bouts with a cobra, and win all the time, devastation occurs. I hate to tell you this, but Buck Island's Black Rat population has exploded since then, and no longer can migrating birds nest on this heretofore bird sanctuary; the rats eat all the eggs. Now, scientists are re-introducing native rats back onto other Caribbean islands to restore the natural biodiversity. Here we are, complaining of tourists about rats, but the scientific community, and mother nature, will make sure the bird-rat-rodent- and maybe snake populations, co-exist once again in our Caribbean retreats! Sorry for the bad news, for some. Robert
Robert is offline  
Aug 12th, 2003, 11:00 AM
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Thanks for the nature lesson Robert. I knew I could count on you to give us a dose of reality.
Just because they're not usually seen doesn't mean they're not there.
(But if they're around during the day, you know they are REALLY bad.)
I don't know for sure, but I would hasten to guess they are more numerous on the lusher more tropical islands where there's lots of foliage to hide/breed in.
The few I've seen have been on St Lucia and Nevis.
Diana is offline  
Aug 12th, 2003, 11:17 AM
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A great thread (even though my skin is crawling!). Thanks Robert for putting it all in perspective.

Diana, I'm surprised your scorpion died. Mine survived the flight home from Eleuthera last year, only to crawl across my husband's pillow (makes you think twice about unpacking on your bed!) So thankful we noticed it!!!!
joan is offline  
Aug 12th, 2003, 11:55 AM
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Diana; funny story of your hubbie chasing the rat. My wife and I were on Nevis this past Easter, and saw rats, too. Mostly at night time, at both the 4 Seasons Nevis and at the Golden Rock where we stayed. Robert
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Aug 12th, 2003, 01:20 PM
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Well, I don't if we can trust Fodor's but one of the interesting facts they have published about Peter Island is that the number of cats on the island had eliminated the rodent population. Maybe they are passing on a myth.
IslandGrl is offline  
Aug 12th, 2003, 01:39 PM
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Aieee! Joan! Your story waaaay beats mine.
We have brought back a couple of things that DID make the trip back alive. (We have seen a lot of little green frogs with red eyes and sucker feet around here since we accidentally released an exotic frog that stowed away in our luggage from a dive trip to Mexico.)
After the scorpion appeared at the airport, we put the suitcase in the driveway, put on gloves and used cooking tongs to unpack and had a container to put the scorpion in. Unfortunately, it was a dessicated little remnant of itself when I unpacked the next day. I just can't imagine how I packed without getting stung.
Robert, we've been to Nevis twice and seen rats both times. I also saw several at the Four Seasons. (But I'm sure the FS has only CLEAN rats.)
At the villa, my husband chased that darn thing right into the bedroom with me, and I jumped out of the bed and onto the toilet seat. Most villas don't have A/C, so you leave the doors open.
This particular villa was up past Golden Rock and is where the scorpion came from also. Uh, I don't think I'll be staying in THAT one again!
Diana is offline  
Aug 12th, 2003, 04:14 PM
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Oh this thread is just too good to not reply!

No, I've never seen a rat in the Caribbean - but then, I wasn't looking very hard either. Some things just shouldn't be looked for.

But the scorpion packed in the suitcase story should be posted on the airline forum as a tip to those posters worried about suitcase pillaging by baggage handlers in the airport - LOL!

In any case, that particular story has compelled me to relate an anecdote that has nothing to do with travelling in the caribbean or elsewhere.

We live on a small hobby farm in Canada with the requisite barn, horse and decrepit old house. Several years ago, on a cold dark Saturday evening in February, I was finishing up my weekly laundry and was just transferring the last load of dark clothes from the washer to the dryer (with only the ambient light from the living room as I hadn't switched on the overhead light in the laundry room). As I tossed a handful of socks and shirts into the dryer I suddenly realized that I had a handful of fur. I had accidently knocked my husband's good muskrat winter hat into the washing machine and washed it! First horrified thought - "He's going to have a bloody fit!!!" Second really HORRIFIED thought came as my hand and its cargo came into the area of the room lit by the dryer light. Yep, you guessed it! "It's a really, really big RAT!!!!!" After I let out a shriek that caused hubby to instinctively fling the cat off his lap and across the living room as I was simultaneously flinging the rat across the laundry room. After a couple of stiff drinks we discovered that the rodent had chewed thru the wall aroungd the pipes under the laundry tubs. I must have startled it when I started the wash and it hid in the pile of dirty clothes on the laundre room floor. I then had scooped it up with an armload of clothes (and that thought still gives me the extreme willies), deposited it into the washer and proceeded to wash it to death.

So: Two observations to make.

1. Where there is habitation and food there will inevitably be rats (even if they are mostly unseen)

2. Rat fur is really really soft when it's clean! Feels like mink. Maybe there's an untapped market out there that won't upset even the animal rights activists - LOL.

Oh, and for all you women who ARE wondering and who WILL ask.... Yes, I did wash the whole load of clothes again - twice - with diluted bleach!

saharabee is offline  
Aug 12th, 2003, 05:23 PM
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saharabee I haven't laughed that hard from this site in months!!!! Oh that was so funny! ...washed it to death...

And I can think of a few women who'd look absolutely ravishing in rat.
joan is offline  
Aug 14th, 2003, 03:21 AM
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great (creepy) story.... I do have to admit, without thinking I exhaled with "relief" when you said you rewashed your clothes twice
Carib_Ruby is offline  
Aug 15th, 2003, 01:11 PM
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I just got back from St. Martin. Having left before seeing this fun conversation - I happened to ask my husband while we were there if he had seen or if he thought there were any rodents. He assured me no. He knows me too well! (There were some sort of "resident" cats hanging around La Samanna which got my little vacationing mind to wondering). Two days later there was a huge one (dead) in the middle of the sidewalk in Marigot. Ugghh.
newsnuggets is offline  
Aug 17th, 2003, 09:18 AM
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Carib_Ruby and Joan:

Yeah - that one's a sure fire conversation stopper at a cocktail party with the city folk for certain! And we have a few dozen more stories dealing with close encounters of the creepy and bizarre kind with Mother Nature since we moved here. Mice, snakes, weasels, skunks, spiders too big to talk about, wasps, deer (hubby got run over by one), ninja partridges, runaway horses (ours), pigs (not ours), rabid raccoons - the list goes on and on.

The peace and tranquility of country living is not exactly as advertised. But we still love it here and wouldn't think of moving away. So too, the possibility of contact with similar critters while travelling certainly wouldn't deter us from going anyplace tropical.

And I guess you can put the whole wildlife interaction thing into perspective when you consider that, out of all these encounters, the only one so far which has resulted in a need for medical attention was one with a house fly!

Joan - "Ravishing in Rat" - great line! I see PR potential for rodents here. How about "Vivacious in Vermin" ? LOL.

saharabee is offline  
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