When we lived in a house on land, we would often wake up to the remains of a dismembered cricket that the cats had left for us on the kitchen floor. Baltimore Kittens (aka rats) would freely roam the alleys of the city without a fear in the world. During the 2010 Baltimore Snowpocalypse, a couple mice met their demise at the paws of my cat, Latte. The poor things had probably sought shelter from the storm and instead caused me to scream when I was surprised by one of them on the bathroom floor at midnight.
But the worst critter story was a spider that kept me out of the basement for days. I went downstairs to clean out the cat's litter and instead found a spider capable of carrying off a small child. This thing was mean and furry and I didn't care if it was "more scared of me than I was of him." I was not going back in the basement until it was gone. (Note: I'm a huge animals rights advocate but a spider entering my home is a capital offense.) Small problem -- Doug was out of town, hence the reason I didn't go into the basement for days. When Doug did return, we fogged the basement and sat outside with the cats for a few hours while the fog worked its magic. When Doug went back inside he found the spider. AND IT WAS STILL MOVING! I'm telling you this was some crazy escaped science experiment. Luckily, it was moving slow and Doug was able to do away with the heinous creature.
How does all of this relate to living on a boat? Well, I can count on one hand the number of critters we've had to deal with since moving aboard. There have been a couple dead stinkbugs attached to the canvas. I recently saved a dragonfly from Latte's curiosity. And just the other night Doug had to revive his spider demolition skills. But our critter count has drastically declined since living on the water. I guess you could count the barnacles as a pest but they don't jump out and startle me during normal everyday activities.
I know I have probably just jinxed myself. Other boaters have posted tips on preventing and getting rid of pests. Maybe the combination of my urban environment and this year's extra cold winter have produced the perfect balance of nature and an unfavorable living environment for pests. Or perhaps we've just been lucky. Whatever the cause, I love this fringe benefit of life on the water.
For those of you with pest issues (and for my future reference which I'm sure I will need at some point), here are a few posts from the handy Boat Galley on pests:
How to Get Rid of Ants
How to Store Food on a Boat, Part 3: Avoiding Critters
Preparing the Galley to Leave the Boat