Opinion What Is That And How Do I Get Rid Of It?

You’ve gotten to Okinawa and so much is new, including many large and sometimes loud creatures. From giant, flying beasts to things that hide in the closet, here’s a little breakdown:

I remember my first nights in Okinawa. Of course, my husband was immediately sent on deployment. So, young and alone, I slept in a tiny off-base, Okinawa-style apartment. In the middle of the night, a croaking noise brought me to a fully woken state. What was in the room with me, and where???? I fitfully spent the rest of the night, waiting for morning to search for the owner of the chattering. I am sure most of you have guessed it was one of these guys, a common gecko.

Common gecko found in Okinawa

They won’t hurt you and they are great to have in the house since they eat bugs and spiders. They will occasionally drop out of cupboards and surprise you. But 100% keep these guys around!

While I am fully tolerant of reptiles, when we move on to arachnids, I get the willies. A good friend sent me this picture of the spider his family harbored in the back yard for a year.

Giant spider inhabitants of Okinawa

Okinawa boasts GIANT spiders. We call these banana spiders, but they are golden orbs and are known for weaving giant webs. I have seen webs span trees over roads. Banana spiders eat a variety of insects, the larger ones, as you can see here, dining on cicadas. If you go to the Botanical Gardens or Bios in August, you will see copious amounts of ginormous arachnids and often webs full of babies. Best bet with these is simply to stay away. They are not poisonous per se, but can give a nasty bite.

On a rare occasion, you may find a cave bug hiding in your closet. Outside of rock areas, these are not usual, but if you see one, do not touch it. Call base housing, your realtor, or someone knowledgeable in pest control to report it or have it removed if you can't come to do it yourself. These are a type of centipede, just uglier. They can give you a good sting.

Okinawa cave bug

If you look up in the night sky, you might see what appears to be a pterodactyl flying overhead. These flying beasts with wingspans of up to six feet are fruit bats or flying foxes. Unlike other bats, these do not carry rabies and do not eat bugs. Fruit bats subsist on a variety of tropical produce. Adorably, the moms tuck babies under their wings to protect them. Flying foxes pose absolutely no threat to you and will never harm you or threaten you in any way.

Okinawa fruit bat

Another behemoth Okinawan beast you’ll encounter is the snail. Plodding along in parks and on lawns, these monsters leave slimy trails. Keep children from touching snails as kids can, in rare cases, get meningitis if a parasite from the animal is ingested. Makeman carries products for snail control.

Okinawa (giant) snails!

Be careful with basically any fuzzy caterpillars you see on Okinawa (actually, this is a good tip for anywhere in the world). It’s best not to touch them as many are poisonous. One that I have seen on my own plants is the gypsy moth caterpillar. To prevent these, take a picture and ask at Makeman and they will recommend a product to control the insects.

Fuzzy gypsy moth caterpillar found in Okinawa

If you have seen any creatures you can’t identify, post a picture below! We’ll try to get an answer for you and let you know what it is and if it’s safe!
The views expressed on this page by users and staff are their own, not those of Okinawa.Org.
About Author
Elizabeth Gomez
Elizabeth Gomez – Oki Adventurer, Artist, Dog Mom. Be sure to check out my Okinawa art!

Comments

These don't really get to me.

Quite often, I'm faced with spider webbing when walking trails. That, in my opinion, is worse than being face to face with an actual spider because it's sometimes so hard to get off. I actually learned, while finding a 2nd alternative route to Kakinohana Hija Spring (that I didn't post because it was roped off, but safer than the rocky entrance) that those snails are dangerous if touched.

The thing that really gets me in Okinawa is the damned mosquito. I can live with everything else, but I'm really looking forward to the short relief of "winter" when I quit getting bit so often.
 
I find that the mosquitos here leave a bite that only lasts a few hours instead of days like I used to have in the States. One thing I did not add here were those awful, hairy, huntsman spiders. And if you get a female with an egg sac - talk about aggressive! I dread spiders! I don't mind snakes at all. I actually caught a habu once here with a butterfly net in my bare feet :p I do not recommend this, by the way. The snails are dangerous - a child died from touching one and ingesting a parasite and a Marine also almost died from eating one.
 
I find that the mosquitos here leave a bite that only lasts a few hours instead of days like I used to have in the States.
That's true. But, I seem to get bit a minimum of 10 times if I do, as opposed to just once in the States. So, I don't know what's worse... 🤔
I don't mind snakes at all.
I've yet to see one in person, even walking through remote parts of Itoman where they're supposed to be as well, to even know how I'd react. If anything, I'd probably just cautiously move away and around it or leave if that wasn't possible.
and a Marine also almost died from eating one.
Being a former Marine: No comment. :LOL:
 

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