As all Maltese people know our islands have more pests than we can bear. Every summer we are forced to deal with mosquitos, spiders, rodents and more.
But what most people don’t realise is that we have our very own pest control services in the form of our local fauna.
Most people see a hedgehog and think of a cute defenceless little animal that needs protecting, but these prickly little carnivores use their keen senses to hunt for slugs, insects, worms and even small vertebrates. They’re primarily nocturnal, so they hunt stealthily and will rest during the day. In Malta, we have one particular species of hedgehog, the Vagrant Hedgehog (Qanfud), which only grows to around 25cm. And don’t be fooled by their small size, though they can’t detach their spines like a porcupine, they cleverly roll up into a ball to make their spines stab outwards.
Next, we have the Lesser Horseshoe Bat (Farfett il-Lejl tan-Naghla Zghir), our aerial pest control.
These little bats fly through the air at night and take out all sorts of nasty things like moths, mosquitos, beetles and spiders.
What makes this particular bat so special is that it is the only type of horseshoe bat you can find on the entire Maltese Islands.
And finally, we have the Black Whip Snake (serp iswed), one of the four species of snakes found on the Maltese islands, the whip snake grows long and slender and like the other members of this list are primarily nocturnal hunters.
While the other two contenders dealt with insects mainly, the Black Whip Snake feeds primarily off of rodents.
They’re non-venomous and pose no threat to humans and subdue their prey by coiling around them, not through venom.
Were you aware of these facts?
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