Guam was a fascinating place to explore creatures. I found reptiles, amphibians, snakes, insects, and saw many types of fish.
The house I was staying at had an empty swimming pool that lizards (geckos and brown lizards) and frogs got stuck in. Every morning I would walk down the stairs into the empty pool and search for stranded lizards and frogs. One day I rescued about 9 lizards. The lizards were brown and measured from about 2 to 6 inches long. They were harmless and did not bite. I also found 1 toad and 2 frogs. The toad was about the size of an orange and its brown and green skin was lumpy and warty. The frogs, however, were only about the size of small grapes, and their smooth skin was speckled with white spots. On one of our last nights on Guam, I saw a Guamanian brown tree snake, which measured about 2 feet long. The brown tree snake is an invasive species and has killed most of the bird population on the island. (“Brown Tree Snake.” Wikipedia. Accessed September 2, 2015. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brown_tree_snake.)
I didn’t see very many unusual insects in Guam, except one. One morning I looked in a wheelbarrow that had filled with water after a rain storm and found a gigantic coconut rhinoceros beetle floating on the surface! The beetle was about 2 inches long and was dark brown and black. Although the beetle is not dangerous to humans, it does damage young coconut plants, killing the palms. (“Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle.” Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle. April 6, 2015. Accessed September 2, 2015.) Even though I really didn’t want to, I smashed the armored beetle so it wouldn’t do any more damage.
One day my family and my cousin went snorkeling in the Philippine Sea on the southern tip of Guam near Cocos Island. I saw a lot of beautiful fish, sea stars, and black sea cucumbers. The fish I could identify include the yellow tang, the Moorish Idol (Gil in Finding Nemo), the convict tang, the broadclub cuttlefish, and blue sea star. After snorkeling, I found many different types of coral pieces on the beach. I even mailed a few pieces home to show my friends and family.
Of all the creatures I saw, rescuing the lizards was my favorite part. I hope I can find more lizards and frogs in the next country I visit.
Read More About Our Adventure – When we returned from our seven-month adventure, I spent the next several years writing a book about our experiences abroad and my personal journey through grief.