Dealing with Critters in Taiwan

As amazing, beautiful, and entertaining as Taiwan can be, there are of course some less than pleasant issues that travelers may have to deal with that are specific to Taiwan — namely, the animal life.

Arm yourself with bug spray!

First of all, because of its latitude and weather, Taiwan does have many bugs common to hot, humid areas. Mosquito repellent is a must, especially when going out at night, as mosquitoes can carry dengue fever.

Of course, there are traps set for mosquitoes. One notable trap captured 4 million mosquitoes in a month!

Don’t leave windows open

Those traveling to Taiwan should also be aware that if they go out at night (especially in a more overgrown area) they may encounter cockroaches, spiders, and all the usual critters that inhabit tropical areas. Lizards and large bugs may find their way into un-screened, open windows at night, so it is advisable to make sure windows are closed and latched.

Lizard in Taiwan

Don’t feed the dogs

One unusual aspect of Taiwan life is the stray dogs. Most countries have some of these, but Taipei especially has a large number of them roaming the city and streets. This is a fairly recent phenomenon, and comes from the number of foreigners who buy dogs as pets in Taiwan, but on returning home are reluctant to deal with the month-long quarantines and abandon the dogs when they leave. This is a cruel and sad situation, but unfortunately quite true.

This does, however, mean that the stray dogs are nearly all tame and mostly harmless, and will only approach humans if offered food. Many Taiwanese people are opening what they call “salons” to provide food for these dogs and try to find homes for them. These dogs often know how to cross streets using crosswalks, and some have even been seen riding the MRT (subway)! Many visitors to Taiwan are at first unnerved and sometimes alarmed by the large number of these dogs, but become accustomed to them after a time. It’s not recommended that you touch them, though, however tame they may appear.