(Not even a mouse, centipede, starling or possum)
By Mark D. Somerso, Graphic by Aaron Harden
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
We see them when we open the pantry, glance at a shadow on the ceiling or turn on a light in the kitchen.
A mouse. A spider. Or, God forbid, a cockroach.
We spray, we fog, we squish and we trap.
Locks, alarms and video cameras do little to stop assorted flora and fauna from creating a habitat in every nook and cranny of our homes, from basement to attic.
A couple of years ago, I found something in my basement that I eventually learned is called Scutigera coleoptrata. It was all legs and quite horrifying. I obliterated it with a sneaker.
It turns out this house centipede is harmless and even beneficial, feeding on a smorgasbord of pests, including cockroach nymphs, flies, moths, bedbugs, crickets, silverfish, earwigs and small spiders.
That got me thinking. What else lives in and on my house?
To keep things manageable, I ignored the billions of germs that cover just about every surface of every room. And I looked past the molds and fungi, too.
That leaves, well, a lot.
With the help of experts who study birds, insects, spiders, mammals, reptiles and amphibians, we get a pretty good picture of just how many species we shelter and, in many cases, unwittingly feed.
This page gives a glimpse of what is possible, not necessarily typical.