I was disturbed, extremely disturbed. Moving to a new country can be a disorienting process at the best of times.
It is made no easier when you wake up each morning to find a smattering of small brown turds littered across the white floor tiles.
As I removed the mysterious defecatory material every day, I was tortured by the knowledge that I would have to face the same unpleasant task in 24 hours time.
What worried me more was the vexed question of which heinous creature was using my apartment as a public toilet.
Living on the 23rd floor of a reasonably modern Jakarta apartment block, I presumed that I would be spared the harassment of mice or rats.
And, in any case, the said turds looked too small to have been produced by a rodent.
I had seen a few geckos skulking around the flat at night but, despite many previous encounters with these inoffensive reptiles, had never knowingly come into contact with their shit.
In the pre-internet era, if I’d wanted to find out the identity of my tormentor, I would probably have had to bag up the beast’s stool and send a sample to the Natural History Museum in London for analysis.
Thanks to Google, I merely typed the words “gecko” and “shit” into my web browser and, eureka, I had found my culprit.
During my feculent journey of discovery, I also discovered that gecko’s get rid of their urine in solid form, little white spots attached to their little brown turds. Apparently it’s the reptilian equivalent of passing a kidney stone every time you piss – sounds painful.
Fascinating as all this information is, it doesn’t really help me solve my main dilemma.
I could try to get rid of the geckos with bug spray but they perform a useful role by eating mosquitoes and other pesky insects. And with the seasonal dengue fever peak coming up next month in Jakarta, having a few allies in the fight against the mozzies can’t be a bad thing.
Now to find a gecko poop-a-scoop on eBay....