Ratbaby and Friends:
The Brown Tree Snake Invasion
The sun set over the island of Guam, making the tropical paradise glow in a warm kind of light
before fading into darkness. The night erupted with the songs of hundreds of birds, combining
into the harmonious voice of the forest.
Under the stars, Ratbaby and her friends spoke of everything and nothing. Bob and Brian, the
musical birds, sang together for everyone to enjoy and dance to. Chris the fruit bat fluttered
around Johnny the lizard, and Mark the monkey spun around in circles, laughing. Ratbaby
smiled, lying on the floor. They were happy.
Chris flew high into the sky, then quickly dropped back down.
''Guys!'' he exclaimed. ''There's a big boat coming in.''
The friends all stopped what they were doing and headed towards the beach to see if it was true.
Sure enough, when they got there, a large ship had settled on the shore.
Down from it came several men, who didn't seem like they were from Guam. The rat, the
musical birds, the fruit bat, the lizard, and the monkey all hid behind a rock, watching the men
bring boxes into the island.
But the men weren't what worried the friends; it was the snakes. Several of them—brown
skinned and ranging from three to ten feet long—slithered down from the side of the boat, past
the rock the friends hid behind, and into the trees. They had never seen creatures like them
''Let's go back home, guys,'' said Ratbaby, afraid. They all headed back into the forest, and down
into the cozy hole they lived in together. That was the last night they slept soundly.
In a matter of days, the island had been completely taken over by the brown tree snakes: another
fatal hit to the environment, as a consequence of the ignorant acts of human beings. The men
had brought brown tree snakes from their natural habitat into the island of Guam, meddling
with Earth's natural system and destroying it in the process.
The snakes ate the birds, bats, and rats of the island, and so Bob, Brian, Chris, and Ratbaby
made sure to stay within the safety of their home. Mark and Johnny were in charge of going out
and getting food for everyone.
One evening, Johnny came back with an assortment of fruits and insects. As they all ate
together, he said, with sadness in his voice: ''It's quiet outside. I don't hear the birds anymore.''
The silence that followed was heartbreaking.
''Um,'' Mark said after everyone had time to register Johnny's words. ''I guess that means Bob
and Brian will have to make up for it.''
Mark's smile never failed to bring joy into the hearts of the entire island, and it was true this time
as well. The party that followed was an effort to remember the good times they had in the past.
They spent the rest of the night dancing and laughing, listening and singing along to Bob and
Brian's uplifting, emotional songs.
The next morning, Ratbaby felt much better than she had before. She wanted to go outside, to
once again experience the beauty of Guam. She was the was the first one to wake up, and so she
left the hole.
It was a relief to see the sun again, but she realized that everything Mark and Johnny had told
them was true. There were snakes all over the forest—slithering on every branch, on every rock,
curled up in every fallen log. Ratbaby scuttered around quickly, avoiding eye contact with them.
She got to the beach, and breathed in deeply, glad to see the ocean again.
Beside her, someone said: ''Hey.''
She jumped, startled to see it was a snake.
''My name's Bambam,'' it said. ''I'm from Australia.''
There was a pause, in which Ratbaby was too afraid to speak. Finally, she said: ''Bambam, why
did you come here? Why have you destroyed my home?'' She held back tears.
Bambam looked sad. ''Listen,'' he said. ''In the same way that you have to eat fruits and insects to
survive, my family and I have to eat birds and rats to survive. It's just how nature works. We
didn't choose to come here. We were taken here, and now we're just trying to survive.''
Ratbaby nodded, understanding. ''I respect that,'' she said. ''But I have to survive too—for my
She turned around and hurried back to her home—to her friends.
When she arrived, everyone was gathered together. ''Ratbaby!'' The all spoke in unison. ''We
were so worried.'' Mark ran to her and picked her up.
''Guys,'' said Ratbaby. ''The snakes are just like us—they just want to live; and we'll all be ok as
long as we stay together.''
Bob and Brian sang happily, and the rest danced: ''To life!'' they cheered. ''To life together.''
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