I find the gremlyns who build hives in the underbelly of ships far more dangerous.
Gremlyns which in size compares to a cat or a very large rat, are an urbanized breed having adapted to infest and live on ships. Due to this they are wide spread menace, as their destructive nature and ingenuity has caused many a ship to crash. One would think that destroying their own home is counter productive but it is in fact part of their natural life cycle and is natures way of keeping this vermin in check.
In truth, a single gremlyn can be useful. They tinker with this and that, making their nest, which is often in the relay room of a ship, purr like a kitten. Most pirate ships I believe are infested due to their stealth in the air, yet being swift and having their engines at full throttle. It is when several of this breed sneak aboard the real problems begin. When a hive forms, all of the gremlyns will begin to nest and modify their environment. Like a pot with too many cooks, the outcome is often fatal for the human crew on the ship.
How they get onto the ship is always an interesting study to watch. Most gremlyns begin their life on the ground in a smoldering pile of wood and chard remains of it's mothers former home. There is something about the impact and the flash of heat that causes the eggs to hatch. Without these two elements one can have eggs stored safely for decades, as females like chickens will just lay eggs on a rather regular bases. However, I am getting ahead of myself so lets return to the newly hatched gremlyns.
As I have stated, most gremlyns begin life on the ground. They are a member of the goblin family and share many of the goblin's identifying traits. two fingers, and a short tail they use to balance. They also have a third digit that is prehensile allowing it to use tools. They are born the color of the sky the day and time their were laid by their broodmare. Giving them a large range of colors making them hard to classify by just a glance. They grow quickly to their adult size within a week depending on their diet, which as a freshly hatched pup can range from insects, mammals, and inorganic objects such as shoes. They are not picky eaters.
Once they are fully grown, they start to crave the air in high altitudes. I have theorized it is needed for their breeding cycle. Most of the clutch will begin to seek higher ground, climbing up trees, buildings if any are near by. But the clever ones, the ones that will someday get on a ship and complete it's life cycle, are the real danger. They are dangerous because they are tinkers, and will begin to build themselves a set of wings to reach their lofty goal. Having spent several years watching a gremlyn do this, I can only image that the story of Icarus was inspired by watching these creatures try over and over again to fly. The one I was watching actually ripped off the wings of a flighted faerie and tried to flap its arms to gain lift with the wings tightly held in hand. This was it's first attempts of many, of the months I began to bring wine and a snuff box with me to observe it's progress as it was very entertaining and much more heart lighting then an evening at the theater with my husband.
It was after I had left my pocket watch on accident during one of my day studies that the gremlyn made progress and used it to motion the wings it made. Like a bumble bee, not aware that something of it's gurth should ever hover off ground it drifted slowly up and latched itself to a passing ship over head. I caught the name of the ship with my lens, and recorded it to compare to the crash records of ships at a later date.
once the Gremlyn reaches it's goal (some of the gremlyns will infest other means of transportation, but will not reproduce without the high altitude for egg laying) it will begin to explore and familiarize itself with the ship. Only 2 areas of the ship will be it's overall goals, the gully and the engine room (or relay room if it is a newer model of ship) Food and home.
As I have stated the gremlyn will mess with the engine, to insure it has the perfect nest. The engine will cease to over heat, it will run smooth and quietly. Some ship engineers will not kill the vermin if it is making their job easier and more profitable. I have even heard of gremlyns becoming so familiar with the engineers presence that they will eat out of the humans hand without fear and only rarely eating a finger.
Eventually however all good things come to an end, and another gremlyn with make it on board either by flying up themselves, ship hopping during a raid, or rarely when at port.. If the ship crew is fortunate it will be of the same sex as the first vermin and only minor problems will begin to arise in the mechanics of the ship. Sooner or later a member of the opposite sex will gain access to the ship and breeding will begin.
I believe gremlyns are the true reason sailors fear women upon their ship and feel it is ill luck. As their luck will change once the female goblin is aboard. They like the males tinker, more so then the male goblin in their nesting drives. The female gremlyn gains a chill easier then their male counter parts and will work to increase the temperature of the nest, the males with get too warm and lower it back to an "acceptable" range. I also feel this might be the females attempt to obtain hatching temperature for her eggs. In a course of a year, all the tinkering with the engine has it's toll on the ship and if not taken care of promptly and the gremlyns removed the ship will crash. Allowing the eggs of the nest to hatch and begin the cycle again.