A wry view of life for the world-weary

Fauna Of The Week


It must be the silly season when wildlife and snorting lords dominate the newspapers but it does seem as though something is stirring in the animal kingdom.

Firstly, the terror attacks currently waged on the citizenry of the UK by gulls. Already they have killed a Yorkshire terrier in Newquay and a tortoise in Liskeard, been photographed devouring a rat (dead) in Plymouth and this week dive-bombed a chap from Newquay leaving him with a black eye after going for his bacon sandwich. This attack came shortly after a four-year old was attacked in St Ives by gulls aiming for his sausage roll and a pensioner in Helston was left with a large gash on her head and blood pouring down her face when she was repeatedly pecked by gulls.

At this rate you would count yourself lucky if you were merely crapped on by one of these pesky seabirds. Good to know Cameron is on the case!

And then there are cows. For me a herd of cows grazing peacefully in a field is the epitome of English pastoralism. However, in Hungerford, where they graze on the common, there’s a bit of a problem. Several have been struck by cars and one was so badly hurt it had to be put down. The solution – simple. Make them wear high-visibility vests. Alas, the bill, some £3,000, is beyond the reach of the cash-strapped council and farming community.

Proving that cows and modern transport don’t mix is last Sunday night’s derailment in the Godmersham area when the Charing Cross to Ramsgate train struck a herd of cows, grazing on the line. It is thought five cows were killed in the incident.

And then there is poor Percy the peacock who is so enraged by his own reflection during the breeding season that he attacks it, causing thousands of pounds of damage. Following advice from the insurers of Hatton Adventure World in Warwickshire Percy has been placed in isolation and given a mate, Priscilla.

Occasionally, though, humans strike back, witness the shooting of the pin-up of Hwange National Park, Cecil the lion, by a dentist from Minnesota, having reportedly paid $50,000 for the “privilege”. No wonder there is stirring in the undergrowth.


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