Tuesday, August 21, 2007


I went down to the offy for a bottle of milk the other night and lo and behold, bats!
I've seen them before flying round the end of the street, but it was quite light and they were whizzing about all over the shop, catching bugs and showing off. I used to think they lived somewhere in the hospital, but since that was knocked down, I reckon they must live in the pub or one of the big terraced houses on the main road. I didn't get a photo, on account of a: it being a bit dark, b: bats are bats when it comes to flying, i.e. they don't fly in a straight line and c: I didn't want to look like a perv taking pictures in the middle of the street. "No mate, I wasn't taking pictures of your wife, there were some bats..."
I imagine Bill Oddie faces this dilemma every day of his life.
Anyway, besides bats, it's a proper urban jungle around here recently. When I was a kid, the only animals you saw were pets, like cats and goldfish and stuff. These days, we get squirrels and foxes every now and then. And you can't walk home from the pub without picking your way through dozens of hedgehogs. Well, one or two anyway.
Where have all these creatures come from? Were they always there and I just never noticed or have they got sick of living in the draughty old fields and forests and decided it's the urban life for them? And should I be worried? Are they taking over? What does bat shit do to car paintwork?

1 comment:

Cas said...

I love bats in all their wing-flapping, vampire-inspiring glory. I don't know about guano's effect on paint but it's a great fertilizer.

The urban wild animals in my parts include raccoons and possums, along with the occasional coyote. I'm convinced that when we kill ourselves off through our own stupidity that the raccoons will take over, enslaving the dim-witted oppossums to do their bidding. They're already plotting it. You can see it in their eyes, like the time I walked out of a house and realized that half a dozen raccoons each the size of a dog were perched in trees surrounding me, watching.

Squirrels are so ubiquitous they're barely worth mentioning. Foxes, not so much, though they're probably out there. Hedgehogs are only known here as exotic pets.

Every once in a while, a bear wanders into the city and sparks a wave of sightings. The new sprawling suburbs deal with bears more often, and on rare occasions have to worry about mountain lions. A friend of mine who lives on Long Island and works in Manhattan has a knack of visiting Seattle whenever there's a bizarre animal sighting, like an errant moose or a herd of wild horses on the interstate. He's convinced these are everyday occurrences and that we're the sticks. Then again, to a New Yorker, anything in the US other than New York is the sticks.

On the other hand, most of the Seattle area was wilderness 150 years ago, with the Salish Indians clustered in smaller villages along Puget Sound and the local rivers. We haven't had urbanization long enough to kill everything off yet. The raccoons will outlast us all, though, I tell you.