Thursday, April 13, 2006

The 'Natives' are Revolting.

I was just reading Admiral Pooper Scoopers latest post and it got me thinking. Yes I have been known to on occasion. He mentioned the scorpions and big hairy spiders that inhabit his neck of the woods, or should I say desert to be correct. We don't have that kind of problem here, our wildlife are all... well rather civilised.

There's lots of it, but on the whole they are harmless. Oh yes you could get a nasty tickle from a jimmy spinner, Crane fly,

Or bumped on the bonce by an out of control bumble bee. I love to watch people flapping about when one of these things approaches.

You may even manage to raise a nasty stare from a squirrel...

But on the whole, the natives are really quite sedate in their day to day lives.

Then that last statement got me thinking again... twice in one day. Because you see that cute little chap above, the squirrel, not poopie, is not actually a native, he arrived in the mid 19th Century. This is our native squirrel;

Unfortunately this little chap is now under serious threat of extinction, for two main reasons, it's habitat is under threat from us and the grey squirrel, giving the evils above, although not aggressive to the red squirrel, is better at competing for food, it has a wider diet and can eat seeds and nuts before they are fully ripe, unlike the red squirrel.

When I moved South to Kent a decade ago, our garden was home to hundreds of common frogs.

During late March they would descend on our pond and we would hear the deafening cacophony of the frogs chorus throughout the evenings, heralding the onset of spring. A few days later the pond would be a seething mass of frogspawn. I had no need for slug control, the frogs were my slug soldiers, my plants flourished. Then four years ago the chorus began to wane, as did the frogspawn. The following year a mere handful of frogs arrived. My little soldiers were losing their battle. Not against the slugs, who were happily munching their way through my now unprotected plants, but against a terrible virus that was imported with fish intended for garden ponds from Israel and the States. My little friends had no immunity to this terrible virus. The following year only two frogs arrived. This year there were none. They are now being replaced by another import, the bull frog, courtesy of another garden centre craze that went wrong, when so many of them escaped or were released when children got bored with them.

So here we go, I'm on for a hat trick of thoughts. Talking of natives and endangered species, when, if ever does an imported species become native? Is the Bull frog, now a native of this island, in terms of, it has settled in and is happily living here and breeding here? Is the Grey squirrel a native, by virtue of the fact that it now populates every corner of the island and has been in habitation here for almost two centuries. Or is the absolute winner in this contest the Roman snail.

It was introduced here by the Romans, so it's had plenty of time to settle in then, and it now has the double whammy of being on the list of species that is in danger of becoming extinct here, so we accept it's right to be here enough to want to protect it from disappearing from our shores. And why are these little 'suckers' so endangered... escargot, yummy garlic flavoured snot in a shell!!

7 at confession:

Charlie said...

A neato post, St.! I'm sorry about your little squirrels--they're so much prettier than the ones that were probably exported from here.

Let's see, Yorshire. Dr. Herriot, I presume? I still read his first four books.

I used to love escargot, until you suddenly placed the texture . . .

Miss Litzi said...

Great pictures of your native "wildlife"! However, it boggles the mind how anyone can eat frog legs or snails, no matter how many condiments are piled on top to disguise what you're really eating.

Gentleman-hobbs said...

A most enjoyable visit. Now I am going to tuck into 2 of those cheese rarebits and smother them with tomato sauce - Tescos Value mind!!! And a bottle of vintage Diamond White cider to swill it down with.

St Jude said...

Admiral; thank you. Good old James Herriot, I get to sample his lovely Yorkshire countryside anytime I like again. The people never change by the way. It's great. Sorry to put you off your escargot.

Miss Litzi; I'm certainly with you on the old frogs legs et al. Apparently they taste just like chicken... so why not just eat a blinking chicken?

Gentleman Hobbs; Mmm, cheese rarebits, white diamond, gosh I haven't drunk cider since I was a nipper. It was the first drink I ever got drunk on, I've never been able to stomach it since.

The Poodle's Friend said...

I'm obsessed with squirrels, but we don't get any here. Sniff.

Attila The Mom said...

Those crane flys scare the bejabbers out of me!

Way too dry up here for snails, but I sure do love 'em. Yum!

Tell ya what. You send me snails, and I'll send you some Rocky Mountain Oysters. :-)

St Jude said...

TPF; squirrels are great until they decide to move in with you. Then it's every man, or woman for themself. If you've ever chased an irate squirrel around your bedroom at midnight, believe me they are cute on the outside, but not on the inside.

Attila; you're on, it's a deal.

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