Thursday, 19 July 2007

Look, It's Rodney!!!

Rodney, for those that are wondering who I am talking about, is the know-it-all squirrel in 'Squirrel Boy', shown on Cartoon Network.

Anyway, I was out for my morning stroll yesterday, when I spied this cute little fella, perched on a neighbour' s fence. Not sure what variety of squirrel he is. Doesn't look like one of the ground squirrels that are all over this area.

After my initial 'Whoa', and after cautiously checking him out and not noticing any obvious signs of him frothing at the mouth, etc, I remembered that I was clutching my camera. He sat there checking me out and posing for the camera. He actually appeared quite tame, but I took to heart all the warnings I'd been given about wildlife and rabies, etc and decided not to get to close.

A month or so ago, walking past the same spot, The Kid and I spied a raccoon, poking it's head out of the storm drain. Apparently the raccoons use the storm drains as their version of a high way and as a result can pop up all over the city. I hadn't actually seen one, until then, but had heard them at night, trying to get into the rubbish bins.

Coming from a country like New Zealand, that does not have squirrels, raccoons, skunks, bears, etc, I still get excited when I see sights like this. I can sit and watch the antics of the ground squirrels for hours. Though some wildlife, like snakes, etc, does have me beating a hasty and prudent retreat. New Zealand is also free of snakes, scorpions and other such nasties, which makes picnicking, tramping and other outside activities, a lot more enjoyable. We do have a type of poisonous spider, called the Katipo, but it is usually only found on rocky beaches and it's bite, while painful, is not fatal. I've seen reports that the Australian Redback spider has also been found in New Zealand, but again, while the bite can be painful and can make you sick, it is very rarely fatal.
While we do, in NZ, get to see lions, tigers, bears, monkeys and other assorted non-New Zealand wildlife, in zoos and wild life parks, there are no snakes even in captivity as the result of them escaping and establishing in NZ, would be a disaster for our native wild life, especially the birds.
Long may it remain so, however I sadly think that it is only going to be a matter of time before snakes do establish themselves, unless NZ's biosecurity ramps up their efforts to stop them. There have been a couple incidents where snakes have been found in shipping containers and, in one case, slithering around in the open.
Al this talk of snakes, now has me fighting the urge to prop my feet up on the wastepaper basket :-)