Welcome to the sixth in a new series of Animal Tales from the Bermuda S.P.C.A., which have kindly been sponsored by our good friends at Noah’s Ark.
Blowing their own trumpet
If you think you’ve got problems with feral chickens or your neighbour’s dog, which constantly barks at night, then spare a thought for the citizens of Mysore in southern India where two rogue elephants recently terrorized that city’s suburbs.
Schools and businesses were brought to a close and people fled indoors. A man was trampled to death by one of the angry elephants, whilst his accomplice repeatedly head-butted a cow, which later died from its injuries.
The pachyderms also caused widespread damage to property. They were eventually tranquillized by game keepers and returned to a location deep in the forests.
Unfortunately such events in India are becoming more common as a result of urban developments, which encroach upon the elephant’s traditional range within the forests.
According to sources in India, in the state of Karnataka alone, over one hundred people die annually as a result of elephant attacks.
The only solution is for the authorities to maintain well marshalled and clearly defined zones where all such encroachment is banned, and where elephants are able to wander free and unhindered as they always have.
And the award goes to
Yoda, the cross Chihuahua/Chinese crested dog, and Ugly Bat Boy have respectively won the dubious accolades of ‘ugliest dog’ and ‘ugliest cat’ for 2011.
Yoda was found abandoned by his current owner, who initially thought he was an oversized rat.
He has white fur, oversized bat ears, an angled nose and eyes that protrude in different directions.
Being so ugly though has brought him fame and a cult following, and he always gets special attention during visits to the vets.
Ugly Bat Boy (Ugly for short) resides at a Veterinary hospital in New Hampshire, US, where he appears quite content with the attention he receives. Staff members say that this unusual cat either scares or mesmerizes visitors in equal numbers.
Grey in colour, he is bald except for thick fur on his chest. Like Yoda he has large, bat like ears and equally large eyes that slant down and inwards, and he has a long, skinny rat-like tail.
Animals of course can teach us so-called ‘higher beings’ a thing or two. They don’t categorize their fellow animals or people based upon their looks; they simply accept those who are different on face value (if you’ll excuse the analogy).
It’s not a common cry that you are likely to hear in Britain – in fact most people in the UK have never seen a live snake in the wild — but for some reason this year the normally shy and non-aggressive adders have been particularly active.
Probably it’s their desperation for some warmth and sunshine in what to date has been a damp spring and early summer in most parts of the country.
Since April, when the snakes emerged from their winter hibernation, there been five reported incidents of snake bites in England — four involving dogs and the fifth involving a child.
Adders belong to the viper family. They are the only venomous snakes native to Britain, and they can live up to 20 years of age. Adders have the most highly developed venom injecting mechanism of all snakes, but only use their venom to kill their prey (small mammals) or in self-defence.
Though unpleasant (bite symptoms are usually confined to nausea, drowsiness, severe swelling and bruising), nobody has actually died from an adder bite in Britain in over 20 years.
The other native snakes are the harmless grass snake, and equally harmless but exceptionally rare smooth snake.
It seems to be becoming a more common occurrence these days, horses falling into their owner’s swimming pools.
The most recently recorded case involved a 26-year-old horse named Casper.
What made his ordeal all the more stressful is that Casper is blind.
In order to rescue poor Casper, his owners first guided him to the shallow end of the pool, where a veterinarian then administered tranquilizers.
Some of the water was pumped out of the pool and a hoist was then placed under Casper’s chest and he was slowly winched back up on to dry land.
Fortunately for all concerned, he made a full recovery.
The king cheetah
So rare is the king cheetah that many sceptics doubted its very existence until a photograph of the animal was first published in 1975.
Only 60 are thought to exist, and of these, no more than 10 survive in the wilds of southern Africa.
The king cheetah is characterized by its very distinct, dark, thick markings, which are the result of a recessive gene mutation.
It is not however a sub species, and such animals have been bred in captiviity from two normally marked parents.
The future of these beautiful rare cats however undoubtedly lies with captive breeding programmes.