Animals on Parade


I live in a small town where news is often scarce. We are limited to the free weekly paper that includes the latest high school basketball scores, city council minutes, obituaries and the police blotter. Ads for farm equipment, pharmacies, restaurants and exterminators are scattered throughout the pages, and words of thanks from bereaved families can be found. With the demise of the larger newspapers, it’s one of few ways to find out what’s going on in our neighborhoods.

Aside from the usual speeders, those driving about sans a license, loose dogs and the occasional wellness check, the local police blotter is pretty benign. However, last week it was noted that our men in blue were called out to respond to a report of three dead squirrels in the street. The post went onto say that the bodies were removed. I’m wondering what kind of training our officers undergo for such a task.

Recently, the Dallas Zoo reported the theft of two emperor tamarin monkeys. Thankfully, they were recovered unharmed. The monkeys are named for their resemblance to the German Emperor Wilhelm II, although they also look a bit like Hulk Hogan. They live in small groups and the fathers take on most of the responsibility of caring for their young. The culprit who kidnapped them was found, but the reason for the theft has not been revealed.

Meanwhile, a British monkey sanctuary hired a Marvin Gaye impersonator to croon love songs to endangered Barbary macaques, with the hope of getting the lady monkeys in the mood to mate. As with the tamarin monkeys, macaques males take on a lion’s share of childcare. Perhaps the Brits need to ramp up day care efforts to get the couples to monkey around. Or, try some Taylor Swift.

Now, back to the squirrels. The life span of a squirrel is long – up to 18 years. Unless, of course, you happen to sit too long on a busy street. Baby squirrels are called “kittens”, and although many people think they are pests, they actually help reforest our land. They don’t need romantic music to get them in the mood to mate, nor are they in danger of being kidnapped. Unlike our enlightened male monkeys, momma squirrels shoulder most of their infants’ care, while dad’s out counting his nuts. Amazingly, both parents can find food under a foot of snow.

The paper will arrive in my mailbox tomorrow. I’ll let you know if anything needs reporting. Until then, squirrel away a few coins for a rainy day and monkey around if you get the chance.

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