Monday, 3 October 2011

The thrill of a guinea pig

Tales of the riverbank

What are your wild life thrills? For some it will be the sights of wild game or herds of wild elephants on safari. Not for me – it is the tiniest feral rodents and cavies that make my heart sing…I would rather catch a rare glimpse of a water rat amongst the reeds, or blink and almost miss a shrew dashing across a road than a hundred tigers. Likewise I have a soft spot for guinea pigs and though I would normally run a mile from anything that smacks of anthropomorphism I think my love of Johnny Morris’ Tales of the Riverbank on TV as a child must have been one of the determining factors.

 I actually went on to have guinea pigs as a child – sales must have gone though the roof after these programmes. And they were such characters. Here is my Dad who was definitely NOT at home with a cavy!

Dad and Candy the guinea pig
And when I say I would run a mile – giving human voices to animals doesn’t count…nothing logical about me!

I suppose for me the equivalent in countries I have visited with wildlife potential is the basking iguana or monitor lizard. And one magical half hour watching a two toed sloth come down from a tree on one of it fortnightly forays, not in a wild terrain but in our hotel grounds. I do like the idea that harmless wild animals can wander into our domestic areas. Despite the bad publicity the sight of urban foxes - is there anything else? - still cheers me up. A special day I recall was a snowy January in the centre of the city of Leicester. I had taken 15 minutes longer than usual to get to work due to the snow but the sight of the fox beautifully contrasted against the snow on the street corner more than made up for the unreasonable dressing down I got for being late!

Squirrel on our garden wall
Bizarrely I was in a bird hide the other day watching nuthatches and tits and a man with a VERY large spotter scope [or so I am reliably informed]  pointed to the undergrowth and said in a genuinely awed and hushed voice "It’s a squirrel….!” Perhaps he feels the same as me about our small animals…though I have to say I don’t quite stop in my tracks for squirrels these days with this little devil walking up and down our wall every ten minutes ..still a fantastic shot of a beautiful animal all the same.  

1 comment:

  1. On FB Rachael said: I always imagine my guineas with voices! They have very distinctive accents to me. Such chararcters. Thanks for sharing xx

    Jan said:Lovely piece and I've learned some new words!
    Maureen said:We love guinea pigs too!! My daughter has two living in my sons old bedroom now he lives in London. My son is Guinea Pig mad too and post lots of photos on facebook of really cute guineas. Aah x