Pangolin researchers, led by the prominent zoologist Dr.Agnetha Grossli-Bentdottir, have long been concerned about increasing levels of public interest in wildlife. “These woolly-thinking do-gooders do more harm than good," says Dr Grossli-Bentdottir. “Constantly saving whales and building hedgehog tunnels is seriously upsetting Nature’s delicate balance. And as for these touchy-feelie sanctuaries which are springing up all over the place, soon we’ll be overrun with superannuated donkeys and cosseted pangolins.”
Hard words but necessary thinks Dr Grossli-Bentdottir. “In my native Iceland, when I was a child - if it had a pulse, we clubbed it and ate it and it didn’t do us any harm. Nowadays, Reykjavic (sic) is covered with Arctic Tern pooh caused by bloody wildlife enthusiasts putting anchovy sandwiches out for the little blighters. They don’t bother flying south any more for the winter. They just waddle about the place crapping on everything. Including our banks. And PLEASE don’t give me that old hogwash about plants and trees and flowers being wildlife. Can they walk, run, growl, squeak, fly? No, so how the hell can anybody be serious about something called Bladderwort or Ladies’ Nostril?”
Of course, opinions differ, and Ted Thump, Head Keeper at the Glossop Pangolin Experience says of Dr Grossli-Bentdottir’s comments: “Sounds like a daft cow to me".
So, in the light of these expert opinions, once again, it falls to The Pangolin to offer clear general pointers. The following Brief Guide flags up, in no particular order, what is Good Wildlife and what is A Bit Iffy.
Fieldmice are OK because they live in fields and don’t come indoors. Mice that do come in your house are Bad and should be squashed, gassed or poisoned. Same with badgers. If you discover a badger living in your house and it’s a bit wheezy, its probably got T.B. and should be kept away from any cattle you may have in your home. Friendly local farmers can always be called upon to sort any badger infestation.
Woodlice are very horrid and creep about underneath stuff. Ants are nasty too, as are slugs, tics, wasps, bluebottles, magpies, pigeons, starlings, spiders, squirrels and when startled, Cape Buffaloes. Keeping a pangolin can help with some of the above, although tests have shown that pangolins don’t do well against any type of bison.
Sparrows, blue tits, robins, field buntings, Snapshott’s whimbrels, butterflies, hedgehogs and owls are all Good, as are fluffy little foxcubs, except when the latter stop being cubs, at which point they must be pursued by fat toffs on horses and torn to bits by fat toffs’ dogs.
Swallows, swifts and house martins are all good because they make us go, “Aaah”, and dive about the place showing off, whereas rabbits, despite being furry and cuddly are not good because farmers say so. Moths are Bad because, as everyone knows, they eat our underwear. Seagulls should be killed on sight because they steal our chips.
Be advised that this can only be a very general guide. Space prohibits a more detailed discussion of this fascinating subject, and questions such as how do shags get through life with such an awful name and whether worms carry on wriggling in blackbirds' tummies after they’ve been swallowed whole, will be answered in a later issue if Dr Grossli-Bentdottir is ever released .