In the UK our wildlife is like our weather – and most other things for that matter. Put simply, it is neither extreme nor exotic. For example, go for a walk in the woods at night and you might, at worst, get nipped by an inquisitive badger.
Alternatively, you could be unlucky and accidentally stand on an unwitting hedgehog – and get a spine through your foot for good measure.
However, it is probably more common for pet-owners, particularly those of cats, to awake in the morning and find that their beloved has brought them a present during the night – i.e. the disembowelled remains of a mouse or little bird.
Alternatively, you might wake to find that your pet has been partying with a friend overnight. We had a variety of guests down the years courtesy of our cat, including another cat from down the road and occasionally a dirty fox that would gate-crash through the cat-flap. Both typically left their own presents – usually in the form of a big poo on the kitchen floor.
In Brazil, things are slightly different.
Forget about going to the woods, here you can go the Amazon. Unfortunately, whilst this is a pretty amazing thing to do I wouldn’t suggest that you wander too far off of the beaten track.
Well, not unless you want to play with one of these little fellas:
Or attempt to stroke one of the the friendly felines that frequents the jungle:
Maybe though, you fancy a swim. Afterall, it does get a bit humid in the Amazon. That’s fine, just don’t forget that “I told you so if” if you bump into some of these beauties.
Anyway, despite there being a plethora of friendly wildlife here in Brazil I had assumed that by living in São Paulo there wouldn’t be much chance of encountering anything more exotic than the family dog.
Well, I stand corrected.
At the weekend someone living on the floor below us went out for the morning and left their window open. Since their apartment is on the 17th floor I think it’s fair to say that they went out safe in the knowledge that no-one was going to climb through the window and nick their TV.
Similarly, given their lofty spot amongst the clouds of São Paulo I’m pretty sure that they, like me, had taken if for granted that the family dog wouldn’t be having any spontaneous UK-style pet parties.
Imagine their surprise then, when upon their return they found one of these perched on their bed.
I’m not sure how I’d react if I found a Black Vulture in my bedroom, but given the mass hysteria that occurred whenever a mouse ran through our house at university, I’m guessing that I would quantify my potential usefulness rating as hovering somewhere around 0.
And in case you’re wondering how this saga was concluded, it seems that following much screaming and waving of a broom our friendly local bird of prey realised that he had outstayed his welcome and wisely decided to vacate his new playpen, flying out the window through which he came.
So, what can be learnt from this episode?
Well, my in-laws usually remind me to close the windows when I go out, just in case it rains – you’ve already seen why this is. However, I guess this weekend’s goings-on provide one more reason why this is definitely a very good idea.