Nov. 28th, 2008 10:05 pm
mad_andy: (Tuff Dirk with gun)
I am angry.

My boss has a smallholding where some of the larger animals in his collection live, along with geese and ducks and chickens and rabbits and -- you get the picture. He had a trio of Mara (also known as Patagonian Cavies, looking something like a giant guinea pig on stilts), and back in June somebody shot one of them. In the hind leg.

It had to be put to sleep because the bone was shattered when a bullet went straight through it. It suffered enormously.

Now, I could understand how it could have been shot by mistake; somebody out poaching for muntjac (small deer) could have seen the Mara's ears when it was lying in the grass and taken a pop... only to discover a completely harmless south american rodent in agony from a smashed hind leg.

That was bad enough. Two weeks ago Chris bought a pair of Rhea (like emus but from south america), which he was chuffed to bits with, for several reasons. One, they were white, which is very unusual. Two, they were adults, ready to breed in the spring. Three, they were dog tame, would come and feed from the hand.

So you have two birds five feet high with fuzzy feathers, white, stand out like belisha beacons. That will, if you go stand at the fence or in their paddock, come across looking for a treat.

(You know what's coming, don't you?)

Chris rang me from the field this morning - he'd popped down there to let the poultry out and check the animals. Only to find that the male rhea was down with his leg smashed. The female was next to him, grooming him and trying to encourage him to rise.

Rheas have strong legs, kind of like horses. Thick, strong leg bones.

Someone had called the bird over to the fence (from tracks left and other evidence), and then shot him. Through the leg. An injury that is untreatable when you use a fucking bullet from a powerful rifle that blows a hole clean through three inches of solid bone.

And then they left.

God alone knows how long he'd been lying there; there was a hell of a lot of blood in the field, and we assume that the only thing that brought the bird down was shock and blood loss. This was a tame bird, in a paddock with eight foot high deer fencing. Rhea are not noisy, not aggressive, not smelly. They are as inoffensive as its possible for such a large animal to be.

And someone shot him through the leg and left him bleeding and screaming.

He was put to sleep in the field. The female never left his side. Chris says she became very distressed when his body was removed. They were a bonded pair, and she's going to fret until company is found for her.

Chris showed me the body; he'd taken it to the vet in Abingdon to see what they said about the nature of the wound. I had a good look, and to be honest it's hard to see what else could cause such a wound. A dirty great hole straight through the bone, big enough to break it into two pieces; no inflammation or bruising of the joint, so he hadn't caught his foot in the fence or anything like that.

I'm sorry, I know I'm going on. But the thought that someone, some human being, some individual, thought that it was OK to inflict such appalling damage and agony on a living creature and then walk away is just... just....

Even I'm speechless.

Chris has spoken to the police (it's a fucking offence to fire a rifle that powerful either at random, or on land where you don't have the landowners express permission), and I have got on to the local press. We will kick up a stink and we will not stop until we find the unbelievable bastard who has done this. Let's see how they feel lying in a field bleeding to death.

I am angry.
mad_andy: (Bassist animated)


So. Working one job is very odd, but working out well. I'm having a blast at the shop, for all that some customers are a bit...well...yeah.

Why ask advice when you have every intention of doing whatever you damn well please anyway?

*Shakes self*

Well, that one still haunts me from veterinary work, so let's not go there.

Musings and mental meanderings.... )

OK, random animal pictures time! )

In other news, I have tried drawing from a photograph and currently of the opinion that I am a shitty artist with all the talent and inspiration of a Snot Frog with cerebral palsy. *Sigh* I'll get over it. I just need to practice more, I guess...!
mad_andy: (Blue Dirk and Kai)
As I was driving home - or rather, balancing my car on the clutch in the stop-start that is friday night traffic on the A34 - listening to Chris Zico yowling away over the stereo, I realised that I had three dilemmas.

One: Do I risk quitting a job that, if nothing else, pays a half decent wage, and that I know I can do well, and where I can do a great deal of good... for one that pays less, and is more risky? Do I chance everything on the impression I have of a young man?

Do I, in short, trust him enough to take an enormous risk?

After all, if it all goes tits up this time I won't be able to go back to that practice... but then, would I want to?

Taking a risk on the job front hardly did me any good last time. But this is a different person, different situation... have I learned from the past, or has it just made me afraid?

Two: Due to bloody awful traffic, would the pair of royal pythons in a box on the back seat be OK for the journey home? Cold night. And the heater in my car is good, but they need to be kept warm.

And... *cough*... yeah, they're my snakes. Suffice it to say that if I go missing after Slay finds out, I'll probably be in bits under the patio.

Three: I needed a pee.

Funny old thing, life. )

ETA: Just been called by Slay, and 'fessed up to the royals. Slay has forgiven me.


Probably because royals don't get too big - I suspect he thinks himself lucky I haven't come home with an alligator yet!

Hmmm... crocodilians... now there's an idea....
mad_andy: (Blue Dirk and Kai)
Went out for a smoke this morning - slept like the dead last night, which is no bad thing - and spotted something rather interesting on the side of the recycling bin. Two brown lipped banded snails (Ceporaea nemoralis, a very very common species hereabouts and indeed, across most of Europe) with patternless bright yellow shells.

Now, for a while I've thought about catching a couple of these brightly coloured individuals and breeding them, for sale. After all, they're native, they're common, their colour and pattern is highly variable and people will pay for pretty snails to keep as pets. Fuck knows why. Anyway.

I has a spare box, and plenty of substrate, and food for the Africans - so why not?

I wandered over and picked them up. And to my surprise, not only were they both stunning individuals (patternless with clear, bright sunshine yellow shells) - but they were mating! I assume that they lay eggs this time of year to overwinter and hatch in the spring. Anyway, they got scooped up and installed in a spare box with lots of food and a nice deep moist coir substrate to lay eggs in. By the time the babies are big enough to either sell or choose for a breeding group it'll be spring, and the spares can simply be released in the garden.

I only grow plants that snails and slugs don't really like, because I won't use chemicals. And the variations in shell colour I've seen in this species over the years I've been living here has been astonishing, so after yesterday's nasty shock I decided to indulge myself.

I won't be damaging the environment, or introducing an invasive foreign species - and the individual animals either get protected and treated like kings or get to take their chances in the wild as they would anyway. Seems like a plan with no losers to me!

Anyway. Yes. I am bonkers, but here's hoping that the sunshine yellow snails are a good omen.
mad_andy: (Bassist animated)

Been a lot happening since I last updated. Most of it animal related. So are you sitting comfortably?

Then we shall begin... with a visit to Aladdin's cave... )

So what did I come home with, then? )

So why, you ask, have I got all these new beasties? )

But what of the reptiles, I hear you cry? )

So that's the beasties. Today I still have to muck Barclay (now confirmed as female, dammit) out, although she's currently out in the garden. Sulking. Cos she hates it out there. Oh, and do the ferrets and the fishies.

Well, it'll keep me out of trouble, I guess!


mad_andy: (Default)

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