This week has seen plenty of coverage in the media about the number of exotic animals that are to be found running around the countryside. It's quite remarkable the types of creatures found to have escaped from private collections and the clutches of mankind, and that have managed to make a go of it in the wild. There were the usual suspects, the Chinese water deer estimated to number a mere 10,000, while there could be as many as a 1,000 wild boar running about. Elsewhere there are still a few wallabies bouncing around their little enclaves dotted around the countryside, doing their best to evade prying eyes, while in Cumbria there is a group of 10 coati that are said to be doing their best to form a breeding population.
It would also appear from the numerous articles that the country is awash with scorpions and other nasty things that would send shivers down your spine, and from reports it would appear that every pool hides a snapping turtle ready to sever a toe or any other appendage dangled near its mouth.
There was no mention of cats but it is fair to say there is every chance that there is a leopard or two knocking about, as well as a van full of lynx on the go.
Now a couple of things struck me: first, just what long-term impact will these animals have on the native flora and fauna - just think about the trouble the grey squirrel has caused - and secondly, what is likely to be the biggest undiscovered exotic pet running amok in this land? Does anyone have any ideas on that?