I woke up to a commotion downstairs. It was two in the morning and my mother was screaming profanities out the window. To what, you may ask? To the boa constrictor that had our little kitten wrapped tightly in its clutches.
Chaos ensued and it took us way too long to call the fire department. Kelly was long gone by the time they arrived. She died too young.
Sad to say that this isn’t the first time it has happened. Not always our pets though. Sometimes our neighbours’. But what actually drove the snake to pay us a visit? Besides the fact that we live near a forest, they don’t usually stop by to hang out. So, why now?
Changes are Accommodating… To Some
There is news going around that animals have started to show up in the middle of the city to do a little sightseeing. Sightings of wild boars and monkeys are televised everywhere. And everyone is questioning why wild animals started to show up in the streets.
Animals, like us, are curious in nature. With many humans indoors and the streets left bare, the animals have decided to do some exploring of their own.
For the most part, they’re pretty harmless. There haven’t been sightings of mountain lions or tigers yet in the city but just merely animals that stray too far from their habitat.
On the oceanside, dolphins and other rare fishes have started to swim close to shore and appear to be surprisingly unafraid. This is probably because fishing ships aren’t in motion. They’re also friendlier once they notice that the humans close by pose no threat to them.
For animals who are used to being around humans, their reaction is somewhat different. Since the presence of humans is huge on them, the absence of us makes them highly anxious. With restaurants and parks closed, the animals that rely on human interaction and food have been under some immense stress. They result in rummaging through trash and hunting for food themselves.
This isn’t an ideal case for both humans and animals. Human trash isn’t made for animal consumption. They might eat something they’re not supposed to and in turn would cause them to get ill and in some extreme cases, die.
For humans, on the other hand, it’s just an inconvenience since our trash would be ransacked and thrown haphazardly everywhere. Or we would occasionally find them ransacking our house for scraps of food.
What’s It Like in the Jungle, George?
Like I mentioned before, I live near a jungle. Next to it, actually. So my home is constantly an R&R for many animals. Some decide to stay longer, while others take a quick look and scurry on their way.
I could sit here all day and tell you the stories those animals bring with them. Once, quite recently, a bat managed to crash through our window while we were having dinner. It flopped around frantically before managing to swerve away from the hands attempting to catch it and made a break for the door.
That was the highlight of the dinner, to say the least. My mum made us all wash our hands after that because we “don’t know where that animal’s been.” It’s not like we actually caught it. It just grazed us. Still, thinking about it now, it’s a valid concern.
If you see any wildlife near you, it’s best to stay clear of them. Just because they’re animals doesn’t mean they can’t contact the virus. According to research, the Coronavirus can infect basically all mammals known so far.
And oh boy, are there a lot of mammals out here.
Lately, the visits have increased. And not just from my side of town either. My friends have also reported sightings and visits from wild animals as well.
Just last week, my friend from Ampang shared her terrifying experience with a snake. She woke up to it stretched beside her and screamed so loud, her neighbours thought someone was murdered. It wasn’t poisonous, thank God, but it was still a snake. Wouldn’t you have been scared, too?
The pandemic really has affected the whole world. We feel as though it only had an impact on us but clearly, since there are literally animals roaming the streets (and the sheets), it’s starting to raise alarm bells for some people.
So What’s the Big Deal?
There’s a sense of thrill to be so close to animals that you don’t usually see from day to day. When there are no people around to hunt them or gawk at them, animals have slowly started to expand their searching grounds and make themselves known.
Before the lockdown, my friend and I would always go jogging at a park nearby her house. We would always hear rustles of leaves overhead as we passed by the trees there but would never really see any monkeys.
Nowadays though, since there aren’t many people going out running, there seems to be a tribe of monkeys out and about. Some of them are even brave and curious enough to jump on balconies of houses and take a peek inside.
The concern here is not that the animals are out and about. No, that part is actually pretty cute and interesting to witness.
What people are worried about is that after the lockdown’s over, the animals will continue to roam the streets and that would be potentially dangerous for both ends. Some humans are known to not really be the most accommodating to animals. Animals are also territorial creatures, so it would be worrying if they decide that the streets are their home now.
Moreover, if the animals become so comfortable in their new surroundings, will they start looking for prey here as well? Not all the animals that roam the streets are herbivores. Some of them are quite dangerous. Have y’all seen Zoo?
Another major concern is that humans don’t seem to be taking this very seriously.
You know those signs people put up at the side of the road? The ones that say “Please don’t feed the wildlife”?
People break those all the time. They think it’s cute that monkeys take food right out of their offered hands. The danger is that more often than not, when a monkey sees a human, they would now expect to be fed by them and would most likely attack when we don’t.
If this is to become normal someday, where we live in coexistence with wild animals on the street, I am afraid that some people will be too friendly and misjudge a wild animal’s character. Just because they look cute doesn’t mean they won’t attack you when provoked.
Approach With Caution
Even though the animals are enjoying their freedom on the streets, we have to remain indoors, for our safety as well as to help the number of cases go down. In the meantime, if you find any wild animals approaching you, don’t go near them. If you’d like to observe, then do it from a distance.
Also, please keep in mind that wild animals are NOT strays. Do NOT feed them. If you do, they will come back and they will be hard to get rid off. Trust me on this. I thought I could be Steve Irwin once too.
Instead, if you see any wild animals within your vicinity that you think might inflict harm on your neighbourhood, call Animal Control, or better yet, the Fire Department. Or maybe even the Wildlife Rescue Centre. From my experience, They’re pretty well versed in catching and dealing with wild animals.
Stay safe and stay sane, everyone!