I love the country. Odd thing for a Brooklyn boy, but I’ve always loved the rural places. Anyway, over the course of several lifetimes I’ve seen some odd animal happenings.
Ever seen a duck land on water? They literally water ski in, using their webbed feet like skis. I’ve seen a duck get embarrassed when it tried to land on a frozen creek, and tumbled a** over teakettle down the ice. He (it was a drake) got up, looked around as if to say, “I wanted to do that.” But there were no other ducks close by to impress, so he shook himself off, preened a bit, and waddled off.
I saw a squirrel laugh when the cat that was chasing it got whacked by a car. There were a lot of squirrels and cats where I lived in Brooklyn. Don’t ask me how I knew it was laughing, I just knew.
I once had a ferret named Noodles. She liked to hide in furniture and nip people’s ankles. Funny thing, she only bit women. Never drew blood, though; I think she was just showing them who the alpha female was.
Noodles nailed a flying squirrel that had gotten in one night. The thing moved so fast I would have sworn there were three of them cavorting around our living room. Noodles waited under the sofa, then dashed out and grabbed the thing as it went past. Only one flying squirrel.
I’ve seen groundhogs play tricks on each other. One was sitting up eating some berries, when another walked up and shoved him. They squabbled for a bit then both went back to eating the berries. Like two kids in a playground. I know, I know, it was some kind of dominance display, but as I was watching it sure looked like a trick. I swear the second groundhog had a gleam in his eye just before he shoved the first one. I could tell what he was going to do before he did it.
Cats. Some will fawn all over you if you leave them alone for too long, some will turn their backs and pointedly ignore you. For days.
Smiling. Sometimes you can tell an animal is smiling, even though they don’t actually smile. I once worked in (shudder) New Jersey. The place was miles from any ponds or lakes, but every year a pair of ducks would nest in the shrubbery in front of the building. Remember, no pond. When it rained real hard, the parking lot would, of course, have puddles on it, no more than half-an-inch deep. The ducks would waddle out from their refuge in the greenery and plop down in the puddles, in the rain. They would happily sit there for hours.
I swear those ducks were smiling.
DEEP SIX Now in Paperback
5 days ago