I’ve seen a lot of videos going around of urban-dwelling critters coming to humans for help with various problems, ranging from boxes stuck on their heads to young trapped down a storm drain, and it’s gotten me to thinking:
On the one hand, it’s kind of fascinating that they know to do that.
On the other hand, setting any questions of how this sort of behaviour must have arisen aside for the nonce, does it ever strike you how weird it is that we’ve got a whole collection of prey species whose basic problem-solving script ends with the step “if all else fails, go bother one of the local apex predators and maybe they’ll fix the problem for no reason”?
well, come to think of it, we’re at the top of the food chain but we almost exclusively hunt and kill prey out in the country.
raccoons and possums and foxes and crows all succeed in an urban environment because they’re opportunistic and observant. and almost none of them would have observed us pounce on one of their species and then start eating it, you know? a lot of them would have observed that we scream and chase them out of wherever we don’t want them to be, but other animals are territorial too. but there’s a number of situations where humans feed whoever’s bold enough to take them up on the offer, and we do tend to pull garbage off of other animals as soon as they slow down enough for us to catch. ‘a human got me but nothing bad happened’ is a much more frequent thing than ‘a human got me and tried to eat me’.
anyway like, we’re masters of our environment, we make weird shit happen all the time, we have lots of great food and sometimes we share, and we almost never eat someone. it makes sense for urban animals, over the last century or so, to just keep an eye out for opportunities to use us, and to pass the habit on to their kids.
It really is a weird, funny thing. Like yeah, technically they’re predators, and they get pretty screamy, especially if you try to take any of their stuff… but given the chance it seems like they’d rather help us out and sometimes they’ll just randomly give you food, so???
I mean, I guess in fairytales and myths we’ve got our fair share of stories about dangerous people/creatures who might well kill you or otherwise ruin your life, but to whom people nonetheless turn for help in desperate circumstances. So it’s not like the perspective is exactly a foreign thing to our own mindset, really… It’s just that, y’know, we can’t actually go make a deal with the faeries when there’s something we can’t figure out.
(Which brings me to an interesting thought about the ubiquitous rule about never eating the faery food lest you find yourself forever unsatisfied with anything in the human world – and the potential parallels to the dangers of feeding wildlife human food lest they become addicted and too tame and dependent to be safe for either themselves or us. Hmm.)
I mean, isn’t “we didn’t kill them when they ate our garbage” basically how we ended up domesticating dogs?
Are we accidentally sorta domesticating crows and squirrels?
(Some rats have already been domesticated–pet rats and wild city rats are the same species, sure, but city rats do not like direct human contact and pet rats would quickly die if let loose)
THE IDEA THAT WE’RE FAIRIES TO RACCOONS IS MAKING ME GRIN.
It is the fourth day of the mysterious object stuck on my head. I am so very hungry. The ketchup smeared on the inside of the object is waning. The elders say it is time now, that this has gone beyond what our village can handle and into the supernatural. I am scared. But they say that They can help. That They will either help me or kill me. But I am dead already if I go without food for much longer. Tomorrow, I journey to Their world.
It is the morning of the fifth day. I watch Them through tiny holes that the elders manage to gnaw through the object. I look at the hands that I’ve often seen clutching small bones, at the first finger, seeming broken and shriveled against the others. But any youngling knows it is the key to Their power. They tower above me but I swallow my fears and approach Them, my death or salvation close at hand.
The Human has metal and wood pieces thrusted through the soft skin of its ears, nose, and lips. Dark marks swirl on its skin. Pure power and danger seems to cloud its very presence. It notices me immediately. I tremble as it speaks, its voice soft and as old as time.
“Hey there little buddy, need some help?”
Somebody who doesn’t have a NaNoWriMo plot nailed down needs to write this RIGHT NOW. (Go! Shoo! Get on it! We need to read it!)
Comments Off on