The Outsider: Buck-toothed belly laughs
|By Will Jones - The Outsider | May 17, 2017|
Scientists have long asked the question, do animals have emotions? Do they care for each other, love each other and in the case of pets, love us, the way that we feel and care for fellow human beings? I have seen documentaries in which elephants appear to grieve for their dead, and I've experienced times when my dog seems really happy to see me but never has it been proven to me. However, I believe that I now have the proof that has long eluded science. Animals are much more than the eating, sleeping, reproducing machines that we might believe, and I know this because by using logic and theoretical analysis I can state categorically that beavers have a sense of humour.
They do, really. The beavers in the pond down my road are howling with laughter most days as I drive past. The culvert under the road is blocked, again, the road flooded, water four inches deep flows across from the pond into the marsh on the other side. And the beavers sit back and chuckle.
Now, I have never actually seen or heard a beaver laughing, possibly because their furry faces and large teeth pretty much hide what we would know as a grin, but under that shaggy beard they snicker because what else is there to do in the face of such pathetic efforts to stop them damming the culvert.
Even with the 'big guns', when the municipal workers bring an excavator with backhoe, they can't seem to keep the culvert clear for more than a day or so. They turn up, dressed in fluorescent vests, which are obviously meant to alert the beaver to their presence and stop a stick wielding rodent accidentally taking out a human, such is the critter's vigour to rebuild after their dam is torn down.
And that's how quick it happens. The guys come along and unblock the culvert. They dig at the dam with shovels, picks and bars, or even scoop out vast swathes of sticks and mud with the excavator, until the water runs through. Then, they leave, never looking back to see the beavers swimming towards the culvert, the smirks on their faces hidden by sticks in mouths as they set to rebuilding the dam.
By the next morning it is as if the municipal crew had never visited. The culvert is blocked, the road is flooded. The beavers sit in their lodge and chuckle.
Then again, perhaps I am wrong. Oh, not about the beavers having a sense of humour thing, I'd put money on that. I mean that I could be wrong that beavers chuckle. I'm simply presuming that they do due to their little mouths and funny square faces. I imagine it's a little hohoho rather than a big fat wide-mouthed belly laugh, don't you?
But then again, I could be wrong, and when I get my photograph of that laugh, be it big or small, I'll have my proof that animals certainly do have emotions. Elephants can mourn, dogs can be genuinely pleased to see you and beavers, well they just plain old enjoy taking the mickey out of us rural folks.
WILL JONES - is The Outsider