The Outsider: Shakespeare versus Cane (toad)
|By Will Jones - The Outsider | June 1, 2017|
But then there’s the theory of human intervention; human introduction, even. The idea that, according to a reader of mine (actually he’s a work colleague, so he’s forced to listen to me spout about what I write), an old man, who’d been living alone in rural Haliburton for many years, got sick and tired of the invasion of other folks, and so he unleashed pests – swarms of blackflies and mosquitoes – into the air to get rid of those aforementioned folks.
The bugs did their job for the most part, but, they liked it so much here that they stayed and multiplied and forgot to pay it forward to the old man and his family by not biting him and the locals.
Oh, sorry, did you not read last week’s column? Twas about the gargantuan springtime hatch of biting bugs and the Darwinian reasons for it happening. The trouble is that my buddy didn’t believe my origin of the species-esque hypothesis and so came up with his own. And, true to form, man meddling with nature went awry, even if what my pal was saying may sound like poppycock to you.
Poppycock is English for BS, by the way.
Just as when the American Acclimatization Society introduced the European starling to the USA in 1890, and the bird bred like wildfire, out-competing local birds and destroying crops. The society did it because it wanted to introduce every bird mentioned in the works of William Shakespeare (Henry IV part 1, in case you’re wondering). What doofuses!
Just as when Caribbean farmers introduced the South American cane toad, in the hopes that it would wipe out insect pests. It did but it also grew to massive proportions and started wiping out local cats, too (I’m projecting here about its diet but I’m sure it’s probably, almost certainly true).
And the list goes on, from rabbits in Australia to beavers in Chile and even mosquito fish (to eat mosquitoes) in parts of South America.
So, the tale goes that the old man let fly with a swarm of biting bugs on the human invaders of Haliburton County. The bugs did their job, they even talked deer and horse flies into doing their dirty work for them, and now we live for the warmer months of the year in constant trepidation that some small bug will undoubtedly try taking a chunk out of us at any given moment, be it day or night!
Imagine if all we had to deal with was the shrill chirruping of a billion starlings.
Perhaps that is the answer. Surely, song birds can be trained to chow down on blood-filled bugs. And then, if the starlings get too much, we’ll introduce more cats because we all know that Sylvester loves the taste of Tweety Pie. And you know what? If the cats start over-running us, a bulk order of cane toads should do the trick. Bird eat bug, cat eat bird, toad eat cat and hopefully a few bugs too. Everyone’s happy because when the toads get too numerous, well, frog’s legs taste kinda’ like chicken, and we all like chicken.
Or is that meddling a step too far?
WILL JONES - is The Outsider