Monday, May 12, 2008

The Behavior of Russian Aquatic Rodents

Chelyabinsk. That's in Russia.It's entirely possible that I have been missing out on an untapped venue for odd stories about rampant animals in a human environment. Who knew that Russia may be that venue? Not I. I was also unaware that the Russian press seemingly either inserts their own interpretation of the incidents into the stories as fact or they word their stories in a way that a different impression of what may or may not have happened is given. You'll see.

Apparently, in Chelyabinsk (yes, THAT Chelyabinsk, the south Urals city. You're with me! Good!) a beaver went smashing through a shop window. According to the Russian press, the beaver "smashed a shop window and several bottles of vodka." I am picturing this rogue-like, vandal beaver, purposely breaking through the window and heading straight for the vodka to continue his path of damage and destruction.

According to the spokesman for the Ozersk administration (no clue as to what that is, but I'm guessing it has something to do with the ownership of smashed windows and broken vodka bottles.), "The saleswoman saw a large animal near a store room and called the local emergencies service." He continued by adding, "The animal was apparently frightened by nearby forest fires, and decided to get assistance from people." Um, what?

Let me make sure I'm getting this. The beaver, apparently frightened by a forest fire, decided to run into town to get help? First of all, is a beaver capable of putting together a complex action plan such as leaving the forest to seek help from humans? Actually, forget about the plan, let's start with the thought process of the beaver. I'm not totally sure, but I am leaning toward the side of the argument that beavers don't think like that. They're not known as the Lassie of the water inhabiting rodents or anything. Did the guy interview the beaver? Is Chelyabinsk a cartoon town in Russia?

The story continued by saying that it was after the rescuers arrive that "the beaver smashed a few bottles of vodka." And that, again, lends implied credibility to the impression that it was a purposeful act by the beaver to smash the bottles after the rescuers arrived. Presumably out of anger that the rescuers were wasting their time rounding up a beaver when the nearby forest is currently burning to the ground.

But, you'll be happy to know that the logically thinking beaver was safely captured (before he could purposely cause any further damage, I'm assuming) and "taken back to a safe part of the forest." I was unaware that a burning forest even HAD a safe part. Isn't that why the beaver LEFT the forest in the first place? Or was he just running to town to pick up the vodka for all of the Jell-O shooters that he and the rest of the forest denizens (presumably displaced by said fire) were downing as a way to pass the time during the crisis? (Probably the former.)

But here's the part that just kills me. It's this photo that accompanied this story:

Maybe a beaver, maybe not, but definitely not real.
OK, WTF is that?! That's not a real beaver! I'm not even sure that it's a caricature of a beaver. No, that appears to be a crazed guinea pig of some sort. OK, maybe not crazed, maybe just smashed (like the windows). Actually, I can't really tell if he's attacking or just so drunk he can't get up. Whichever it is, it's hilarious.

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