With our streets and Applebee's abandoned during lockdowns, it was only a matter of time before Mother Nature started filling our vacuum with other fauna. And we've seen plenty of packs of animals venture beyond their "landscape of fear" and take trips down our empty lanes, like the fluffy Kashmiri mountain goats traipsing through the quaint Welsh village of Llandudno, lounging on its lawns and munching on its well-manicured hedges.
But not all animals are just content to enjoy the irony, to freely roam and gawk through the windows at all the self-imprisoned humans like a particularly on the nose episode of The Twilight Zone. Some more ambitious species have seen this as the opportunity to take over, like rats, monkeys, and, of course, humanity's clucking contenders for supremacy: chickens.
Long before the viral outbreak brushed New Zealand, the villagers of the Titirangi had another plague to contend with. Over the past decade, hundreds of feral chickens started to appear in their midst, forming roving gangs of brooding baddies. But before this existential threat could be completely wiped out, the lockdown occurred. From inside their two-bedroom bunkers, "like in a Stephen King novel," Titirangians were powerless against the renegade roosts of feral fowl taking over, unable to stop them as they "wrecked" the town with their pecking and woke everyone at the break of dawn with their battle cries.
Furthermore, the Titirangi townsfolk, betrayed by a chicken collaborator (i.e., a nice old lady who keeps feeding them), are also seeing the rise of "rats the size of cats." And they're not alone. Quarantined countries all over are now seeing swarms of city critters roaming the high streets even during the daytime. The CDC has had to warn the American people that both cities and suburbs are now under the control of particularly "aggressive rats" fighting endless turf wars over the last remaining scraps of human civilization -- and dropped pizza. Some are rats even resorting to cannibalism, like villain tales from James Bond:
Meanwhile, places like Thailand and India are being mobbed by monkeys who occupy the squares and other spots abandoned by tourists, slowly learning to no longer depend on their human cousins and their pittances of discarded yogurt pots.
And sure, biologists might claim that the boldness of city animals is actually a sad sight, that these creatures are venturing outside their territories because the shutdown of social life has made restaurant dumpster diving a poor source of sustenance. But those scientists are fools. Fools, I tell you. Something much sinister is taking place than scavenging: sabotage. Reports are coming in that rats have taken to disabling cars, creeping into the engines and chewing through the wires. And while they leave us stranded, the clever monkeys are making sure we stay infected. In India, a gang of monkeys has started stealing COVID-19 blood samples, nabbing the research, and spilling the contaminated blood back onto the street. Clearly, this subterfuge is meant to keep us sick and indoors so they can take over. But we're humans, goddamnit, we will take back this world and start ruining it again, and there's nothing these chickenshits can do to stop it.
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Top Image: Flickr/Mark Mitchell