The Third Leader: More monkey business

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The Independent Online

Down here, there is none of that ennui often displayed by the more fashionable in the face of Life in all its shapes and guises. No, our attitude to what is daily revealed might best be conveyed by that old Metropolitan Police recruiting slogan, "Dull, it isn't".

Down here, there is none of that ennui often displayed by the more fashionable in the face of Life in all its shapes and guises. No, our attitude to what is daily revealed might best be conveyed by that old Metropolitan Police recruiting slogan, "Dull, it isn't".

Did you, for example, have any idea that several thousand of your fellow citizens were keeping monkeys as pets? Me neither, although I did once visit someone in Hemel Hempstead who kept tarantulas. And, while it's important to have a public debate about the rights and wrongs of responsible monkey keeping in the privacy of one's home, my first reaction was again to wonder at the incredible range of human interests. And it might explain what's going on next door.

But then these are particularly stimulating times in animal matters. You will have seen, also in the exotic pet area, that Melbourne customs officials have just discovered 51 live tropical fish in plastic bags under a woman's skirt after hearing flipping noises, while, in this country, an albino blackbird has been spotted in Cornwall.

And now there's Mayor Livingstone's plan to import more adders into London, which should be welcomed as the sight of an adder will enliven any stroll or ramble, and is a sure-fire antidote to ennui. Death from a bite, too, I note, is "rare". Strollers and ramblers of a nervous disposition should jump up and down occasionally, as the vibration scares the snakes away.

The guidance is against sucking the venom from a wound, which is disappointing, as I've always wanted to do that. Sorry? The Tarantulas of Hemel Hempstead? I stroked one, but I'm not sure I'd want to again.

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