Someone asked me recently if we have any pets at home. I said, no we didn’t. I don’t have time to be walking a dog or cleaning out guinea-pig hutches. We do have a pond with some fish in it – they were already there when we moved into the house just over four years ago, and they’re still going strong. But fish are fairly independent and don’t need a lot of attention, which is good. But what I did say is that we have more than enough animals in the garden. When my friend asked me what sort of animals, I started to list them and even I was surprised by just how many there are.
Firstly there are the rabbits which, I think, live under the laurel bush and like to frolic on the lawn of a summer evening. Then we have moles that like to dig up the lawn. We regularly get deer in the garden that like to eat all the roses and any young, tender shoots. We have bats in the loft and we’ve had a problem with mice in the kitchen. There are lots of squirrels in the trees. We often get the odd pheasant that wanders around looking perplexed and lost, as well as a sparrow hawk that swoops around in an impressive fashion, and a heron that stops by twice a year and perches on the roof of the house, eyeing the fish pond. That’s the point at which we rush outside with a large net and secure it over the pond with some bricks. Last year a pair of ducks moved in (see picture) and took to swimming around the pond which really wasn’t big enough for them. My husband once even found a snake curled up underneath the wisteria. And that’s not to mention the hundreds of bees, butterflies and ladybirds that inhabit the garden.
Who needs pets when you live in a wildlife sanctuary?