Having recently read Stan and Michael‘s inaugural blog „out of Africa“ (and loved it) I have been giving the disparity between the world‘s continents some thought, in particular the varying fauna represented in the accompanying photos of the impala and elephant. Amazing creatures I have yet to see outside a zoo and not actually sure I should be aiming to step up the intimacy with. Moving a bit further south, I find it astonishing how different Australia’s animals are from those separated by a mere ocean and as a result one cannot imagine how vastly unlike life forms on other planets must be. These will certainly not have fingers and navels like the space aliens one often sees in the movies, the ones that are really just a stretched edition of light bluish humans, albeit with supersized heads and eyes.
The only mammal native to Iceland is the fox. The island was inhabited by a lot of birds, few insects and absolutely no reptiles. Following settlement in 874 farm animals were brought over, along with the odd stow away mouse or two, and today we have a pretty good non-exotic selection of animals, all with a purpose, at least originally. However, to keep things interesting we do get the odd polar bear drifting to shore on icebergs although these are few and far between. However in the spring of 2008 we had two such unwelcome visits almost back to back causing a national semi-panic with the police hotline being kept busy with callers announcing sightings of white things that turned out be anything from a couple of sheep huddled together, a leftover snow-bank or even laundry. My favourite polar bear thing from this brief period was when an Oddfellow charter from up north got in the news for the third “real” sighting that took place during the association’s annual spring bus excursion around the countryside. They had photos, see above, and the media began alerting people in the neighbouring town to lock their doors as this was apparently not another bundle of misplaced dirty sheets. The men said that the animal was really gentle and that they had almost been able to pet it which was not well perceived by the police, the sharpshooters rushing to site or other authorities getting in on the action. Anyway, so as not to keep you in suspense it turned out to be a hoax. The photos were actually real and the animal at one point, the men had brought a mounted polar bear belonging to one of them along on the bus and carried it between them out into the wild and snapped away. I guess they had not heard of photoshop. Anyway, it is the only time I have ever wanted to be an Oddfellow.