Now what – Siberian chipmunks! Basil Fawlty was right.

Matthew Chatfield
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It has been revealed that a group of Siberian Chipmunks has been released – somehow – from a Hampshire site, and efforts to kill or recapture them have not been entirely successful.

Siberian Chipmunk
I had never heard of these creatures until this story broke. Now I sigh, roll my eyes, and wonder what next for our poor island ecosystem to cope with. For once I’m not even talking about the isle of Wight, I mean the whole Island of mainland Britain. After all, the grey squirrels did pretty well, so who’s to say these latest invader will not be as successful, if not better? Chip’n’Dale were pretty popular, and they were only cartoon characters. Think how cute chipmunks in the garden could be! I expect the proverbial little old ladies to race to fling out their garden squirrel feeders in the rush to be the first to have chipmunk-friendly feeders too. No, sadly for the chipmunks it seems to me that Basil Fawlty was right. The last ever episode of the classic TV sitcom features Basil and an eponymous rat. When the unfortunate Manuel obtains a pet, known to him as a Siberian Hamster, it is Mr Fawlty who discovers that it is, in fact, nothing more than a common brown rat named, hilariously, after himself.
Basil the rat
Fawlty spends the episode in pursuit of the rat, with Manuel begging him to relent. It seems to me that we should side with Fawlty and not Manuel in the battle for our wildlife. We must not be swayed by affection for the cute stripy creatures. Pursuit of the Siberian Chipmunks should be no less vigilant than our pursuit of rats. Let’s hope we are more successful than poor Mr Fawlty was.

Matthew Chatfield

Uncooperative crusty. Unofficial Isle of Wight cultural ambassador. Conservation, countryside and the environment, with extra stuff about spiders.

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