Even so, it was not quite what was expected. Even the gazelle was more than a little put out and the giraffe went off for a sulk.
The herd of zebras grazing in the conservatory were, the wife said, not their usual selves either. There was definitely something amiss in the whole house. Even the annual wildebeest migration from the front bedroom down to the kitchen and out across the lawn to their summer grazing area slightly north-east of the patio was far more restrained than usual.
At first, we put it down to the rumour started by number 54, up the road, about poachers in the area. Apparently, the poachers were putting leaflets through the door promising to buy all our ivory, tiger penises and rhino horn. You know, the usual sort of scam.
The fact we, as a mainly African Savannah sanctuary had no tigers was, of course, moot. We did have a few rhinos in the pantry and the herd of elephants were – we hoped – safe in the attic. Still it didn’t hurt to take precautions. Obviously, we as safety-first householders always let the leopard answer the door to cold callers, religious irritants and the almost inevitable charity annoyers. A policy that has remarkable success in deterring unwanted visitors. Especially so, if the vultures are still clearing up the remains of the last cold caller when our next potential visitor tries to venture up the front path.
However, it was not this very real fear of the prospect of poachers that was making the animals nervous. It wasn’t the imminent mating season either. That usually tends to cheer all the animals up, apart from the much larger queue for the bathroom when the chimps and the gorillas tend to hog the bathroom for their extended grooming rituals. However, since we added a few more crocodiles to the bath this has become a much more manageable problem.
However, it was all solved when the Neighbourhood Watch discovered the hidden cameras in the bushes behind the bus shelter. Along with a hide set up on the supermarket car park. It turned out, of course, that there were wildlife documentary teams on the prowl again. Not unconnected, of course, with the imminent mating season.
After all, we all know what perverts and deviants these self-styled ‘naturalists’ are. Always on the hunt for explicit mating shots. So we got all the street’s lions together into a pride. Then got them to flush out the naturalists. Which worked quite well. Perhaps too well, as we now seem to have a pack of rather obese hyenas on our front lawn. But, as the wife said, ‘Anything is better than bloody naturalists’.