Monday, March 19, 2012

The Geography of Woodland Creatures

Jon and I enjoyed an afternoon along the Thames Path yesterday from Twickenham to Richmond; we were in deepest English suburbia with the river on our right and parks and playgrounds and stately homes on our left.  I heard a crinkle in the undergrowth next to us and squealed, grabbing Jon's arm.

"Look," I exclaimed, "a chipmunk!"

"No, it can't be," Jon said.  "We don't have chipmunks in England."

I'm sorry - what?  There are no chipmunks in England?  I don't understand.

My knowledge of woodland creatures comes from childrens' books (especially the Redwall series and CS Lewis and Lewis Carroll and Beatrix Potter) and Disney movies.  It never occurred to me that the characters therein were geographically specific - I just assumed that what tramped through the forests of England could also be found in America.  Look, I know that many animals are unique to their climates: you're not going to see a polar bear in the Amazon or a toucan in Siberia.  I'm not silly.  But can we agree that England and the east coast of the United States, at least, should have the same wildlife?

No, apparently not, according to Jon.  So we did some research...

America doesn't have hedgehogs?  Excuse me?

My mind is blown.


  1. QUOI.

    Dear Cinderella, furry friends, et. al.: I feel lied to.

  2. In one of the 101 Dalmatians movies set in the UK, Disney has a couple of animated raccoons playing parts in it. There are no raccoons in Britain.

    No hummingbirds, either, come to think of it.

  3. i had no clue.

    i guess i have to jump the pond to get a true disney experience.

    they are always ruining everything for me.

  4. wait what?! I thought we for sure had hedgehogs...!


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