Duck Off!

AngryGooseA lot of animal phobias are easy to swallow. Spiders and snakes are among the most venomous creatures on the planet, wasps are aggressively territorial, Hollywood tells us sharks are out to eat us all and lions have very big teeth and claws. It’s only natural to be afraid of animals that pose a lethal threat to us or are bigger than us and have big teeth: those things are obviously a bit scary.

What’s slightly more ludicrous is the fact that the water fowl of campus seem to hold everyone and everything to ransom. Despite being a seemingly intelligent collective, an awful lot of us seem unable to grapple with the fact that geese aren’t threatening and although it’s comical to see people reacting to the campus wildlife there does come a point where you have to ask if people are actually being serious.

The mass Chinaphobia is more about myth than any reality. For whatever reason the same guff gets passed down year-after-year about the seeming menace of the geese and people end up perpetuating it by actually being taken in by it. It’s entirely ridiculous.

Firstly it’s staggering that people have genuinely been trapped in their accommodation blocks or buildings on campus by the small-feathered creatures that waddle around the place. These animals are in the grand scheme of the animal kingdom tiny. Granted, they have beaks, but that’s hardly a giant set of teeth ready to behead you at any moment, and instead of claws that might scratch you they have webbed feet that do a bad job of helping the ducks, geese and swans walk around campus without having any greater offensive capability.

Likewise, the fact people recoil at them hissing is pretty laughable. Nobody bothers when a cat meows or a dog barks but the minute something with wings and a seemingly menacing beak makes a noise it’s cause to wet yourself and sprint in the opposite direction from it. All you have to do is ignore the geese and they get bored and back off. Summer term more than any other time is when you should just ignore what the water fowl are doing – they all have babies, all the geese are stressed and so they squawk and screech at all the ungainly big things walking past because they’re convinced literally everything in the world is a threat to their children. It’s only really natural for the geese to be protective and all you need to do instead of freaking out is just calmly ignore them and carry walking. The animals might be aggressive but they’ll back down if you don’t give them the time of day.

At the end of the day a goose is not going to be responsible for your death. It’s beak is not venomous and it’s wings do not discharge acid that melts your body. When one honks or squawks or flaps its wings it won’t be the last thing you see or hear before your untimely demise. Just take a reality check – campus is only a concrete jungle and not somewhere that animals actually pose any threat or menace to you.