Stephens Island Wren

There is perhaps one animal we can doff our caps to as quite simply the most depraved, sociopathic, genocidal, xenophobic, maniacal bastard on the planet… in this case its name was Tibbles.

Yes quite, one is sure you have guessed that we are talking about the common housecat, Felis catus as learned types call them… git as it’s referred to by pretty much every animal small enough to fit into the sod’s mouth… mice and birds in particular are not surprisingly really rather vociferous in this matter…. even more so the Stephens Island wren, a bird that had evolved into a mouse.

We’ve heard in previous evenings at The Proceedings about how New Zealand’s birds have evolved flightlessness, taken the ecological niche of pigs and indeed been right royally buggered every time something new moved into the neighbourhood. Similar to that tubby lump the kakapo the Stephens Island wren has taken up the ecological niche of a mouse. As there were no mammals in New Zealand the wee bird had a marvellous idea, it would take advantage of the huge gap in the market and scamper around the forest floors eating nuts and berries and generally being all mouse like.

'... quite! one was just saying to the wifey it is a delightful neighbourhood isn't it, yes one hopes no untoward types move in'

Until the late 1800’s that is. The problem was that the lump of rock that is Stephens Island kept on getting in the way of boats, and rather than ask it politely to move, it was thought some sort of lighthouse prudent. Within fifteen years they had finished the big shiner, about the same time as someone thought having a cat around the place would brighten things up a bit too. A rather fat looking cat.

Though it seems Tibbles wasn’t in need of a bit of exercise and was in fact full of wee sweet depraved, sociopathic, genocidal, xenophobic, maniacal bastards. Within years the islands were swarming with feral cats, not the best news for a defenseless mousey bird… and indeed within years the Stephens Island wren had been eaten off the planet.


While it seems that it is just an enduring myth; the decimation of an entire species by a single lighthouse keeper’s cat called Tibbles. Rather it was a whole bally army of the most depraved, sociopathic, genocidal, xenophobic, maniacal bastards the planet has ever known… What’s that? Yes quite, a slur indeed, though it’s nowhere near as bad as what the Stephens Island wren would call them.

Published in: on September 10, 2010 at 12:49 pm  Leave a Comment