Three preliminary notes:
NOTE NUMBER ONE: This is a list of animals that I would like to see on the loose in a city. I made it because there might be nothing I love more. You should see me when my Twitter feed starts lighting up with reports of an animal running free in an area where animals do not usually run free. I can’t get anything done. If I had a secretary I would press my intercom (which I also do not have) and shout “CHERYL, HOLD MY CALLS.” I am very serious about this
NOTE NUMBER TWO: This list only covers single animals. Yes, 800 penguins waddling around Chicago would be hilarious. And 50 koalas scurrying through the streets of Atlanta would be like oxygen to me. And I kind of want to see authorities try to wrangle 6,000 snapping turtles that are menacing Boston. But that’s another list.
NOTE NUMBER THREE: This list only covers fun and relatively harmless animal escapes. Is there maybe a tiny part of me that wants to see a rhinoceros charge through a city and smash up cars and property? Well, yeah. But that’s what I have the CBS television series Zoo for.
Here we go.
10. A moose
About 60 percent of this is based on the fact that “moose” rhymes with “loose” and everyone would be screaming “MOOSE ON THE LOOSE.” The rest of the breakdown is something like 15 percent based on the presence of antlers and 25 percent based on the time I read a news story about a moose that was running around a town and stopped at a Hooters and a Harley dealership. That moose had a full afternoon planned. I can respect that.
9. A llama
I know I would like to see a llama on the loose in a city because I have seen llamas on the loose and it was probably the greatest day of my life. Do you guys remember the llama chase? My Lord, they had the news helicopters on them and everything. I wish I had been in the newsroom when that call got made.
“Boss, we have llamas on the loose.”
“Yeah they’re running amok and every time authorities try to corner them they sprint away.”
“Why don’t we have a live feed of this?”
“Well… we’d need to use the helicopter, sir.”
“Well do we really wanna burn fuel on a llama chase?”
“Carl, what’s the point of even HAVING a helicopter if we’re not using it on a llama chase?”
8. An ostrich
Ostriches are fast and look funny when they run and I think I would really enjoy watching two mustachioed beat cops in Pittsburgh try to corral one.
7. A peacock
The actual chase itself wouldn’t be that exciting because I imagine the authorities would corner a peacock pretty quickly. But this one isn’t about the chase. This one is about the standoff. Picture like 10 cops standing around a peacock they have surrounded in a downtown intersection. Then picture the peacock dramatically fanning out all its feathers and the cops freaking out a bit as it spins around, staring them down like the Joker or something. And then picture shaky cell phone footage of it all hitting social media.
It’s beautiful, right?
6. A zebra
Zebras are tricky because they are basically just horses and a horse is absolutely not making this list. It’s the stripes, though, and the fact that you don’t usually see zebras in America. There’s a novelty to it all. I know this for a fact because not all that long ago a couple zebras got loose in Philadelphia and one was spotted trotting past the KFC on City Line Avenue. I had no idea how much I would enjoy seeing that until I actually saw it. I’m not entirely sure I had even considered it. And yet, there I was, as happy as anyone has ever been. Zebras, if you are reading this, do it again. I’ll take you to Popeyes.
5. A capybara
Originally, I only had capybaras on this list because they look hilarious. And a lot of people don’t know about them, so when a 120-pound rodent starts barreling around, oh, let’s say Times Square, I imagine there will be more than a few frightened individuals who think a giant mutant hamster is terrorizing their city. I would like that. Also, when I was doing research for this post (“research”), I stumbled across this article, which says that the golf course that Brazil built for the Olympics is now overrun with capybaras. I like to picture one in the fairway trying to hit a wedge in a brutal front-left pin. A little treat for me.
Anyway, my point in all of this is that according to CapybaraWorld dot WordPress dot com, capybaras can run 22mph. That is REALLY fast. Like, faster than most humans. I have no idea if this is true but there is no chance at all I will ever look hard enough to debunk it, and if any of you try to correct me I will be furious. I want to live in a world where it’s true and I want to see extremely flustered authority figures retreating into a Starbucks in terror when a giant hellrodent charges at them at breakneck speed. Let me have this.
4. A hippopotamus
If we’re being very technical about all of this, hippos should not be on this list because hippos are actually kind of mean and dangerous. But, I mean, come on. Who doesn’t want to see a hippopotamus barreling around, like, South Beach? Not not me, I’ll tell you that.
And it’s even better because hippos are huge and I don’t think your average city officials have a plan in place to transport a rogue hippopotamus. I have this image in my head of two wildly unqualified animal control officials driving back to their office with a hippo riding in the back of a pickup truck, weighing the whole thing down and just chilling, as cars full of very confused people pass them on the highway.
3. A kangaroo
A kangaroo just hopping around downtown, weaving around cars and such. All of these are fun to picture from that eye-in-the-sky helicopter I mentioned in the llama chase thing, but a kangaroo might be the most fun. Americans are not trained to deal with a loose kangaroo. Especially not city-dwelling Americans. It would be chaos. I want to see it right now.
2. A little monkey that stole something
Okay, so here’s the thing: One single little monkey scooting around would probably not be all that exciting. Like, it would be fun to see in person, and kind of adorable, but we’ve all seen enough little monkeys to be able to deal with it. There would have to be a bunch of them to trigger the type of anarchy I’m looking for, and that violates the rules I set at the beginning.
But. What if the monkey stole something? Something valuable. Valuable enough that an entire city screeched to a halt to try to track it down. But also something that is mostly meaningless and only matters to stuffy rich people. Something like… the Hope Diamond. A priceless natural wonder, sure, but also just a big clear rock. And the perfect size for a monkey to grab and take off with. A tiny little adorable monkey zipping around Washington with the Hope Diamond in its tiny adorable paws, as all of the police in the city try to catch it and retrieve the stone. Every 24-hour news channel going live with the story. Wolf Blitzer pulling up holograms in the Situation Room. The whole thing.
News you can use.
1. A giraffe
I think it’s just the height thing. I think that’s what I’m enjoying so much about the idea of a giraffe on the loose in a city. I’m sure part of it is the same thing I mentioned with the hippo, where normal city officials aren’t equipped to deal with something that size and shape and I want to see them try. But I also think I love the idea of a giraffe trotting by an office building and all the employees on the second floor seeing a giraffe’s head bounce by out the windows. Or like, a dude on the phone shouting about stocks or something, all red-faced with spittle flying out of his mouth, and then a giraffe walking up to his window and just leaning its neck in and grabbing his turkey sandwich.
Yeah. That would work for me.