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There are no rabbits in Italy, but there are panteganas

As I understand it, the Romans introduced rabbits to the UK many moons ago. Well, it would seem that all these Roman rabbits decided to invite all their rabbit friends and relations over too. I say this because I very rarely see wild rabbits in this country and I cannot understand why.

Back in the UK I often used the train and would see many little bunnies hopping happily everywhere. Not in Italy, where I also use the train quite frequently. Why is this? Where have all of Beatrix Potter’s favourite characters ended up? This is one of life’s little mysteries for me and quite possibly is something that others may not have noticed, unless they happen to be ex-country people like myself, that is.

I only really have a lot of experience of northern Italy and it is possible that other parts of this peninsula house abundant rabbit populations, but in the north here, I think I can quite safely say that I have seen no more than five bunnies since I’ve been here. Strange, is it not?

What the heck is a pantegana you may well be asking. Well, I can’t even find any real info about the things on the world wide web, so I’m unable to say what exactly these beasts are, or rather what species they may belong to. Before I saw what I believe was a pantegana, I had heard a little about them.

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People here sometimes use the word to talk about, often, women who have not been blessed with the looks of Claudia Schiffer and the like.

I asked, once, as you do, what a pantegana was. The explanation I got was that it is a big sewer rat. Well, I don’t know how big Italian rats are, but the thing I saw, dead poor beast, lying by the side of a busy road, was huge. We are talking a length of more than one metre. It certainly had a face like that of your common rat, and the body and huge tail also bore a very close resemblance to that of a rat. It was the size though that got me.

I did not believe the rodents of these dimensions existed in Europe, until that moment. Then someone told me that it was probably a baby. Sorry, just joking, you may be pleased to know. Notwithstanding my attempt to be funny, I would not like to encounter one of these beasts alone on a dark night. I don’t know if they are aggressive, and I’m not sure if I want to know. Genetic mutations, anyone. Radiation leaks? Who knows.

Maybe someone reading this entry will be able to shed some light on the mysterious missing bunnies and the monstrous pantegana oversize rat like beasts.

Time for work, must go and see students about courses and that sort of thing.

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