To paraphrase the sainted Gerald Durrell, whom is the apple of my father's eye, families are animals. Be it roving beasts, exotic birds or, in my case, all-out monsters, there is a certain animalistic quality at the core of every pared down, stripped bare family, feral and untamed.
Though I never got along with the overgrown boy scout tales of our familiar friend Gerald (far too wholesome and angst free for my liking- though I appreciated the naming of an elephant Rosie) I see there is some truth in his comparison. After all, is there really a vast difference between anthropology and zoology?
So, to the horseplay and monkeying around of the Ingleside livestock. A fair bit of rabid frothing is common at this time of year, what with increased exposure to the habits of other mammals in the vicinity. As well as pouncing on prey and ripping them limb from limb in a bloody frenzy. (Well a verbal frenzy of expletives at any rate).
A great deal of preening, posturing and fluffing of feathers is also noticeable, especially after the offspring dupe the elders into purchasing new clothes for them. This meticulous and extensive grooming increases just before the mating dances and strutting of stuff when going on hunts, out for the kill.
Nocturnal activity becomes the norm, with the young of the brood rarely rising before noon and staying wakeful well into the night. Though often dormant during the day, hibernation is not quite on the cards, despite supplies being horded in and around nest areas.
It is common for the youngest to have all manner of flora and fauna plucked from his wayward mane, but it is rare for these to be consumed ape-like by the one grooming.
The mother within the pride must accept that her cub is no longer of nurturing age, and after a recent birthday must fly the nest, spread his wings, leave the coop.
However, he may still need keeping an eye on as he is still inclined to try and sit on chairs that are simply not there and come crashing to the ground like a herd of elephants. Which makes the onlookers cackle like hyenas.