The neighbours noticed two large tigers on top of a jungle gym staring longingly down at toddlers playing in the sandpit. The backyard tiger jungle gym abuts a crèche.
The owners of the crèche are not saying that the tigers had actual intent to consume the small pre-packaged human chunks of meat sitting with buckets and spades within striking distance, but they have taken precautions in case nature takes its course.
They have moved the toddlers away from the line of sight of the predators and some parents have kept their children at home since the tiger alert.
To be fair, toddlers are kind of in the ideal zone of nutritional goodness for your average tiger. And much more substantial than the tiger’s typical amuse-bouche in the jungle — which tends to small monkeys and crocodiles.
I've been researching buying a white tiger cub. Not as pricey as you might imagine. I can get one for $3,500 — that's about R52,000. I mean, obviously I would have to get a mullet if I went this route, but mullets are super stylish right now. And I think I could do a great workaround on stonewashed denim.
Also, there are no rules against keeping a white tiger in SA. And think of the savings — 20 years of tiger vs a lifetime supply of A-grade home security. I am plumping for the tigers.
There is the problem of the fresh meat supply and also their nocturnal habits — they are up and about hunting at night, which may disturb my sleep.
The tiger cub site also warns the prospective pet owner about urine. Apparently they are rather territorial, and if you are not a friend of the smells generated by domestic felines, you might find scaling up an issue.
Also, cuddling your pets becomes increasingly hazardous as they pack on the pounds.
But look at the plus side — they can roam the garden by moonlight, play in the Wendy house, take a dip in the pool, batting the floaties about with their magnificent paws.
Imagine the feeling of having the wild beasts at my beck and call, frolicking in all their majesty in my courtyard with the hydrangeas and the potted basil. And, dare I say it, they'd be a bloody brilliant disincentive for cellphone snatchers when I take them on the coffee run in Parkhurst.
It’s a jungle out there, my friends, and as the site says, “Tigers are surprisingly inexpensive and easy to purchase as pets, meaning anyone is capable of owning a large influential carnivore.”
• This article was first published by the Sunday Times.