Wild Winnipeg

The snow is off the ground in Winnipeg and that can only mean one thing, mosquitos are terrorizing people everywhere — especially in my back yard.

With the annual emergence of Aedes vexans — what many Winnipeggers think of when they think “mosquito” — two more familiar species begin to appear in our fair city: Libertarian want-to-beus and Birkenstockis wearis-alotus.

Libertarian want-to-beus

The Libertarian want-to-beus can most readily be identified by his large SUV — possibly sporting a bumper sticker advertising what his other car is — polo shirt, khakis and manicured fingernails.

Failing a visual identification, the call of the Libertarian want-to-beus is a dead giveaway. The species loudly shouts things like “It’s my yard, I can do what I want!” or “Lower taxes!” whenever a camera or microphone comes within 20 metres of the creature.

If cornered by a member of this species, researchers agree that the best plan of action is to shout “Look that guy is getting a government hand-out” while pointing over the shoulder of the Libertarian want-to-beus. You should then drop a case of light beer and run away while he is distracted.

Birkenstockis wearis-alotus

Friendlier than many other species of Winnipegger, the Birkenstockis wearis-alotus should not be underestimated. They are a clever species that would eat you as soon as look at you, were it not for their rampant vegetarianism.

Visual identification can be difficult and fraught with pitfalls, although there are some dead give a ways. For example, if you spot a member of this species without their classic sandal-based footwear, and can catch a glimpse of the bottom of her foot, the sole of the Birkenstockis wearis-alotus will be dirty — likely from hours spent dancing in mud.

Another method of identification is their preferred mode of transportation, which is walking. If you can follow a suspected Birkenstockis wearis-alotus for several minutes outdoors, and do not observe them getting into a vehicle, you can be reasonably sure you have identified a member of the species.

Be warned though, the behaviour described in the latter method of identification is also typical of the Tracksuit wearis-allotus a distant, suburb dwelling cousin of the Birkenstockis, and which is often spotted with the Libertarian want-to-beus.

Habitat and interaction

Normally the Libertarian want-to-beus and the Birkenstockis wearis-allotus keep to their own habitat, which are the suburbs and the West-End, respectively. They occasionally meet at an event known as the “pee-wee soccer game” to shout instructions at their offspring, as the young run aimlessly around a field.

Another venue where these two species sometimes meet is in front of the cable news van, often only minutes after the city of Winnipeg announces its plans to fog for mosquitos.

Like majestic long-horned sheep, the Libertarian want-to-beus and the Birkenstockis wearis-allotus bang their heads together in a primal fight for dominance and moral superiority. These conflicts can often go on for days, with neither side giving an inch.

The two are so distracted during this annual ritual that the quieter and often overlooked animal, Winnipeger commonous — known to researchers for their ability to think rationally, and see things in colour, rather than black and white — can avoid the pitfall of being asked to take sides and enjoy SUV-free streets without worrying about being told that they “should really be eating organic.”