A savage swan who has left a trail of carnage in its wake after a weekend spent terrorising tourists on the River Cam is apparently just following in the the family footsteps when it comes to causing trouble and creating mayhem.
The swan is often considered the very essence of grace and beauty personified, but it seems one rogue family of swans is keen to ditch the stereotype of how an elegant bird should conduct and carry itself.
The Mirror reports that a fledgling fiend has earned himself the nickname of Asbaby because of its habit of creeping up on punters unaware and pecking them senseless, as if to say, “Get off my river punk!”
Although Asbaby still boasts many of his baby brown feathers, he’s proving to be an old hand at causing mischief. Which isn’t surprising when one considers that Asbaby is the youngest member of the well known “Cam Swan” crime family. The grandfather of this surly swan is none other than the legendary Mr. Asbo.
After refusing to curtail his behaviour and live inside of the law, Mr Asbo’s spree of targeting tourists with aggressive intent, and repeatedly attacking and biting rowers came to an end in 2012, when he quite literally had his wings clipped by the river authorities and they moved him to an undisclosed location about 60 miles up river.
Yet Asbaby’s father, the even more surly and sinister Asboy, picked up the gauntlet laid down by Mr Asbo and conducted his own reign of terror on the River Cam last summer.
Needless to say, the fowl fiend soon became a notorious figure who stalked the nightmares of the river authorities and the Cam Conservators.
Asboy made headlines after his random attack on a canoeist and swimmer, and the feathered Frankenstein was dubbed by one of his many unfortunate victims as much worse than his dad, and perhaps the the most vicious swan ever.
“He’s the most vicious swan I have ever seen. When I was punting with my family he stuck his neck in the boat and hissed and pecked at us. I even saw him trying to bite through the chains which tether the punts to the wall of the river.”
Yet last Easter weekend saw the arrival of a new face in the notorious Cam Swan crime family – Asbaby.
Taking full advantage of the clement weather, Asbaby launched a series of unprovoked attacks on unsuspecting tourists, which included drinking from their water bottles with menace, stealing sandwiches from their picnic hampers, and one poor lady nearly had her handbag stolen by the floating thug.
River resident Harry Crossell, 65, fears that Asbaby’s capacity for violence exceeds that of his father and grandfather.
“He is even more vicious than his father and grandfather and sticks his neck right into the punts and boats to nip passengers. I’ve seen him chasing after punts and taking their picnics. Once I even saw him put his beak around a bottle of champagne. It’s terrifying for river users and it’s making people think twice about going out on the water.”
Fellow riverside dweller, Simon Patterson, 52, agrees and believes once Asbaby finds his wings he’s going to get a lot worse.
“The swan is only young at the moment, we’re concerned he will get stronger and more vicious as he grows bigger. He swims up and down the river chasing anything which gets in his way. We thought Mr Asbo and Asboy were bad, but this swan is even worse. It’s very worrying as the river is starting to get busier now, if he continues someone could get really hurt.”
(Picture via Geoff Robinson/The Mirror)