Biodiversity is something I’ve been really fascinated with ever since I came to the US. It’s crazy that there are so many different animals and flowers that I’ve never even seen before. One good example of that is last weekend at Lu’au where the decorations were full of tropical flowers you only see as plastic in Sweden. So, let’s start off by talking about what Sweden doesn’t have. Contrary to popular belief we do not have raccoons, possums, alligators, chipmunks or any sort of crazy colored bird like cardinals. Most of the huge bushes of flowers on campus don’t really exist in Sweden and we only have one kind of squirrel, a tiny brown one that definitely doesn’t make any weird sounds.
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So that is what we don’t have and here is what we do have. A lot of people in Sweden ride horses as a hobby and this is also the only sport that you can specialize in at universities. Stables are found connected to most universities there. Animals you see regularly in your garden in my country are ducks, cats and hedgehogs. It is a common fact that you should put out milk for the hedgehogs. Sweden is a small country that is populated with few people which makes the woods pretty vast and full of different animals. Deer, just like here, are a big problem, but we have little brown ones. When I was younger we’d get up early to watch the elk by our summerhouse come out and rub their horns against the trees. They truly are huge and very dangerous because of their size.
Bears and wolves are only seen in the north where the countryside reminds me very much of Oregon. There are mountains and the streets are usually full of reindeer that won’t move no matter how long you honk at them.
Another thing that is really different here is the moss hanging from the trees in the woods. I’ve never seen anything like that in Sweden even though the forests there have made many writers write about trolls. The trees are also covered with the famous Lingonberry and blueberry bushes.