Editor's Note: This article is written in the style of Sir David Attenborough, a well-known narrator of nature documentaries for the BBC. If you are not familiar with his enormous body of work, you can find some examples on Youtube.
Inside this enchanted multifamily building, life is swirling in a spectacular dance. Despite its calm brick exterior, this building is home to an exciting collection of animals. Between the walls, insects teem, feasting on glue and grease. Majestic birds, descendants of small feathered dinosaurs, make their homes in its eaves. Thousands of miles from the African plains, a feline predator waits for mice or daybreak.
This is a place of wonders. The Chicago Apartment.
Life here has been called nature's secret – for in these rooms, life has evolved to thrive behind locked doors.
Join me... as I explore the world of the extraordinary creatures of the Apartment.
The refrigerator hums, filling the apartment kitchen full of noise.. This least graceful of rooms forms a strange and narrow passage often bursting with human activity. Its few flat surfaces yield to an exquisite expanse of hills and valleys, each with their own shaded place. With its abundance of food and shelter, the kitchen is particularly suitable for life.
Within these natural contours lives this room's most spectacular resident. Hiding in its walls, lurking in its cracks, climbing across its pipes, and sneaking out when it is still and quiet...
The local people have strong beliefs and taboos about them. Most believe it best to crush them underfoot. But -- despite the risk -- this cockroach, quite a large male, has emerged from under the stove to brave the open floor.
From his perch on a curled corner of linoleum, he waves his antennae up and down. He sprints and stops to observe this generally hostile world, using his long sensitive feelers to sense any change in atmosphere. His thick leathery wings cover his body for protection. He stretches out a spine-covered leg, checking for vibrations, signs of danger.
After a quick sprint, he seems to have found what he is looking for – a good drink -- a drop of condensation from a poorly sealed refrigerator. This will do nicely. He uses his jaws and mouth to slurp the water. He does not need to pause between gulps because, amazingly, he breathes through a system of tubes attached to holes in his body.
The kitchen light has come on, and a person has entered the room, carrying mail.
The cockroach has been spotted. Quickly approaching, the person raises his foot, ready to strike wit stronger force. But detecting the vibration with his leg hairs and seeing the motion with his enormous compound eyes, the cockroach has other ideas. His big back legs push, and he runs under the stove.
The foot falls harmless. The person curses. This surely, is what nature intended.
Next time on Life In An Apartment, we go deep into animal residents who call porches or stairways home.
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