Humans and animals don't exactly have undying trust in one another. We've focused too many of them in gun sights, set too many traps, and pretended to throw too many sticks that Spot ran his legs off for nothing.

Those of you who have ruined an $800 door by sawing a hole in it while your dog continues to wet on a chair leg know what I'm talking about.No matter how many treats you have given your pet for breathing, or how many times you have scratched behind his ears and played ball with him, he suspects that once you get him to go through that flap in the door, you will seal it up and he will never see you again.

Fishermen spend millions of dollars a year on bait and lures. Compared with the number of fish they actually catch, they could buy the Red Lobster chain. I have even heard some fish laugh as I reeled in the empty lure.

The latest attempt to top animal intelligence is a scarecrow called "Scary Man." This isn't your basic Wizard-of-Oz-without-a-brain doll. Scary Man has everything. It's a 5-feet 1/2-inch tall, screaming, blaze-orange human effigy run by a battery-powered fan. It will lie innocently in the field like a deflated balloon until a preset timer causes it to inflate. Suddenly, with much thrashing and flailing of arms, it lets out a scream sure to send every living thing fleeing for its life.

The scarecrow had its beginning in Kenya, where it was used to scare elephants and lions from decimating crops and houses. Now, a farmer from Mississippi rationalizes that if it could do this to big animals, it could keep cormorants and herons away from his neighbor's catfish. It could also give his neighbor a heart attack and send the catfish into a catatonic state.

The cormorants and the herons? They're probably selling tickets.

When will humans ever learn that animals are a lot smarter than we give them credit for? A cockroach is a great example. It doesn't need transportation. It rides for free in a grocery bag, and its species will be on this earth long after the planet is declared uninhabitable. A mouse can force its body into the smallest opening possible. Despite the fact mice have been tested in labs with cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, cancer, and every disease known to man, they are in no danger of extinction.

By the way, Scary Man costs $698. For a few extra bucks, I'll stand in your field wearing an ugly brown coat and sing "New York, New York."