Weirdlife Episode 3 Rubbish Heapers Animated Cover

The Weirdlife Short Story & Audiobook Series: Episode 3 - Rubbish Heapers

Hickory discovers two fascinating species that live on a rubbish tip. Each eats only one type of junk food. But a new flavour threatens the peace!

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Rubbish Heapers

Some animals on our planet are very picky eaters. The giant panda, for instance, eats only bamboo. The koala bear eats only eucalyptus leaves. I know a human six-year-old who wouldn't eat anything but macaroni cheese.

 But, if you visit a very special rubbish tip near Croydon, you’ll find two types of squirrel-like creatures who are even pickier. 

Meet the heapers: two species that once were friends but are now bitter enemies. The crisp-heapers only eat what’s inside discarded packets of crisps. The choco-heapers only lick wrappers that once held flaky chocolate.  

My name is Hickory Slick. And welcome to Hickory Slick’s Weirdlife...with Hickory Slick.

Two brown heapers stand in a pile of green stinky rubbish and point at each other.

Ah, the sights and smells of a rubbish tip in spring! The bright colours of broken plastic toys! The aroma of *SNIFF!* old curries mixed with cat litter! 

This tip, near Croydon, is a modest size. It’s not a mountain of rubbish, but it’s certainly more than a mound. And it’s just the right size for the heapers, who sleep in dens made out of old cereal boxes. 


 Mmm, yes. I’ve just finished a packet of salt-and-vinegar crisps. There are a few crumbly bits left inside the packet. To you and me, it’s nothing but rubbish. But watch what happens when I set the packet down. 

Ah, look! Do you see, over there by the old mattress? That mangy bright-orange fur and those googly eyes belong to a crisp-heaper. It can smell the packet! It is now scampering towards it over piles of rubbish. 

Although the crisp-heaper looks like an ill squirrel, it is actually very healthy. Watch how its long, flexible snout pokes inside this crumpled crisp packet to snuffle out any crumbs.

A heaper has his nose in a blue food packet.

Yes, it’s clearly enjoying the salt-and-vinegar flavour. But this animal likes any crisp seasoning. Now I’ll set down another empty crisp packet, this time spicy barbeque flavour. Watch how the crisp-heaper’s strong and sticky tongue now licks the inside of this crisp packet. It’s licked clean in under ten seconds. Amazing.


 Ah! Now I’ve just finished a flaky chocolate bar. Let’s see if the choco-heaper comes, shall we? I’ll carefully set down the wrapper near a half-eaten sandwich and an old container of Chinese noodles. You would think an animal looking for food would choose the sandwich or noodles. 

But, no! Here comes a balding, blotchy-brown choco-heaper now. And,’s heading straight for the wrapper. See how its skilful claws peel the wrapper apart? It will lick out all the remaining chocolate crumbs – some of them invisible to the human eye. Remarkable. 

The heaper links an open packet.

For centuries on this rubbish tip, the crisp-heaper and the choco-heaper shared their home without fighting. The fact that they prefer different foods meant peace between them. 

But all that changed last year. A new crisp flavour hit the market. “What’s the problem?” you might ask. “Seems a perfect food for the crisp-heaper.” Well, this new crisp is drizzled with chocolate

Hickory holds a purple an white stripey packet.

That’s right: it’s a salty-sweet snack. Ever since the heapers discovered it, their world has been turned upside-down.

 But because this new choco-crisp isn’t very popular in the human world, there are not many empty packets here. But when one is found on the tip, the heapers begin to battle.

 Watch. I’ll finish a packet of them now...


Hm, I quite like them. Now I’ll set the nearly-empty packet here by this heap of rotting vegetables. And now, we wait...

Ah! In no time at all, two choco-heapers spot the packet. And look! Two crisp-heapers have also appeared. All four heapers scurry toward the packet.

Heapers diving through the air towards the purple and white stripey packet.

Now they stop. It’s a tense moment. The choco-heapers bare their teeth. The teeth of choco-heapers are very white and free of cavities. This is because choco-heapers brush their teeth every night with toothpaste from discarded toothpaste tubes. Oh, yes: every night. Their longest toe has bristly fur that makes for a great toothbrush.  The crisp-heapers do not brush their teeth. And they have some of the worst breath in the animal kingdom. The smell is a powerful mix of salt and vinegar, cheese and onion, sour cream and chive and prawn cocktail. 

The crisp-heapers are now huffing and puffing toward the choco-heapers.  The choco-heapers are blown back by the crisp-heapers’ bad breath. But they want that empty choco-crisp packet so badly. 

All four heapers lunge toward the packet. An incredible tug-of-war has begun!

Two heapers are either side of the packet, pulling it apart.

It looks like the choco-heapers are losing their grip! Oh, now the crisp-heapers are struggling to hold on! And now *GASP!* the packet has torn open! All the lovely crisp crumbs are blowing away in the breeze! There’s nothing left in the packet. 

So, with a sigh, all four heapers leave empty-handed. They return to their homes. And I, too, must return home because... Oh, dear. After several packets of crisps and a flaky chocolate...I’m not feeling so well.  

Hickory Slick is bright green and holding his stomach.

This has been Hickory Slick. Tune in next time for Hickory Slick’s Weirdlife...with me, Hickory Slick. 

The End

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Benefits of reading Weirdlife - Rubbish Heapers

Weirdlife is an animal documentary inspired bedtime story series. This short story covers the theme of discovery. Rubbish Heapers is written and narrated in the first person. We recommend this story for children with a reading age of 6 - 10 years old.

Who are the main characters in Weirdlife - Rubbish Heapers

The main character in The Weirdlife series is Hickory Slick and features a variety of fictional animals. In this episode Hickory introduces us to the rubbish heapers.