And have no fear: The rat race may have decamped to the Algarve, Tuscany and Oostduinkerke, but the rest of the animal kingdom has gamefully stepped up to the plate to fill up the news.
• A basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus) was spotted by bathers off the coast of De Panne. At about two metres long, it didn’t cause a panic – despite its name in Dutch translating as “giant shark”. Experts led the shark off into deeper waters further from shore.
• A police horse went for a stroll all on its own in the Merode-Montgomery area of Brussels. The horse was spotted inside the Merode metro station, and was later recaptured in neighbouring Sint-Pieters-Woluwe.
• Josaphat Park in the Brussels commune of Schaarbeek has a growing population of rabbits, most of them dropped off by owners who no longer want them. And the Battel area of Mechelen is suffering a plague of rabbits for the third summer in a row, which devastate the gardens of residents, who claim a fall in the fox population has left the bunnies with no natural predator.
• Meanwhile the coastal municipality of Knokke-Heist is bringing in a fake fox attached to a remote-controlled car to try to chase away seagulls who are pestering the area, even attacking railway workers down the coast in Zeebrugge.
• The wind-turbine park off the coast of Zeebrugge is helping the beleaguered cod (pictured) to build up its numbers again, according to researchers at Ghent University. The cod, as well as plaice, sole, goatfish and pout, find a welcoming habitat among the sponges, polyps and mussels growing around the foundations of the turbines.