Pretty Handsome.

There are some people out there who will tell you that we should not impose our human standards of aesthetics on the animals that share our world; all of nature’s creation should be viewed as beautiful and important components of vibrant and valuable ecosystems. These people are noble and fair minded and pure of heart. They are also wrong. This is a sable antelope;

Form a line, ladies. Single file and no pushing.

Form a line, ladies. Single file and no pushing.

Just look at that magnificent bastard! He’s a looker and he knows it. Look at that power! That grace! If he was human, he would be surrounded by fawning young women in tight bikinis and copious amounts of makeup. Then there’s this guy;

Are you religious? Cause I'm the answer to all your prayers!

Are you religious? Cause I’m the answer to all your prayers, baby!

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99. Something fishy.

In 1950, a rather surprised angler caught a two metre Zambesi shark at the confluence of the Levuvhu and Limpopo Rivers in South Africa’s Lowveld.

Duuum dum. duum dum. dum dum, dum dum, dum dum, dum dum.

Duuum dum. duum dum. dum dum, dum dum, dum dum, dum dum.

This must have come as a little bit of a surprise, since the nearest ocean, the Indian, is over 400 km away. Continue reading

45. Not owls.

I woke up this morning in the mood to write about Lowveld owls. Actually, to tell the truth, I woke up this morning in the mood to not be awake. The cold has finally moved in, and I would like to take to my bed and stay there ‘til spring.

But life goes on, so Lowveld owls it is. Or rather owls it isn’t. Most places have one or two species of owls. The Lowveld has about seven. That involves quite a lot of research, and cannot be whipped off on a whim. And besides, there’s something in the way that must be dealt with first. The not-owls.

At a glance, the night belongs to the bats. There are tens of millions of them, flitting unseen through the dark. They are hugely successful; about 20 per cent of all mammal species are bats. But bats have their limitations. There are some things evolution hasn’t had time to do to their basic design yet. They have left some room, out there in the cold and the dark, for those other denizens of the air; the birds.

And now you are thinking of owls. But there are other birds out there in the dark. Certainly there are down in the Lowveld. So let’s get those out of the way before we tackle the owls.

The Bat Hawk.

It may look intense, but it's the worlds laziest bird.

It may look intense, but it’s the worlds laziest bird.

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38. Bushbabies.

There are few things in this world quite as cool as going on a night-drive in the bush. You bundle into an open vehicle with hand-held spotlights and set off into a world completely different to the one you left as the sun went down.

If you choose the premium package, your hosts might even take you out in a vehicle with a door.

If you pay a little extra for the premium package, your hosts might even take you out in a vehicle with a door.

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31. Our friends and neighbours.

We can all heave a sigh of relief. I don’t know about you, but I just haven’t been sleeping well. I’ve been picking at my food. Losing interest in my appearance. Moping. But that’s all over now. Justin Bieber’s monkey has found a new home. Yup. Poor little Mally is gonna be OK. Group hug, guys.

A dirty, flea-ridden little beast. And a Capuchin Monkey.

A dirty, flea-ridden little beast. And a Capuchin Monkey.

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30. Here be giants.

I’m writing about tropical islands today. Because tropical islands are not cold. I am not writing about Johannesburg. Because Johannesburg is cold. But that’s not my only reason for writing about tropical islands. As I will never tire of reminding you, I went to the Seychelles recently. I was looking through the photos this morning, because I was cold, and came across this one.

Some of the interesting wildlife of the Seychelles. And a tortoise.

Some of the interesting wildlife of the Seychelles. And a tortoise.

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6.Hitchcock might have been on to something!

One of my fondest childhood memories is watching my younger cousin get attacked by a chicken. We were visiting his parent’s holiday house when we fell foul of the local rooster, a feathery behemoth with crazy eyes and spurs the size of a man’s thumb. The moment he saw us, he came steaming across the lawn, flapping and squawking like a banshee. We fled inside, breathless and laughing with terror. And that should have been the end of it.
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A science post?

I’m supposed to be writing the second part of a post about birds, but I’m finding it a little difficult to concentrate. I am, you see, preoccupied with thoughts about naked people. And my father-in-law. This sort of thing happens to me quite often. It’s a little disconcerting.

I’ve always found it difficult to focus. There is always some idle thought tugging away at the edges of my mind. It gets in the way sometimes. It drags me up out of the book I’m reading and thrusts me into another space entirely. It makes studying an ordeal. And it can get a bit tricky when I’m trying to write. It’s hard to rattle on about Oxpeckers when all you can think about is naked people. And your father-in-law.

Somehow less interesting than naked people.

Somehow less interesting than naked people.


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