Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Rump Statement Worrisome

I immediately started worrying about this statement from my copy of THE BEHAVIOR GUIDE TO AFRICAN MAMMALS by Richard Despard Estes: "Fighting hyraxes defend themselves by presenting their rumps." What kind of defense is that, hyraxes? That might be fine if you are trying to fight another hyrax who is also presenting his rump, but gee it seems like a bad strategy if some other manner of creature is after you. "Hyraxes have many predators, including snakes, eagles, owls, jackals, and cats from servals up to lions; even mongooses may take babies." I am sorry to be a downer! And how do hyraxes defend themselves? By "growling and gnashing their teeth at dogs from the safety of a cranny." Yeah, that's great until it's time to come out of the cranny. "Since their clawless feet are also useless for digging, hyraxes are utterly dependent on natural cavities." Oh it just gets worse and worse. And they're not good at hiding! At least that's the way it seems to me. They "urinate on vertical rock faces; crystallized calcium carbonate in the urine makes a highly visible white stain that advertises colony sites." Why not just put up a sign? Man, I am worried about these hyraxes. On the other hand, I am excited, because in case you didn't notice, THE BEHAVIOR GUIDE TO AFRICAN MAMMALS can go on our big thrilling list of books with owls in them. But come on hyraxes, get it together.