The joys and tribulations of a field biologist (and hermit) studying
mongooses in the South African bush.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
It's like paradise here now, thanks to the unseasonable rain.
I counted 41 species of wildflower while walking the dogs last night. I know the names of three!
I was so preoccupied peering at flowers, that I didn't watch where we were walking. Glancing up, I discovered Magic nose to nose with a huge snake. My view was obscured by the dogs, and I thought it was a puff adder (very common here and potentially lethal). Unexpectedly, I screamed (didn't think I was the screaming type) and dragged Magic away; then discovered that it was actually an African rock python. While this was a relief, it shattered my consoling belief that the local pythons would be inactive by now. After all, my resident red toad has been torpid for more than a week, tucked away inside my down sleeping bag.
Of course, all this lush growth is a nightmare for data collection. I simply can't see what the mongooses are doing. In fact, I'm having trouble finding their termite mounds, much less the mongooses themselves!
Having spent 16 years living in remote places in the African bush studying the social behaviour of mongooses, my own is non-existent. I survived 8 years in the desert, at the Kalahari Meerkat Research Project (i.e. Meerkat Manor), and am now doing research on dwarf mongooses in the lowveld of NE South Africa.
If you come across a mistake on this blog, please let me know. I really want to learn new things, and to get them right!
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