Sep 27, 2012

On the trail of a strange small mammal

I have been waiting to find time to post on this at length and it's just not happening, so you should all go and read this excellent article from the BBC about the Pyrenean desman, a small aquatic mammal described by the reporter as looking like "a strange mish-mash of creatures - part rat, part mole, part platypus," and furthermore:
It has a huge nose - like a miniature version of an elephant's trunk - framed with long whiskers and beady little eyes. Its front paws are tiny, but its back feet are huge - and webbed. It's topped off by a thick, scaly tail.
Nice! Even a scientist studying the little-known animal says "It really is one of Europe's strangest creatures."

-Wombat (No Relation)

Sep 18, 2012

My ugly animal travels

video
I just came back from a trip to Japan where of course I sought out many animals which are not conventionally attractive. The most exciting was this dugong, one of only a few in captivity in the whole world. She lives at the aquarium in Toba, about three hours from Tokyo, and her name is Serena. (You know, I am sure, that the family that includes the dugong and manatee is Sirenians, named after the mythical Sirens, based on the fact that sailors allegedly thought that dugongs were mermaids.)

It was particulary exciting because when my friend told a staff member that I had come all the way from America to see the dugong, she took me into the exhibit and let me touch it.

(Unfortunately, those pictures are on my friend's camera and I don't have them yet, so you'll just have to believe me for now.)

So, enjoy this video of a feasting dugong, and there will be some more animal news from my trip this week on my other blog.

-Wombat (No Relation)