and today was my day to test out on the creatures of Africa. The Aardvark (Orycteropus afer) at LPZ is aptly named Hoover and he spends most of the day in his burrow, a space adjacent to the meercats. Aardvarks have been dining almost exclusively on termites for millions of years (a formicivore!); occasionally they’ll eat an aardvark cucumber ( Cucumis humifructus)– an odd little fruit that grows underground.
Hoover is a stanky kind of guy; he has some serious musk going. I can’t think that even in the wild these animals are exactly jumpin’ and jivin’ and they’re not the least bit endangered; Hoover is not really trophy material and his odor would put off any appetite. You would think he might notice with that snout but then who ever does own that they’re stinking up the place? He’s sort of like the general contractor of the savanna: with his sturdy webbed feet, he’s an enthusiastic digger and he has numerous burrows that, once abandoned, make good homes for other African animals.
Hoover was one among many today, including various species of cichlids, the klipspringer and the Hottentot Teal. And then there was the whole Rift Valley geological thing and Lake Victoria overrun with Nile Perch as the ultimate paradigm for invasive species. I’m tuckered out but a step closer to completing the docent program.
Before I doze off, I’ll share these two pictures I got in an e-mail late this afternoon. The Rockhoppers over in Sea Birds have a baby! I’m assuming the keeper took these because no one else is getting close yet. This little penguin will stay safely hidden in papa’s brood patch for several weeks before he’s toddling out and about.