Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Pangolins and Tarsiers

This is a baby Pangolin. Ain't it cute? For some reason I have been struggling to remember what these things are called for the past week now. I'm not even sure of why I am thinking of them in the first place but for some reason I have them stuck on the brain. These little critters come from south east asia and are one of the few beasties that I have a real desire to see in the wild. This is mostly because there are only 3 kept in captivity as far as I am aware as they eat ants. I'm not sure why anteaters should be any easier to keep than these- maybe it has something to do with quantities or type of ants but there you go. One has to visit China to see two of the three or San Fransisco for the other I think. As with all the cool things these are an endangered species. (There are about 8 different ones including a 'giant' pangolin that's over a metre in length all told!). They are mostly endangered due to illegal hunting for supply to Chinese restaurants where they are considered a delicacy though I can't see how anything that eats ants can taste that nice.
I'm sure no one will be surprised to learn that I am working on a knitting pattern to make a cuddly version of a pangolin but don't expect me to get far as I'm pretty sure that I have bitten off more than I can chew on this occasion.
One of the things that I did get to see whilst I was in Sulawesi last summer (and one of the few things that made the seven day journey there and back worthwhile) was a tarsier. This photo doesn't do them justice at all as it just looks cute whereas in actual fact they are one of the most odd little creatures that I have come across. Apparently they give you a big toothy grin when they are threatened. They can't move their eyes as they take up too much room in their skull and there's nothing that they like better than a big fat juicy insect for their breakfast. Which they eat at about 10pm what with them being nocturnal and all.
I got to see one as we put out a light trap to try and round up some insects and we found it eating moths from the sheet. I couldn't believe that it would come down to a light source that bright - or that it wasn't put off by the 6 people all sat around chatting about bugs. One thing the picture doesn't show is just how long it's tail is as they are easily as long as their body and have a little bottle brush tuft of hair on the end.

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