Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Meet the New Baby!

We have new people! We have been collecting the new bunch of people over the last few weeks and there are about a dozen of us after the four we picked up in town yesterday. Two more are coming tomorrow, and they will be replacing me on the baboon project. I have to help train them, so I hope they will be keen to scramble up cliffs after the baboons. It is always interesting when you get new people at a field station and everyone has to get to know each other again. We are planning a big welcome party on Saturday, with a limbo contest and drinks in coconuts. Katy is going to show me how to open a coconut the proper way, with a machete.

The youngest member of our Lajuma family is also the cutest. Her name is Mally, or something I can never remember, and she is a baby dormouse. We suspect the cat killed the mother dormouse while she was moving her nest. Adult dormice are pests because they attract snakes, and the cat is here to control them, but the baby has become a pet. Her eyes are almost beginning to open and she has soft grey fur. She can crawl around pretty well and likes to nuzzle against people. Rodents are usually very fearful but this one is too young to be afraid of us. She is tiny enough to sit in a teaspoon and possibly the cutest thing I have ever seen. She lives in a box with a hot water bottle and gets baby formula from a syringe every two hours. Camilla was embarassed about buying the formula, and gave the cashier a rambling explanation that it was for a dormouse, not a baby.

 Here I am with one of the samango monkeys. He is the barn troop male, and his name is Nelson or Shitbag, depending who you ask. He has been known to come inside houses and steal food. 

I am still looking for something to do after this. I have sent out a bunch of applications and had quite a few interviews so hopefully I will get some good news soon. It doesn't help when somebody throws a toad at you during an interview while you're trying to sound competent and professional. (To be fair, she was just trying to remove it from the house and it escaped). We have lots of red toads in the house, but at least they have not been taking shelter in my boots at night anymore.

On an unrelated note, here is a rhino from Kruger National Park. You can tell it is a white rhino because it has a square lip and it is grazing. Black rhinos have a narrow hooked lip and usually browse. I still don't have any really good baboon pictures, but here are two I took the other day.
 Here are two baboons in a hurry, and one of the younger juveniles stuffing his face. I wish I had cheek pouches like a monkey. Am I the only one who thinks it would be convenient to be able to just stuff breakfast in your mouth and chew it later during a boring part of your commute?


  1. Well, I, for one, am happy you are learning to use a machete. You never know when a skill like that might be useful...

  2. And why do rhinos of both species have such long heads? It looks like their ears are on their shoulders...

  3. On the plus side, reacting well to having the toad thrown at you in the interview could earn you points. Hope whatever job you end up getting next is as interesting as the baboons