A frequently asked question by visitors is:…… What is your favourite animal?
First of all I think it’s like asking a mother for her favourite child but secondly what would I choose? Let me show you what I mean by giving a few examples…….
Let’s start with the “cuddly” bushbaby with the big eyes who pees on the palms of its hand and feet and then runs up and down the tree in order to leave its scent-mark?
Or the fork-tailed drongo that, in southern Africa, imitates the warning call of the suricates just to send them scurrying into their den, so the drongo can eat whatever they left behind in their haste?
How about the chameleon crossing the road rocking back-and-forth pretending it’s a leaf and hoping no-one will notice its bright green colour against the black tarmac?….Duh!
The stunningly coloured blister-beatle that was being sought after by Roald Dahl’s uncle Oswald?
Another good example: the larvae of the ant lion creating a perfect round trap in the loose sand to catch its victims? Ugly as hell (like any child) but turning into the proverbial Swann that would make any mother proud.
What about the pearl-spotted owlet with its two false eyes in the back of its head to deter possible attackers?
Or did you ever try to scratch the belly of the gecko hanging outside your mosquito net? It certainly likes it.
How about the black-collared barbet? The story goes that it’s song is so attuned to its partner’s that if one of them dies it is impossible for it to find another partner.
The baby baboon doing a Lucky Luke riding its mother’s back?
The elegant fighting of giraffes as they, like gentlemen, wait for their turn to strike at their opponent in an almost ballet-esque movement?
It sounds a bit bunny-hugger-ish but maybe my favourite animal is the tourist who understands the beauty of it all. Then you know, as a guide, you’ve done a good job.