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Don't get me wrong--I like warthogs, which were some of my favorite animals when we lived in the Serengeti.* They have ugly-cute babies, they stick their tails straight up in the air when running, and they dig holes, then back into the holes to defend themselves from predators.

What I don't like is finding out that South Texas now apparently has a feral warthog population.

* There may be a few new people here who don't know that. My family lived in the Serengeti for a couple of years when I was a kid. My dad was a field biologist doing research for his PhD.
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I got one of my rewards for backing the Snapshot Serengeti Indiegogo fundraiser today. It was the Serengeti Selfie, in which you sent them a photo of yourself and they took a picture of it near one of the lion prides they study. :) I took a slight advantage of it and sent two photos made into one, because I don't have any pictures of Mom and Dad together in the Serengeti, as one or the other of them was always behind the camera.

cut for photo )
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Tommy nose! (Thomson's gazelle, that is. Possibly a Grant's gazelle.)

An up-close and, ahem, intimate picture of what I think is a wildebeest. Because I am twelve.
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Toby forwarded me a link to a BBC story on Snapshot Serengeti, which is a scientific project crowd-sourcing identifying animals in pictures taken by camera traps in the Serengeti National Park. I've been entertaining myself with it for a while, and indulging in nostalgia.

If you're new here and don't know: my family lived in the Serengeti for 2 years as a kid while my dad gathered data for his PhD. It was something about birds and grass heights; I don't know the details as I was only 5 or so at the time. But it involved occasional camping trips out into the Serengeti* where he'd measure grass heights and set up nets to capture, inventory, band, and release birds. If you go to the site and look at pictures and see the grasses and trees and animals and such? That's all intimately familiar to me: often from the camera's P.O.V., because at the time I wasn't much taller than the cameras are set up! No telling if I was ever in the specific locations that the cameras are in, as the Serengeti is big, but it's got similar habitat all over, the short-grass and long-grass plains.

Anyway, with Snapshot Serengeti, sometimes you'll get awesome pictures of animals, sometimes you'll get nothing at all as the camera was set off by grasses in the wind, and sometimes you'll get a giant nose as something investigates the camera. XD

Alas, I have to mark that one as "nothing here" because it's impossible to identify, even to the point of not knowing if it's an antelope-like thing, or a dog- or cat-like thing. The forums are filled with people unhappy that there's no "can't tell" feature, and the project leaders are patiently explaining over and over again to give your best guess, as they can usually narrow down a rough idea of the thing from the constellation of guesses surrounding it. I did take the advice of one guy, and for night shots where all I see is eyeshine, I put the image into Photoshop and mess with the levels, which sometimes lightens it up enough to give an outline, or even a decent picture of the thing.

Anyway, you should all GO AND DO SCIENCE!!

ETA: Oh, this picture? RIGHT IN THE FEELS, MAN. That tree silhouette, the rain in the rainy season... NOSTALGIA TIME. If I'm not careful I'm going to get Toto's "Africa" earwormed and start sniffling. *sigh* THE LANDSCAPE OF MY SOUL

* The idea of camping in the Serengeti amongst the lions and leopards and whatnot fazes me not one bit, and yet the idea of camping in the U.S. in bear country gives me the willies. I will say that we set up a tent and used it to store stuff in and cook in (it was the 70s, such things as "safety" hadn't been invented yet KEROSENE STOVES INDOORS FTW!) and slept in the car. We were not totally stupid. :D


Jul. 13th, 2012 10:28 am
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When I was a kid in Tanzania, we used to leave food out for the various animals that came up on to our porch at night. Mongooses looooved eggs, and they cracked them in a funky way: by throwing them between their hind legs at a wall.

And now you can watch mongooses doing the same thing at the Denver Zoo! (We left out raw eggs, so it usually only took one good throw, but in the video they were given hard-boiled Easter eggs.)

title is a nerd joke: what's the plural of mongoose? Polygoose!
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I'm taking a short break from finishing the picture I'm working on. My eye fell on the album of photos from our years in Africa that my mother sent home with me last time I saw her, and I figured I'd prove to you guys that I had Mello hair as a kid because I have no life )

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