Sunday, July 25, 2010

The birds of the air... the beast of the field.

Me and My Badger. Any suggestions for a name?

This land is full of exotic animals of every shape and color. I love living with so much variety of life. Some of them are dangerous – like the snakes and scorpions. Whereas others are just fascinating and fun.

Last week our hen hatched a few chicks who chirp and scurry in the cutest of ways. We put them in the kennel with the Dik-dik and together they seem content. The Dik-dik is admittedly a bit harassed.

Well, last week a hawk spied them and came in for a kill. Suzy was able to scare away it the first time but when it tried again later that day, it was caught instead. Sabet was able to trap it against the fence. It was beautifully sharp and wasn’t much happy with its predicament.

Suzy suggested we feed it to the dog because it’d just come back for the chicks. I asked to keep it instead (or at least until the chicks grew up enough not to be threatened) and Sabet agreed. So I put it in a cage in my room and dreamed of building an aviary, etc.

But by the time I got back from work, the chicken coop was reinforced and I was free to release the hawk. It made me happy to send it back to the wild but a little sad too. I was happy to think I might get to have a hawk as a pet.

Not long after (or was it before), little Jeddie (Suzy’s and Sabet’s boy) caught the resident hedgehog.

Yup. You read that right. A hedgehog! Hedgehogs are adorable! Pointy but adorable. I named him Horacio and was fully ready to keep him but he wouldn’t eat anything I gave him. I couldn’t let him starve. He’s just too cute. So we liberated him. We still see him hanging out around the toilets some nights. So I still think of him as a quasi-pet. 

Then today after church the kids were playing with a ‘skunk’. Skunk? I had to see for myself. For a skunk it had some strange markings – too many strips. It also had claws. Claws? That’s not right. Then of course the tail was all wrong as well. I’m no expert but I’m confident it’s not a skunk. It hasn’t sprayed us once.

But it’s small about the size of a kitten. As I considered what it could be I remembered seeing a badger not too many years back while living in Europe. It’s teeth are still nubs and it can’t bite or claw much of anything. It’s a baby something… why not a baby badger.

It hadn’t eaten in a day or two (according to Sabet), so I tried to give it milk by syringe. It fought me at first but then figured out it was food and ate its fill. He fell asleep in my hands immediately after—snuggling into me and making me smile.

This one I’m keeping because he’ll eat and I have no idea how to find it’s mom. Right now he’s asleep on my floor under a cage, snuggled up on a pile of leaves.

Badgers are noctural. I wonder what tonight will sound like. I hope he doesn’t do his screaming thing again. That would be just heartbreaking! He has a call/scream that gives me a chill.

Anyone want to bet I can teach him to walk on a leash?  He he he