Friday 24 June 2022

Natural History Lesson

OK, let's pay attention. Today's Natural History Lesson is about animals and insects and the like. We start with the meerkat or as some people call them, the prairie dog.

You can tell straight away from the photo above which one is the female. She is telling him off already and we haven't even started. He's apologising not knowing what he's apologising for.

The meerkat (Suricata suricatta) is a small mongoose type creature which lives in colonies. It is characterised by a broad head, large eyes, a pointed snout or nose, long legs, a thin tapering tail, and a brindled coat pattern. If you don't know what brindled mean look it up. I did after I wrote it here.

Like in many colony animals, (e.g. the lion), the male is in charge of the whole colony. In case you don't know what a lion looks like here is a photo of two females hunting to bring food for the male.

On second look, these don't look much like lions do they? What do you think? The zebra looks authentic enough but the other two creatures are pretending to be lions.

Anyway, as I was saying before you interrupted me; the meerkat lives in a colony and the male is the leader. He fights off other males and the loser leaves the colony. However, at night the females feel sorry for the losing male and they leave the colony and go to sleep with him to keep him company. That is how they refresh the gene pool and keep it healthy. The winning male knows nothing about this because he does not read this Blog.

Meerkats are good teachers. They teach their young for hours on end and increase the difficulty of the lesson to ensure the young have learnt. First they offer their young a dead scorpion and teach him how to fight. When he has mastered that, they give him a live scorpion without the sting and get him to fight it. Eventually they give the young live scorpions and supervise him to ensure he comes to no harm in the fight.

Having said that, meerkats make poor driving instructors. This is because their feet do not reach the pedals of the car. They work in teams with one or two meerkats controlling the pedals whereas another looks from the windscreen where the car is going, and yet one more steers the driving wheel. However, despite their teamwork they still have not managed to drive safely because the females do not know right from left!

(Oh Ho ... there'll be some comments about this).

Let's now move on to insects. The centipede. Did you know that the centipede when it is chased by a predator it detaches one of its legs and throws it at the predator? The predator stops to eat the leg whilst the centipede runs away to safety. Unfortunately, many centipedes die shortly afterwards when they return to retrieve their shoe.

The cricket chirps at night depending on the temperature. If it is very hot it could chirp 30 or 40 times a minute. If it is a little cooler it would chirp perhaps 15 to 20 times a minute. In very cold conditions it does not chirp at all because it is frozen out of its tiny mind.

Also, did you know that silverfish can live for two to eight years unless you hit them hard with your shoe.

And now we turn to birds. The flamingo for instance. Do you know why it stands on one leg? Because if he lifts his leg he would fall.

Storks look like flamingoes only a different colour. In some cultures it is believed that storks deliver babies when they are born. 

When I was born the nurse looked at me and slapped my father in the face. For a month afterwards my dad kept throwing stones at storks. They said I was so ugly the doctors tried to get the hospital exorcised. My parents tried to get me exchanged for a washing machine because theirs had just broken down.

As I grew up, like the meerkats, my father tried to teach me to swim. He used to take me out at sea in his boat and lower me in the water. I always got to the shore before the sharks.

That's all for now folks! Keep smiling and the world smiles with you. Oh ... one final thing before I forget ... did you know that when a whale breaks wind it shoots forwards at speed at least ten miles ahead! (Don't try this at home everyone).


  1. Your quite right Victor...No! They are 'not lions..
    They are lionesses...The lioness, is considerably
    smaller...than a lion..and are more consistently
    tawny or sandy...!

    Despite everything..Meerkats are lovely, even to
    the point of taking part in TV
    But! The best thing about Meerkats is when they
    club together to fend off a large snake from there
    burrows..hissing and poking it at it, until it creeps
    away..! I love'em..! :).

    HeHe! What goes 99 clomp..99 clomp..a centipede
    with a wooden leg..schoolboy jokes coming out now!

    And when l was born l was 10lb 10oz, l had a machine
    gun in one hand and a stick of Semtex in the other..So
    there was 'no way' any doctor/nurse was gonna slap
    me..! :(

    So where do Whales hibernate..???
    In a Whale~way station...! :O) (Sorry)..

    Well best get on..l'm getting carried away here....
    Some people would say..'the further the better'...! :).
    🖐️ 🖐️ 🖐️ 🖐️ 🖐️ 🖐️ 🖐️ 🖐️ 🖐️ 🖐️ 🖐️ 🖐️ 🖐️

    Oh! PS..I sent a link to my daughter yesterday Victor..
    She's ordered..Theodore Luxton-Joyce The Loveable Eccentric..Thought l'd give it a whirl, as it's short
    stories, and l like the sound of the title and the image..!
    As l've said l don't read book..books..but..something
    like this is o.k. And, l've still got the other two along
    side me on the settee..little read during the adverts..! :O).

    1. Always the joker, Willie. Thank you for cheering us up.

      Thank you also for purchasing, "Theodore-Luxton Joyce". Yes, this too is a series of short stories which I hope you will like. I appreciate your support. Please tell your friends about my books; some of which are available to download FREE from

      Thanx Willie, God bless you.

    2. I've been singing this for the last hour or so....
      Louis Armstrong..1956..

      Oh, when you're smilin', when you're smilin'
      The whole world smiles with you, baby
      And when you're laughin', oh, when youre laughin'
      The sun comes shinin' through
      But when you're cryin', you bring on the rain
      So stop your sighin', be happy again
      And keep on smilin', keep on smilin'
      And the whole world smiles with you...

      Written by Larry Shay, Mark Fisher and Joe
      Goodwin in 1928....

  2. Dearest Victor,
    Well, you ought NOT to confuse Meerkat or correctly Suricata suricatta from Southern Africa with the North American Cynomys ludovicianus or Cynomys sp or prairie dog.
    They exist in different continents and are quite different!
    Just wondering if the persons inside that Zebra–Suit felt threatened...?

    1. You are right, Mariette. Both creatures are different and from different continents. I just wondered whether with so much ease of travelling whether they go on holiday to different countries sometimes; that's why people confuse them.

      I thought that was a real zebra. It looks so authentic.

      God bless.

    2. Nope, animals don't go on vacation... Haha, what an authentic LEGS your zebra got! 🦓

  3. "You can tell straight away from the photo above which one is the female. She is telling him off already and we haven't even started. He's apologising not knowing what he's apologising for."

    Ooh. This is funny in our world because, well, it's the kind of old joke we nod and chuckle at, but it's sad. It is not supposed to be this way.

    1. Yes I know, Sandi. Life can be so miserable these days that one has to find humour where one can. I remember when my wife bought me two silk ties for my birthday. We were going out, so I wore one of them. She looked at me and said: "What's wrong with the other one?"

      Joke ... yes joke !!!

      God bless you, Sandi.

  4. I would bet, no I don't do that, it is against our religion because of the Roman Soldiers. Anyway, sorry your mom & dad didn't get the washing machine but glad you could swim, other wise I wouldn't know about the whale...
    ;-) Thanks again for the smiles.....

    1. I am so pleased you enjoyed today's humour, Jack. And I agree with you, I don't gamble or bet either. Catholics do like their Bingo (Tombola) games though. I used to call the numbers in Latin to make sure only Catholics win!

      God bless you and yours.

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  6. LOL, Victor you think like nobody else I know. :)

    1. I make up my own humour to cheer me up in such a sad and miserable world.

      God bless you, Bill. Keep smiling my friend.

  7. Sweet meerkats! I've often thought little Grace looks like that one (left) in the photograph.
    NOW I know why the cricket choir's been so noisy of late. When Tom's daughter was here last week she kept asking, "What IS that sound?"

    1. Yes that is true, Mevely. Crickets do chirp according to the weather and how hot it is. Does you dog really look like a meerkat? How wonderful.

      God bless always.

  8. Of course i can tell right from left, i hold up my hands and the one with the wedding ring is the left one. Simple!

    1. Good idea, Mimi. Never thought of that.

      God bless always.



God bless you.