Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Riding round snails

On the bikes we often stop, mostly at Anjas request to turn back some uninformed creature from its suicidal treck accross the great black desert. Unfairly the bigger you are the more chance you have of salvation. A couple of tortoises (tortii?) in Romania were our largest though easiest Projects.

Somewhat harder was near Basel where Anja found a black beetle plagued by 3 large mites. Carefully removing the parasites from the distressed insect was a 10 minuite task and the poor creature lost a leg in the process. Still, it hobbled away looking happier for its help from the "Insect Aid" team.

Not so lucky was a poisonous black viper, also in Romania which I ran over while looking at the view. It must have been sunning itself and I just didn't see it. It slithered into the bushes and an expedition to kill the wounded snake was considered too dangerous. Bandaging or applying splints were discarded Ideas. We just didn't have the relevent expertese.

Of Stag beetles we have seen 2, well,1 and a half really. The whole one was flying and at first I thought it was bird, then a bat. The half was only the head and thorax (first pair of legs only) that Anja found by the wayside in Germany. She brought it with for scientific purposes and 3 days later decided to leave the corps behind. She understandably screamed (lightly) when the upsidedown halfbody waved its until now unmoving legs. Before, we had waggled these these presumed lifeless limbs admiring the complexity of the joints. The resurection was alarming, even a little disturbing, we decided there was no good future for the poor halfcreature so I squashed it, but not before it gave me a hefty nip with the claws on the end of its antlers.

Our first night in hungary camping in a cornfield we were woken by a fox stealing our rubbish from on one of the bikeracks. We opened the tent and shouted at it but it would not run away. Infact during the night it stared anja in the eyes from only feet away and at onepoint stood with its front paws on the flysheet. One of mentioned rabies which put a more sinister aspect on the situation and though bustingfor a pee we went out very cautiausly together when it had withdrawn for a while. From the rubbish, one beercan was crushed and the other remained AWOL.

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