Sunday, 28 September 2014
Saturday, 27 September 2014
Friday, 26 September 2014
Wednesday, 24 September 2014
Sunday, 21 September 2014
Saturday, 20 September 2014
Friday, 19 September 2014
|Image: John Clare|
It's all useless of course. We can fill our days with as much old people yoga and sudoku puzzles as we like, we'll still end up looking like an unmade bed who can't remember why it went to the bedroom.
Not so Axolotls. They watch our efforts and smirk their childlike smirk. They with their silky smooth skin aglow, their sparkling eyes a-twinkle and their vibrant red gills aloft like lusciously hirsute tentacles. Not for them the wrinkling and the crinkling, the aching and the waking up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. For them, life is a sea of unceasing youth.
|Image: John Clare|
|Image: John Clare|
|Image: kori monster|
Over the next couple of months he grows and grows. He starts to develop front legs and only once they're well under way will the back legs begin to sprout. Soon we have a tadpole with four short, spindly legs. But he's not quite done yet...
The Axolotl just keeps on growing. After about a year or two he reaches a maximum length of 30 cm (a foot). The one thing he doesn't do is metamorphose into an adult salamander. Axolotls retain childish, tadpole features like gills and their dorsal fin for the entirety of their lives. And that can add up to some 10 or 20 years. They even reach sexual maturity and reproduce while still looking like a gigantic baby. Which is something you probably shouldn't think about too much.
Not actually a change in species :P
Axolotls can in fact grow up into proper, adult salamanders if they need to, they just require a better reason than the mere accumulation of years. If the lakes of their native Mexico dry up, Axolotls can finally metamorphose so as to be better equipped to wander the land in search of a new aquatic home. By all accounts, it's an extremely stressful process which most Axolotls would much rather they never go through. And once they become an adult, there's no going back to the joys of larva-hood. It's that darn arrow of time again!
The terrible thing is those Mexican lakes have in fact largely dried up. Or rather they've been drained to prevent flooding and make way for the enormous sprawl of Mexico City.
All you need is a large tank or aquarium, about twice as long as the Axolotl, from some place like Swell Reptiles. Add some gravel, and make sure it's too large for a hungry Axolotl to swallow (we're dealing with overgrown children, remember), and a plant pot to hide in. Fill the tank with cool, dechlorinated water and a good filter and you're all set. Axolotls will eat all sorts of easily available meaty foods.
Wednesday, 17 September 2014
Sunday, 14 September 2014
|Image: David Haring / Duke Lemur Center|
For the rest of us, it seems the best we can do is be scared of the guy with venomous fangs and run away as fast as we can. Some people are REALLY good at that. Maybe even too good. It's called arachnophobia and ophidiophobia. Probably if you're sweating and shivering at the sight of a photograph of a spider or snake, you're too good at being scared.
But not all venomous animals have too many legs or no legs at all. There are venomous mammals out there. Soft, fluffy mammals with big, brown eyes. Actually they almost all have tiny eyes but even if they have difficulty seeing us, we can still see them. So let's do that!
Saturday, 13 September 2014
Friday, 12 September 2014
Wednesday, 10 September 2014
Sunday, 7 September 2014
Saturday, 6 September 2014
Friday, 5 September 2014
Wednesday, 3 September 2014
Well... it's a Sea Pig. Sort of... drifting and floating like a drifty-floaty thing.
Speaking of unusual events, my cousin from Austria got married!
It took place in an enormous church called Herz Jesu Kirche, in the city of Graz. I went over for a few days and had to go up to say a bit of Corinthians. I did it quite well, so I'm told! If I remember correctly, it was one of only two bits of English in the whole event. The rest was in German with a bit of Serbo-Croatian and Slovenian (as far as I know). Also there was an American and an Australian there. And the next day a bunch of us went to a salsa bar.
Aren't we all ever so international these days!
So, to Bernhard and Maja: May your Sea Pigs float and your detritus be soft and fresh!