Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Pennsylvania Mammals

Pennsylvania might rival a rainforest for variety and number of small mammals. Here's a list of over 70. When the creator was drawing these up she was in the zone, the juices were flowing, the drafting board must have been hot from the friction of frenzied sketches, the production line was smokin'. You can picture her as a crazed artist working straight through into her sixth day, unable to sleep, glassy eyed, cigarette in hand; the ideas will not quit.

Here's just a sample:
The skunk. Walk softly and carry a big stick. The skunk goes about its business unafraid, conscious of its power. A harmless looking creature armed with the ability to accurately spray a highly offensive fluid up to 16 feet. An odor so strong humans can smell it a mile downwind. Up close it can make one temporarily blind. What other animal does this? A beautiful animal with black and white striped fur. I'd love to see a skunk, a zebra and a panda riding in a bright red convertible. That would make such a cool photo.

The opossum. Let's make one with a pouch to carry it's young, a marsupial, the only one in North America. It'll be ugly as sin with a pointy nose and teeth and rat like tail. It'll eat anything including its own dead. But then give it a coat so silky the lady in the mink stole is envious. Wait - that's not enough. Make it play dead as its only defense. Scientists still don't quite get this. An involuntary response to attack that makes it go temporarily comatose and an anal gland emit a putrid flesh like smell. That'll make 'em leave you alone.
The porcupine. Hair, fur, hair, fur, I don't know, what else have we got. Needles! That's it! I'll cover it with needles. I'll even put them on the tail so it can smack a dog in the nose with 'em. And I'll put little barbs on them so you can't pull 'em out. Heh, heh. And I'll give it a sweet friendly face and make it waddle like a fat clown. Jesus, seems almost sadistic.
The beaver. Let's see, most of them are living in holes, there must be something else. How 'bout one that takes down trees with its teeth and uses them to build a dome like house. And they'll do it in a pond with an underwater entrance and they'll make the pond too by building dams and hold it all together using mud like mortar. They'll have webbed hind feet and a paddle for a tail. They'll mate for life and store food for the winter. They'll have a beer fridge and.. nah, that's too much. A good artist knows when to quit.

*images from the web

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