Monday, February 9, 2009

V. zerda celebesus

The Oriental jungle fennec shares with its Saharan cousin a proportionally enormous pair of ears (each the size of its face) and a relish for fruit that places it with the omnivores. It is as likely to pluck a ripe MONK RAMBUTAN as it is to filch the eggs from a COPPER FIEND DRONGO’S nest. Both treats are common in the thickets that reach into Sulepawak’s untraversable northern region, where drongo nests are regularly sighted in rambutan trees. It happens that this bird’s egg closely matches the fruit in form and density, although the rambutan (the only known spineless variety) is a glossy dark violet, while the drongo’s eggshell is matte beige. By touch alone, however, they are nearly twins.

Cracking open a newly laid egg is a difficult proposition for this slightest-built of vulpines, who anyway favors the flesh of a formed chick over yolk. Thus a stolen egg stands a good chance of coming to term while in the fox’s possession, and it is not unusual for a den to harbor a pile of unmolested eggs mixed together with their analogous fruits. Should a burgled Copper fiend drongo hen know where her eggs have been taken, she may resort to a tactic that suggests, if not proves, great intelligence on her part: At mid-day, when fennecs are most torpid, the drongo will squawk loudly outside of their den and drop a small cargo of rambutan fruits onto the ground. Collecting these familiarly shaped gifts will engross the mammals, leaving the bird a chance to retrieve her property. This escapade occurs often enough to have been a subject of Coelobonese folktales before it was ever caught on film.

From: H. Viveam Constanelle, Known Wildlife of Sulepawak: A Field Guide. Mandaroeb & Sons, 1955: p. 203.