… #6: “You look a bit pale”
The Doclopedia #499
The Potawango Island Bestiary, Part One: Screaming Hyrax
From the notebook of Dr. Thaddeus Silkmelon:
Poor Abner, I fear that this expedition has so far not been as pleasant as he hoped. Late this afternoon, as we were setting up camp in a large clearing, we spied a group of animals that I am sure are relatives of the Rock Hyrax, Procavia capensis, that are so common throughout much of Africa. Aside from a slightly broader chest and wider mouth, they fit the description perfectly. They were basking on roscks and seemed to have no fear of us as we approached.
Most of us stopped at a distance of about 20 feet, but Abner, having had less than the best of encounters with some of the local wildlife, hung back another 20 feet. After about 10 minutes of the Hyraxes being rather bored with our presence, Abner came forward with the intention of snapping some pictures, which he did at ever decreasing distances. The basking creatures did nothing but sit there. Emboldened by this, Abner got within 3 feet of one big male right in the center of the group. He snapped several excellent close ups and was almost done when he sneezed due to some dust.
Upon hearing his sneeze, every one of the Hyraxes took a deep breath and then began to scream exactly like a terrified woman, but much louder. Poor Abner nearly jumped out of his skin, unsure of which way to run. When he finally did begin running, he tripped over a rock and nearly fell on a Hyrax, which set them all off on an even ghastlier sort of scream. By the time Abner made it to where the rest of us stood, he was filthy, shaking like somebody with palsy and unable to hear very well. He also had great difficulty speaking coherently.
Once back at camp, I administered a strong sedative and left him in the care of Miss Abigail. I do hope this will not prevent him from photographing more wildlife, since he is so very good at it.