Moon Juice And Star Biscuits

…mmm, moon juice

 

The Doclopedia # 1,234

The Potawango Island Bestiary, Part Two: Popping Yellow Watermelons

 

From the notebook of Dr. Thaddeus Silkmelon:

 

As I stated in my last post, we had two rather disastrous encounters with nature and the second one was with a plant. Specifically, it was with a fair sized patch of very large yellow watermelons that looked much like the ones grown by members of Pagoona’s village. These were easily three times as large and somewhat glossier looking, but we only took that as a sign of extreme ripeness.

Having just walked at a brisk pace for the last few miles so as to get clear of the many amorous moose, we were all ready for a rest and a nice juicy slice of melon. So it was that Mrs. Hardapple, Miss Abigail and Smiffy walked out into the patch to survey the melons and choose a ripe one while Pagoona, his men and I, sat under a tree to rest. Abner and Colonel Orpington were some yards away washing up in a stream and changing clothes.

I should have suspected something was up when my dog, Percy, and Mrs Hardapple’s cat, Fanny, began walking off to situate themselves behind a large fallen log. While tolerant of one another, this sudden buddying up was quite suspicious. I can only blame the heat and my aching legs for dimming my perception of animal behavior.

What happened next was spectacular, if also startling and very messy. Mrs Hardapple bent down to “thump” one of the melons and when she did so, it exploded with a loud pop. That would have been bad enough, coating our rather volatile cook with melon as it did, but it also set all the other melons to exploding. In less that a minute, the surrounding area, our gear and all of us who were near or in the patch, was covered in the pink interior and yellow rinds of watermelon. I now saw the wisdom of Percy and Fanny taking up their position.

It took us the better part of an hour to get ourselves and our equipment clean, during with great numbers of birds landed in the melon patch to eat and eventually distribute the seeds. It took the better part of two hours for Mrs Hardapple to stop cursing.

The Beautifuly Illustrated, Yet Not At All Artsy Fartsy, Story Of Mostly Purple Patty And The Gerbils That Built A House

…co-starring her good buddy Satina Spoodles

 

 

The Doclopedia # 1,233

The Potawango Island Bestiary, Part Two: Yellow Crested Horny Moose

 

From the notebook of Dr. Thaddeus Silkmelon:
On today’s journey to the now not so distant mountains, we encountered two species, one animal and one vegetable, that while not dangerous, where quite annoying to certain members of our party.

It was while we were walking near a lake in a pine forest that we had our first encounter with what Miss Abigail Saltgrass christened the Yellow Crested Horny Moose. About 75% the size of a typical moose, this young fellow was of a lighter shade of brown and adorned with a shock of bright yellow hair atop his head. He was calmly eating water plants and looking at us curiously as Abner moved in closer for a photograph and Colonel Orpington went with him to observe the creature and take notes.

The first thing we all noticed was that the young bull was entering a state of sexual arousal. Naturally, we all looked around for a female moose, but we failed to see her. It was then that Mrs. Hardapple rather crudely noted that the moose was looking lustfully at Colonel Orpington. When told this, the Colonel swore rather loudly while Abner removed himself from the vicinity at great haste. Colonel Orpington also began running, with the aroused moose in hot pursuit. Unfortunately, as he was running and cursing, he had the bad fortune to fall onto his hands and knees at the edge of the lake. In a flash, the moose was upon him.

Allow me to state right here that I am sorry that the Colonel, a decorated and brave military man, had to hear the hysterical laughter of our female contingent and Smiffy. I was able to muffle my mirth as I ran with Pagoona to chase off the moose who seemed totally intent on making, as Miss Abigail later put it, “hot moose love” to the Colonel.

We were, after about a minute of hitting the moose with sticks, able to drive it off. But no sooner were we helping the now terrible embarrassed and angry Colonel up off the ground than we heard Abner running back out of the forest pursued by yet another oversexed moose. For a man of rather pudgy physique, Abner was reaching near Olympian speeds until he, too, tripped and fell. It took us somewhat longer to reach him and hhis moose was somewhat larger and more determined.

We are now camped some miles from moose territory and both Abner and the Colonel are still in very nasty moods. The rest of us are keeping quiet and not looking at them.

The Pancake Goblins And The Ice Cream Dwarves Go To War!

…it’s a really great smelling war

 

 

The Doclopedia # 1,230

The Potawango Island Bestiary, Part Two: Gooey Wallaby

 

From the notebook of Dr. Thaddeus Silkmelon:

 

Today we continued our trek through the temperate forests and fields of this northern part of the island. The more I stroll along, the more I am reminded of the Mediterranean climate regions found in the rest of the world, especially in California. There are many large oaks here and it being springtime, wildflowers everywhere. There is also an abundance of wildlife, especially birds. Sadly, one species of wildlife was the cause of much aggravation to my dear friend, Abner Porkwaffle..

Around 10 in the morning, we saw a group of wallabys grazing in a small clearing. They looked much like any other medium sized species of wallaby, being a light brown with gray on the stomach and face. There were 18 individuals, mostly females with joeys in their pouches. They watched us, but like many creatures on this island, showed no fear.

Abner was taking photos of them, getting closer at what I considered an overly cautious speed. At some point, he must have crossed a line since they entire group began hopping rapidly toward him and, as we all noticed, oozing some sort of clear and highly pungent fluid from their bodies.

 

By the time they overtook poor Abner, they were fairly dripping this gooey substance. As he flailed about trying to drive them off (the smell gave the rest of us pause in helping him), the wallabys rubbed themselves on him, coating him in goo from head to foot. Not once did they try to bite, claw or kick him. Once he was covered and retching, the lot of them hopped off, the goo rapidly crystallizing and falling from their fur.

The goo on Abner did the same thing, but not for over an hour. Once crystallized, it had no smell and neither did Abner, I’m glad to say. However, his temper for the remainder of the day was indeed quite foul.

Human Slippers For Bunnies

…not made from real humans

 

365 DAYS, 365 POSTS #21

 

The Doclopedia # 1,229

The Potawango Island Bestiary, Part Two: Pole Dancing Lemurs

 

From the notebook of Dr. Thaddeus Silkmelon:

 

I am constantly amazed by this island. The animal and plant life are a constant source of wonder. However, even the very land itself is an incredible puzzlement. I speak, of course, of the size of Potawango Island.

The earliest known mention of the island comes from the log of a fishing boat blown off course from the southern Philippines in 1120 AD. If one sifts through the rather hyperbolic text, one finds that they estimated the island, which the captain swore had never been there before, to be 40 miles long and 20 miles across. Of course, their measurements are suspect due to all the running in panic that they did.

The next mention of the islands size comes from 1356, when the Chinese explorer Ying Ko sailed around it and pronounced it 50 miles across and almost completely circular. This, however, does not match up with any other description of the island. I will point out here that he also encountered the island almost 600 miles northeast of where the Filipinos found it. Had Ying Ko not written descriptions of both the Screaming Hyraxes and the Man-Eating Oysters, I would have discounted his report out of hand.

In 1688, the “Dona Maria”, a Spanish merchantman, was caught in a typhoon and blown far into the Pacific. After 4 days of sailing west, they came to Potawango Island and spent several days here while sailing around it. Their very accurate maps depict an island 130 miles long and anywhere from 40 to 90 miles across. They describe the interior, or rather what they could see from various beaches, as ranging from tall snow capped mountains to steaming jungles to vast swamps.

Finally, we come to the ill fated expedition of Grackle and Thubbley in 1853. A sad bit of history, that. Captain Grackle and Professor Thubbley set off with two ships and an expedition crew of 60 sailors. Two years later, Professor Thubbley and 8 sailors were rescued from a large raft just off the coast of central Chile. All of them were hopelessly insane and swore that they had been gone for over 10 years. Thubbley was in possession of excellent maps which showed an island 35 miles long by 12 miles wide. Despite having longitudes and latitudes. The ensuing rescue mission for the remaining members of the party found no island.

I recount all of the above to explain that we are now camped some 100 miles inland from the coast and north of the highlands we had visited previously, a distance that we should not have been able to travel given our charting of the island as we initially sailed around it. Indeed, we should be about 45 miles out to sea, not gazing north at high mountains that remind me of the Sierra Nevada range of California.

But enough of that, I am writing today of a new species of lemur that we encountered yesterday. These lemurs were slightly larger than the Ringtailed Lemur of Madagascar and had no rings on the tail. The creatures are colored a warm reddish brown except on their faces and abdomens, where they are a cream color. The eyes of the females are blue, while the male’s eyes are brown. In almost all ways, these lemurs behave like most other forest dwelling lemurs. I say “almost” because they have a mating ritual unlike anything I have ever seen before.

To describe it, I as you to imagine an area where several bamboo plants grow about 4 feet from one another. This species of bamboo is about the thickness of a broomstick and grows 7 to 9 feet tall. In the early afternoon, many male lemurs gather around this area to watch female lemurs dance about the poles and do complex and frankly erotic movements on them. I must say that several of us were a bit scandalized, although Miss Abigail seemed to watch with great intent, nodding every so often and taking some notes in her journal.

As the dancing progresses, the male lemurs become more and more aroused until, in a full state of erection, those possessed of the greatest, umm, equippage, grab a female and carry her off for an hour or more of very loud mating. Once all those females are taken, new ones arrive. This continues until nobody is left dancing or watching.

As I said, a quite singular event that we have dubbed “pole dancing”.

White Dogs, Pink Cats, Orange Ducks

…all living in harmony

 

365 DAYS, 365 POSTS #20

 

The Doclopedia # 1,228

The Potawango Island Bestiary, Part Two: Giant Yellow Bunnies

 

From the notebook of Dr. Thaddeus Silkmelon:

 

After our decidedly unnerving encounter with the Octocobragator, our party today decided to go in search of a much less aggressive species, the Giant Yellow Bunnies.

Native to the grasslands of the northwest portion of the island, the Giant Yellow Bunnies are peaceful and even friendly creatures about the size of a Saint Bernard dog. The yellow of their fur ranges from a very pale shade to a vivid yellow-orange and they live in groups of from 10 to 40, migrating to follow new growths of grass and flowers.

At the crack of dawn, Pagoona, Abner, Miss Abigail, Smiffy, Percy and myself set out by horse drawn cart through the Blue Hills, the Walking Forest and around Lake Bakakuni to the grasslands, a trip that took several hours. During that time, we sighted Kangaroo Apes, Belching Turkeys, Spraying Mantises and Luminous Parakeets.

Eventually, we arrived at the grasslands just before dark and began setting up our camp. About an hour later, as we were enjoying an excellent stew that Mrs Hardapple had sent with us, we spied the first few bunnies emerging from their burrows. After only a few minutes, the full group of 28 individuals was out and eating. The huge size of an animal he was used to giving chase to had Percy quite befuddled. Wisely, he chose not to attempt chasing any of the Giant Yellow Bunnies.

The huge rabbits seemed not to care that we were there and, in fact, three of the 50 pound young ones came over to give us a sniff. They allowed us to pet them and their fur was very short and soft, not unlike a stuffed animal toy.

After a bit, we were able to approach the adults and pet them. Imagine our surprise when they began to purr like enormous cats. It was quite something to hear and I must report that it was at this point that Percy could no longer contain himself and began running toward the herd while barking his most feared bark. The bunnies, however, were not only unimpressed by this show of canine bluster, two of the large males actually sprayed Percy with urine. This put an immediate stop to his aggression and caused the rest of us to spend the night either bathing him in the creek (myself) or trying to sooth his bruised ego (everyone else).

Doc Tempest: Killer Surf

…from the May, 1964 issue

 

365 DAYS, 365 POSTS #19

The Doclopedia # 1,227

The Potawango Island Bestiary, Part Two: Octocobragator

From the notebook of Dr. Thaddeus Silkmelon:

As we have come to find out via several thankfully non-lethal encounters, Potawango Island can be as deadly as it is wonderful. Today, we saw just how deadly it could be when we went looking for, and found, the Octocobragator.

As the name implies, this creature has aspects of an octopus (4 tentacles and the ability to alter it’s coloring in the blink of an eye), cobra (serpentine body and flaring hood on the neck) and alligator (very tough hide and a long snout full of razor sharp teeth).

So deadly are these great beasts that there are never more than two or three on the entire island. The frequent coastal wetlands and never venture too far from brackish water. They will eat anything they can catch, including smaller members of their species.

Our encounter took place when our guide, Pagoona, finally relented and agreed to take us to see what the natives have many times referred to as the “Devil Beast”. Accompanied by Abner, Miss Abigail and Colonel Orpington, we spent a good three hours hiking along the southern red sand beaches before we came to the edge of a large salt marsh. Fortunately, our side of it rose up into some hills, which we decided to use so as to better survey the marsh.

 

Several minutes of looking through binoculars made us aware that this marsh seemed quite low on animal life. This caused Pagoona some distress because he said that the Devil Beast was eating more than usual because it would soon bear young. He also said that during these times, the creatures would venture out of the marsh to hunt.

No sooner did he say that, than Miss Abigail remarked upon a large log that lay at the bottom of our hill at the marsh’s edge, stating that it had not been there earlier. We all looked and at that moment, the Octocobragator shed it’s disguise and came up the hill at us. The speed of this 50 foot long creature was astounding. Pagoona hurled his spear at it and gave it only a glancing blow. Colonel Orpington fired his rifle, but the beast was twisting and turning so that he only got it near the tail.

It was making a beeline for Miss Abigail and myself when Abner, who has never been a model of fearlessness, leaped upon it’s neck and began bashing at it’s eye with a rock. This caused it to thrash about a bit before it grabbed him with two tentacles and hoisted him into the air. The head, now minus a working eye, turned toward him with deadly intent.

 

Fortunately, before it could bite him, Colonel Orpington got off another shot that removed a large part of the head from the body. The beast thrashed about violently and tossed Abner several feet into a bush. He was bruised and has a few small cuts, but was otherwise unharmed.

I was about to suggest taking some samples from it when the abdomen split open and no less than two dozen small Octocobragators poured out. Thankfully, the 2 foot long creatures headed directly toward the marsh at high speed. Pagoona assured us that within a fortnight, less that 5 would still be alive due to cannibalism.

We returned to our camp somewhat shaken, so Miss Hardapple made us all a very stiff drink before dinner. Miss Abigail insisted on Abner having a rest after she tended his wounds and comforted him. Perhaps he was more badly shaken than I thought, since it is now an hour later and she is still in his tent comforting him.

Communist Squirrels Scandalized My Basset Hound

…and she is not easily scandalized

The Doclopedia #503

The Potawango Island Bestiary, Part One: Flower Headed Land Jellyfish

From the notebook of Dr. Thaddeus Silkmelon:

This island is full to overflowing with rare and beautiful creatures, but today we were privileged to view one of the rarest and most beautiful. The Flower Headed Land Jellyfish is rarely seen even by the natives, since it usually stays in the forests of the interior. Measuring from 3 to 6 feet across and 6 to 10 inches thick, this creature floats along a few dozen feet above the ground with its long string like tentacles hanging below it. The “head” does indeed look like a huge flower made up of translucent petals with an opalescent sheen. In general, it eats flying insects, but will also devour any small bird or bat that is unlucky enough to get caught in those tentacles. It is said that the creatures poison will paralyze a small bird in seconds.

At first, the one we saw was merely floating with the breeze, but as the wind picked up, it altered it’s course by using the petals as sails until it was running across the wind and then into the forest. My, what a wonderful creature!

The Doclopedia #504

The Potawango Island Bestiary, Part One: Variegated Marching Roses

From the notebook of Dr. Thaddeus Silkmelon:

Potawango Island is a place where the line between plant and animal is often blurred and this morning, we observed a sterling example of that. It was just after breakfast and I was taking a post meal stroll with Abner, Miss Abigail, Pagoona and Percy. We had just crested a small rise when we saw the most beautiful group of rosebushes lit up by the morning sun. They were of the variegated type of rose, in this case bright yellow flowers were streaked with crimson. Abner had just begun to explain that these were a floribunda variety when the lot of them began to move. As you might expect, this stopped all conversation.

Below us, 36 rosebushes slowly marched by in 6 rows of 6. The movement was in perfect cadence and they seemed to be heading towards a small pond in the distance. I asked Pagoona about them and he said that he had only heard of them in legend. As the story goes, groups of these roses will march to good soil or a water source, then stay there for a day or two. After that, they are on the march again. Sometimes, or so the legend goes, great numbers of them will gather together and march past one another for days. Nobody is sure why this happens.

And to think that our day has barely begun!

The Doclopedia #505

The Potawango Island Bestiary, Part One: Butterfly Winged Skunk

From the notebook of Dr. Thaddeus Silkmelon:

Our activities for the day have been brought to an abrupt and odoriferous halt. As I write this, most of our party are nude and covered in a paste made of various plant extracts that Pagoona has kindly provided. Our clothing is being burned.

We encountered a skunk.

But not just any skunk, oh no, for this one can fly about using large butterfly type wings.

We were just returning to our base camp from an afternoon of collecting insect specimens, when we noticed what we at first took to be a huge butterfly near the kitchen area used by Mrs. Hardapple. The wings were huge, easily 4 feet from top to bottom and half that in width. The coloring was not unlike that of a Tiger Swallowtail, vivid yellow with black veining. I was beside myself with joy and had the others start circling around it with the mist net we had brought for collecting bird specimens.

We were just about to throw the net when, fortunately for our food stores, the “butterfly” moved quickly to a small bush some 20 feet away. It was not until we were all rushing it that I noticed that the body of the creature was that of a skunk, not any species of butterfly. Alas, it was too late, we were upon the poor beast and it did what all skunks do when threatened.

I do not know in which direction it fled, because I was too busy choking and gagging. I do know that Colonel Orpington possesses an unparalleled knowledge of curse words and Miss Abigail is not far behind on that count. Fortunately for us, Mrs. Hardapple, Pagoona, most of the natives, Percy and Fanny were spared the skunking. As for the rest of us, I can only hope that our foul perfumage does not frighten off the animals we came here to see.

Baking Bread On Mars

…it really rises well there.

The Doclopedia #502

The Potawango Island Bestiary, Part One: Vampire Ducks

From the notebook of Dr. Thaddeus Silkmelon:

There exists on this incredible island a creature that is strange even by the standards we find here. When I first heard of it, I scoffed at the idea. Too ridiculous, I said to our native guides. Surely it must be a creature created solely to frighten naughty children. But I was quite wrong in my assumptions.

Vampire Ducks do indeed exist.

Late last night Pagoona, our head guide, took me too a clearing in the Great Woods where a heard of Cerulean Wombats had bed down for the night. Within minutes of our arrival, we saw about a dozen black and red feathered ducks emerge from the forest. This variety of ducks was of the upright standing nature that one finds in the common Indian Runner breed. However, no Indian Runner ever had those red glowing eyes or that beak tipped with two small razor sharp fangs. I must say that I am very glad that Abner Porkwaffle was not with us, as I am very sure this would have caused him to have a bad attack of nerves.

We watched in fascination as each duck slowly crept up to a sleeping wombat (which, I might note, outweighs even the largest Vampire Duck by 250 pounds or more) and gently nipped it on the ear or ankle. Then, the ducks lapped at the blood until their stomachs bulged. I would guess they drank perhaps a pint and a half, on average. When they finished, the ducks walked back into the forest with Pagoona and I following from a discreet distance.

Pagoona whispered to me that the Vampire Ducks fed on many large quadrupedal herbivores, but never on carnivores or humans. They also seldom fed on the same creatures more than twice in a week. So far as Pagoona knew, Vampire Ducks have no natural predators. He knew nothing of their reproductive habits.

We followed the ducks to a large hollow tree with a crack on it just large enough for each duck to squeeze through. They all entered the tree and Pagoona told me that we must wait for sunrise before proceeding further.

Come the rising sun, we ventured over to the tree and Pagoona reached in and pulled out a duck. He kept it in the shade, saying that the sunlight bothered them, though it would not kill them. Naturally, the first thing I did was to confirm that these ducks were indeed living creatures, not some form of undead as the legends about vampires state. The heart was beating, albeit quite slowly, and there was a pulse. The body temperature seemed a bit low and the duck was in a deep state of slumber. I took a blood and feather sample, then we replaced the strange fowl into his bedchamber.

I have made up my mind that before I leave this island, I shall learn much more about these Vampire Ducks, including where how and when they breed.

We Support Gay Abortions!

…Huh?

The Doclopedia #501

The Potawango Island Bestiary, Part One: Farting Marmosets

From the notebook of Dr. Thaddeus Silkmelon:

As we walked through the jungle today, we disturbed a rather large colony of small Marmosets. These beautiful little creatures were a soft grey color with white paws and a while chest and stomach. They could not have been more than 6 inches long, with slender tails of equal length.

They soon realized we were not a threat, and so resumed their hunt for fruit and insects. However, when Percy, my dog, rejoined us after having stopped to answer nature’s call, the Marmosets reacted in a wholly unexpected manner: they began to fart.

Now, one or two of these creatures passing gas would have had little or no effect, but having nearly 50 of them doing it all at once was indeed an unpleasant situation. Soon, we were all gagging, choking and retreating. Even Percy, who is not one easily deterred by foul odors, left the area.

When I pursue further study of these creatures, I shall wear a proper gas mask.

The 14 Things You Should Never Tell A Vampire

… #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.

The Incredible Giant Dwarf

…he’s like, 6 feet tall

The Doclopedia #498

The Potawango Island Bestiary, Part One: Colorful Feathered Tree Pigs

From the notebook of Dr. Thaddeus Silkmelon:

Another wonderful day on this wonderful island! This morning, we (myself, Abner, Miss Abigail, Mrs. Hardapple, Smiffy, Colonel Orpington, seven of our ship’s crew, five natives, Percy and Fanny) set off for a fortnight of exploring the interior highlands of the island. It has proven to be an excellent day for walking and we are making good time despite my cataloging 14 new species of flora & fauna so far.

Certainly the most interesting of these were the Colorful Feathered Tree Pigs. While I am sure that they are not in fact Sus, they do bear a marked resemblance to them, once one gets past the feathers and the four toed feet that allow them to climb with great speed and agility.

The feathers come in a veritable rainbow of colors and are each about as long as my thumb. They cover the entire body with the exception of the face, which is typically pink and piggish looking. The aforementioned feet have two of the toes pointing forward and two pointing back, much like a chameleon. We watched at least thirty of the pigs, who look to weigh about 30 or 40 pounds each, scurrying about in a group of fruit trees. It would seem that the young are precocious, since we saw several tiny babies climbing along behind their mothers.

We saw no nests, but our guide told us that the pigs nested in the deeper woods in huge Tangled Oak Trees. When we return from the highlands, I shall investigate this.

My Life Among The Dogs Who Like To Bother Writers

…at least they’re usually cute while doing it.

The Doclopedia # 496

The Potawango Island Bestiary, Part One: Six Legged Hamsters

From the notebook of Dr. Thaddeus Silkmelon:

Our camp cook, Mrs. Hardapple, has informed me that we need to move our provisions into stouter containers due to encroachment by the ever hungry and devilishly fast Six Legged Hamsters of Potawango Island. These wee beasts, just a bit larger than ordinary Syrian, or as they are more often called, Golden Hamsters, are darker in coloration and, as the name implies, have six legs instead of four. This allows them great speed, which has so far confounded the efforts of both Mrs. Hardapple’s cat, Fanny, and my dog, Percy, in catching any of them. Not surprising since the hamsters can reach 40 miles an hour on level ground and can turn on a dime.

Like all hamsters they place large amounts of food, primarily seeds and nuts, into their cheek pouches to take back to their burrows. In our case, the food ranges from bread to beef jerky. Mrs. Hardapple, never an overly genteel woman, has taken to cursing in languages other than American English. We shall try devising some traps to try and alleviate her frustration.

The Doclopedia # 497

The Potawango Island Bestiary, Part One: Singing Crabs

From the notebook of Dr. Thaddeus Silkmelon:

I am informed by Abner and Miss Abigail that they have discovered another new species here on the island. In this case, it would seem to be a large species of land crab that is capable of singing! Oh, will the marvels of flora and fauna on this island never cease amazing me?

As Abner tells it, they were walking along the trail that leads to the so far unexplored highlands when they heard the sound of a barbershop quartet singing “When We Stroll Under The Apple Trees”. Upon closer inspection, they say a group of 24 of the large land crabs gathered around a Puddingfruit bush. While most of them ate, a foursome was singing various popular songs from about 30 years ago. Miss Abigail noted that they were in perfect harmony and did not miss a word. She also took note of their color, a swirling of deep blue and deep green and the fact that they looked to weigh between 5 and 10 pounds each.

After a short while, when the crabs had paused, Abner began singing, “When The Yanks Come Home!”, to see if the crabs would imitate him. Like I did upon hearing the era from which they were first singing tunes, Abner surmised that they must have learned these songs from The doomed expedition of Captain Grackle and Professor Thubbley.

Sure enough, after hearing Abner run through the song twice, the crabs began to sing it. Abner, never shy about exhibiting his vocal talents, then spent the better part of 90 minutes teaching them a great many popular songs, as well as a few of our old college fight songs. I’m also told that Miss Abigail taught them a few hymns and at least as many slightly bawdy songs.

Tomorrow, I shall go see them myself, taking our own Captain Booly with me so as to teach the crabs many songs popular with sailors.

Dog Fun!

…with fun dogs!

The Doclopedia #494

The Potawango Island Bestiary, Part One: Albino Pygmy Walrus

From the notebook of Dr. Thaddeus Silkmelon:

The very southernmost tip of Potawango Island is the breeding ground of the Albino Pygmy Walrus, an incredible creature that is not only much smaller than the better known version, but as a species completely albino. Aside from the lack of coloration, they behave in all ways like ordinary walrus, but seldom top 500 pounds.

In early spring, they come to the beaches by the thousands to give birth to their pups, then mate. All of this is quite typical walrus behavior, but there is one exception. The Albino Pygmy Walrus exudes an odor that smells remarkably like gardenias and seems to repel both biting insects and predatory animals. Indeed, despite the delightful scent it has for our human olfactory nerves, it will, after a few minutes, cause us to feel ill to our stomachs. This was first noticed in our party by Abner Porkwaffle and myself as we observed them. I know understand why our guide, Pagoona, kept his distance from them.

Once we got beyond the effect of the scent, I felt better quite quickly. Unfortunately, Abner had an attack of nerves and had to lie down in his tent until lunch time.

The Doclopedia # 495

The Potawango Island Bestiary, Part One
: Leaping Turtle

From the notebook of Dr. Thaddeus Silkmelon:

Once again, poor Abner Porkwaffle, my oldest and dearest friend, has found himself on the bad end of an encounter with the fauna of this island. He is lying down just now and being tended to by Miss Abigail Saltgrass. Hopefully he will be hale and hearty again by dinner time.

It was early this afternoon when young Smiffy, cabin boy on our ship and now general errand boy for the expedition, came to tell us that a large group of turtles seemed to be migrating from the Little Forest to the Pink Swamp, so called because of the massive bloomings of Pink Lemonberry flowers one finds there. Well, never having seen a turtle migration, we were quickly off with Smiffy in the lead.

When we got to the proper location, we saw between 200 and 300 turtles, most about the size of a pie plate, moving slowly through the short grass. I noted that these turtles had, in addition to their bright green shells, rather muscular legs. I took many notes as Abner went around in front of them to get a few photographs.

He was snapping away with his trusty Brownie when from behind the turtles came the roar of a male crocodile in the river that cuts through the Little Forest. Upon hearing that roar, the entire group of turtles leaped a good 15 feet through the air. They did this several times and unfortunately many of them collided with Abner. Some of the frightened reptiles even bit him lightly or defecated on him. Within moments, however, the entire herd was gone from our view into the swamp.

Once Abner calmed down enough to stop yelling, we returned him to the camp where he now rests. Fortunately, his camera was undamaged, so we should have excellent photos of the turtles in mid leap.

No Time For Teddy Bears!

…time is money and we can’t afford to frolic!

The Doclopedia # 492

The Potawango Island Bestiary, Part One: Man Eating Oysters

From the notebook of Dr. Thaddeus Silkmelon:

Today, while walking near the windward shore with Miss Abigail Saltgrass and Mr. Abner Porkwaffle, we spied a large number of oysters in a small shallow lagoon. They were of a large size, easily as big as a dinner plate. Their shell color was odd, being rather pale yellow and they seemed to have some growth protruding from their shells on either side. Quite odd, but soon to get much odder.

Abner had just joked about the amount of chowder one might get from a single one of them when two of the brutes leaped from the water and attacked him! One clamped it’s shell on his left calf and the other had him by the left hand. The growths we had spied on either of their shells were revealed to be long thin cords that were deeply rooted in the sand. Using them, they were trying to pull poor Abner, who was quite distressed by the situation, into the water.

In short order, two more had attacked him, one on his right arm and the other on his right ankle. Fortunately, Miss Saltgrass had retrieved from her handbag a large knife and commenced cutting on the anchoring cord of one of the oysters while I held onto Abner so as to keep them from pulling him into the sea. As the first cord was cut through, the oyster emitted a loud honking sound and all of them let go and were quickly back where we had first seen them.

Abner’s injuries were mostly of a bad bruising nature, but his nerves were quite frazzled for some hours once we returned to camp. This was not made better by our Native friend, Pagoona, telling us that we were lucky to have escaped. Apparently, these particular oysters are carnivorous and will eat any creature that strays too near their bed. Once pulled under the water, the creature drowns and the oysters release a chemical that quickly causes the body, including the bones, to liquify, thus allowing them to consume the nutrients via filter feeding. Quite marvelous, really, though I did not say that in front of Abner.

The Doclopedia # 493

The Potawango Island Bestiary, Part One: Waltzing Pheasants

From the notebook of Dr. Thaddeus Silkmelon:

I was returning from my morning walk with Percy, my trusty bull terrier, when we saw a most astounding sight. This was in a small clearing in that bit of woods that the natives call “Nevanto” and we have christened “The Forest of Flowers. We had stopped so Percy could smell a tree and I noticed about two dozen pheasants of a type I had never seen before. They were smaller than the Chinese Ringneck, with lovely metallic green and blue feather scattered among a background of brownish red feathers. Their tail feathers were short and carried in a fan style like a turkey. Hens were of a duller shade than males, but had bright yellow legs and feet where the males had dark brown.

As I watched, the males and females paired off and then the males all began a rhythmic bass thrumming sound. Within moments, the females began a more soprano thrumming and I realized that together, the pheasant couples were thrumming out a waltz beat. As taken aback as I was by this amazing event, I was nearly bowled over when the pairs began to waltz about in a circular formation. This went on for about five minutes, after which, the thrumming stopped and each pair of birds flew off together into the underbrush on the far side of the clearing.

Truly a wonderful sight to see, especially since any one of those pheasants was a far better dancer than I.