biology zoology blog benno meyer leg balance

Standing on One Leg is Comfortable

For some (I’m not pulling your Leg)

My children’s favourite character of Richard Scarry’s books was the one-legged “Lowly Worm”. When I was a kid there was no “Lowly Worm”, but I knew Maasai men often stood on one leg when resting from work or activity and I wondered if that wasn’t uncomfortable. Upon seeing photos of this unusual form of ‘relaxation’ and wanting to be a little different from others, I myself started standing on one leg when waiting for the bus or tram. Needless to say, I earned some peculiar looks from bystanders, who must have thought that I had hurt one of my legs. To be honest, it wasn’t a very comfortable resting position, but for some people (and not just the Maasai) and especially for birds it seemingly is. —>—>

biology zoology blog benno meyer rochow animal communication

Talking to the Animals

Dr Dolittle was not the only one who could do that

What are the essentials of “communication”? Of course, there has to be an emitter, a sender of a signal. But there also needs to be a receiver and in order to make the interaction between the two to agree with the definition of “communication”, there has to be a response of a sort. It’s easy to see a response, when you send a vocal signal like “you are beautiful” to someone or when you ask someone “wasn’t that a great movie”? —>—>

biology zoology blog benno meyer rochow rats as food

Rats on the Plate and on your Palate

“If you can’t beat them, eat them!”

When I lived in Japan, I knew I had mice in my apartment. They had found my chocolate and had torn holes into the cover and eaten some: you could see their toothmarks. I also saw some quite regularly when I happened to enter the kitchen at night and switched on the light. But it weren’t the mice that made me seek a different flat, it was when I had rats in my bedroom! These clever, but not exactly charming rodents, must have resided behind the cupboard in the wall and on four occasions traps I had placed around my bedroom caught one of them. There are people who love rats and keep them as pets and in many parts of Asia credit is given to the rats’ intelligence, their adaptability and hardiness and even temples (e.g., the Karni Mata) dedicated to rats exist in India, because Hindus believe that a rat had helped to carry Lord Ganesh around the world. And there are many people who’d claim that there was nothing more delicious than rat meat on your plate, rat fried or roasted, or rat as a stew or casserole. —>—>