(note here from Mom...Everywhere we go...somehow word gets around that we like animals, which I can't say I even really do...but because of my association with my husband I embrace the science opportunities that have been presented with gusto. This embracing has led us on baby snapping turtle rescue from a pool (thank you Rita), taking care of baby birds fallen from a nest (Thank you Carla), rescuing helpless damsels in distress from garter snakes (thank you Christy), various turtles and fish and snakes caught around our house (okay maybe that was my fault) and many other adventures which we don't have time or space to share)
When I, Jonas, was at the airport checking in to move here to Zambia, the lady at the counter asked where I was going and I said "to Africa." And she said, "You are going to have lots of adventures!" I said, "Yes." and she said, "Yes. You are."
She was right. The very first animal we caught in Zambia was a chameleon. When we first saw it we were all excited. Chameleons cost a lot of money at pet stores in America. We quick scooped it up from a tree and put it in a box. Then we took it to the house. It wasn't doing very well. It was actually dying. And then it did die. On a banana leaf. On mom's kitchen counter.
Some time later, we got three chameleons. It was so cool to have them, Chameleons like to be in trees in the daytime. Around evening time, they sometimes come down and hunt, at least that's what I have observed. When the rains start, all the termite colonies' eggs hatch. It's a chameleons favorite time of year because first one termite comes out, then another and another and pretty soon they are swarming everywhere! It's a great feast for the chameleons and sometimes the birds join in.
|sorry. this is a little bit gross. but we wanted a picture of our first chameleon we ever caught.|
a video of our chameleon catching a bug
Hi everyone. This is Larissa. Today I want to tell you about our cat Figs. This is what happened. One day Jonas was going outside and Figs ran in the house. He didn't know what she was doing and he just let her go in. Awhile later when we were playing with our friends outside Jonas came out and said, "Figs is having babies!" We ran in the house to our bedroom. Figs was in my underwear drawer having kittens. We all crowded around. She started feeling worried about her babies. Jonas told us to give her a little rest, but no one wanted to leave. Finally we all went out. She had three kittens we named them Marlee, Si, and Ocie. They grew pretty fast and soon we could hold them. But awhile later, sad news had come. Duma, one of our dogs, had killed Marlee. So we buried her that night. We kept the kittens for awhile, but my mom always says we are a one cat family. We had to give the kittens away to some friends who renamed them Simba and Nala.
|us being goofy with one of the kittens|
Back to Jonas: One of my most favorite pets that I have had here was a mystery animal when we first got it. It was my mom and dad's anniversary and they were leaving the house to go out to eat. As they were leaving, they saw some boys on the road. They were carrying a little creature that looked like a mongoose. My dad asked them what it was. They called it a Bemba name we had never heard before. Dad called me out of the house and the boys said they were going to eat it. I bought it for 10 kwacha, which is a little less than $2. I got a little box for the boys to put it in. When I brought it inside it had a sound like a kitten. It was the softest and fluffiest animal I have ever felt in my life. Since we didn't know what it was, I got out all our books about Zambia trying to figure it out. I was home alone so I had nothing else to do anyway. The last book had an animal that looked similar. It was called a serval. We sent pictures to our family in the States over whatsapp and everyone was trying to figure out what it was. Which was really funny. After some more observation, we discovered it couldn't be a serval. Our animal was only the size of a month old kitten, maybe 5 inches big. Serval kittens are way bigger than that. Plus our animal had a really long tail, longer than it's body. The next morning we were all laying in mom and dad's bed discussing what it could be. Finally, mom found a picture that looked identical. It was a genet. It was only a baby. In Zambia there is no pet formula. We really wanted to take good care of it but didn't have anything to feed it except for human baby formula. She did very well for a few days. She would ride on our shoulders while we did our chores and our school work. She would purr a lot. Then if we would lay down she would curl up beside us and fall asleep. She was really curious and she hid from us a lot. Everytime I would set her down and try to go do something, she would come running after me crying for me to pick her up. She was so cute. I wanted to keep her forever. A few days later she seemed like she wasn't feeling well, and was acting very weird. She just kept getting weaker and weaker and her breathing got slower, and slower. She ended up dying. I was so sad. I hope we find another genet soon. I am having my grandpa and grandma bring me over some kitten formula when they come to visit so I can be ready next time.
Back to Riss...
Another really cool pet we have are Meyer's parrots. These birds cost a lot of money in America. They are pretty colorful. They are blue, yellow, black and gray. Our parrots stay in a big cage on our screened in porch. In the morning they whistle and chirp for a long time. They are kind of like an alarm clock.
We have had so many different pets stay at our house since we moved here that we can't even remember them all. Sometimes we do take pictures. Here are a few of them. These were taken with our kids' ipod which only has a front camera so sometimes they are kind of fuzzy and stuff.
|tadpoles we caught in the reservoir, now its full of frogs!|
|The snails here sleep a lot. But they get really big! We find them a lot in the rainy season on trees or in wet sand.|
|This is a tree frog. They like to curl up and hide under leaves. We catch them a lot in the orange grove here at the farm.|
|Hunter thinks he owns all the farm equipment. Right now, he thinks he is king of the skidsteer....|
|until...Figs rains on his parade.|
|This is Gunner, our new dog. He is new to our dog pack. We kind of rescued him from death.|
|This is how tree frogs curl up when they are under leaves.|
Thanks for reading about our animals. If you move to Africa, this might be helpful to you.
Jo and Riss
(note from mom...see?!?!? What's a mom to do? It just keeps happening...every single day. Sigh.)