Friday, September 26, 2008

Prepared August 25, 2008

Lepilemurs sneak into my dreams at night. It’s not hard, what with their loud, Iwok-sounding calls back and forth filling the forest night air. These nocturnal “sportive” lemurs are a delight to experience. As I brush my teeth, I shine my headlamp through the tops of the trees, looking for their distinctive marble-sized eyes staring back at me. They rest in hollows of trees during the day, saving up their energy to generate an auditory spectacle at night. I have other visitors at night as well—the legendary and elusive Fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox) comes by my tent at night every few days. A pair of them roams the camp looking for water and goodies, and they also have an insatiable curiosity. They will paw through my campsite at night, poking my tent just to figure out what it is. I sit bolt upright in my sleeping bag, thinking about the sheer millimeter of tent material that separates me from Madagascar’s largest carnivore…..But when my headlamp comes on and I give the tent a shake, the fossas are out of there. Or at least that’s what I keep hoping. Keeps you on your toes.

A sampler of night noises in Kirindy Mitea:

And an update: Well, the fossa did not stay quite so docile this time. Apparently he likes my shoes, or my feet smell like lemurs, because he chewed some nice chunks out of my sandals. A good souvenier story, right?

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