Here is my second response to Kenia's challenge of the day on the blog of the writers' group Imaginary Garden with Real Toads. The challenge was to think of two animals whose names end (the first animal) and begin (the second animal) with the same letter, then write a piece describing the attributes of the offspring produced by a mating of the two.
Stymied by a wealth of choices, I referred this problem to Richard Schear, my husband, travel companion and intrepid photographer. After the merest pause, he suggested these two animals: aardvark and koala. Thanks, Dick, you're a doll.
Today's photographs, however, are all from Wikipedia.
© Kay Davies, 2011
Long ago, the Egyptian god, Set, in conference with Osiris, Anubis and Horus, realized there was a conservation crisis coming.
Part aardvark (oryctoperus afer) himself, Set realized members the ancient species were disappearing, and something would have to be done to preserve his beloved kin.
The only living species in the order Tubulidentata, the aardvark would have to be crossed with another ancient species, in a way no one would recognize for centuries, if ever.
Because the aardvark is admired in African folklore for its diligence and fearlessness, it is rigorously hunted so Hausa magicians can make a charm from its heart, skin, forehead and nails, wrapped in a piece of its skin. The charm is said to give the owner the ability to pass through walls or roofs at night.
|Similarities between aardvark|
skeleton (above) and skeletal
koala (below) can almost
be seen by the naked eye.
Because the charm was used by burglars, and by those seeking to visit young girls without their parents’ permission, the gods were angry.
Horus, Osiris, Anubis and Set set aside hidden parts of the African forest, which no man, magician or not, could find, for the breeding of the aardvark with another ancient species.
Roaming the world over, the gods chose the koala (Phascolarctos cinereus), the only representative of the family Phascolarctidae, to mate with the aardvark. They set aside a portion of Western Australia, where no one expected to find koalas, to match the forest in Africa.
Not just one, but two new species thus arose: the aardvarkoala, and the koalaardvark.
The aardvarkoala lives hidden in Africa, where its special dentition, combining the sharp incisors and grinding side teeth of the koala with the regrowing abilities of the aardvark’s teeth, allows it to live under eucalyptus trees, dining on fallen leaves as well as ants and termites. The thin coat of the aardvark is much thicker on the aardvarkoala, and it carries its young in a pouch for six weeks.
The koalaardvark lives in Australia’s hidden forests, living in trees where it seeks out leaves with ants on them. Retaining the opposable thumb of the koala, it can use eucalyptus leaves to scoop up ants and termites when it is on the ground. It also drinks water from a dish, as does the aardvark when raising its young.
Both the aardvarkoala and the koalaardvark have the bifurcated penis in the male and the two lateral vaginas in the female, a marsupial trait which Anubis, Set, Osiris, and Horus agreed should be encouraged.
To this date, none but ancient Egyptian philosophers realize these two species exist, separated by the width of the Indian Ocean. Hausa magicians now import their charms from China, and sometimes from Japan, depending upon international trade regulations. The charms no longer work, but burglars, and some young girls, believe they do.