Pharyngula

A friend of mine has a badger preoccupation. It was his expertise I consulted for last week’s blurb on badger culling. Between speaking with him and trying to plan a mad dash to Madison for its famous Halloween party, I’ve had badgers on the brain all week, so for this week’s post, I decided to couple “badger” and “neurobiology” in a literature search.

I found a delightful 2001 article on “Daily Activity Budgets of the Taiwan Ferret Badger (Melogale moschata subaurantiaca) in Captivity” by Kurtis Jai-Chyi Pei. It turns out ferret badgers spend most of their awake time traveling about followed by eating, drinking, playing and “staying alert.” But don’t give a ferret badger cause to think unfavorably upon you. The article goes on the describe how “…the noxious anal secretion is the most apparent weapon of the ferret badger.” This works best on mammals; apparently if you’re a bird of prey it isn’t so bad.

The point is… I want to be a ferret badger. Besides avoiding predation and competing for mates etc., it sounds like my kind of fun. We humans do too many activities that make us unhappy. I mean, what would a badger analysis of my activity budget look like?

Individual spends 33% sleeping, 15% eating/drink, 5% feigning disinterest in prospective mates, 5% time running in place, inordinate amount of time depleting natural resources, and somewhat less time complaining about the depletion of natural resources. For the remainder of active time, individual toils at some task or another the direct benefit of which is not apparent at this time. There is a curious lack of play exhibited– a behavior that has myriad benefits (Bandit and Thumper, 1996).

I think one of these days I’m going to relax and have myself a ferret badger day. If anyone nags me…POW. I’ll hit ‘em with the noxious secretions.

Comments

  1. #1 Hank Fox
    October 29, 2007

    Cool post, though. I hadn’t known about ferret badgers.

  2. #2 Peter Ashby
    October 29, 2007

    I collect for my sins muscle anatomies and I have under thin card cover a monograph of the muscular anatomy of the badger (being the British species).

  3. #3 Ken Shabby
    October 29, 2007

    I’d rather be an otter.

    A life spent fishing, playing in the water, snoozing, and reproducing doesn’t sound half bad.

  4. #4 Kseniya
    October 29, 2007

    Nice post, Katie, esp. the activity budget (LOL). Editing note: I think you mean prospective mates, though I admit I find that I’ve developed a whole new perspective on some of my old prospects as time goes by. ;-)

  5. #5 Dustin
    October 29, 2007

    Hank, will I get a reward when I find your misplaced sense of humor? Or, if you gave it a blanket party, will I at least get a payout so I don’t squeal to the fuzz when I find its body in a ditch?

  6. Katie, This was both funny AND wise. Thanks!!

    PZ or Katie – can I copy this on my blog, with a link back? I write about time management stuff all the time. http://www.lifelongactivist.com

    Hillary

  7. #7 Brownian, OM
    October 29, 2007

    Speaking of old prospective mates, I ran into an ex of mine who now lives in Montreal. As we parted, we made to exchange kisses on each cheek (like them dandies in Europe do) but I ended up going left when she went right and we ended up smooching right on the lips.

    How do you Europeans manage to do this without causing a ruckus each time you take each other’s leave? I mean, I can’t even pass someone in a narrow hallway without it looking like a poorly-choreographed two-person version of “Thriller”.

    Oh, and great post Katie. PZ could learn a few things from you.

  8. #8 mudderbadger
    October 29, 2007

    Katie: Are Thumper and Bandit real authors, or brother anijmals?

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