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.