Saturday, April 14, 2007

Favorite Mammal Episode VI: The Raccoon Dog

Episode Six of BBC's Life of Mammals is entitled The Opportunists and it features omnivores -- those animals who have diversified their diets so that they can more easily adapt to changes in their environments (and avoid the fate of specialized eaters like the Giant Panda when loss of habitat occurs).

My favorite animal among this grouping is the Raccoon Dog found in East Asia -- what can I say, I'm fond of dogs. It is the only member of the dog family that hibernates during the winter. Also interesting is that it's the female of the species who hunts up food for the pups while the father takes care of them back at their den. The video includes some nice footage of the mother returning to her young with various tidbits (meat, eggs, etc.) for them to fight over while she goes back out for more.

Other highlights of the episode include:
  • The Babirusa, a usually solitary wild pig from the Sulawesi forest, socializing on a river bank.
  • A Skunk sightlessly feeding on baby bats that had fallen from a cave ceiling, and then finding a chance for love in the unexpected place.
  • Grisly Bears diving into streams to feed on Salmon as they spawn in Alaska.
  • A Raccoon using its sensitive hands to feel the bottom of a creek bed in search of food (including delicately evading the pincers of a crayfish while grabbing it).
  • A rat carrying its young one-by-one to a more elevated hole as a sewer fills up with water.
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