Sunday, January 07, 2007

Inbreeding

For once, this blog will refer to inbreeding as an actual (and in this case, sadly unavoidable) condition and not as an insult directed at stupid people.

There's this pond by the mall where I take the baby for library storytime. The pond is completely surrounded by parking lots, streets, etc., with no other greenspaces nearby except across a busy road. Still, it's a thriving hotspot for ducks and nutria! I always look for the nutria when I pass by there and am rarely disappointed; the little cuddly brown creatures are usually foraging in the grass, right there along the sidewalk, as if cars were not zipping past on a busy street.

This afternoon I went by myself to the mall to pick up a necklace I'd had repaired and as I passed the pond, I saw something on the grass and thought to myself, Gaaah, people are such pigs, there's some trash on the grass... I looked again and found that it was an albino nutria! I rounded the curve and saw another one in the grass on the other side of the pond.

Now, I am pretty sure nutria are a non-native species, and probably undesirable, but it's not the fault of these particular nutria that they are here, and I can't help but root for the underdog. They are so cute... The albinism is most likely due to inbreeding, one would think, because there doesn't seem to be a way for the population of this pond to breed with a different population elsewhere. Not without some change and a fairly comprehensive understanding of the local public transit.

So, I will continue to be excited about spotting what amount to be giant rats around the mall pond, and I will marvel at the white ones. I'm just that way.

4 comments:

yellojkt said...

I love looking for aquatic mammals. In Florida all you ever see are alligators and they aren't very lively.

Elizabeth said...

I've never heard of a nutria before. It looks like some sort of cross between a beaver and a squirrel. Are they mean??

Impetua said...

I'm not sure if they're mean, I don't intend to get that close, but they sure look all cuddly. I have seen them in several pondy/wetlandy places around town and immediately turn into a big ball of mush: "Soooooooo cute! Aw! I want to pet you! Come to Mama!" Etc.

I very much prefer furry rodentia to anything reptilian and am glad there are no 'gators here. :) There are bunnies in the woods a few blocks away. BUNNIES! I could die.

Melisa said...

We have beavers in our pond, and I have been trying to get a picture of them so I can blog about them! But, also, ever since I saw them I have been having beaver nightmares! I am trapped in the pond swimming with the beavers and I can't get out. Okay, it doesn't sound that scary... but it is!!!
NOW, I am a little frightened that they aren't beavers AT ALL, they are NUTRIA! AHHH!

PS. Where's the bunny? I am going to be checking every five mintues ALL DAY LONG! You have to hurry! I leave for my trip tomorrow and I MUST see it before I GO! (please)