Ahhh, wild Afghanistan. There are many natural wonders here, but to truly appreciate the experience of Afghanistan, you must examine the landscape, the local flavors, and of course the many creatures that inhabit the environment. Tonight we will take a closer look at two of these denizens of Wild Afghanistan.
First, we will take a look at the famous (or infamous) creature that has been known to send a shiver through certain French Special Forces Soldiers; the camel spider. This is the creature which evoked a response that had to have been heard in person to be truly appreciated. Bearing in mind the limitations of the medium, you will have to add your own French accent.
“Ah do not like zees ahni-mal!”
I almost fell down laughing. Here is the offending creature:
Just so you know, that is a full-sized fire extinguisher in the right side of the picture. This is a medium-sized camel spider.
Well, that was fun.
Now let’s turn our attention to the Wily Afghan Fobcat. Fobcats are a special breed of feral feline which, while appearing disarmingly similar to your average housecat, are an entirely different animal. When unmolested, the fobcat behaves much the same as an American felinus domesticus, and may even approach humans with the same adorable mannerisms which could lead one to believe that a charming social interaction is about to take place.
Then, suddenly and without warning, a change occurs. It is not a subtle change, like when the wind shifts slightly. No, this shift is abrupt and vicious, as was discovered recently by an Australian officer here at El Rancho Julien who was approached in the mincing, disarming manner of the fobcat.
The Aussie quickly found himself embroiled in a struggle of life and death in what is normally considered to be a place safe from most dangers, the FOB. But the FOB is exactly this place which provides the perfect habitat for this unpredictably violent beast. Just look at the name. Bitten severely, he managed by sheer advantage in mass, aided by opposable thumbs, to gain a stranglehold on the fobcat. Try as he might, he could not extinguish the wily beast and so he was eventually satisfied to cast it away from himself. Both beings retreated; the fobcat to replenish her hemoglobin, the Major to seek medical treatment. The wily Afghan fobcat had claimed another victim.
The Major was subjected to a full round of rabies shots for his troubles. He survived the ordeal and, the damage done having cast his future as a jellyfish juggler into doubt, has since returned to Australia to train funnel web spiders and eastern brown snakes as helper animals for those with special needs.
Among the lessons learned from these exercises is that of the many dangerous animals in the world, some of them are present in Afghanistan. The ones that reside here are as unpredictable and inscrutable as the land itself; sometimes welcoming, sometimes seemingly so but with a propensity to turn on interlopers with dire consequences. We can also observe that the French display a tendency towards assessing the potential ferocity of an animal quickly and, having determined the result of violence as offering no gain for the human, avoid it. In contrast, Australians appear to exhibit a more Irwinian model of natural selection, with the results of any wildlife interaction largely determined by the relative mass and ferocity of whatever animal they may encounter. If they stray upon something large enough or venomous enough to kill them before medical aid is rendered, they are subject to immediate ejection from from the gene pool.
Thank you for joining us for this edition of “Wild Afghanistan.” Please join us next time when we will examine the intriguing dynamics and nuanced interactions of a chance encounter between an Aussie, a rare and endangered snow leopard, and several golden jackals.