I was reminiscing with a friend, Mango*, about dassie poo the other evening, as you do, and thought I would continue here, as I do.
I have always had a thing for rodents in general and dassies** in particular. It runs in my family. Here is what happened when we took my sister, a dassie virgin, to Hermanus***:
Sister person: OMG dassies! Look at all the dassies!
Po: yes. Indeed. Now, If you look towards the sea, you may notice 3 breaching whales doing somersaults.
Sister person: Dassiesdassiesdassies look, they are eating out of my hand!
Po. Yes. They do that. Just mind they don't eat your hand off. Now, have you noticed there is a WHALE right here below us? You know, the animals we drove all this WAY to see?
Sister person: dassiesdassiesdassiesdassies!
As to my reminiscing, Mango and I were involved in a Botany project involving dassie poo back at university.
I took some random Botany courses at uni because plants are really interesting and and... weeell, that toooo. But I took Botany courses so I could go on cool field trips. We went all over the Western Cape on our quest for good
wine I mean succulents, and once we even ended up on a climbing trip in Montagu, searching for those really hard to reach plants. Ahem.
This one time in Bainskloof we had to come up with a one day field research project. I was with Mango and Born Botanist. Born Botanist knew the name of every plant under the sun, and made sure he told them to us as we went. Plant spotting is a tedious sport. It's not like they move or anything. Walking was a slow process, is all I'm saying.
Born Botanist came up with our project: does the plant species Somethingus inlatinum use dassies as seed dispersers? Ie. do the seeds germinate only after being voided out of a dassie's rear?
There was only one way to find out. We had to uncover every dassie midden on the mountain and count all the Somethingus plants in and out of poo. Delightful.
We walked all over the mountainside that day, examining pile after pile of poo. Of course, to be thorough, Born Botanist took some poo samples back to the lab, made poo stew out of them, and poured the stew on soil to see what grew out of it. His parents are English, which explains things.
I am a bit sceptical about our findings though. Born Botanist pointed Somethingus out, but it looked like any other weed to me. And I can't say I measured accurate quadrants of distance between plant and poo or anything. I am not a natural born scientist by any means. I just liked walking around the boulders in the sunshine and spotting dassies.
Who were not delighted at having us lurking in their toilets, I might add. Nobody likes to be watched mid-poo.
Out of interest, I googled "dassie poo" and came up with some goodies:
- A man drinking dassie poo tea. He is English, which explains things.
- Can dassie dung save the planet? Apparently so. We are not the only ones interested in dassie toilets. Ancient dassie poo traps pollen which tells us about climate change. Or summing.
It is amazing, the shit some people get up to for a living.
*NOT HER REAL NAME
** they look like wild guinea pigs. See picture
***South Africans go there to see whales. Whales go there to have nookie.