Combative Tactics of the Kangaroo Mouse

That the little gamboling Kangaroo mouse should dare to use combative tactics against the speedy Sidewinder is testimony either to family devotion, or a sporting nature never suspected in a rodent, although we accept the same spirit in the hawk-harrying birds. Sometimes a sidewinder track will show that a captious female has rejected one suitor after another (four in one case) only to accept another. For some unaccountable, possibly feminine, reason, this may be a spindly little runt about half her size.

The most unexpected activity one might expect in a rattler, or any snake for that matter, is the desire to dance, yet now and then one encounters signs in the dust indicating rhythmic movements that can only be called a snake dance. To date, no one knows whether members of the opposite sex participate, or whether the dance is a phony war between rival males. Whatever the final explanation may be, even rattlesnakes, the sprightly little sidewinder and the dour and ponderous desert diamondbacks, have their moments of romance. Ophidian love, while not romantic to the human way of thinking, is as expressive of enthusiasm as that of any other animals, and results as satisfactorily. In view of their antiquity and present abundance it could scarcely be otherwise.

As the sun rises higher and hotter, the desert reptiles, species by species, retreat to their own particular types of shelter, and thereafter venture out for food in short sallies. For those that must wait for sight of their prey in the open, where shade is difficult to find, other tactics for temperature control must be practiced. These species orient their bodies until they present to the sun only its smallest possible section. However, even these must retreat to shade, and on very hot days even the hardiest reptiles go underground where coolness and grateful darkness give them comfort. Snakes frequently employ a most admirable thermostatic behavior. They lie at the mouth of their dens exposing to the sun only sufficient body area to achieve the desired temperature, increasing or decreasing their loops to maintain almost perfect temperature control.

From these and other slowly accumulating bits of information, knowledge is being gained concerning possible climatic conditions of the past as well as the effects of climate in the present. The statistician- engineer and executive of industry, the high school and college boy and girl are contributing, little by little, to the store of knowledge of living things, from mouse to man and reptile to bird. The sum of this knowledge, like all knowledge, may strike a spark that will illuminate new aspects of a way of life, and each is learning self-discipline in work and thought.

David is the author of many articles including Best Friend Quotes and also the author of Best life quotes