August 15, 2011

The Meerkats and The Rabbit

That sounds like the title of a children's book.  But it actually really happened and I saw it with my own two eyes on our vacation to Walt Disney World's Animal Kingdom last month.  I planned our trip around their Resort Early Opening Days, so Animal Kingdom was our last park day.  I of course love the fact that they have Meerkats and for the second time I planned to simply sit and watch them.  Of course I didn't know I'd be sick and running a fever by then or else I would have planned a shorter vacation, but my short time with the Meerkats was a treasure all the same.

We started out our morning leaving our hotel.  We stayed at Disney's Port Orleans Riverside on the off chance you were wondering.  That particular morning was yard work day, and all the wonderful mouse employees were hard at work mowing the grass, trimming bushes and so forth.  The resident rabbits were out in force and I think we saw three of them before we left the hotel.  But those aren't the particular rabbits I'm talking about.

The bus came and we were off, I was sick but I didn't care.  I was finally going to see my beloved Meerkats again.  Why mine?  Well I don't know, they aren't really mine, but all Meerkats especially Suricata Suricatta charm my heart.  The plan?  Ride Kilimanjaro Safaris and then take the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail of course, because the later is where the Meerkats are!

When we got to the Meerkats it was still nice and early.  Not cool weather but certainly not the sweat dripping temps of an afternoon in July and who cares anyway because the viewing area for the Meerkats is covered. Nice of Disney to plan that resting spot for me! The last time we were there it was much later in the morning and only two lone males (all the Meerkats in Disney's Animal Kingdom are boys) where out.  But this time more of the gang was visible.  I was surprised that while it was July and clearly hot Florida weather (Lake Buena Vista had Record breaking temps when we were there) yet the Meerkats appeared to have their winter jammies on and thereby looking a little shaggy.  What a charming change!  Now would you believe while these boys were on their guard watching the sky, a rabbit had hopped it's way into their enclosure?

Often when watching them on TV and/or having gone without seeing them eye to Meerkat in a while it's easy to forget they are only 2 to 3 pounds.  Small!  Tiny even, makes my Tiny cat look huge.  Now Meerkats are territorial.  There's no doubt about it.  They have to be coming from the desert as they do.  They spied that rabbit, who was truly as big as they were and so they set  about the business of chasing off the rabbit.  Now I'm sure Mr. Thumper was a bit frantic trying to recall how he/she got in there and more importantly how to get out!  But I was delighted - Meerkat mobbing behavior, what a treat!  Yes, Thumper got away safe and sound, why were you worried I told you the rabbit as big as the Meerkats!  So then of course Meerkats went back to being watchful Meerkats.

Of course while that was going on one fellow "guest" thought the Meerkats were going to eat the rabbit and disgusted herself so badly with her lack of knowledge that she had to leave the area.  Really.  I guess she missed Animal Planet's Meerkat Manor educating us all that a Millepede is an awesome and filling meal for a Meerkat or that they will eat ants in a pinch?

Maybe I'm awful but I think any animal willing to stand up to the most deadly snakes Africa has to offer deserves some respect, especially if they are only 10-14 inches when standing.  Would you stand up to a Cape Cobra?  When my pain is soaring I feel like I have a snake in my veins hissing, spitting, and sometimes even verbally striking out at my loved ones as I watch with my own eyes.  Wild Meerkats fight the literal battle while I fight the analogical one within my own skin.  But don't pity me, instead think of other people with chronic pain that have yet to find a mascot for themselves.  Trust me every little bit helps and I don't feel the breath of the snake as often as I used to anyway.


Debbie said...

What a lovely little visit with the Meerkats...thank you. It is such a bummer when you are away from home not to feel well...glad the critters (rabbit included) came out to play.

QuiltSue said...

What an amazing sight that must have been. Meerkats always look so cute on the TV.

Vicki said...

Thanks for sharing your visit with the meerkats.

Heather Landry said...

I think meerkats are really awesome! I have to agree with you on the fact that they are brave. No way would I stand up to a cobra! I'm sorry to hear that your pain gets that bad Liz. I will keep you in my prayers!