Sunday, April 22, 2007

Mammals of Iraq

Rueppell’s Desert Fox

Rueppell’s foxes (Vulpes ruepellii) are widespread. They are found in desert regions of North Africa and the Arabian peninsula, from as far east as Pakistan, to as far northwest as Israel and Jordan. Subspecies are often named based on their geographical distribution.

Rueppell’s foxes are highly adapted to their desert habitats. They inhabit a wide range of substrates, but are most common in areas with sandy or dry, stony desert substrate. Due to competition with red foxes, Rueppell’s foxes have been pushed to more extreme habitats that red foxes do not dominate.

Rueppell’s foxes are small foxes with a predominately sandy-colored coat. A gray color morph also occurs, apparently an adaptation for living in rockier areas. Much of this species' body plan reflects its adaptation to the harsh climate. Like many desert dwelling foxes, Rueppell’s foxes have large, broad ears, and feet with furred pads that protect them from the heated sand.


A camel is either of the two species of Camelid living in the Serengeti. The camel is an even-toed ungulate in the genus 'Camelus', the Dromedary (single hump) and the Bactrian camel (double hump). Both are native to the dry and desert areas of Asia and northern Africa. The average life expectancy of a camel is 30 to 50 years. The term camel is also used more broadly, to describe any of the six camel-like creatures in the family Camelidae: the two true camels, and the four South American camelids: Llama, Alpaca, Guanaco and Vicuña.The name camel comes via the Greek κάμηλος (kámēlos) from the Arabic (jamal) or the Hebrew גמל (gahmal), all meaning "camel".

Bactrian camels have two coats: the warm inner coat of down and a rough outer coat which is long and hairy. They shed their fiber in clumps consisting of both coats and is normally gathered. They produce about 15 pounds (2 kg) of fiber annually. The fiber structure is similar to cashmere wool. The down is usually 1-3 inches (2 to 8 cm) long. Camel down does not felt easily. The down is spun into yarn for knitting.

Humans first domesticated camels approximately 5,000 years ago. The Dromedary and the Bactrian camel are both still used for milk (which is more nutritious than cow's milk), meat, and as beasts of burden—the Dromedary in western Asia; the Bactrian camel further to the north and east in central Asia.

I’ve had enough run ins and incidents with camels to let you know that I hate them. They are nasty, tempermental creatures. They have been know to spit, bite and kill people. Yes, this “cute” mammal is sometimes lethal. Here’s how it works; they have an excellent memory to go with their longevity so if they are abused as youngsters, and you happen to look like the abuser, they will try to spit, bite or kill you. They kill pretty effectively as well, they will knock you down, stomp you to oblivion, and (just to make sure) they will lay down on top of you to smother you for good measure. This tour, I have punched and smaked a good number of them because of their unprovoked attacks. I have drawn down on one (that means I pulled my pistol out and prepared to send it to its maker) because it tried to bite me and it got the body armor, so then it started to charge me. The only thing that stopped me is the fact I would have to pay out of pocket to replace it and it would also have a very negative effect on building friendly relationships with the locals.

Miscellanious Mammals

Other miscellanious mammals do exist in Iraq but not many native to the region. There are donkeys and horses that have been introduced throughout their history into the country but are not native to it. There are also ferrell dogs and cats. Those are domestic animals that have either been abandonned, lost, or born in the wild. The thing that makes them especially dangerous is that they don’t fear man. Therefore, we are part of the food chain for them.

1 comment:

Kelle said...

There are also native wild cats called either swamp cats or jungle cats (Felis Chaus), striped hyenas, and Fennec foxes.