Meaningless and Maladroit Manis Memoirs Chapter 65: “Darn this highly evolved feeding apparatus”


“Um…so I think I’ll be going now”, announced the pangolin to his lion companions, as soon as it was sure that the sun was well and truly set. This can take a long time in the Kalahari, with the whole sky melting into an excruciating mixture of colours, before finally getting dark. Manny didn’t understand this at all and tonight it was particularly drawn out making it all the more inconvenient.

He slowly edged away from the cats, wondering whether he was supposed to thank them or not. He decided against it.

Snout to the ground, Manny began to walk in roughly the direction he had been rolled from.Every few steps, he’d slurp up an ant or two. He was over his earlier bout of motion sickness and was ready to eat again. In fact, he was hungrier than he’d ever been, and ants just weren’t hitting the spot. Then he saw it. It looked like an ant, but was considerably larger and looked rather crunchy. “Perfect!” he thought. Finding this Armoured Ground Cricket was a blessing. He wouldn’t need to eat again until Wednesday at the earliest. Why had no one else thought of this? Why was it always ‘termite… termite… ant… termite… termite… termite… ant…?’ The pangolin boldly walked up to its new prey item, apologized profusely to it, and opened its mouth to get a good grip. That’s when he learned why pangolins didn’t eat ground crickets. They just couldn’t. “Darn my highly evolved and specialized feeding apparatus” he murmured to himself and to the grateful armoured cricket.

The pangolin reached the edge of the riverbed. He looked down, but saw very little. He was blind enough without it being dark as well, but he could feel he was on the edge of a large slope. Then he got an idea.

He cautiously looked around him. As far as he could tell, no one was close. His excitement mounted. An ant crawled across his foot, but instead of eating it, Manny used his long claws to dig a shallow hole, into which he flicked the little ant. He quickly buried it in the hole. The pangolin didn’t want anyone to see what he was about to do. It would be terribly, terribly embarrassing.

Eying the bottom of the hill with glee, Manny tucked his feet and tail into his body and rolled himself into a little ball. There was a boring way to descend a sand dune, but there was also a fun way, and with a little push, the pangolin was soon rolling down the hill in a tight ball.

“Wheeee! Wheeeee! Wheeeee!” cried Manny as he rolled faster and faster. Now he really felt like a stocker ball. As he rolled, he thought he could hear some muffled giggling. It sounded familiar and it was getting louder. The pangolin has just enough time to think to itself, “Oh dear, this is not what I need tonight”…

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