Sunday, June 7, 2009

Real Live Cartoon Creature!

(It's a pygmy jerboa.)


Lon said...

What a bizarrely cute critter. Can you tell us something about it? Desert animal, correct?

Shades of Gray said...

Rabbi Slifkin,

Have you had the opportunity to visit the "Torah Zoo" in Boro Park? I think this sort of thing would be right up your alley.

It's an interesting concept to have a zoo in middle of Boro Park(even if the animals are are only of taxidermic quality)! I like watching the reaction of children(and also their parents).

There is an exhibit of a bear on a tree branch attacking a deer, IIRC. One five year old girl was tightly holding her sister's hand, and had a combination of fear and fascination. Adults are likewise fascinated, from my observation.

Next time I'm there, I will have to ask Rabbi Shaul S.Deutsch, the curator, if he can get any stuffed Jeroba's :)

Nachum said...

R' Aryeh Kaplan lists it as a candidate for the "shafan," but thanks to your books I know that's not true. :-)

Loren said...

I was waiting for it to say "I tawt I taw a putty tat!" Cute, but also vicious looking - his mouth is huge. Are they dangerous?

Natan Slifkin said...

It's a desert animal, not dangerous at all (what a strange question!)

I'll have to get to that "Torah Zoo" sometime!

Anonymous said...

What do you think of this?
חכמה בפילים תאמין
המאירי בעירובין: אפשר ללמד את הפיל שבעים לשון

ברשב"ץ (מגן אבות פ"ג דף ס"ח) כותב כי הפיל הוא בעל חיים חכם מאוד. "ואין מי שיהיה קרוב להבנת בני אדם כמו הפיל שהוא מבין דיבור בני אדם ומקבל צווי".

וכבר כתב המאירי זצ"ל בעירובין (ל"א:) בשם הירושלמי שאפשר ללמד את הפיל שבעים לשון. וכותב רש"י בעירובין שהפילים הם בעלי חיים מלומדים.

בספר 'אוצר הידיעות' מובא כי מסופר בקדמונים שארע בעבר שבעלי חנות לקמח ישבו וצחקו על מראהו המשונה של פיל. הלך הפיל לנהר, מילא את חוטמו מים, וחזר לחנות שבה ישבו הסוחרים, ושפך את המים על הקמח. נראה כי בכך נקם על שלעגו לו.

פיל - משכיל וערום ומרגיש במלעיגים ומזיקים

ד"א מין הפיל הוא שאין לו פרקים וחוליות כשאר בעלי חיים, ואינו יכול ללכת כי אם לאט לאט, ופעמים מדלג, ואינו יכול לכוף ראשו למטה לארץ. ועל כן נברא לו חוטם ארוך שמקבל בו מזונו ושותה בו ומתנשם. והוא בן תרבות ונכנע מכל בעלי חיים מדבריים, ומקבל תוכחת מוסר, והוא ממזג שוה ככלב וסוס, ומכיר ומשכיל, וילמדוהו שישתחוה למלכו. ולא יתחבר עם הנקיבה אחר עיבורה, ואמרו עליו שהוא משכיל מאד וערום מאד, ופעם אחת עבר בשוק של מוכרי קמח ולעגו עליו החנוונים על שינוי ברייתו והרגיש בלעג והולך לנהר ומלא את החוטם כלו מים ועבר בשוק ההוא והשליך המים על הקמח והפסיד הכל.
(מאמר רביעי)
Can you translate I am not sure I understand?Basic idea?

Shades of Gray said...

There is an interesting discussion going on, on the Beyond BT blog, on the thread titled "Should We Give Up the Dog or the Apartment?"

One non-observant woman wrote(comment #12):

"The bizarre (IMO) attitude towards pets is one of the reasons I will never become a BT. I have a horse and two cats, and they are a source of great joy for me, plus the horse gives me the kind of exercise I love most. Have had pet cats all my life and can’t imagine giving them up."

Others on that blog hastened to reassure her that she could indeed have her pets and be Frum! Personally, I am not the type to have cats/dogs in my home, but I admit to having a child-like fascination for animals which I've never outgrown(as long as they are outside).

e said...

Very cute, and kind of freaky looking.

Is that an adult jerboa? (I don't have sound on my computer, so if this was addressed in the audio of the video, i apologize.)

MAK said...

It's very cute, and looks so tiny! any relation to the kangaroo rat? (Other than the fact that they're both rodents clearly...unless it's a marsupial?)

alex said...

According to "Kangaroo rat" at wikipedia:

"Like the jerboas of African and Asian deserts and the hopping mice of outback Australia, kangaroo rats have highly developed hind legs, live in deep burrows that shelter them from the worst of the desert heat, and do not lose water unless forced into a diet lacking in hydrocarbons.[1] Instead, they have a highly water-efficient metabolism (their kidneys are at least four times more efficient at retaining water and excreting salt than those of humans) and manufacture water through a metabolic process called oxidative phosphorylation. These adaptations have prepared them to live in arid conditions. Despite sharing so many characteristics with jerboas and hopping mice, the three groups are not closely related to one another: the similarities are the result of convergent evolution."

One could quibble that the words "are assumed to be the result" should appear in that last sentence instead of "are the result."

Unknown said...

"the three groups are not closely related to one another: the similarities are the result of convergent evolution."

One could quibble that the words "are assumed to be the result" should appear in that last sentence instead of "are the result.""

Isn't that an example or definition of "convergent evolution" rather than a result?