Каминяр Дмитрий Генаддьевич: другие произведения.

I. Akimushkin. First of all.

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First of all

Jungles don't experience twilight: the sun sets - and it's immediately dark, it rises - and it's light. The night fog quickly disperses. The diurnal inhabitants of the planet wake up. Mighty sighs come from the river - it is the yawning of the hippos. Zebras and lions, parrots and ducks, snakes and lizards - it's impossible to imagine something like that! - the fish yawn. In short, almost all vertebrates yawn. Not because they didn't get enough sleep, but because yawning after sleep saturates the brain with oxygen. Only for the baboon and the hippopotamus it's also a form of threat, sort of like the cast glove of the knights: flee or cast your own, i.e. yawn, and then we'll fight! For the wolves, on the other hand, the yawn is a sign of a good mood.

The monkeys, after quickly yawning, scurry closer to the sun. From one branch to another, from one tree to another, they scale the highest tree tops and warm their backs, wet from the dew.

Below, on the ground, it's still damp and dusky, and above, in the tops of gigantic trees, there's bright sun and tropical heat.

The leopards, chilly after the night, also climb above to dry out and warm up.

And the elephants go to bathe. They swim in the river for a long time. No other land mammal loves the water so much as those huge animals do. With what enjoyment do they rub each other's backs, bathe in the cool streams, or, raising fountains of foam, dive underwater!

The females wash their precocious offspring. A mother drags the protesting calf into the water, washes it carefully, and then massages its back with the trunk. Then it powders the calf, pouring onto him soil and sand.

To swim and bathe to its satisfaction, an elephant needs a barely noticeable stream. It dams the stream, piles stones and soil across the current, builds the dam - and the bath-house is ready! If not even the smallest stream is located anywhere nearby, the elephants shower using water from their private supply. In the nasal chamber of the African elephant is a special reservoir where a lot of water is kept just in case. It's that "water store" that the anatomists sought in the camel's stomach in vain. In a dry savannah, where the nearest stream, lake or river, is located many miles away, the elephants shower. Putting the end of the trunk into the mouth, they get their water from their stores and bathe.

In those zoos, where the administration is responsible for the losses caused by animals, the expenses to compensate for ruined clothing did not decrease when the elephants stopped receiving drinking water during the hours, when the zoos are open for the visitors. Storing water beforehand in their chamber, they still manage to drench those, who tease them.

The zebras and some antelopes, though nature forgot to give them trunks, too, though, manage to shower themselves: they gather water into their mouths and turning head backwards as far as they can, wash themselves.

The solitary inhabitant of the dense jungles of Africa, okapi, takes refreshing baths in the morning as well. The okapi is the relative of the giraffe. Nobody has seen a bathing giraffe, but the okapi every morning arrives to a sandy river bank. Leaping it plunges into the water, jumps and twirled in its cool currents. Returning to the shore, the okapi cleans and polishes its beautiful hide for a long time, using its long and dexterous tongue. Its tongue is almost half a meter in length, the neck isn't short either, therefore, while combing, the okapi can reach with its tongue anywhere on its body.

Buffalos, elks, bears, jaguars, tigers, love water a lot, foxes don't dislike bathing either. Tiger doesn't fear the rain too: it wanders through the rain forest. And during the hot part of the day in lies in the stream and cools down. Out of all the cats, only it and the jaguar cross the big rivers, Ganges and Amazon for example. And sometimes, swimming unnoticed, they attack people on boats.

Perhaps, the only mammal on the planet that cannot swim from birth is man, and also his dear relatives, the apes. All other mammals don't need to learn how to swim. From the birth nature itself had taught them this skill.

Pigs, elephants, rhinoceroses, tapirs, buffalos, deer, lying on wet clay or soil covered themselves with a clay shell like a second skin. An excellent protection against insects! Even mud here serves the goals of hygiene.

After such a procedure the rhino departs in a red or white get-up, depending on the colour of clay. It happened that the European hunters, seeing a re-coloured rhinoceros, mistook it for a new species of pachyderm.

The inhabitants of the waterless steppes and deserts - antelopes, wild asses and hamsters - bathe in sand. The sand grains, running down the body in small streams, take with them mud and parasites.

The polar bear loves to bathe in the snow. It squints from satisfaction and falls upside down into a snow bank, like a bather in a bath.

Cats, aside tigers and jaguars, bathe neither in water nor in sand. They wash with their paws, licking them before hand. The anteater also washes its long muzzles with its long claws - carefully, so not to scratch it! Mice too wash in the manner of cats. They're extreme clean freaks. They say that mice spent half of their lives grooming themselves. Have you met during the summer a tiny red-brown mouse with a whitish belly in a field? It's the harvest mouse. It's so small, that easily and dexterously, like a monkey, it climbs the steams of grasses and cereals, firmly grasping them with its paws and tail. Also here, on top, among the stems and seeds, it weaves its miniature nest out of dry grasses.

If you'll be able to see the harvest mouse among the greenery of the field grasses, then most likely you'll find it during its' grooming. It sits on a stem, grasping it with the dexterous tail, and grooms. Liking its small pink paws, it rubs its snout. It licks them again and polishes its fur till the fur shines. This is all repeated again and again. The clean beast fears to leave even the smallest spot of dust on its fur. The mouse carefully washes its back, doesn't forget about the stomach, cleans the hind paws in the process and finally, changes its position, to clean the tail. It licks dust and small garbage away with its tongue, while the stuck prickles and big pieces of mud are combed out with the claws of the hind legs. It does this so quickly, that it's impossible to notice the movement of its paws - twenty swipes a second! Screenshots in a movie change with that speed.

And the monkeys don't like water: "Yuck!" Tropical thunderstorms and night time dew is enough for them to bathe and to drink their fill. They dedicate the early morning hours to exercise, that both refreshes the body and strengthens the muscles.

The long-armed gibbon, like a good gymnast on a trapeze, does complex acrobatic exercises on the branches of the gigantic trees in the morning. It grabs the branches and pushes away from them with just its hands, but leaps for dozens of meters easily and smoothly, like a bird. There and back, there and back - this ape endlessly jumps from tree to tree, and its jumps can be stared at endlessly - the gibbon's movements are so beautiful.

The hares too know the value of exercise: waking up, they stretch, and on their stretched paws they swing forwards and backwards. They stretch their muscles and then leave for their hare business.

The cats - lions, tigers, leopards - also love to stretch a lot and sharpen the claws. They stretch their paws forwards, spread out the claws and scratch trees or whatever comes underfoot. It's a very important business: when something firm is scratched, the remnants of old, worn-out keratin "blades" are torn off the claws. Without such polish the claws can grow into the paw and rot.

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