Annamaria, pinch-hitting for Susan on Sunday
A bit of explanation: Our dear Susan Spann reached out for help because she is in Japan and can’t log on to Blogger to post for herself today. So I agreed to fill in, knowing full well that a day will come soon, when I am on the road and will need her to return the favor. For now, I offer you a mystery in the hopes that you will have some advice about how solve it.
You see the desert fox may be living under cover in my kitchen.
No. This is not about him:
Generalfeldmarshall Rommel died over seventy years ago. This concerns something currently alive and eating.
I have posted here before about the papyrus plants growing in my apartment.
When I am out of town, I move two of them from my dining room to the kitchen where they can soak up some direct sun in front of the window. I have had these plants for over thirty years without incident. But when I returned last month from Bouchercon and Mississippi, I found something I had never seen before.
The fronds of my papyrus ordinarily look like this:
But something had been chewing on the ones nearest the kitchen window.
MMM, I thought. I wonder what could have done that.
So I did an experiment to see if whatever it was was still at it. I moved one perfectly whole frond to the place were the chewed ones had sat. The next day I found the evidence.
My Google search (what eats papyrus?) turned up little to go on. A couple of Google Books covers and pages:
No help there. Only one plausible answer: according to Google the Egyptian Desert Fox (or fennec) eats papyrus! It gave no other answer. MMM.
I read up on this critter, and found it has another feature that coincides with my experience—it is nocturnal. And it could even turn out to useful. In addition to plants, it also eats insects and rodents. Eggs, too, but since it has not learned to open the fridge, I think tomorrow’s omelet ingredients are safe.
There are some things about the fennec fox that could turn out to be alarming. It can jump up two feet high and leap four. Given which, I hope the one in my kitchen looks more like this—
…than like this—
The range of the desert fox might make you think it implausible as an explanation for my lost papyrus fronds.
On the other hand, this little guy is available as an exotic house pet. But then how could someone else’s household fennec have made its way into my apartment? Another mystery to be reckoned with.
So far I have not discovered any other creature that comes close to a plausible answer.