Listen to Pilot Light

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Anteaters in Cambodia

You might be familiar with the South American anteater, but Cambodia has some that are quite different. Here is a photo of the female anteater stalking her prey.

She is after large red ants that live in the trees. The trick is to shake the leaves, knocking the ants off the leaves and into that basket at the end of the pole. The bucket is water she will use to get ants off her hands and feet (you didn't think they would sit calmly in the basket did you?)

In this case, after a time, the male anteater (aka Mr. Sau) came along as the relief hunter. Mr. Sau is the gardener here at Dr. Philippe's who is intrigued by Dagny's art and my attempts to speak Khmer without a net.

These trees grow along a stream that feeds into the river, which is a lovely place for insects. You can see the basket in the upper left as he disappears into the tree below. This not only allows him access to the ants at the top, but gives the ants at the bottom access to him, which I take as a fair exchange. Periodically he stops to perform an interesting dance step that probably dates back to the time of Apsara. I wasn't fast enough to get a photo of that. Perhaps another time.

Below is a closeup of the basket. It only has a few ants in it, in fact I saw more on the handle than in the basket, so it was not the best of harvests.

While I know they gather these to eat,(Mr. Sau was very clear on that point) I don't know the recipe yet. Mr. Sau's English and my Khmer are not up to the task of exchanging recipes yet, but perhaps they will invite us over for tea and ants some afternoon. I suspect that, like spiders, they are fried, but that is only speculation at the moment and they will need to catch a lot more ants if they are going to have company.