Man is an Animal (2): When the women take charge


Many species of insects live in castes. Among the castes the most important is the queen all the other castes live for her if she is killed the colony will end up in disarray

 

The world is changing and so many things are coming, and one thing that is becoming more prominent is the division of roles between genders. The feminine gender hitherto subjugated is now beginning to gain an awareness. The women are no longer content to live with stereotypes. They are now beginning to jostle for equal positions with men. The movement comes under various names. Feminism, Womanism, S/humanism  are a few of the movements designed to emphasize the right of the female to be from subjugation and slavery. In my own opinion the feminist movement has come to stay and the sooner chauvinistic guys learn to live with it, the easier life will become for all of us.

        The role of the female animal has been over the ages of male domination undervalued, it is always the male, prancing about and trying to show off the warrior in him. It’s all for show anyway, because it’s always a woman who is somewhere pulling the strings. As they often say “behind every successful man is a woman.”

               One of  my friends once made an assertion that one way or the other, the man life is under the woman’s control and that the quicker he realizes it the less complicated his life will be.

     Whatever it is you say about women, my belief is that as strong as Samson was, it was a woman that brought him down, powerful as David got he still could not take his eyes off a beautiful woman. Esther it was who saved the Israelites from Hamman, preventing a pogrom that could have made a mockery of whatever Adolf Hitler could have thought of.

      The insect kingdom has shown us the way it should be done. While in plenty of species of animals, the male still flexes his muscles and plays the overlord of all he surveys. Male Nile Crocodiles and gorillas still have the duty of protecting the females, and the strongest guy still gets as many beautiful girls as he wants. But in the insect species the women have taken over, and the guy has to tag along if he does not want to lose his life. One prime example is the black widow spider. In its own case the female is a lot bigger than the male and when they mate the female can kill the male in the most gruesome manner possible, chew its head off,( Now that is one vengeful girl). Same goes for the Australian redback spider. Male Australian redback spiders are much smaller than their female counterparts, which may explain a puzzling courtship ritual that would seem to cross the line into abuse. Female spiders require the males to dance an elaborately choreographed performance for 100 minutes. During the dance, the male joins his web to the female’s and beats on her abdomen in a drumlike rhythm. It is a nonstop tour de force that may not impress the female enough to entice her to mate with him. If he stops too soon, she will bite his head off. Then he will be eaten, and other male Australian redback spiders will fight for the privilege of dancing to death or delight.

 Bees, ants and termites are species of animals that women can learn a few things about gaining control from. In their own case the queen is the ruler of the hive. Everyone: workers, soldiers must live for the queen. She lives in a palatial mansion and never does any work harder than laying eggs. And she is so valuable that if she dies suddenly, the colony would end up in disarray. As for the drones, since there is one queen and she can only mate with one at time (and she always kills him and replaces him with another).The drones only exist for reproductive purposes. Imagine the prospect of being born for the purpose of sleeping with the queen only once before she kills you. That is a really bleak prospect for a guy.

   At the risk of sounding chauvinistic, one common thing we have found in animals where females are rulers is that the guys always get killed in the most brutal manner possible. The question is if we grant their human counterparts some form of equality, will they not usurp us and kill us off?  I think man should learn from the bee and decide the best thing to do

          While you may be tempted to pity the male spider and bee, the shrew is a different case entirely.  The female of the species live in a sex challenged environment in which she gives birth to half a dozen babies every four months (wow! She could do with some family planning) and she stays on the brink of starvation while she hunts for every one else, which means she has to run faster and kill more. The father of course does not bother to help out. He would probably be on some rock somewhere trying to bring out  his inner warrior. The female always ends up killing him. Not that that is surprising either, he deserves to pay for his irresponsibility.

        The issue of killing aside, the feminine gender still holds the spot for taking care of the kids. A few weeks ago I heard my parents arguing over the role of the male animal in handling the children. In my dad’s opinion, the male has no business with the children at all. After all no one has ever seen the chicks following the cock or the kids following the Billy-goat. He rounded up the argument by saying that it is the woman’s responsibility for taking care of the children; it is only when a man feel he has to be responsible that he bothers to pitch in at all. That is a rather weird opinion from someone who has paid school fees, pocket money, and other sundry expenses for the better part of thirty years. But then whether I agree with him or not, I have to admit that he has a point.

     While we are talking mothers, most human societies are patriachal, (which means like the Lions and Crocodiles, the males are in charge and there is usually an Alpha male in charge of everybody else) you may colour me naïve, but I wonder how ironic it is to call a society where a lot of fathers don’t have any input into their children’s lives except that they donated the sperm that formed them, a patriarchal society. Female elephants give birth to the biggest babies on Earth — we’re talking an average of 200 pounds here! (Can you even imagine a diaper that large?) Female elephants also deserve a prize for enduring a 22-month pregnancy. The calves are initially born blind, forcing them to rely on their trunks for navigation and discovery, but fortunately, they live in a matriarchal society. Once the baby is born, the other “ladies” in the herd all lend a hand, including grandmothers, sisters, aunts and even cousins. These full-time baby-sitters are called “Allomothers,” and they help in every aspect of rearing the young calves — so in this case, it really does take a village to raise an elephant! Well that about says everything. Actually behind every fearsome bull elephant, scaring every other animal into submission  is a host of ladies, now that’s about one of the most interesting things I have heard recently. (Oh! So you are a big boy now and all the other animals, including the Lions are afraid of you, It’s so difficult to believe that you also used to run crying to us when you poohed in your pants ). Now that is really bad for the poor guy. I mean I could do with my mom telling me what happened about what happened the day a girl beat me up in class and I came home in tears, but my cousin! That would be the last straw. Everything would usually be okay if they didn’t gloat, but which female can honestly pass up an opportunity to not gloat about such things. My guess is that they do such things to  prevent the guy from feeling too good about himself. I am not sure I am the only one who avoided bringing my female friends home for a very long time due to threats from my mom that whenever I did She would tell her (my female visitor that is) of the really dumb things I did when I was little, (now tell me how that would do for a guy runs). But if the strong bull “father of all beasts” elephant also ran home “crying to mommy” as a child, why do you think you will find it easy. Despite the fact that sometimes we are quick to complain about they are nosy and they enter our rooms without permission as well as complain about the friends we keep, Many of us of course think that our moms are the best in the world, because of the amazing things they have done and can still do for us.   Discovery.com supplies us a countdown of the top ten animal moms and their most amazing reproductive behaviours. Our number 10 is the elephant mentioned above.

9. KOALA

Never agree to an eating competition with a female koala, as she only dines on one thing: highly poisonous eucalyptus leaves. Her digestive track can tolerate this otherwise deadly treat thanks to bowels that are packed with special bacteria that detoxify the leaves. Babies — or joeys — aren’t born with these superpowers (not to mention a lack of ears, eyes and fur), but Momma Koala comes to the rescue and helps them build up their tolerance by feeding them her own feces. Eesh — guess this puts a whole new spin on threatening to wash someone’s mouth out with soap. Once the joeys are born, they spend about six months inside their mother’s pouch feeding on milk and forming their missing parts. But this is a mom who won’t lose any sleep while nurturing: the female koala gets about 22 hours of shut-eye a day — that’s nearly 90 percent of her life spent snoozing!

8. ALLIGATOR

The female alligator has got to have one of the “greenest” pregnancies this side of the ozone. Her nest is a heap of rotting vegetation (the ultimate compost pile!) that produces heat so she doesn’t have to sit on her eggs. Scientists use special thermometers to monitor the two-month incubation period in these nests, and the heat does more than bring these babies to fruition. If the temperature is less than 88 degrees, break out the pink, but if it tops 91, it’s a boy! Once the babies are born, the mothers carry them around in their jaw for protection, assisting them to the water, where they will spend their first years eating fish, insects, snails and other small sea creatures

7. Polar Bear

    Male polar bears are the kings of one-night stands. These Casanovas give females the cold shoulder after mating,(sighs, well am I surprised?) leaving the moms-to-be to put on around 400 pounds during their pregnancy! That’s a lot of “baby weight,” but in this case, late-night cravings are encouraged — in fact, if the female doesn’t find enough food to double her weight, her body will actually reabsorb the fetus. Sound like something from a science fiction movie? It’s all too true. After she packs on the pounds, the polar bear has one of the easiest labors on record. She digs a maternity den (usually in a snowdrift), where she goes into a hibernation-like state, doesn’t eat for two months and also sleeps through the baby’s birth. Can you imagine? “Push!” “Zzzzzz.” “One more!” “Zzzzzz.” Newborns are blind and toothless, but super cute, and they generally stay by their mom’s side for just two years before being sent out on their own — sort of like condensing the toddler,and tween years.

6. CHEETAH

Patience is a virtue, especially when it comes to being a cheetah mom. At any given time, females usually have four to six cubs to care for, but these kids aren’t born with survival instincts. It’s up to mom to teach them how to hunt prey and avoid other predators, and this training can take nearly two years to sink in and stick. Once the cubs learn to fend for themselves, Mom moves on to start a new family, while her offspring left behind form a sibling or “sib” group. The boys will stay together for life, (why won’t they, as long as there is football and beer and single ladies) but the females will leave the group six months or so later, as they tend to be solitary and avoid each other. Ladies, ladies, ladies — can’t we just all get along?

5. ORANGUTAN

The highly intelligent orangutan is the ultimate do-it-yourself mom. She spends nearly all her life high up in the trees, where she builds a new nest every single night from branches and foliage, fashioning more than 30,000 homes in her lifetime! She also never puts her babies down, generally nursing offspring until they reach the age or 6 or 7 — that’s the longest dependence of any animal on Earth. For the most part, males come around only to mate, and even the baby boys break away more quickly from their mothers than their female counterparts, who often stay longer to learn child-rearing skills. Orangutan Home Ec, anyone?

 

4. RED-KNOBBED HORNBILL

Red-knobbed hornbills live on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, where they utilize holes in trees as their nests. Their eggs are a favorite food of monitor lizards, so to combat these predators, the hornbills narrow the entryway to their nests with a very special sealant — their own feces. Now THAT should discourage any games of ding dong ditch! Momma Hornbill will stay in her hole for the entire two-month incubation period, ignoring any of her own hunger pains to her detriment (though one can imagine that the smell from her protection method would more or less kill anyone’s appetite).

 3. ELEPHANT SEAL

This a woman who is large and in charge, as the female elephant seal generally weighs in at up to 1,700 pounds! However, that’s nothing compared to her male suitor, who is usually four times her size (and tends to get around town if you get the drift). Once pregnant, these moms-to-be immediately start to bulk up even more, putting on additional weight during every day of the 11-month gestation period. However, after giving birth, she’ll drop about 600 pounds while nursing her cubs in less than a month — sort of like all those Hollywood celebrity moms who get their shape back in a ridiculously short period of time (though that might have something to do with personal trainers and regimented meals as well).

 2. OCTOPUS

When it comes to having babies, the female octopus doesn’t mess around — she lays over 50,000 eggs, and that’s without any fertility drugs! It takes around 40 days for the eggs to develop before hatching, and the mom stays close to them the entire time, protecting them from predators while gently blowing currents of water over them to provide oxygen. But playing bodyguard to the eggs also prohibits her from hunting for herself, so what’s a mom to do? Well let’s see — with eight arms, surely that’s more than any octopus really needs, so what’s the harm in eating one? Pass the salt and pepper, please.

1. SEA LOUSE

Sure, she may be just a small aquatic crustacean, but the female sea louse is No. 1 on our list and here’s why. First, she’s lured by the male into his bachelor burrow for mating where — surprise! — She discovers that she’s actually in a harem with 25 other pregnant females! If that wasn’t bad enough, once the babies are ready to be born, they make their way into the world by eating her from the inside out, worst childbirth ever if you ask me.

        Let me round up with a popular song we all had to learn by heart while we were in primary school. Its lyrics are also some of the greatest truisms on earth today. The lyrics are in Yoruba but I have attempted to render a translation to English as close as I can manage

Iya ni wura Iyebiye/  A Mother is priceless gold

Ti a ko le fowo ra/ that cannot be bought with any amount of money whatsoever

O loyun mi fosu mesan/ carried me as a foetus for nine months

O pon mi fun odun meta/ carried me on her back for three years

Iya ni  wura Iyebiye/ A Mother precious as gold

Ti a ko le fowo ra/ that cannot be bought with money

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