Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Swimming or wading?

Below, the photo that started it off. The photographer, Murray Head, captioned it The Amphibians

Reactions to the swimming raccoons photo:
1. Not so fast - Judging from the way the black crowned night heron is standing, the water is very shallow - those raccoons could actually be walking (unless you think it is considerably deeper where they are.)Allan Miller
Shallow Water? The water looks mighty shallow there. Mr. Black crowned night heron still has some legs showing. Can those racoons be really said to be swimming? Not to nit pick, but my friend Alimatou noticed this. She is very observant, being a detailed report proofer for us here at the office. Hmmmmmmmm. Nan Holmes

I wrote each of them and said:
The thought crossed my mind too. I'll check with the photographer and see if he has any more evidence one way or another.

Murray Head answered and set up his defense:

First image shows the Heron to be a little further from the shore where the water appears to be deeper.

Second image: the kits which were following the the mother were naturally smaller and had shorter legs.

From the pictures we cannot really ascertain how deep the water is and how long the legs of the kits are.What I believe to be compelling evidence that they are swimming was how they were moving... an absolutely smooth, constant forward motion that would be indicative of paw-padding. If they were walking that would that not be so, in my estimation.


As final proof for his swimming hypothesis, Head sent in a hilarious YouTube video. I laughed out loud when I watched it and I think you will too.

Murray Head's final words:
If Nan and Alimatou would like to have a look at this additional visual information on aquatic raccoons...perhaps it will help and the humming will stop.