More wonderful animal signs.
Little known fact: The original manuscript of Been There, Done That: Reading Animal Signs included a running joke that I envisioned on every other spread. The joke was a literal take on the idea of “animal signs,” where the animals would have printed signs like road signs, business signs, etc. in addition to their signs in nature. For instance, where the book talks about snowshoe hares and how they strip the bark off willows in winter, the literal twist would be a barber pole and shop sign (or whatever the illustrator invented) advertising “hare cuts.”
Well, here’s another take on “animal signs” in Botswana and Namibia.
Most Popular Animal Signs
The ones we saw most often, and three of my faves. As you scroll, name those silhouettes.
Can you identify them all?
Elephant, kudu, and warthog. I love the twisty horns on the kudu, very accurate, and I love the way the tusks on the warthog are depicted and the bicycle-flag tail, also accurate.
They like this animal so much, they made two signs for it. Recognize it?
If you said “oryx,” give yourself a point. If you said “gemsbok,” give yourself a point. If you pronounced “gemsbok” HEMS-bok, give yourself an extra point.
Gemsbok, an animal so nice they drew it twice.
I wish we had seen these all over, the way we did the above signs, but we didn’t. They may be out there in a few places, or they may have been special ordered for the private reserve where we saw them.
Can you name that silhouette?
Cheetah, leopard, and steenbok.
They Can’t All Be Winners
And then there were these. Not quite up to snuff, if you ask me.
The zebra is tolerable but too cartoony compared to the others, and the spots ruin the giraffe. Anyone got a black Sharpie? Let’s color those in. I suppose it’s better than this, though:
Umm . . . what?!
That looks like a zombie mouse head on . . . what? . . . a canine body with too-long legs and a dislocated shoulder?
My best guess is that it’s supposed to be a hyena based on the rounded ears, little potbelly, and tail. It lacks that distinctive sloping back, which seems like a no-brainer.
Any other guesses? Maybe it really is a zombie mouse.
Animal Signs at Namib-Naukluft
In the Namib-Naukluft desert, park personnel warn you to beware of chameleons, ostriches, and gemsbok.
As the picture indicates, the ostriches we saw were generally running, but they were running away from us and posed no danger. Does anyone else think this looks like the Roadrunner?
Thank goodness we never encountered a chameleon. When we were here three years ago, one tried to bite Mike’s hiking boot. Vicious creatures, chameleons.
Lay-bye Animal Sign
Here in Botswana and Namibia, some roads have things called “lay-byes.” I am not making up the spelling.
At home, we’d call them pullouts or rest areas.
Sometimes they have shaded tables and trash cans. I’ve never seen one with an outhouse or bathroom, though.
The blue, black, and white are the colors of the Botswana flag. Many trash cans and tables are painted these same colors in Namibia where flag colors are blue, green, and red. Go figure.
Some lay-byes have signs like this:
And it’s a good warning. We’ve seen elephants and giraffes very near lay-byes.
Most Frustrating Sign
We’ll be saying “geen toegang” forevermore, not pronounced correctly, of course. It’s Afrikaans, I think, for “nya-nya, you can’t go here, and here is where we keep the most exciting animals, behaviors, and interactions,” or simply “No Entry.”
Another Favorite of Mine
And, finally, here’s one I wish we’d seen often, but we didn’t.
Private game reserves are fenced. Ranches are fenced. Namibia has a lot of fences. We saw a bunch of dead wild animals that had been caught in fences.
I am not a fan of some fences.
What’s your favorite animal sign?