Titmouse Snacking

Titmouse Snacking, rickzimmerman 2010
Titmouse Snacking, rickzimmerman 2010

When most people speak of the titmouse, they are referring to a small gray and white foraging bird of the Eastern United States (which to me is just completely crazy, ‘cause such a bird is obviously not a mouse, nor have I ever seen one with any tits worth noticing).

Here instead we are viewing the true titmouse, snacking on its usual meal of millet seeds (a mix of senegal and plata millet) — hence the noisy crunching and the fine grit everywhere.

This titmouse, like the bird bearing the same name, is similarly gray about the upper back, body and head, with a white belly and underbody. Unlike the bird titmouse, however, this mammalian mammarian titmouse bears the distinctive ‘nipple-dot’ markings centered within each of its large circular erect ears. These markings are protective and defensive, in much the same way as the large eye-spots occurring on the wings of some species of moth and butterfly. Should a larger predator come upon a titmouse and see these markings, the obvious momentary distraction caused by such large simulated breasts gives the titmouse an instant (or more, depending on the udder fixation of the predator) to escape to freedom.

Parallel evolution has led to many other creatures developing similar protective and defensive markings: creatures such as the Booboon, the Juguar and the stunning Brazilian Bazooma Bird.  

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