Posted by: Andrew Skelton | 02/05/2012

Not Today, but to Mara

Mara, originally uploaded by

Talk about inconsistent, yesterday’s blog was a bit serious wasn’t it, Dear Reader? Sorry about that, won’t let it happen again.. I blame the rain… well, that or the Bankers.. yes it’s their fault, that it rained AND that my blog was a bit too somber.

Funny looking thing, the Mara, almost like it doesn’t know what species of animal it want’s to belong to. Of course it’s quite obviously a rodent but it has long(ish) slender legs and short ears unlike the rabbit family, too tall and too large for a guinea pig, too small to be a capybara it really is a bit confused (though not as confused as people are when they see it for the first time). Like Capybara, Coypu and Guinea Pigs, the Mara are from South America (ideally they would have been from the Masai – easier to remember then) where they they are now considered Near Threatened for all the same reasons as other threatened animals in the wild… habitat loss, hunting etc. The Mara at Whipsnade Zoo roam free around the grounds and as they are herbivores need little in the way of care, and with little constraints on them are doing rather well; walking around the park you can’t help but bump into these furry lawn mowers.

There’s a new photo opportunity available to you all this weekend and one I will certainly be trying to take advantage of. Due to its elliptical orbit, the moon will be at it’s closest to the earth appearing up to 14% bigger than a normal full moon and which, from a photographic point of view, can produce some atmospheric landscape images. Whilst I might attempt such an image, I’ll be out there, weather permitting, with the 600mm lens trying to capture some of the detail of this planetoid. For what it’s worth, Space Fans, the closest proximity of the moon on its orbit is referred to as Perigee and can be within 357,000 Km where at its Apogee (further point on its journey around the earth) it will be over 400,000Km away. That’s a lot of air miles!



  1. The moon was at its best at 8:35 p.m. here. Usually these kinds of events happen in the wee hours of the morning, which means that I usually miss them.

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