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michael-ibk

Some more Gemsbok

 

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Our very last Hartebeest of this trip - mingling with Springbok.

 

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We thought this Wildebeest was dead, it did not move for minutes. But after a while it just got up, a bit sleepy but totally alright. :)

 

Down South we saw some more Lions, but they were pretty far away:

 

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This is the Kestrel who started this Trip Report.

 

Remember this Hi?

 

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Left leg is Good Bye:

 

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We found another new animal for this trip - a Leopard Tortoise:

 

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Some more Springbok:

 

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Close to Twee Rivieren we saw a very, very unusual animal for the Kalahari - a Mandarin Duck! How on Earth did this one get here?

 

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michael-ibk

Back at Twee Rivieren for our last afternoon drive. We had arrived pretty late because of the lion hold-up, and so had to cut the afternoon drive a bit short. I walked around in camp a bit, and found a Yellow Mongoose - a bit shier than the ones at Nossob.

 

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A friendly Gentleman showed me something very cool under a roof - a Barn Owl:

 

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I will look up what kind of Swift this is in my Big Year thread, promise - now I am too lazy. :P

 

It was the afternoon of three very good bird sightings, and we were watching them for quite some time each. First up was this Gabar Goshawk:

 

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michael-ibk

The Martial Eagle was still nesting:

 

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Close by we found a young one, probably the previous offspring:

 

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And we ended the drive with a last good sighting of our most reliable Owls - Spotted Eagle Owls.

 

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So, only one more morning drive. For many Kgalagadi visitors the last day is often very special, often has some last great sightings as a farewell present. Would that be the case for us? We´ll have to wait and see, but I have a good feeling about it ... :)

 

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SafariChick

@@michael-ibk @@hannahcat ok and now I have to laugh at this:

 

I had to laugh about your rat´s comments, now I have this image in my head with the fat one stuck, and the others pushing and pulling at it. :)

 

as it made me think of Winnie-the-Pooh getting stuck trying to get out of Rabbit's house after eating too much "Hunny"!!

 

 

Rabbit: "Well, It all comes from eating too much!"

 

Pooh: "It all comes from not having front doors big enough!"

Edited by SafariChick
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Your story about the guide who get stung by a scorpion and almost died is incredible!!! One has to wonder about the loonies who keep them as pets.

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Beautiful pictures of the Martial Eagle ( and many others..). What a majestic bird it is! Sad to see you approaching the last morning, but looking forward to reading about it.

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Honey badger!! how cool that must have been. and did you really say you'd not seen a leopard tortoise before in all your numerous safaris? how can that be?

 

handsome cats. always worth a diversion.

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michael-ibk

@@Kitsafari

 

No, I have seen them before. It was just the first one this trip, therefore "new". Sorry for being unclear.

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That Gabar Goshawk is really beautiful - stunning eyes. The Spotted Eagle Owl is also an amazing bird. And grat that you saw the Honey Badger!

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Looking forward to the Last Chapter Mike.

Great TR Allround.

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Great trip, excellent report.

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SafariChick

Jealous of the honey badger - haven't seen one yet! Sad the trip report is coming to an end but sounds like we have some good parts to come in that last drive!

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@@michael-ibk

 

Finally caught up with your TR and glad to see that the Kgalagadi maintained the high standard of the Southern part of your trip.

Whistling rats, lion, cheetah, leopard, raptor sightings superb - particularly liked the black shouldered kite, Lanner Falcon series and the Martial Eagle shots. Beautifiul sunrises and early morning light. Lots of boks - loved the pronking youngster! Also fantastic non-raptor bird sightings, Then you got to see a honey badger in daylight.......I too would swap lions drinking at a waterhole for one of those. One day I will see one!

What did I not mention, definitely lots. Looking forward to the final installment. With the way you introduced your day long drive I wasn't expecting a lot only to see all 3 big cats therefore I am expecting a grand finale :)

 

And yet again complimemts on the photography!

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michael-ibk

Thanks again, everybody! So, just one more:

Kgalagadi Day 9 - The Last One!

Our plane to Joburg was departing at 17:00, and so we had one last full morning drive. We drove up the Auob valley till Kamqua. There it was Good Bye with Dantes, he went on with new clients from there, and his wife Elise would drive us back to Upington. The plan was to get out early, be one of the first to get in to the park and check out the waterholes for Brown Hyena. Although we had seen one at the Twee Rivieren night drive it was not really a photogenic sighting, and of course I was hungry for more. :)

 

But no luck at the waterholes - all empty, predators refused to come there for us till the very end. But it was alright, we had had a brilliant time in the Kgalagadi, and this was just a peaceful, calm last farewell with the red dunes, Gemsbok and Oryx. Or so we thought.

 

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Cheetah! Just next to the road, and the sun started coming out!

 

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We were the first car, so we had this beauty all for ourselves for a precious short time.

 

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He started moving, paused a couple of times, and we reversed to keep him in front of us.

 

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They are just wonderful cats, and this was an absolute perfect Cheetah sighting.

 

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After a while other cars arrived, and it was of course no longer possible to keep on reversing, so Dantes turned the car around.

 

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Finally he had enough of his fans, and decided to leave the valley. He crossed the road ...

 

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... walked in the shadows and aimed straight for the dunes at the other side.

 

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Up there he lingered for just a minute, and then he left - a fantastic Kgalagadi farewell gift for us. :)

 

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michael-ibk

We were smiles all over after this Cheetah extravaganza, and did not really expect anything else, this sighting was "the end" of the trip in our minds. We enjoyed the morning light, and the beautiful Gemsbok peacefully grazing.

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But it was not a good day for all Gemsbok! Just a few hundred metres farther up some cars were stopping near a tree. And no, not for Owls this time:

 

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This Lion had made a Gemsbok kill, and was now enjoying breakfast.

 

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But we had to leave the Lion, because Dantes suddenly alerted us to the presence of a most unexpected animal ...

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michael-ibk

And what was coming down from the other side of the valley, in daylight?

 

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:):) :) My Brown Hyena, there it was! :):) :)

 

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"He´s got a cool haircut, let´s follow him."

 

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Obviously this Hyena was very hungry, and it smelled the Lion kill.

 

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It seemed unsure what to do, however, and kept a good distance to the Lion, staying on the other side of the road, and only reluctantly approached closer and closer.

 

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It was fantastic seeing one like this. I had hoped for one at a night drive, maybe a short glimpse at a waterhole in the morning, but this was much, much better.

 

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michael-ibk

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The Hyena was coming closer, and then it retreated again. It did this several times, and often we thought now it would be gone, but it always would return. Its hunger must have been stronger than all its instincts.

 

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It clearly was not comfortable out in the open in daylight like this, and did not really seem to know how to get to the tasty food - after all, a Lion was guarding it.

 

And yes, a look like that would give everything pause:

 

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Apparently this did the trick. Once the Lion had made the Hyena and watched it, this game became too nerve-wrecking for it, and the animal finally left.

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michael-ibk

We tried to return to a good spot to get a proper look at the Lion again. It was not too easy, since the branches were hanging low, and several cars were already there. Just when we managed to have a semi-decent angle the Lion visibly tensed again:

 

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Unnoticed by us, the Hyena had returned again, and this time it had crossed the road and gotten far too close for this Lion´s tolerance.

 

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She was off to show the Hyena who´s boss. Successfully, the Brownie gave tail as soon as it saw what was coming for it. Unfortunately we didn´t really see the confrontation because the view was blocked by other cars, and we could not get out in time.

 

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The very last we saw of the Hyena.

 

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The Lioness, obviously satisfied with herself, returned to her prize.

 

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michael-ibk

A Tawny Eagle had watched the whole incident:

 

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It seemed to look a bit unhappy - probably because it knew the Lioness would probably have no intentions of sharing.

 

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Though we were a bit in a hurry now, we just had to stop for this superbly posing Bee-Eater:

 

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After we had said Good Bye to Dantes Elise told us she had just seen some Hyenas on the way down from Mata Mata, and if we wanted to see them?

 

Of course we would!

 

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We had looked for them at exactly this place twice before, it is a known den just a few hundred metres North of Kamqua, but this was the first time they were out for us. :)

 

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A Jackal Buzzard (an usual bird for the Kalahari) was our last bird of prey.

 

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We were told by others a Cheetah had just made a Springbok kill at Monro. It had left when we arrived. We waited a bit, but finally really, really had to leave.

 

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And that was it - we left Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, enjoyed a short lunch on the way South, and arrived in time for our departing flight.

 

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michael-ibk

But not without one last stop. We had told Elise that Meerkats had been so high on our list, and that we were very, very happy with our sightings of them. So she decided, even in our hurry, we just had to make a stop at the Meerkat Sanctuary just a few kilometres South of the park entrance. And even though we only had time for about 15 minutes this really was very, very nice.

 

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Meet Toto. All the other Meerkats were out foraging, but this poor little guy has to stay in the house or close to it. The others don´t like him, and start biting and scratching him - he was seriously injured already by the others, and so they are looking for a better place for him.

 

What the Sanctuary does: They just take in sick or injured Meerkats from the area and care for them until they get better. In some cases they never can return, though. It´s unlikely Toto will ever be able to get back to the wild.

 

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He is a wild one, though! :)

 

But still enjoys some affection, and then is purring like a housecat.

 

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So, the last picture of the first post was a Meerkat, and now I´m ending with one. :)

 

Toto says Good Bye!

 

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michael-ibk

The species list for this trip (not including birds, but they will come up in my "Big Year" thread):

Puff Adder (Bitis arietans)

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Spotted/Rhombic Skaapsteker (Psammophylax rhombeatus)

 

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Mole Snake (Pseudaspis cana)

 

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Leopard Tortoise (Stigmochelys pardalis)

 

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Augrabie´s Flat Lizard (Platysaurus broadleyi)

 

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The following two have chosen to remain anonymous:

 

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Chacma Baboon (Papio ursinus)

 

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Vervet Monkey (Cercopithecus aethiops pygerythrus)

 

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Cape Hare (Lepus capensis)

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Scrub Hare (Lepus starcki)

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South African Ground Squirrel (Geosciurus inauris)

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Spring Hare (Pedetes capensis)

 

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Dassie Rat (Petromus typicus)

 

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Brants´s Whistling Rat (Parotomys brantsii)

 

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Four-Striped Grass Mouse (Rhabdomys pumilio)

 

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Cape Fur Seal (Arctocephalus pusillus)

 

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Black-Backed Jackal (Canis mesomelas)

 

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Cape Fox (Vulpes chama)

 

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Bat-Eared Fox (Otocyon megalotis)

 

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Honey Badger (Mellivora capensis)

 

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Slender Mongoose (Herpestes sanguinea)

 

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Yellow Mongoose (Cynictis pencillata)

 

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Suricate/Meerkat (Suricata suricata)

 

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Brown Hyena (Hyaena brunnea)

 

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Spotted Hyena (Crocuta crocuta)

 

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Common Genet (Genetta genetta)

 

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(Yes, there´s a reason this photo was not featured in the report. :))

African Wild Cat (Felis sylvestris)

 

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Leopard (Panthera pardus)

 

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Lion (Panthera leo)

 

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Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus)

 

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Rock/Cape Hyrax (Procavia capensis)

 

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Cape Mountain Zebra (Equus zebra zebra)

 

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Hartman´s Mountain Zebra (Equus zebra hartmannae)

 

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South African Giraffe (Giraffa camelolapardis giraffa)

 

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Greater Kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros)

 

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Eland (Taurotragus oryx)

 

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Bush/Common Duiker (Sylvicapra grimmia)

 

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Steenbok (Raphicerus campestris)

 

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Klipspringer (Oreotragus oretragus)

 

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Rhebok (Pelea capreolus)

 

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Springbok (Anticorcas marsupialis)

 

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Bontebok (Damaliscus pygargus)

 

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Red Hartebeest (Alcelaphus buselaphus caama)

 

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Blue Wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus)

 

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Gemsbok (Oryx gazella)

 

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So, 39 mammals for this trip. Very happy with this, especially since we managed to find all our main target species, esp. Brown Hyena, Meerkat, Cape Fox and Klipspringer.

What did we miss?

Caracal was seen a couple of times we were in the Kgalagadi, it definitely seems to be a good place for them. There would have been a good chance for Cape Clawless Otter at De Hoop. At Augrabies our night drive guide apparently saw a Zorilla - we just missed it. Also one of the better places to find Smith´s Red Rock Rabbit. South African Porcupines are relatively easy at Cammspannen according to Dantes. Maybe or maybe not we did see a Small Grey Mongoose at De Hoop. Cape Grysbok are possible there - and the Whales, of course, but later in the season.

Edited by michael-ibk
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michael-ibk

We were very happy with this trip. The Cape area is just wonderful, Cape Town certainly deserves its reputation as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and tons of stuff one can do there. De Hoop and Augrabies showed how much the smaller, lesser-known South African parks have to offer. And the Kgalagadi is the Kgalagadi - a simply magical place.

 

Once again I would like to point out that Dantes Liebenberg really did his very best to give us a good time, a very knowledgeful, nice and hard-working man. For anybody not so much into self-driving I think he´s the perfect choice for something like this. And, I´d like to add, very budget-friendly - as most of South Africa is these days.

 

Thanks to @@AndMic for providing many of the photos in this report.

 

Thank you everybody for commenting, "liking", or just reading along - I had fun reliving this trip by writing this report, and the kind feedback certainly helped me keeping going.

 

So that´s it for this one - next up: Gorillas, Baby!

 

The End

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Very impressive species list!

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SafariChick

Bravo - super trip report, as we have come to expect from you! What a great last drive that was - cheetah in beautiful light, and your much desired brown hyena. Very cool to see the hyena interacting with the lion and with two followers to boot! And poor little Toto - what a cutie!

 

And next gorillas!! I see from your profile you are counting the days!

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@@michael-ibk @@hannahcat ok and now I have to laugh at this:

 

I had to laugh about your rat´s comments, now I have this image in my head with the fat one stuck, and the others pushing and pulling at it. :)

 

as it made me think of Winnie-the-Pooh getting stuck trying to get out of Rabbit's house after eating too much "Hunny"!!

 

 

Rabbit: "Well, It all comes from eating too much!"

 

Pooh: "It all comes from not having front doors big enough!"

 

Ha! OK, one more lovable, tubby cartoon character that the rat could try out for, if they have community theater productions for rats there, might be Gus from Cinderella:

 

 

I'm on the portly side myself (though I am trying to slim down a bit), but I have a lot of sympathy with Pooh and his elevenses, and Gus and his cheese, and now with your lovely rats. :D

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