Thursday 12 February 2009

Sunderbans 5: All creatures great and small.

It is a personal quirk. I get obsessed with tiny creatures in the forest, the common, the insignificant, the ones we walk past in in search of the elusive Tiger. I must have walked across the river bank several times getting on and off the boat, but it was not till the last day I noticed that what looked like fallen red petals strewn across the shore were Fiddler's Crabs.
What's more is that while peering at the tiny crabs one notices tinier lumps of clay jumping around. These turned out to be mud skippers, the unique fish that live on land! With just an hour left for the boat to leave the jetty and back to Calcutta,I was a mad woman on a mission, these vivid red crabs and adorable mud skippers had to be photographed, and there arises the problem. Being extremely sensitive to vibrations they scuttle underground even as you approach them from a distance of 6 ft. Let alone the continuous thoroughfare on the pier, the biggest hurdle in photographing these timid creatures is the photographer itself. Even with an 18x zoom, I had to get up close and personal, wait in a mucky minefield of crabs praying nothing would crawl up my legs and bite.
The Mud skippers are a strange species to study. The first thing that attracts attention are the bulging green eyes on the top of their heads, giving them a bewildered guileless look. They are amphibians that breathe through their skin and keep them selves moist by jumping into muddy puddles during low tide. Flipping their translucent plump bodies all over the shore line.
Although I had heard of Hermit Crabs a long time back, I had never actually seen one, not even googled the pics. In my mind I formed a picture of those irascible sages from mythology living like hermits in the forest and I transferred that image to the crabs. Big orange coloured whiskery crabs. Obviously my exaggerated analogies were hopelessly off mark. As you can see, that timid little green thing nestled in my palm is a hermit crab, crawling back into it's shell.

1 comment:

salvation_seeker said...

Great snaps....
Especially the hermit crab.

'Hermit'....do u remember.....