Thursday Oct 30, 2003

The Lion’s Share

The Savannah is hot, and the lion pride is hungry. A herd of gazelle grazes nearby. The hunt begins. After the kill, the big cats feed until they are stuffed.

The lions find the shade of a tree and roll onto their backs to sleep off the meal. But, the lions are tormented by another bloodthirsty creature.

Flies abound like locust. The lions are being pestered to death, pounded by swarms of blood-sucking flies that attack the lions’ open wounds, causing considerable pain. These are Stable flies, also called biting house flies. Although they resemble house flies, they have a needlelike piercing mouthpart folded below their head. Both sexes feed on the blood of warm-blooded animals, including humans, pets and livestock.

The flies are relentless. The big cats are traumatized. They try to hide, climb up trees, and crouch in the long grass—with little relief. The bone crunching lion cannot kill or devour the insatiable hordes of insects.

Who is the king of beasts? The jungle is unsentimental and takes no prisoners.

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