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Can anyone recommend a good book or website on Kenyan .....

Mtwapa, Kenya
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Can anyone recommend a good book or website on Kenyan .....

......Flora and Fauna?

In particular I have been trying to identify some of the trees around me, for example the big one with fern like leaves and seed pods around 18 inches long that look like bigger versions of Carob Beans - they sound like thunder when they drop off the tree next door onto the corrugated roof of our askari hut.

The nearest I have been able to find is the African Locust Bean

Tree but I've asked a few locals if you can eat the seed pods / beans (as Carob beans taste like chocolate and are used in diabetic chocolate) and they say no, but it seems that locust beans can be used in a variety of food and drink related ways so I don't know if I've got the right tree.

Mind you i was on the gangway to the Moorings on Saturday and a lady was looking at some very strange little things that looked like shellfish / crabs but with two light coloured arms, legs, antlers?? sticking out back along the shell scurrying about the mud. I hadn't a clue what they were so we asked one on the waiters who helpfully told us that tthey were 'little creatures', then after a pause added 'that live in the sea', so maybe I'm reading too much into what the locals say

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1. Re: Can anyone recommend a good book or website on Kenyan .....

"one on the waiters who helpfully told us that tthey were 'little creatures', then after a pause added 'that live in the sea".

hahahaha class Paul, no wonder mine and Graham's most used sentence in Kenya was "your f**** thick you".

Anyways the only tree you should be worried about is the palm one your sitting under having a beer these days while your reading your local mag from home "the viz".

Edited: 11 January 2010, 14:58
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Mtwapa, Kenya
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2. Re: Can anyone recommend a good book or website on Kenyan .....

true Malla, you certainly wouldn't want to sit under this tree, one of these things hitting you on the head would be nearly as bad as a coconut!

actually most of my baridis are supped under palm leaves, but the dried variety in a makuti roof

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3. Re: Can anyone recommend a good book or website on Kenyan .....

Hi Doff, http://www.africabookcentre.com/

has hundred of books on Africa, look at their catalogue

Ivan

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4. Re: Can anyone recommend a good book or website on Kenyan .....

Get some photos Paul, I'd love to see these little creatures at Moorings. You don't mean mudskippers do you?

Malla's got a point (even if a bit extreme!) - it always amazes me how few people in Kenya know anything about their local environment. Until I try to have a conversation with my own kids about moles or thistles or stag beetles and I realise they don't have a clue either. They might say that's because their dad's been banging on about natural history since they were born. . .

Richard

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Mtwapa, Kenya
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5. Re: Can anyone recommend a good book or website on Kenyan .....

Ivan,

Thanks I'll have a browse

Richard,

No they weren't mudskippers they were 3 metres or so below us so i couldn't see clearly as my eyes aren't the best, but they seemed to have a dark shell a bit like a large mussel. Presumably they had legs as they were moving around the mud, but we were looking directly down on them so couldn't see the underside, but they had these two light coloured things that seemed to come out of one end of the shell and pointed back along the shell to the other end of the shell, they were about the same length as the shell as well. I'd say i'd take my camera next time I go, but its only a little digital compact so I'd have to get down onto the sand to get a picture, and of course the tide would have to be low.

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6. Re: Can anyone recommend a good book or website on Kenyan .....

Amazon.com also has some books on Trees of East Africa. Didn't have much luck googling "Kenya trees", but got a couple of results when I broadened the search to "East Africa"

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7. Re: Can anyone recommend a good book or website on Kenyan .....

Paul

Hmm, very weird. Possibly some juvenile crustacean? Like a horseshoe crab? Or some kind of mussel with its foot out?

Richard

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8. Re: Can anyone recommend a good book or website on Kenyan .....

Richard,

My first thought was some kind of Hermit crab, but then you would expect all the claws to be sticking out not just two and I think Hermit crabs are solitary and there were lots of these, I've tried Googling all the combinations I can think of, trouble is I haven't got a clue what words to use for the two claws, legs, antenna, eye stalks, whatever. Weird indeed. I'll keep an eye out for them next time, pity I haven't got my binoculars here.

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9. Re: Can anyone recommend a good book or website on Kenyan .....

"no wonder mine and Graham's most used sentence in Kenya was "your f**** thick you"."

Wow, that's a bit harsh (not to mention rude). Given that most of the waiters and staff in your resort have probably barely even made it through primary school, what do you expect? Half of them can barely even read. If you want to know about flora and fauna, ask a guide or buy a book. With the hundreds of thousands of species of both that we have here, it's little wonder that those who haven't read books on them don't know much about them.

That said, I wouldn't expect a waiter in the UK to know a Great Grey Shrike from a Spotted Flycatcher, so why staff in the service industries here should be expected to be any different I don't know.

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10. Re: Can anyone recommend a good book or website on Kenyan .....

Doff, I think the tree you're referring to is a Kapok tree. The soft Kapok was used extensively here in the UK in the '60's for stuffing bears and home-made stuffed toys. My Mum used loads of the stuff but it was VERY expensive.

Of course, I stand to be corrected but having seen one of thewse in Kenya your tree sounds very much like it.

Min x

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