Attenborough’s Oxford: boatius boatius

Student Life

These predatory river creatures are early risers.  In the early hours, they can be seen huddled by the banks of the river for warmth preparing for their morning hunt.  Their appearance is quite extraordinary with their large, muscular bodies covered with an extremely thin and often brightly coloured coat.  This coat is particularly thin around the genitals of the males, to allow for their full and critical assessment by the females, as this is a key consideration in choosing mates.  Some males have been observed placing foraged objects in the pouch around their genitals to try and fool the females, but they are rarely successful in attracting mates this way.

Boatius boatius litters are usually born in nines, and strangely there almost always seems to be one runt amongst the litter, known as boatius boatius coxius.  The runt is unable to propel itself fast enough to catch food, so its brothers and sisters permit it to ride on their backs whilst they race through the water using a strange movement which involves the repeated folding and unfolding of the body.  What propels boatius is its long, rigid forearms and huge, flat, rhombus shaped hands which is uses to push itself through the water.  Boatius boatius coxius is not a completely dead weight, as boatius, for unknown reasons, propels itself backwards through the water and coxius is needed to direct the hunting party towards their prey, with a series of loud, shrill squarks.

The main prey of boatius is river birds like ducks and swans, and they will catch the occasional crab, but in recent years the arrival of the canal boat in the oxford basin has confused boatiusBoatius boatius kills its prey by using the hunting party as a battering ram, crushing the prey and beating it with its long forearms.  Not being the brightest of creatures, boatius boatius coxius will frequently direct the hunting party straight into canal boats, thinking they are large prey.

When boatius boatius is not hunting (which they must do often as competition is fierce as prey scarce) it is usually to be found at the Jamal’s watering hole, which is always teeming with boatius boatius individuals looking to find mates.  Jamallius waiterus, the local species of the Jamal’s watering hole brings food to boatius to avoid boatius attacking them.  Boatius boatius competes for mates by attempting to out-display each other in consuming large quantities of the same incapacitating substance whose consumption seems rife in the Oxford basin.  They throw small, shiny and poisonous objects into each other’s pools of the incapacitating substance, meaning that they have to consume the entire pool before the poison spreads.  This often means that many individuals will vomit involuntarily, much to the dismay of jamallius waiterus.  But jamallius has its own trick to counter this; it will often collect the vomit, take it out of sight, and bring it back to boatius as food, and boatius, again not being the brightest creature, will often consume it unsuspectingly.

 

PHOTO/Free-ers