Friday, 8 May 2015

The name's Bond

Were I a Bond villain, the animal I should stroke menacingly while presenting my plans for world domination to a weaponless Bond would be a banded palm-civet (of which we which saw one on our seventeenth night drive in Tabin this evening). Banded palm-civets, to use the language of Bond villainhood, have edge. Malay civets (of which we saw two this evening) have edge too, though less of it, and one imagines that, with their long legs, they would make rather ungainly lap animals and would refuse to settle. I might allow my minor minions to stroke common palm-civets (five this evening, including two sparring in the middle of the road, so engrossed in their tiff that they failed to notice us) as these, beautiful though they are, have a bumbling quality and are quite lacking in edge.

Leopard cats (of which we saw at least three) are far too cute to be villain familiars. It wouldn't do at all for a man with nuclear devastation at his fingertips to be stroking an animal so adorably spotty. As for the Bornean slow loris (one stranded in a tree devoid of leaves and fruit by the road, apparently wondering how he had got there), any villain seen caressing so sweet a primate would be laughed out of the company of evil forever. (Though poisoning its own saliva with gland-secretions is clearly a major point in favour of the loris as a Bond villain's lap-pet.)

Buffy fish-owls (two on our seventeenth drive), despite their most imposing stare, have far too big talons and would always be rumpling my immaculately pressed Bond villain suit (Mao-style collar I fancy). Bearded pigs (nine of these in two families): let's not even go there. With a pig as a pet I'd spend as much on dry-cleaning my suits as on weapons of mass destruction.

Some animals would be better deployed in attack than kept as pets. Red giant and black flying-squirrels (one apiece this evening) could be trained to glide out under cover of darkness and smother the faces of my adversaries: an army of nut-nibbling night-ninjas. Rhinoceros hornbills (a roosting pair of these tonight) could have razor-sharpened edges to their splendid bills and be launched to snip up my hapless foes.

The mastermind behind my weaponry, my brilliant anti-Q, would, I imagine, be much like a western tarsier (one seen superbly on our first drive this evening, our sixteenth of this tour in Tabin). A dome-headed boffin with mad eyes, a pixie face and strange rubbery fingers, a tarsier would make a fine professor-gone-bad at the head of the scientific wing of my vile empire.

But there is one animal alone which combines the grace, panache and edge required to earn a place in my villainous lap: the banded palm-civet.

Unless of course I could find a Sunda clouded leopard.

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