To be an Omnivore means more than being bi-gastronomically orientated (plants and animals) it literally means that you will eat anything. It is a rather select group considering that not many of the 1.6 million species that we’ve listed so far, choose to eat anything.
Omnivores that come to mind include crabs, pigs, bears, crows, seagulls, chickens, chimps, monkeys, foxes, humans and of course Raccoons.
My nocturnal yard marauder just waddled down my boardwalk. His name is Orson Smells because he is a rotund Raccoon who reminds me of the late Orson Welles.
Poor Orson huffs and puffs when he walks. I could hear him splashing in our little pond in the backyard. We stared at each other through the window screen until he sighed and made reluctantly made his way to the gate. He has such a time trying to hoist his huge, furry, butt through the dog head shaped hole in our gate that I had made for our old canine friend Jack.
I made it so that Jack could poke his head through this fence and actually see what was going on outside the yard. This would alleviate some of the stress of guarding his turf and he didn’t need to bark as often.
Now that Jack is no longer with us, Orson and the other Raccoons use thes hole as a gateway into our yard. This procedure was child’s play for the four young Raccoons that rambled about last night but poor Orson sounds like he is going to blow an artery when he squeezes through it.
Raccoons and Humans are both classified as omnivores but we are certainly built differently. 200 million years ago we mammals all started out from prototypical reptiles that exchanged scales for hair and adapted to a nocturnal existence to take advantage of the solar powered Dinosaurs that were out of commission at night. Let’s face it, the Raccoon still looks like your basic mammal.
Anthropologists speculate that our ancestors may have built a bigger brain by supplementing their main diet of plants with occasional feasts of meat. We know that Chimpanzees, who share 98% of our DNA, regularly organize hunting expeditions to prey upon Monkeys. Chimps and Humans split up about 8 million years ago but Chimps still have those huge scary teeth. We don’t have those huge canines anymore.
Our evolutionary journey involved growing a bigger brain, becoming bipedal, partially to free up our hands, and our mouths seem to have evolved to accommodate language more than eating. Our big brain freed us from retaining killer teeth because we probably learned from scavenging carrion from brushfires, that tenderized meat was easier to chew. Fast forward a few million years and we learned how to manage fire to cook our prey items, which I am told, we have been doing for at least one quarter of a million years.
If most of us had to actually kill something in order to eat, most of us would probably starve to death. Dazzling urbanites like myself might be able to get semi-prehistoric if we were lost in a forest after a plane crash, but for the most part we modern humans, homo escapeons, are eternally grateful that we are 100% removed from ‘processing’ live animals into the packaged goods that we purchase at the market.
Personally I abhor modern factory farming tedhniques. I can somehow justify being omnivorous by imagining that some of these processed animals live semi normal lives out in a sun-soaked farm being lovingly tended to by some wholesome, Midwestern, Family. I am afraid that this is certainly no longer the norm, but the image persists thanks to children’s books.
Truth be told most of the domesticated animals that we have dragged along for 12,000 years would only survive for a few days if left on their own. Most of these manufactured mutants require constant human supervison and frequent veterinarian assistance just to survive in captivity. The qualities that allow animals in the wild to be successful are the opposite of what humans require from them.
I remember watching a program on a Cattle Farmer who risked his own life to search for lost calves in a blizzard. This guy knew these animals inside and out. He knew when they had stomach problems and he knew what to do about it. He sincerely cared for them and made them as comfortable, safe ,and content as possible, but at the same time understood where they were headed.
Which brings us back to Orson Smells.
He is trying to fatten up for the coming Winter Months and obviously he is doing a fantastic job. I know that he is primarily eating garbage because it is so easy for him to rip open the bags with those marvelous little paws. Orson is still living the way that all wild animals have been since Life on Earth began.
However it occurred to me that dazzling urbanites like myself, are as mutant as the processed creatures that we now rely upon for food. Most of the humans in my part of the world use their little paws to overstuff ourselves with garbage too. Come to think of it, we aren’t really using our big brains all that much or exercising our bipedal abilities either. I can relate to Orson's dietary perversion although he is a real Omnivore.
I'm what you could taxanomically label as a Dumbnivore.