Bebi - Bestia Infantia
A surprised Bebi is exposed
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lthough this animal appears to be a juvenile of another species, in reality she is a fully mature female. Her patchy fur, exposed teeth, gums and gaunt appearance are successful camouflage discouraging predators since few animals will endanger themselves by eating a sick and possibly contagious prey. Indigenous to the northeast corridor of North America, the Infant Beast is best known for its parasitic relationship with the Wild Sumac (Rhus typhina).

Both male and female average between 6 and 9 inches long, weighing about two pounds at maturity. Both have bleached white skin with thinning reddish hair. Green eyes distinguish the female, while the male has brown eyes. Their top incisors are pronounced to provide a tool to strip the bark from the tree that provides the Infant Beast with its home. It receives nourishment not from the bark, but from the sap and the insects that feed off of the sap. In return the Infant Beast provides nutrients to the Wild sumac with its acid rich droppings as well as working as an external Pro-biotic cleaning out other infections in the bark.

The Staghorn Sumac grows naturally on rocky hillsides and dry banks, mostly on limestone derived soils. Grown in groupings as shrubs, more often it is found in urban environments as trees.

During the 1970·s, the Infant Beast found that its greatest resource was plentiful in areas of the southern Bronx, the Lower East Side in Manhattan and areas of Brooklyn and Queens.

As once developed urban lots in commercial areas returned to nature, Wild Sumac sprouted up quickly. With the relative prosperity, Infant Beast moved into the area and thrived for fifteen to twenty years. However, as developers reclaimed these wild spaces, the Infant Beasts· habitat was threatened and in some cases destroyed.

This is not an extinct species. Three mating pairs still exist in the wild; two pairs in the South Bronx and one pair in Northern Manhattan. None currently live in Zoos, since the Infant Beast is incapable of living in captivity or in artificial environments. With education and the development of small lot Sumac preserves the Infant Beast can thrive once more.

An Urban Staghorn Sumac Infested with Bestia Infantia

Simple steps to ridding your sumac tree of Beasts:

1. Make a mixture one part Dr. Bronner's Eucalyptus Soap with one part water. This should be done in a large bowl, be careful not to make sudsy. Combine and add to a spray bottle, preferably one with a controllable sprayer.

2. Spray the leaves completely with the mixture. Be careful not to get the soap directly into the soil. The best suggestion is to coat the ground around the tree with plastic wrap. Once the leaves are wet, wipe completely dry. again being careful, this time to not get bitten by the now angry Beasts.

3. If at this time, you look at the hand washed and buffed Beasts in their sparkling branches and you still want to rid your yard of Beastia Infatia, you might think about chopping the tree down or get some gasoline.

Locating Bebi Infantia in your garden might not be as difficult as you might think. Click here for an example of an urban Sumac infested with Bebi.


To find out more information about related subjects please follow the links below:

Sumac trees

Sumac recipe

Community gardening

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