ragnheidurkara@gmail.com

RAGNHEIÐUR KÁRADÓTTIR

Bumbuluxi.

Sculpture, drawing

& sound.

2008

The Bumbuluxi is thought to have been carried to Iceland on the backs of seabirds around two hundred years before the first settlement. It is mentioned in old books that one could hardly walk through a field without knocking out at least a few Bumbuluxis while doing so.

The Bumbuluxi can be found around the whole island, in towns as well as in the country side. They build their nest between tussocks or large rocks out in the fields, the urban Bumbuluxi on the other hand, builds its nest in old potato sheds, storehouses and other dwellings of the sort.

The Bumbuluxi is an interesting animal in many ways. It has a number of things in common with birds. It is for instance a marvellous singer and feeds mainly on berries. Juniper berries are by far its favourite. However, the Bumbuluxis’ closes relative is the platypus. The Bumbuluxi is a mammal but like its Australian cousin it lays eggs and is also quite clumsy. This old nursery rhyme describes the nature of the Bumbuluxi well:

 

The Bumbuluxi is merry

yet a little daft

it eats a juniper berry

it just can’t get enough

 

How the animals reproduce is quite special and the process begins with the female (the bumbee) laying her eggs in a nest and then leaving. The male (the bumber) finds the nest and squirts his sperm over the eggs in order to fertilise them. It is the bumber that will guard the eggs and raise the young. The bumbee on the other hand, does not care about her offspring, instead she will make a new nest right away and lay a new batch of eggs. Monogamy is unheard of amongst the animals.

The Bumbulixis eggs (often called bemby) are unique to the animal kingdom. In each batch you will find eggs in different sizes and colours. When the male has fertilised the eggs an unprecedented thing occurs; slowly but surely the eggs will stick together and take the shape of a head. The torso will then grow out from the head. 23 weeks will pass from the time the eggs are fertilised and till the pups are fully formed and ready to take their first step into the world.

Today it is quite rare to see a Bumbuluxi in the wild and is it considered a sign of good luck to come across one.

A fully grown Bumbuluxi is on average 25-40 cm tall and weighs around 5-7 kilos, interestingly enough its head weighs 3/5 of its bodyweight, around 3-4 kilos. Its heavy head is thought to be the reason behind the animal’s clumsiness.

 

(Text from drawing - translated from Icelandic by Sara McMahon.)