A fiveday has passed, and I am still alive. Life here almost certainly uses left-handed proteins, which is good news for me as I have only a few months’ worth of provisions with me. This means I must learn to live off the land.

I have been watching what the local herbivores eat and sampling it, but the leaves and the fibrous ground cover have too much cellulose for me to digest. Fruiting bodies and seeds are much more digestible, and in some cases even palatable, but they have to be sampled with caution – some are toxic. There are a number of local herbivores probably a good deal better to eat than the vegetation they thrive on, but I cannot bring myself to call them to me to kill them. If I see one injured or in pain I would have no such scruples, but the local predators generally kill the weaklings.

Oh yes, the predators. I’ve seen several more. They are all afraid of fire, and I get the distinct impression some have seen it in a context other than wildfires. There are several of the ambush predators: a yellow-coated variety that weighs a good deal more than I do and hunts in groups; the spotted one I mentioned before, and a smaller, incredibly fast spotted one that seems unable to climb trees. There is a group that makes a weird noise and has a rather hunch-backed silhouette. Others resemble the pack hunters but appear solitary. Like most predators, they are perfectly willing to scavenge each others’ kills.

I hope that the modifications I made to the emergency capsule are sufficient to keep them away while I sleep!

The herbivores are even more varied. Many have horns on their heads, ranging from simple knobs to daunting scimitars. These all feed on the fibrous stuff. There are some huge ones that I thought at first sight had tails at both ends. At least two varieties occur in large herds. One is horned and I think migratory. The other is one of the few animals I have seen without horns, but they have a very distinctive coat – black and white striped.

What really has my attention is that almost all of these animals are frightened of my presence. Not that I seem strange to them, but as if I am a known predator. Could there be a species here superficially similar to my own? If so, they are rare in this area.