Wild Wednesday – Animal Buddies

In my dolphin post, I shared a video of a cat interacting with dolphins.  It was such an Awwww moment, I thought I’d share a few more with you.

 

I give you….Dog and Owl.

 

Dog and Otter.

 

And my personal favorite, Dog and Elephant.

 

Looks like Dog isn’t just Man’s Best Friend.

I have three cats.  Two do little more than ignore or occasionally hiss and bat at my two dogs, but Sage, my oldest loves to torment play with my dogs.  It’s all done out of love though, I’m sure.  He’ll stroll teasingly in front of my aged Belgian, taunting him to give chase.  Sadly, Domino’s hips aren’t what they used to be, so he has to be content with yelling at Sage instead of leaping to his feet and sending Sage scampering.  I’m sure Sage misses their fast and furious chases; more and more I find the two of them curled up together on Domino’s thick and comfy bed.  Sage is probably starting to feel his age too, he’s got three years on Dom’s thirteen.  They often groom each other, trading face-washing and ear cleaning.  Lately though, when Domino’s not watching, Sage also makes up to Golly, our 5 year old yellow Lab, face butting and grooming her.  Golly is a little embarrassed by it I think; when I catch them in the act, Golly will turn her head away or stand up and walk off as if to say, “Nope, nothing to see here.”

Do any of your dogs have unusual animal buddies?

 

 

 

Wild Wednesday – Go Batty!

Short and sweet this week folks.  I found this video a while ago, and just love it!  Lil’ Drac is a short-tailed fruit bat abandoned by his mom and raised by the folks at Bat World Sanctuary in Texas.

Why bats?  Aren’t they icky, scary bloodsuckers?  On the contrary, they pollinate and eat bugs.  If you have bats in your area you can thank them for helping keep the insect populations in check.  Go ahead and enjoy those bananas, mangoes and guava, all pollinated by bats.

This quickly became one of my favorite memes on Facebook.

http://weknowmemes.com/2012/11/stop-touching-me-i-am-the-night/
http://weknowmemes.com/2012/11/stop-touching-me-i-am-the-night/

I love bats!  I always wanted to have one as an education animal when I worked at the Zoo, but it never happened.  So, I am content to enjoy them from afar, and ask Hub to build us a bat house.

What’s a bat house?  Why would you want one?  A bat house provides a safe place for bats to roost and sleep.  With increased habitat loss, bat populations are in trouble.  You can provide a safe home for bats on your property, keep them from roosting inside your house and under your eaves, and reap the benefits of their insect control.  Check out why we need bats, and why bat houses are a great idea here.

Go on, put up a bat house.  Go Batty!

Weird Weekend – Bigfoot, Hoax Or Real Deal?

Ah, Bigfoot.  One of the trifecta of cryptids that also includes the Loch Ness Monster and the Yeti.  Remember the Patterson film that surfaced in 1967?  A large lumbering ape-like creature filmed by two men out on horseback in Northern California had been praised and vilified.  Is it a hoax?  Is it real?  Both men involved consistently claimed it was not a hoax, but many have come forward since saying they wore a suit and faked the Patterson film.

Others, such as the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization maintain that this is a legitimate film showing an actual Bigfoot.

Real or fake?  A flesh and blood organism, a large mammalian species that has thus far gone undiscovered in North America?  Sightings continue to this day, as you can see in the two following videos.

Some of them even make it to the evening news.

Naturally, some are manufactured, deliberate hoaxes, as was the case in Montana when a man put on a Ghillie suit (a type of camouflage), to try and get people to call in and report Sasquatch sightings.  Sadly, that hoaxer met a tragic end when he was struck twice and killed by cars while crossing a highway.

The biggest factor brought up by the naysayers is the lack of hard evidence.  The blurry photos and videos, the absence of physical trace seem to point to an absence of an actual animal.

Or do they?  Is there any physical evidence that has not hit the mainstream media?  Researchers in Texas say they have sequenced Bigfoot DNA from “purported Bigfoot samples.”  They claim that the DNA proves Bigfoot is a heretofore unknown species that is a “a human hybrid with unambiguously modern human maternal ancestry.”  Wow.  Take that one in for a moment, and ponder if we can prove that one cryptid is real, what does that say about the rest?  I encourage you to read the report I found, here.  It’s not a scholarly article, still waiting to see that, but nonetheless, it is food for thought.

Have you seen a Bigfoot?  Heard one hollering in the woods while you were camping?  I haven’t, but a good friend tells how she and another friend listened to one howling on a mountainside while they were camping a few years ago.  These were experienced campers, and outdoor enthusiasts and both said it was like nothing they’d ever heard before.

How about you?

 

 

 

 

 

Wild Wednesday – Name That Mammal

OK, I’m tossing you a softball here.  Who out there remembers Flipper?  Who’s been to Sea World?  Does anyone not love the bottlenose dolphin?

http://www.animalspot.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Jumping-Bottlenose-Dolphin.jpg
http://www.animalspot.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Jumping-Bottlenose-Dolphin.jpg

When people say ‘dolphin’ this is the animal most of us immediately see in out head, but the bottlenose dolphin is only one of almost 40 species within the family Delphinidae.  The Delphinid family also includes killer whales, Pacific whitesided dolphins, and spinner dolphins.

The bottlenose dolphin is the one we pet and feed at Sea World, the one who does the bulk of performing in dolphin shows and in the movies.  Lots and lots of lore and legends surround the dolphin, going back to ancient times.  In Greek mythology the dolphin is linked to the god Apollo, and his temple at Delphi, but also Dionysus, god of wine and revelry.  Maybe that’s why dolphins are always smiling and look like they’re having so much fun?  The Greek myth of Arion tells of dolphins rescuing this famous singer from drowning.  You can read about this legend and more here.

Today, dolphins have a reputation for being intelligent.  New Agers claim they are smarter than us and here to help the us and the planet.  You can find dolphin swim programs all around, just Google it.  Wherever there is warm water and tropical resorts, you are likely to find companies that either have dolphins on site or will take you out to them in their native habitat so you can swim with dolphins.

Who’s in?  I know I would be the first to jump in and play.  One of the most enduring legends about dolphins is their capacity to play and make friends.  I think these two short videos say it all.

Doesn’t that look like fun?  This one though, always warms my heart.

But how smart are dolphins, really?  If you measure it by the things dolphins have made, then not very bright at all.  However, put a human and a dolphin in murky water and ask them to find objects on the bottom or even floating around and the human will look like a floundering idiot.  Current research shows that dolphins give themselves names, called signature whistles, that they develop when they are infants.  Dolphins will use these to get the attention of other dolphins in their social group, or to find each other in murky waters.  Is this language?  Research done by Louis Herman in Hawaii shows that dolphins do possess the ability to understand word order, as shown in this really cool video.

Let’s see…swim and play all day with your best buddies?  Yeah, next life I think I want to be a dolphin.  What would you be if you could choose?

 

Wild Wednesday – A Brand New Year

Happy New Year!  New beginnings, new possibilities, new horizons to seek are all awaiting us in 2013.  This is the time of year when people make resolutions, plan to break bad habits and form good ones, and reconnect with friends and family.  My wish for everyone on the planet is this:  May 2013 be the year that brings you all the love, prosperity and abundance you desire.

But we didn’t get here all at once.  It was a long journey through all of 2012; the joys and sorrows of the past year are part of us, and it is up to us to take in those lessons, the bitter and the sweet, learn from them and move on.  Take your pain, bless it, thank it for its teachings, and let it go.  Take your joys, embrace them, tell yourself that prosperity/love/abundance is your true destiny and desire, and manifest that for the coming year.  You can do it!

Every journey starts with a single step.  Today is the first step of your new life.  Seize it!

To help you on your road, I want to introduce you to two animals that make incredible journeys in a single year.  Let them inspire you, that you too can accomplish much and travel far in 365 days.

The Humpback Whale

http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2011/04/20/article-1378791-0BA0B85D00000578-665_634x765.jpg
http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2011/04/20/article-1378791-0BA0B85D00000578-665_634x765.jpg

Humpback whales make the longest migration of any mammal on the planet; 5,160 miles traveling from the frigid waters surround Antarctica to the balmy Caribbean.  Think you’ve had a long year?  Try swimming from the pole to the equator and back again. Humpback whales are found in all the oceans, and they regularly migrate from cold Arctic or Antarctic feeding grounds to warm equatorial waters to bear their young.

Humpback whales are baleen whales.  All cetaceans, the animal group that includes whales, dolphins and porpoises, are divided into two groups, baleen whales and toothed whales.  Baleen whales strain very small fish and other organisms from the water using thick, fibrous plates called baleen.  These baleen plates hang from their upper jaws like curtains, and the skin and muscles of their lower jaws expand tremendously to take in huge quantities of water and food.  The water is pushed out with the tongue and the little critters in the water are trapped by the baleen and eaten.

It’s not just their travels that make the humpback unique, look at those long front flippers.  Oh yeah, and they are flippers NOT fins, here’s the difference; flippers have bones and fins do not.  No other whale has elongated, wing-like pectoral flippers, making the humpback whale instantly recognizable.

What really makes me love the humpback?  They sing.  Just like my own Hubby making up songs to delight me, humpback males sing long, complex, beautifully haunting melodies to entice the ladies.  Here’s the really amazing part, all whales sing the same song.  It changes year to year, but every whale makes the same changes in a year.  It’s still a mystery how they communicate the changes to each other.

I figure if all the humpbacks in an ocean can manage to get their act together each year and all decide on the new song, I should be able to step it up and make the goal of being better at networking and growing as a writer.

The Arctic Tern

http://www.birdforum.net/opus/Arctic_Tern
http://www.birdforum.net/opus/Arctic_Tern

This tiny, 4-ounce bird makes the longest migration of any animal on the planet.  They have the humpback beat by a whole hemisphere.  Arctic terns migrate from Greenland to Antarctica, traveling 44, 000 miles one way.  These birds have a life span of up to 30 years, and scientists estimate in that time they travel 1.5 million miles.  Let me give you a little perspective on that number; in its lifetime, an Arctic tern will travel the equivalent of to the moon and back three times.  I will never again complain about my commute.

On the upside, they never see winter.  Their travels take them from northern summer to southern summer.  How far would you travel to always have long, warm summer days?

Arctic terns mate for life.  Talk about commitment:  “Honey, it’s time to pack up the kids and head to Antarctica.”  It must be true love.

How far would you go for what you love?  From one pole to another?

We are all on this life journey together.  Many small steps taken one at a time can carry you incredible distances.  What commitments do you need to make for your journey?  What is your first step?  How far will you go?

 

Wild Wednesday – Happy Thanksgiving!

I worked today, late and so didn’t have regular post ready to go.  A little late, however is better than not posting at all.

Here’s wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!  Take a moment to be grateful for the blessings in your life.  Here is my list:

  • For my Husband, the love of my life.
  • For my loved ones near and far.
  • For the blessings in my life, big and small.
  • For my home, my animals, and my health.

What more do you really need?  I am also thankful that my dinner tomorrow will be far more satisfying than this poor froggy’s.

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Wild Wednesday – Name That Mammal!

“Look!  A seal!”  A little boy points excitedly.  Mom, walking nearby peers in the direction her child is pointing.  A sausage-shaped creature lolling just above the surf line blinks back at her.

“Is it a seal, Mommy?”

Is it?

I know this has been a burning question for so many of you.  It’s even tripped up animal expert Randall.  In this video he refers to a seal as a sea lion, incorrectly.  Oh the horror!

Aside from that, it’s a cool video and for an excellent cause too.  Yay Randall!

I know, it’s a huge issue, and I’m here to help.  In a few brief sentences, I’m going to make all of you pinniped experts.

Pinnipeds are aquatic mammals; the name means wing-, or fin-footed.  This group includes seals, sea lions and walruses.  No one has trouble recognizing a walrus.

Big tusks, googly eyes and a huge moustache of sensitive whiskers.  Easy!

Seals and sea lions are just as simple, once you know what to look for.  Just remember, a true seal has no ears.

photo made by: L.Heafne

See how this lil’ cutie above just has a hole immediately behind his right eye?  No external ear flaps for the true seals.  These guys have very short, clawed front flippers, although you can’t see the claws in this pic.  The true seals are incredibly graceful swimmers, but they inch along like fat worms on the beach.  Their front flippers are too short to prop them up very far, and they drag their hind flippers behind them.


Their movement on land may be slug-like, but seals are able to climb and maneuver over obstacles such as rocks and logs.

A sea lion, on the other hand, has external ear flaps.

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/outposts/2009/03/sea-lions-threa.html

See how this pretty girl also has long front flippers?  Sea lions can pull all four limbs underneath their body and run down a beach like a dog.  They’re actually pretty quick, faster than you and me over the short distance, so if you ever do see one, or more, on a beach make sure you keep your distance.  Federal law actually prevents you from approaching them; all pinnipeds are covered by the Marine Mammal Protection Act.  Do not attempt the following:


Yes, it was the best job in the world.  Harpo was a total sweetie, and he met thousands, quite possibly even millions of people in his years at the San Diego Zoo as an animal ambassador.
So, what is Harpo?

Wild Wednesday – Happy Halloween!

I’d play Name That Mammal, but you already know this one:

Nocona, my sort-of buddy

The wolf.

Hey, it wouldn’t be Halloween without this classic creature of the moon.  Wolves are one of the most wide-spread mammals on the planet, they can be found on every land mass but Antarctica.  The rarest wolf is the Ethiopian wolf, check them out in this great article by National Geographic.

The wolf has been one of the most misunderstood animals on the planet; myth and legend frequently paint them as ravening beasts, bloodthirsty killers.  The supernatural association with werewolves and vampires has only added to the animal’s mystique and fear factor.

Conversely, the wolf has also been revered as a teacher, a pathfinder, and a keeper of wisdom with the admirable qualities of loyalty and strength.  They have been powerful totems for cultures around the globe and through history.

The Cherokee tell the following tale:

 

https://plus.google.com/101936851270775627859/posts/6cogjx9H3DK

 

In honor of Halloween, since it is a time when the Veil thins between the worlds and cycles turn, I’m going to ask you my readers, to feed the good wolf.

 

Blessed Be!

 

Weird Weekend – Werewolves? For Real?

You’re out hiking in the woods on a late summer evening.  The full moon is rising above the distant hills.  You can’t see it, but its brilliant silver light spills between the boles of the trees and the world around you is moving light and shadow.  The only sound is the rustle of your feet through the small green plants lining the forest floor and the wind sighing through the branches above you.

Off to your left, a bush shakes violently, and with a spray of leaves a massive creature leaps out onto the path in front of you.  It hunches on all fours, before slowly unfolding to a two-legged stance that towers over you.  The last thing you see as it lunges at you are its wolf-like jaws parting.

I confess.  I love the idea of being a shapeshifter.  Seriously, how fun would it be to be able to change into another creature?  Better than being dead, and still walking around.  If I had a choice between becoming a werewolf and becoming a vampire, well, I’d be werewolf all the way.  Frankly I don’t care how lively a vampire is, they’re still just a pretty zombie.  Enamored as I am of the werewolf mythos, I have always relegated it to the world of make-believe, or at least that it exists purely on the spiritual realm.  But what if it wasn’t?

I found this website, The Beast of Bray Road.  Linda Godfrey details on her blog and her websites about large creatures with manlike bodies and wolflike heads in rural Wisconsin and Michigan.  Multiple sightings, encounters, even a movie was made about these beasts, and Animal Planet talks about them.

Another version of Bigfoot, right?  Possibly. But then again, what is Bigfoot?  Lots and lots of theories have been put forth, including that these are dimensional creatures, able to shift back and forth between our reality and others.  I find these reports interesting, but I have no definitive views either way.  I heard Linda on Coast to Coast one night, and the sheer number of sightings was impressive, reported by people from all walks of life.  I do think our world is wider and wilder than most people think, and the idea that these wolf-men might actually exist is absolutely intriguing.

Not long ago, I heard David Paulides on Coast to Coast AM.  He was discussing his book, Missing 411, which describes mysterious disappearances from national parks.  Mr. Paulides has a long history in law enforcement and investigation, and I listened to him detail case after case of people who have gone missing under extremely unusual circumstances.  It was a memorable show, but what really stood out was when he described a little girl who went missing.  When she was found told of being carried away by a ‘big wolf’ who ‘picked her up in his arms.’  He ‘gave her berries to eat’ and ‘ate her hat.’  Many of those recovered described similar encounters with large beasts.  Again, intriguing, compelling but not definitive.  I think I’ll have to pick up Mr. Paulides book and get the full story.

What would you do if you ran into a werewolf?  Would you want to be bitten?  Do you think it possible that some form of this creature could exist in our world?

I would love to hear your thoughts!