Tag Archives: animals

rainbow trout.

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not my trout, but an artist who creates in my style

 a few or five decades back

in my elementary school years

i undertook a project that i loved

an end-of-the-year

comprehensive non-fiction report

covering a wide swath of the animal kingdom

involving research, factual write-ups, and illustrations.

i worked on this tirelessly

gleaning material

from the only source i used for everything 

our set of encyclopedias

(no google to be found)

all was going well

until i came to the rainbow trout

with no illustration provided

 i used my imagination

creating my own vision

of what a rainbow trout might look like

a beautiful striped fish

with every color of the rainbow

spanning across its shiny and scaly skin

at last

the final piece in my big report complete

rechecked everything

put it all in my new yellow folder

decorated the cover

proudly turning it in

waiting for my teacher’s response

 she perused our reports

while we had silent reading time

 then called me up to her desk

with the hugest of smiles on her face

my report open to the rainbow trout page

telling me that she was going to give me an a+

she said she could see

 i was truly a creative

even more than a scientist

that both were good things to be

and she was right.

“the fish was a twelve inch rainbow trout with a huge hump on its back – a hunchback trout.”

-richard brautigan

something to crow about.

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Crows help rid city streets of cigarette butts

A startup in the Swedish city of Södertälje, has recruited local crows to pick up discarded cigarette butts from the city’s streets and public spaces. In fact, there’s a movement afoot in places as varied as California and the Netherlands to ban the sale of filtered cigarettes to help tamp down on their prevalence in our environment.

According to the Keep Sweden Tidy Foundation, more than one billion cigarette butts are left on Sweden’s streets each year, which represents 62 percent of all litter. To clear the streets, Södertälje spends around 20m Swedish kronor (over $2,200,000), so the hope is that the birds can help cut these costs.

“They are wild birds taking part on a voluntary basis,” the founder of the Corvid Cleaning startup Christian Günther-Hanssen reveals. Each time the wild birds deposit a cigarette butt into a bespoke machine specially designed by Corvid Cleaning, they receive a little snack.

Günther-Hanssen estimates that, with the crows’ help, the city could save at least 75 percent of the costs associated with picking up cigarette butts in the city. For now, Södertälje is trialing the project before setting the operation in motion across the city, paying close attention to the health of the birds, considering the kind of waste they’re being rewarded to pick up.

Research suggests that New Caledonian crows, a member of the corvid family of birds, have the reasoning ability of a human seven-year-old, making them the best bird for the job. “They are easier to teach and there is also a higher chance of them learning from each other,” says Günther-Hanssen. “At the same time, there’s a lower risk of them mistakenly eating any rubbish.” Unfortunately, they have not yet been able to train humans not to throw their butts on the ground. 

“if men had wings and bore black feathers, few of them would be clever enough to be crows.”

-henry ward beecher

moved.

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today a ladybug stopped by our classroom veterinary clinic

the kinder docs looked at it closely with a magnifying glass

 decided it might be having trouble flying

after much discussion, more close looks, a few notes on a paper, a phone call,

and a blood pressure check of one of the other docs

 their good care and magic worked

and the ladybug flew away home.

“true compassion means not only feeling another’s pain but also being moved to help relieve it.”

-daniel goleman

the 3 wise guys.

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you never know quite when and where these sages will appear, but they always have something to say.

yeti the yeti- “when no one else does, believe in yourself.”

geoffrey the giraffe – “giraffes are awesome, i am awesome, therefore i am giraffe.”

marty the zebra – “life is not all black and white.”

 

 

cat tracks.

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new research shows that cats track their owner’s movements

Cats are special and intelligent creatures, and a new study led by Dr. Saho Takagi at the University of Kyoto in Japan confirms this.

Takagi’s research reveals cats’ ability to track their owners as they move about the house, and show signs of a genuine surprise if their owners pop up where they don’t expect them.

These findings support the idea that cats retain a mental representation of their owners, even if they’re out of sight, which is a sign of higher cognitive processes that can include planning ahead and using imagination.

There have been studies in the past that suggested that cats search in the correct places if they see food disappearing and that they expect to see their owner’s face if they first hear their voice, but how these abilities were practiced in real life still evaded researchers. “It is [also] said that cats are not as interested in their owners as dogs are, but we had doubts about this point,” Takagi explained.

To explore cats’ cognitive capacities, Takagi and his team studied what happened when 50 domestic cats were individually shut inside a room while repeatedly hearing their owner calling their name from outside the room. Then, the cats were exposed to either a stranger’s voice or that of their owner coming from a speaker that was positioned inside the room they were in.

Human observers watched recordings of the cats’ reactions during the experiment and ranked the cats’ level of surprise based on their ear and head movements. It appeared that the cats only showed confusion and surprise when their owners’ voices were suddenly coming from the speaker inside the closed room, implying to the cats that their owners had somehow managed to teleport to get inside the room with them.

“This study shows that cats can mentally map their location based on their owner’s voice,” Takagi explained. “Cats have the ability to picture the invisible in their minds. Cats may have a more profound mind than is thought.”

That said, it’s not too much of a shock that cats possess these abilities. “That awareness of movement—tracking things they cannot see—is critical to a cat’s survival,” said Roger Tabor, a biologist, author, and presenter of the TV series Cats on BBC.

“A lot of what a cat has to interpret in its territory is an awareness of where other cats are. It is also important for hunting: how could a cat catch a field vole moving around beneath the grass if it couldn’t use clues, such as the occasional rustle, to see in its mind’s eye, where they are? A cat’s owner is extremely significant in its life as a source of food and security, so where we are is very important.”

 

“the moment I walk into a room,

i have kind of like the terminator’s tracking system for where the food is,

and i can get there immediately.

-mike birbiglia

 

 

 

Source study: Plos One- Socio-spacial cognition in cats: Mentally mapping owner’s location from voice

baby talk.

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i hear it over and over again

even coming out of my own mouth

and wonder how and why

we ever began the tradition

of talking to our pets in baby talk.

they must consider us to be quite simple people

ever working on our vocabulary and articulation

always hoping that some day

we might master our own language.

 

“i’ve seen a look in dogs’ eyes,

a quickly vanishing look of amazed contempt,

and i am convinced that basically dogs think humans are nuts.”

-john steinbeck

 

 

 

 

image credit: zazzle.com

swiping left.

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The octopus is one of nature’s smartest and most enigmatic creatures, seemingly able to engage in some of the more complex thought processes in nature while also taking advantage of its unique physical abilities. Recently, some angry cephalopods were discovered to be assaulting fish by striking them with an arm.

Their taste for violence doesn’t end there. A new study demonstrates that when an octopus wants to be left alone, it’s not above tossing the nearest object at the noggin of its target.

Researchers at the University of Sydney published their findings in the science journal bioRxiv, and it’s clear that octopuses have a low tolerance for unwelcome visitors. Observing them off the eastern coast of Australia, scientists witnessed octopuses hurling shells, algae, and other debris at other octopuses in an effort to warn them off.

Octopuses don’t “throw” objects the way a human might. Instead, they use their arms to position the object in front of their siphons, which can produce a jet stream of water that propels the material into their adversary.

This behavior has been observed before, but this new study shed some fresh light on their motivations. The footage obtained via GoPro cameras captured a number of female octopuses throwing shells at would-be male suitors, a kind of swiping left, using blunt force.

In these cases, the males were not always discouraged. One bachelor was hit 10 times but stuck around. Others attempted to dodge the projectiles. Octopuses can toss objects for other reasons. They may, for example, want to clean up their living space by removing clutter. In some cases, that unwanted clutter may also mean a pushy mate.

“you want trouble, you can get trouble” 

s. rotslach

 

 

credits:

Photo- S. Rotslach/Getty Images, Mental Floss/J. Rossen, Science Alert/ M. Starr, University of Sydney/bioRxiv

think pink.

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Today in animals you might not believe are real (but are!): the pink fairy armadillo. This species (Chlamyphorus truncatus) grows to just about 6 inches long, making them the smallest armadillos in the world.

They are found only in central Argentina, and because they’re nocturnal and spend a lot of time burrowing underground, the elusive creatures are difficult to study. 

Like other armadillos, pink fairy armadillos have a shell (or carapace) but theirs is softer, thinner and more flexible. The shell’s color comes from blood vessels close to the surface.

source credit: Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

“always be yourself unless you can be an armadillo,

then always be an armadillo.”

-author unknown

some animals are so unusual, it’s hard to believe they’re real.

what’s the most interesting/unusual animal you’ve ever encountered?

growth.

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everything is growing and changing

all in their own time

each in their own way

we watch and care for them

soon they will all be something new.

“and the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” 

Anais Nin