Category Archives: animals

Countershading doesn’t always work

[JAC: There was some discussion this morning about why so many mammals have light bellies. Greg answered in the comments, but I’d also direct you to this article on countershading (yes, it’s from Wikipedia, but it’s the best I could find). Greg happens to be our resident expert on animal coloration, and decided to add a […]

The tuatara’s parietal eye

JAC: My post on the tuatara parietal eye was short and, for some readers, not informative enough. Where did it come from? What does it look like? (By mistake I published a picture of an iguana and not a tuatara.) Greg answers some of the many questions that have surely been tormenting many of you […]

Spot the wood frog

by Greg Mayer Well, it’s not that hard to spot, but you can see how the wood frog (Rana sylvatica) is aptly named. My Minnesota correspondent found this fellow along Caribou Trail (a road) and Jonvick Creek near Lutsen, Cook County, Minnesota, about a half mile from the north shore of Lake Superior, on 10 […]

Defiant hawks

by Greg Mayer In a serendipitous coincidence for Chicago hockey fans, my Florida correspondent has sent me today this photo of a defiant young hawk. Like its Chicago confreres, it refuses to go down without a fight. The hawk is in the correspondent’s front yard; she thinks “the wind wrecked the nest. There is a […]

Die Tiere auf Deutsch

This was highlighted in a tw**t from Tamsin Edwards, via Matthew Cobb. It’s accurate, as far as I know. I love “Meerschweinchen” (“little ocean pig”) as the name for guinea pig. Where did that come from? And “Lazy animal” for “sloth” is great. Which reminds me of a story: A city girl was visiting a farm for […]

An island snake, lost and found

by Greg Mayer Islands that have never been connected to a continent, often called oceanic islands, must receive their flora and fauna over water, by what Darwin termed “occasional means of transport”. Such means include floating (e.g. coconuts), wind (e.g. spiders), rafting (e.g. iguanas), ice floes (e.g. arctic foxes), and, of course, flying (e.g. birds […]

Wobbly cats

by Greg Mayer I’d never heard of feline cerebellar hypoplasia before, but apparently it’s a non-fatal neurological condition that causes the cat to be  “wobbly” in its movements. Ralphee, a wobbly kitten from, apparently, Queensland, is becoming an internet star. Part of Ralphee’s fame comes from her companionship with a d*g named Max. From Wakaleo […]

Readers’ wildlife photos

Reader Bruce Lyon sent some nice photos of wild spider monkeys (Ateles) from Costa Rica, as well as some information (his comments are indented): During my recent trip to Costa Rica we spent time at a functioning farm/ecotourist lodge) that has lovely cabins set along a river. This farm is crawling with both spider and howler […]

Humpback whale, entangled in net, saved with a pocket knife

This amazing video shows the rescue of a humpback whale, entangled in a gill net, freed by snorkelers and sailors armed only pocket knives. It took place in the Sea of Cortez in 2011. This is human empathy at its finest. After it was freed, the whale, as you’ll see, breached 40 times, accompanying the spectacle with fin and […]

British mammal photo contest winners

by Greg Mayer The Mammal Society, a membership society devoted to the conservation and scientific study of the mammals of the British Isles, has recently released the top photos from its second annual Mammal Photographer of the Year awards, and there are quite a few absolutely fabulous photos in the competition. This year’s first-prize winner […]


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