Category Archives: mammals

Surprise piglet

In the absence of being able to write anything substantive, I proffer you this tweet with a little piglet (is that redundant?). Be sure to watch the short video. Dick King-Smith is a well known author of children’s books. Surprise piglet of the day. — Dick King-Smith HQ (@DickKingSmith) March 15, 2017 h/t: Grania

Readers’ wildlife photos (and video)

This will be the last batch of readers’ wildlife photos for a while. But please keep accumulating them to send me when I return. First, Christopher Moss, whose “first chipmunk of spring” photo was posted two days ago, adds a video of what he says is a mating call. (Do female chipmunks call?) His comment: “Beginning […]

Readers’ wildlife photos

We’ll have an eclectic selection today, with the first photo from reader Christopher Moss. His notes are indented: In the tradition of a letter to the editor of The Times documenting the first cuckoo of spring, I have the honour to report that the first chipmunk to emerge was spotted today. They disappeared rather early, […]

Whence the beaver? They’re kangaroo rats, not squirrels!

Of course the title is clickbait, but it does express a new finding: that, among Rodentia (yes, beavers are rodents), whose phylogeny was till now a bit unclear, we now learn that beavers are more closely related to kangaroo rats than to squirrels. For a long time, beavers had been thought to be closely related to […]

Readers’ wildlife photos

Reader John Conoboy sent. . . CATS!  His notes are indented: Here are some photos from my recent trip to Tanzania. I will start with cats. Lions, leopards and cheetahs are the big draws, and the guides all communicate by radio whenever there is a sighting and swarms of vehicles converge at the site and […]

Readers’ wildlife photos

Reader Ed Kroc sent some “vacation” snaps from Vancouver Island; his notes are indented: I just got back from a few days around Pacific Rim National Park on Vancouver Island and thought I would send along some wildlife photos. The first shot is of a Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), mid-descent. Someone was cleaning fish near […]

Readers’ wildlife photographs

After an absence, Jacques Hausser, emeritus professor of ecology and evolution at the University of Lausanne, has returned with three photos of squirrels, which of course are Honorary Cats™. His notes are indented. A small refugee population: Visiting the beautiful Isles of Scilly, off Cornwall, for one very windy week, I was surprised to discover a […]

Readers’ wildlife photos (and a video)

Reader Joe Dickinson sent some lovely photos of elephant seals; his comments are indented: Historically, the northern elephant seal (Mirounga angustirostris) had rookeries only on islands, presumably to avoid terrestrial predators.  With the extirpation of all large predators, several mainland rookeries have been established since the 1960s by a rebounding population (from near extinction in the early […]

Why are giant pandas colored that way? Answer: It’s complicated

Admit it: you’ve wondered, because you’re interested in evolution, why giant pandas are colored that way: “parti-colored”, as they say in the trade. (Their Latin binomial, Ailuropoda melanoleuca, means “cat-foot, black and white”.) Here’s one, in the extremely unlikely case you’ve forgotten: No other bear looks anything like that. A new paper in Behavioral Ecology by Tim Caro […]

Readers’ wildlife photos

We have a potpourri of Ceiling Cat’s creatures today; don’t forget to keep sending in your good wildlife photos (please, nothing out of focus). Here’s a garden spider from reader Kevin Eisken; does anyone know the species? Reader Roh Shaw sent a photo that may be a a Clark’s spiny lizard (Sceloporus clarkii) from Tucson, Arizona. Reader […]