Recently in Critters Category

Smokey Bear

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Great reworking of this image:


And remember, it is Smokey Bear, not Smokey The Bear. Just like Bugs The Bunny.

Well crap - llamas

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Did not see them this morning. Heading into town for Lulu's dinner tonight. Will look again tomorrow.

Really hope they are all right - I love the little buggers. Very sweet critters.

Crap - llamas missing in action

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Drove around and cannot see them. They are probably bedded down in the woods for the evening so I will try again tomorrow. I checked the hay and Rocky has been feeding but I didn't see any indication that the llamas were there - they are hierarchical so the lesser llamas will duck in and grab a huge mouthful and then pull it over a few feet away to eat. Just what I need - llama drama...

Heating up some left-over beef stew for dinner - got a nice loaf of bread in town and got the oven warming up for that.

An interesting idea - Wolverines

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Specifically, training them to locate and dig out avalanche victims. From Outside Magazine:

Wolverines: The Future of Search and Rescue
The wolverine has a reputation. 

“He is one of the most powerful, thievish, daring, and efficient killing machines known to man,” writes Mark Allardyce in Wolverine: A Look into the Devil’s Eyes. The creature’s English name derives from the word wolver, or “wolf-like.” Its scientific label, Gulo gulo, comes from the Latin for “glutton.” It has been known to eat its victims—which include everything from deer and sheep to full-grown caribou—bones, teeth, and all. The animal has been called the hyena of the north. When you type “Can a wolverine” into Google, the search engine offers “kill a polar bear?” 

It’s no surprise, then, that Mike Miller’s proposal to train wolverines to search for—and help rescue—avalanche survivors has raised some eyebrows around his corner of Alaska, near Anchorage.

Surprising intellegence:

“Anything you can train a dog to do, you can train a wolverine to do, five times quicker,” Miller says.

More at the site. Like bears, you have to bond with them at a very early age. The article talks about bottle-feeding them as kits.

Sounds like a great idea. I once saw one on my farm trotting right along the tree-line by the pasture. Very distinctive ears and gait.

A helpful reminder

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What with all the cold weather, it helps to remember our little friends outside:


Found on Facebook.

A word to the wise - preparing for Winter

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From Simon's Cat:

Simon's Cat

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A new episode:

Smart puppy

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My new puppy - Bear - just discovered the dog door and is outside in the fenced yard taking a dump. Talk about being a quick learner!

The door goes from the house into the garage and from the garage outside to a 15X20 foot chain-link pen.

Bears in the woods

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From the BBC:

A great article about breeding dogs

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From Big Think:

Top Vets Urge Dog Owners to Stop Buying Pugs and Bulldogs
Pugs, Frenchies, boxers, shih-tzus and other flat-faced dog breeds have been trending for at least the last decade, thanks to higher visibility (usually in a celebrity’s handbag), an increase in city living (smaller dogs for smaller homes), and possibly even the fine acting of Frank the Pug in 1997’s Men in Black. We’re not ruling it out. These small, specialty pure breeds are seen as the pinnacle of cuteness – they have friendly personalities, endearing odd looks, and are perfect for Stranger Things video montages.

So what’s their cutest feature? Is it their squashy little faces? Their grunting pants (like tiny little obese people!)? Their double-curled tails?

That coiled tail is possibly less endearing when you know it’s a purpose-bred genetic defect, which in its most serious forms leads to paralysis. And their squished noses? That’s been selectively bred to become ever shorter and smaller, making it difficult for the dogs to breathe and eat, causing trickle down effects like cardiovascular stress, eye prolapses, overheating (dogs don’t sweat, so they need to pant to expel heat through evaporation), weight gain because of that sedentary overheated lifestyle, dental crowding, soft-palate collapse, and skin-fold dermatitis. More of an “anatomical disaster” than the patron saint of cuteness.

And the problem with the veterinarians is that the customer knows best - they overlook the serious problems that these dogs have and are focused only on their physical appearance:

Despite performing corrective surgeries and designing pain treatment plans for these dogs, veterinarians don’t often speak up about the unethical nature of buying and creating demand for genetically impaired dogs for one simple reason – it’s bad for business. “If I stood up and told the truth about these breeds,” says an anonymous vet to The Guardian, “I would immediately alienate [their owners] and they would up sticks and move to the neighboring practice where the vet was not as outspoken. Vets in general practice simply cannot afford to be honest and to speak out.”

Much more at the site - they talk about cats as well.

Readers will know that I love the German Shepherd but the dog as it is today is just a pale crippled shadow of what they used to be even just 20 years ago.. Too much inbreeding. When I was looking for a dog, I went with a Shiloh Shepherd. Grace has turned out to be one of the best dogs I have ever been with and healthy too. Here is the Best of Breed GSD from the Crufts Show from 2016:

Her name is Cruaghaire Catoria and she is only three years old and already can not walk with a normal gait because she is in constant pain from her hips. Needless to say, there was quite the uproar in the media when she was awarded the Best in Show prize.

Finnegan, my Brittany Spaniel (a pound rescue) passed away in 2014, I have been looking around for another spaniel - these are great field and hiking dogs. My only problem is that all of the local breeders (Washington, Oregon, Idaho) are emphasizing how their dogs excel in the ring and are great show dogs. Very few of them talk about how they are in the field. Needless to say, I am looking around for other breeds - maybe another Shiloh. Maybe a pibble if I can find a good puppy.

Simon's Cat

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The latest one - The Monster

Critter humor

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Found on the internet:


The Bear and the washing machine

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Cute Samsung commercial from a couple years ago - filmed in the E.C. Manning Provincial Park in BC.

Little bandits

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Cute as can be but I would never do this - go away for a week or two and they will chew right through your walls looking for more food:

Sea Turtle egg poaching

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Brilliant fix for a serious problem - from The Washington Post:

These fake turtle eggs could crack a black market in animal poaching
Smooth to the touch and perfectly round, these ping pong ball-size eggs could easily pass for any of the millions laid and buried every year by endangered sea turtles on the beaches along the North and Central American coasts.

That’s the hope, anyway. Except in this case, they were laid by a 3D printer, and their silicone shell carries a GPS tracking device. They may just help solve a turtle-egg poaching problem that has plagued Central America and, more recently, U.S. shores.

“We want to sneak them into nests that are most vulnerable to poaching,” says Kim Williams-Guillén, director of conservation science at Paso Pacífico, the California conservation group that has created the egg that it hopes will fool poachers. “It would be really easy for them to grab one of those eggs and not even notice it.”

Paso Pacífico’s phony turtle egg, set to be deployed this fall in Central America during an arribada, or mass nesting event, is just one way law enforcement and activists have tried to crack down on the egg poaching of sea turtles, nearly all of which are endangered or under high threat of extinction.

The problem is a severe one:

“Poaching pressure is extremely intense,” says the group’s founder and director, Sarah Otterstrom.  “There can be thousands of turtles on the beach at night. And if there isn’t protection, we can be pretty certain that the beaches will be poached.” Paso Pacífico estimates that, without guards, about 90 percent of the nests are poached.

90% rate of poaching. No wonder these are endangered species. Great idea and I hope they make examples out of the people they catch.

The most dangerous of all

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Too cute!

Nice homage to The Gashlycrumb Tinies


Awww - meet Little Bear

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Cute story from Sacramento, CA station KXTV:

Cat and bear form friendship at Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary

A feral cat and a bear are friends at the Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary.

Zoo keepers call the black cat Little Bear. They don't know where she came from or even if it's really a "she."

She just showed up at the zoo and a few months ago she started to call one of the bear exhibits home.

"Every morning we scatter dog food for the bears and she started coming into the exhibit and eating the dog food," said Jill Faust, senior lead zoo keeper. "Once she started coming in here on a regular basis we started putting food out for her in the morning as well."

However what has made this situation even more unusual is that the cat is friends with a 550 pound bear named Sequoia.

Cute story - I am reminded of this story from Mark Twain's Letters from the Earth:

“Man is the Reasoning Animal. Such is the claim. I think it is open to dispute. Indeed, my experiments have proven to me that he is the Unreasoning Animal... In truth, man is incurably foolish. Simple things which other animals easily learn, he is incapable of learning. Among my experiments was this. In an hour I taught a cat and a dog to be friends. I put them in a cage. In another hour I taught them to be friends with a rabbit. In the course of two days I was able to add a fox, a goose, a squirrel and some doves. Finally a monkey. They lived together in peace; even affectionately.

Next, in another cage I confined an Irish Catholic from Tipperary, and as soon as he seemed tame I added a Scotch Presbyterian from Aberdeen. Next a Turk from Constantinople; a Greek Christian from Crete; an Armenian; a Methodist from the wilds of Arkansas; a Buddhist from China; a Brahman from Benares. Finally, a Salvation Army Colonel from Wapping. Then I stayed away for two whole days. When I came back to note results, the cage of Higher Animals was all right, but in the other there was but a chaos of gory odds and ends of turbans and fezzes and plaids and bones and flesh--not a specimen left alive. These Reasoning Animals had disagreed on a theological detail and carried the matter to a Higher Court.”

So sadly true.

Meet Stoffel the Honeybadger

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Awww cute!

Tip of the hat to Terrierman's Daily Dose

Stoffel's backstory - he was raised by humans from infancy so cannot be released to the wild. His home is the Moholoholo Rehab Centre in South Africa.

How to be happy

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Six rules - from Tastefully Offensive:


Dog water

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Person that did this illustration knows dogs very well:


Boomerang Tags

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Looking for a tag for your pet? Boomerang is the way to go - deeply engraved and color filled on Stainless steel. Their top of the line slide-on tag (guaranteed for the life of the pet) is $10.99 with free shipping in the USA.

The laser engraved aluminum tags you get at the pet stores are useless - the engraving wears off after a year or two for an active dog.

Simon's Cat

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Saw there was a new one out - being from the Pacific NW I can relate:

Some good news regarding Harambe

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From Breitbart:

Police Investigating Boys’ Parents in Case of Harambe the Gorilla
Police said Tuesday they are investigating the parents of the 3-year-old boy who fell into a gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo and had to be rescued by a team that shot the 400-pound animal to death.

Authorities said the investigation will look at the parents’ actions leading up to the incident – not the operation of the zoo, which is overseen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Police will then confer with prosecutors over whether charges should be filed, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said.

More at the site - who would loose track of their own three-year-old child? As much of an abject tragedy that it was, the zookeepers acted perfectly killing Harambe. Tranquilizers can induce mental aberations and no telling what he was going to do as he passed out. Simply falling on the infant could have been fatal.

This is something that will play out over the next couple of weeks as videos are examined.

How to dance to EDM

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Electronic Dance Music - these birds do it a lot better than me:

Part deux here: How to dance to...

A bear two-fer

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I love bears. Had the great pleasure of meeting (and hugging) Smokey Bear twice when I was a kid - that made a big impression. Would love to get one for a pet but you have to get them when they are just born (eyes still closed) to get a good imprint - they can turn wild as an adult if you do not. Here are two fun bear stories.

First from the Denver, CO FOX News:

Dine and dash: Bear breaks into shop near Estes Park, enjoys pies
The Colorado Cherry Company has been a fixture along U.S. 36 near Estes Park for decades.

The family business has seen its fair share of visitors through the years. But one visitor ate the goods and made a gigantic mess at the same time overnight Monday into Tuesday.

It turns out bears like pies. A lot.


"Cherry and apple was his favorite. He passed over the strawberry rhubarb," Kristi said. "Maybe he wasn't feeling like a tart pie, I guess," Lehnert said.

Second, from USA Today:

Bear drinks 36 cans of favorite beer
Rain-eeeeer .... Bear? When state Fish and Wildlife agents recently found a black bear passed out on the lawn of Baker Lake Resort, there were some clues scattered nearby — dozens of empty cans of Rainier Beer.
The bear apparently got into campers' coolers and used his claws and teeth to puncture the cans. And not just any cans.

"He drank the Rainier and wouldn't drink the Busch beer," said Lisa Broxson, bookkeeper at the campground and cabins resort east of Mount Baker.

And a bit more:

A wildlife agent tried to chase the bear from the campground but the animal just climbed a tree to sleep it off for another four hours. Agents finally herded the bear away, but it returned the next morning.

Agents then used a large, humane trap to capture it for relocation, baiting the trap with the usual: doughnuts, honey and, in this case, two open cans of Rainier. That did the trick.

These are both a year or more old but great stories and the first I heard of them.

I asked God to give Sam pastures of sweet grasses, clear mountain streams and fun adventures around every corner.

I got Sam from two local people who did a lot of back-country riding and Sam was getting too old for that kind of lifestyle. I emailed them of his passing and they emailed Sam's first owner who had this to say:

Thanks for letting me know xxxxxxxxx. I spent a solid fifteen years on top of him and he never let me down. Sometimes it was so dark I couldn't see him, it didn't matter, he would stay on the trail.  Even forty mile a day rides didn't slow him down. Later I had to give him up for the kids to ride. He was that good. I always had to ride the greener ones. Sam was 31 this month. He leaves a big hole in my heart. I'm glad he was able to finish off his years having good care.

Met up with them at the local coffeehouse this morning and we spent some time telling Sam and Rocky stories. Debating whether to get one of the BLM Wild Mustangs or another riding mule - I am leaning towards another riding mule as I like their personality much more than horses. There is a big difference.

Dog trials - New Zealand

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Spirit animal

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Meet Nora

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Cute factor off the charts:

Nora lives at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Powell, Ohio.

Awwwww... Readers will know that I really love bears - would love to get a bear cub as a pet.

Environmental news from Yellowstone

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A change in policy - from Yellowstone Gate:

Petition seeks return of Yellowstone jackalope to public lands around parks
Federal wildlife managers say they are in the early phases of reviewing a petition that seeks to reintroduce the gray prairie jackalope to the greater Yellowstone area, but they have not set a deadline for acting on the filing.

Attorneys for the Biological Equality Foundation on Friday submitted the petition to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, according to agency spokesman Craig Jimmeson, who declined to comment in detail on the petition.

Citing more than a dozen state and federal wildlife and habitat studies dating back to 1992, the Colorado-based Biological Equality Foundation stated in its petition that the “Yellowstone jackalope has been reduced to pockets of isolated population groups across a tiny fraction of its historic range.”


A bit more:

Terrence Rovak, spokesman for the Biological Equality Foundation, said thriving jackalope populations in northern Australia and southwestern Canada have proven beneficial to their habitats, restoring native forbs and slowing the spread of dalmation toadflax and other noxious weeds. Rovak said the same result is likely in the greater Yellowstone area if jackalopes are allowed to propagate freely.

“Hunting, trapping and poisoning the jackalope to the brink of extinction has had widespread negative effects on large-scale ecosystems across the Rocky Mountain region, and it’s high time we took steps to reverse that sad state of affairs,” Rovak said.

The Jackalope:

Early white explorers to the West told of encounters with reclusive but fearless large rabbits with antlers or horned protrusions. But the reports were dismissed as tall tales until confirmation of a Yellowstone jackalope by the Hayden expedition to the Yellowstone area in 1871. Expedition photographer William Henry Jackson captured the jackalope on film, proving the myth to be a reality.

Needless to say, this is an article that was initially published on April First, 2012.

Groundhog Day

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Looks like an early spring - good news!

And, at least the Groundhog lived another day - from the New York Post from September 25, 2014

Zoo in coverup after groundhog dropped by de Blasio dies
Mayor Bill de Blasio has groundhog blood on his hands!

A week after Hizzoner dropped Staten Island Chuck in front of a crowd of spectators on Feb. 2, the winter-weather prognosticator died of internal injuries — and then the coverup began, The Post has learned.

Staten Island Zoo officials went to great lengths to hide the death from the public — and keep secret the fact that “Chuck” was actually “Charlotte,” a female impostor, sources said Wednesday.

The stand-in was found dead in her enclosure at the Staten Island Zoo on Feb. 9 — and a necropsy determined she died from “acute internal injuries,” sources said.

She had fallen nearly 6 feet when the mayor lost his grip during the Groundhog Day photo op. Sources said her injuries were consistent with a fall.

A Zoo keeper's trick

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Cute video:

The photographer is Joel Sartore and more of his animal project can be found on Instagram.

I love bears totes - big cats almost as much.

Great show - been wondering what kind of dog to get to replace dear Finnegan - been leaning towards a terrier...

The group has a Facebook page.

Go and read at Mental Floss.

My favorite? Number 10



There was a disturbance at an art gallery in November that led to an investigation. Four intruders were apprehended. A Facebook post by the Newport, Oregon police department takes the burglary report to the next level, by describing the perpetrators as a gang of thieves with colorful nicknames, including “Squeaky Feets.” The gallery owner, Cris Torp, said that the raccoons got in through roof vents, which has happened before. But when they recently sealed the openings around the vents, no one knew that the raccoons were trapped inside! The animals had been in the gallery for hours, but did little damage to the artwork. “Squeaky Feets” has found fame from the caper, and now has his own Facebook page.

Numbers 9 and 6 are fun too...

Mountain goats in the air

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Great little video - I love goats. If they were not so harmful to landscaping I would still have a couple of them.

A Christmas Buck

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From the intarwebs:


After a minute or two of staring through my scope, I dropped my rifle in the grass, fell to my knees, and thanked God for this amazing creature!”

“I just couldn't pull the trigger!”

That buck is going to live a long and happy life; quite safe from any gun-owning American

Now, Dasher now, Dancer now Prancer and Vixen

Curious bit of evolutionary adaptation at work here - from Slate / Wild Things:

Arctic Reindeer Change the Color of their Eyes for the Long, Dark Winter
There, at the corner of your yard, where the woods creep up and night obscures the seeming safety of suburbia—a pair of glowing eyes hovers … watching … waiting. The hair on the back of your neck stands at attention, your muscles tense, and deep within your brain a thought emerges clear as day. Those eyes are obviously attached to the business end of a ravenous beast—and your life will be over within the minute.

These iridescent orbs are caused by “eyeshine,” light reflected off a thin layer of tissue in the backs of some creatures’ eyes to let them see better at night. Humans lack this tissue, called the tapetum lucidum, and the night vision that comes with it, which is probably why our adrenaline gland is always trying to warn us those eyes belong to a direwolf instead of more likely creatures—like wolf spiders in the grass. Luckily, we’ve invented flashlights and crossbows to compensate. But many animals cannot afford such luxuries—like the Arctic reindeer (Rangifer tarandus), an animal that lives in lands bathed in darkness for months on end. And unlike you and me, wolves are a very real threat to a reindeer.

In summer, Arctic reindeer eyes are a golden hue. In winter, they turn deep blue. So far as researchers know, this seasonal shift is unique. Neither horses, nor house cats, nor any other mammals with tapetum lucidum are known to do this.

And a possible explanation:

The eyes of an Arctic reindeer also do this, but because of the seasonal physical changes to the tapetum lucidum, the wintry blue eyes reflect 50 percent less light than the golden eyes of summer. Now, you might think less reflected light would mean worse night vision. But here’s the kicker: Scientists think the blue eye’s compressed structure actually scatters some of the light toward other photoreceptors on the sides of the eye. In essence, the blue eye may be an evolutionary adaptation to more effectively recycle light for an animal that has to survive several months of the year in inescapable darkness.

These findings were published in the Oct. 30 issue of the Proceedings of the Royal Society. The scientists stress that they “have not proved functional relationships” among the pressure change, the eye color change, the light reflection, and the visual benefits. But scientists are cautious as all get-out. Moreover, they write that the link is likely. They also found that blue-eyed winter reindeer had “significantly elevated visual responses compared with summer animals.” In other words, all the pieces of the puzzle are on the table—someone just needs to commission a study to put them together.

Delightful adaptation - just when we think we know it all...

Awwww - polar bear cub tries to roll over

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Hippie tears

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This video has been around for a long time - a classic self-centered clueless moment. I have heard it many times and still laugh:


It just got bumped by this video:

And it comes with the following caption:

During a solo kayak trip, intended to go from from Ketchikan, Alaska to Petersburg, Alask, a bear attacked my kayak. This incident occurred outside of a US Forest Service cabin in Berg Bay, Wrangell District, Alaska. I had just carried my tent, food, and all my gear into the cabin to dry while I went on a 4 mile hike that begins just behind the cabin. I heard something outside as I ate my lunch, and well, I never got to go on that hike. This video is taken 5 minutes after the attack began, he continued to gnaw on it for another 5 or 10 after the video ends. Shortly after the bear left and I drug the kayak back to the cabin door step. Then I swam to the S/V anchored in the bay. They did not have their radio on and I feared I would be stranded! The German flagged S/v Caledonia took me and my things to Wrangell where I am trying to repair my kayak now.

Rule #1: - when arriving at a new campsite, secure everything first. Then break for lunch.

Rule #2: - Bears are innately curious and will explore all new items in their territory, especially if they smell like food. If your Kayak was clean, it would not have gotten anything more than a cursory sniff.

Rule #3: Bears do not speak English (or French or whatever).

Rule #4: Even if the bear did speak English, they would not like being pepper-sprayed and would do whatever they wanted to do to get back at you if you did pepper-spray them. The bear here knew exactly what it was doing. It did not attack the person, it just f*cked up their transportation. A teachable moment as they say...

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