Thursday, April 9, 2009

When Animal Mothers Suck (Part 2)

My favorite animal dad, I feel, is the best provider a male can be. He is the Von der Decken's Hornbill.
"What do you want, honey?" He asks the mother of his children, "A safe place to live? You got it." He then whisks her away to a tree hole where he seals her in save for a little hole he can fit his beak into.
"What do you want to eat today, dear?" He lovingly asks, "Some nuts perhaps? I'll go and get you some. You just sit tight and relax." He then flies away only to return with the finest food nature has to offer, sticking it through the hole in the tree.
"Are you scared, my sweet?" He reassures, "I am here all night and will protect you from the fiercest creatures." The male Von der Decken's Hornbill sits by the nest and caters to the female day in and day out. Once the babies start to outgrow the nest, it's time for mother and father to both go out and search for food, but dad will always be on high alert to protect his family. Awwwww.
But nothing screams devotion quite like the Emperor Penguin.
Try balancing something on your feet for 64 days straight in extremely freezing temperatures. That's what these dads do. They barely move while not eating for 64 days. The egg is balanced atop their feet to keep it away from the snowy ground and in order to stay warm themselves, all the dads huddle together. Meanwhile, the mom is out swimming, eating as much fish as possible. And if she doesn't make it back in time for the chick's first meal, the dad will regurgitate any food he has left in his empty belly for his baby.
Many people would say that the best animal dad is the Seahorse. Why is this?
Because he's the one that ends up giving birth? That's not a very good reason...though watching the video below might convince you otherwise. Popping out a baby seahorse looks very painful and very time consuming.

Monday, April 6, 2009

When Animal Mothers Suck (Part 1)

It's assumed that in the animal kingdom, the mothers are the nurturers, the lovers, the selfless general, the all around greater sex. Females are associated with home and family, life and perhaps love.
There are classic examples of motherhood at its finest within the mammalian community. The mammal mother is warm and thoughtful, who loves her progeny but is sure to teach and discipline when needed.
The only job of the male is to produce something shiny and distracting in hopes of getting a mate to be the mother of his shiny offspring.
And for the most part, the father is off with a sweet new thing when the deed is done, right? Yes...for the most part. However, there are some outstanding fathers out there who think not of themselves first or their penis, but their future little ones.
The first of which is the Antechinus.
Well actually...this dude does think with his penis, but he does have the best intentions for furthering his gene pool. These little marsupials live in Australia and New Guinea and only live long enough to breed once. That's why the male needs to do it to it as much and as long as marsupially possible. He will go from one female to the next and so on in a single night, eventually becoming so exhausted, his immune system does not function properly and he dies. Essentially, the Antechinus sacrifices himself (and the hope of possibly more sex in the future) for his offspring. And with most of the females of this species eating their young, you gotta spread your seed around to make sure it reaches one good mother out there, right?
Next is the Marmoset. Cute little guys.
Marmosets are the smallest primates in the world and live in South America. The dads of these species get an A because when tiny mother is done nursing the twins, dad steps up and does the raising. He cleans them and looks after them, carrying them only back to mom when they need a boob. And when the babies start to eat solid food, dad makes sure they get plenty of it. Meanwhile, the mom's out having a good time with the neighbor. What a stand up guy!
Then there is the Jacana.

This guy does everything! First, he builds the nest. Then when a female comes around and he's lucky enough to reel her in, they will mate, she will lay the eggs, and then she will leave. Off to get some action from another male, the mom Jacana has no further interest in her brood. That's when dad comes into play. Despite abandonement by his former flame, the male Jacana will incubate the eggs and protect them from danger (including the mom). Since the nests are built on marshy vegetation, they tend to sink. If this happens, the male Jacana will simply carry each egg under his wing to a more suitable site. If the eggs are lost, mom will return and try again with her baby's daddy, lay her eggs, and then promptly leave him again. And when the eggs finally hatch (they might not even be his biological offspring), father takes them all out for swimming and eating lessons...he'll also still tuck them under his wings if that crazy bitch of a mother ever rears her ugly head again!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Deer Mouse: The Grim Reaper of Rodentia

My mom always told me that I worry about things I shouldn't be worrying about. And the things I should be concerned about, I could care less.
So true.
I wish I could stop it, but it's just who I am. And though I have come to accept my personality, it still doesn't change the fact that it can be frustrating and completely debilitating sometimes.
I worry. Worry about me, worry about you. Worry about freekin' tidal waves and cancer
(but I feel the cancer worrying is totally valid).
But today's worry REALLY takes the cake.
I was watching TV in my half built abode when my eye caught a darting movement. It was a little mouse eating Daisy's bird seed she had discarded and I squealed. Not because it creeped me out, but because it was so damn cute. It had cute eyes that bulged out of its head and a fluffy white belly...
Whoa whoa whoa. White belly? The secretary in my brain began going through the filing cabinet, throwing irrelevant (or perhaps relevant) information on the bottom of my amygdala. This mouse is not the average grey house mouse, I thought, don't remember what it's called but I do recall it carries a (cue scary music) DEADLY disease.
Panic mode instantly sets in. The next thing that comes to my mind is get on the internet.
Ah, the internet. What would I be without it? Probably a lady with of sounder mind. The internet is a hypochondriac's friend and enemy. Got a symptom? Look it up. A quick diagnosis with a few clicks of the mouse.
My research led me to the deer mouse. Brown, white belly, cute bulgy eyes...and just as my secretary informed me, potential carrier of the hanta virus.
The lady in my brain needed more info and my mind was cluttered with questions that needed to be filed for future use. The sponge needed soaking.
Well, calm down Katie. Let's see what the hanta virus is in the first place.
Type type type.
Hanta virus is a disease that deer mice can transmit. You get it simply by inhaling mouse poo dust.
Oh great, so essentially: Where there's mice, there's poo. Where there's poo, there's poo dust. And where there's living things, there is air that can carry the poo dust.
Okay, okay. Well probably only the elderly and people with bad immune systems get it, right?
Type type type.
Oh no, not at all! Anyone can get it, and half of those who do die.
At this point I should just stop myself from seeking any further, but I don't.
Type type type.
Oh, even if you do seek medical attention early, you can still die. And there have been outbreaks in the bay area.
My stomach is in knots. Because my eyes gazed upon a deer mouse, I am now convinced I have the hanta virus. And there is nothing I can do about it except sit and wait and realize I have no symptoms.
And if I do get it...I will be the glass half empty girl. Worrying that I will be the 50% who die. And I know it's not that I'm scared of dying, I'm scared of never seeing anyone again.
It's time like these I wish my Mom was here. Well, I always wish she was here.
But she was really the only person who could make me feel better.
She would say, "Well Katie...if you have it, then you have it. Cross that bridge when you get to it."
She'd also say, "And you want to work with wildlife?"
Yes, yes Mom I still do. Even though those little buggers can kill me.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


I love that she hangs out with the dogs.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Spider Dump

I witnessed something crazy the other day. A big fat juicy spider taking what appeared to be a juicy spider dump. I believe it was some sort of orbweaver. Crazy though I had been watching at the exact moment it decided to take a crap. 
"Do spiders crap?" My boyfriend asked.
"They gotta get rid of waste like everyone else, don't they?" I replied.
If anyone wants to know what a spider taking a crap looks like, the spider wriggles and strains really hard, and then a few drops of clear goo fall out. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Disorder of the Colony Collapse

Einstein did NOT say this:
"If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live."
A creepy story, it would be. A true story, it is not.
What is true though is that worker bees have been magically disappearing at an alarming rate since 2006 and scientists are still not entirely sure what is happening to them. They are agreeing to disagree. Some say it's just a natural cycle of bee mites or bee disease. Others say it's Global Warming. And other theories include use of cell phones and genetically altered crops. It all depends on the bandwagon you jump on. 
If you don't agree with altering crop genetics, then make sure you claim that's why the bees are dying off. If you think Global Warming is surely fucking with colony order, then say so. No science is needed. Just your opinion.
The point I'm trying to make here is, scientists need to stop bickering on why they're right and instead do some hardcore research to prove it. Or maybe everything is causing the bees to disappear and everyone's right. 
Can't all scientists just get along?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Completely Random Blog in Which I Discuss a Website and Kicking Dogs

Have you ever had a dream that somewhat correlated with what was happening to you in your real environment? This has happened to me a few times and it always involved my pets. I'll explain.
One morning, while I was sleeping in and my sister was getting ready for school, I had a terrible horrible almost real dream about a terrible horrible almost real gremlin with these big yellow eyes staring at me intensely. I woke myself up to keep me safe...only to see a pair of big yellow intense eyes staring at me! It was my sister's insane cat, Gray. She always looked at you like that when she was ready to attack. I screamed at the top of my lungs and instinctively threw my comforter at her. How in the world did my brain know she was staring at me? Or was it just a coincidence I was dreaming about something staring at me?
Case 2. Early this morning, I was dreaming about standing in the ocean knee deep and discussing with these fellas about how deep you can go before a shark attack is likely (Shoulder deep in dream logic).  Suddenly as I stood in the water, about to wake up because I don't like sharks, something brushed across my foot. I kicked like I had never kicked in my life! My dog, Oscar, began to wail. 
"Crap Oscar!" I said half asleep, "I told you I don't want you in the bed!" It was all his fault of course. Poor wiener dog, he's already got neck/spine problems enough as it is, then I go and kick him in the face! I would have much rather preferred kicking my other dog, Sophie,  who is young and hardy.
And you know how they say dogs forgive you? Well, that wasn't the case with Oscar. He didn't want to be anywhere near me in the bed. He would not lay down unless there was a barrier (my boyfriend, John) between us. He wouldn't even look at me! Can you blame him? He was just laying there minding his own business when his ear happened to lightly graze my foot then BAM! Out of left field came my foot...hard.
And that in a nutshell is the danger of having your small doggies sleep in the bed with you. 

Haagen-Dazs wants you to save the bees! And with this cute little interactive site, how could you not? Save the bees! But that's another blog.
Till next time!