Category Archives: Animals

Why Aren’t You Reading This Magazine About What You Can Catch From Chickens And Corpses?

plagueThere is so much amazing stuff in February’s “Emerging Infectious Diseases” Journal from the CDC. By “amazing,” of course, I mean, stuff that will make you completely batshit (HA HA batshit!) paranoid.

I do not even know where to begin. Flu fun at the live poultry mart (oh, yeah, there’s a lot of poultry and pork stuff in this issue. Enjoy your Super Bowl ribs and wings platter)! A new strain of the plague! “Corpse-to-Human Transmission” of the Nipah virus!

If, like me, you read The Coming Plague like it was Stephen King (but written better) and are waiting for your copy of Spillover to arrive (I’m on the SF public library’s reserve list, it’s popular!), then fuck Vogue, this is the monthly for you. AND YOU CAN SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE.


Owl Crime Scene Investigated

“It died squirming and convulsing in the talons of an owl, locked in by the bone ratchets the owl shares with other raptors.” [Hill/Scientific American]

Yeah, it sounds like the prose you might find in one of those fat novels at the front of the grocery store with titles like “DEAD LADY BOOK.”* But it’s not, this is a blog post on Scientific American’s site, going all CSI-speculative on a quite lovely photo of an odd pattern captured in snow.

Do I hope this picture is real, because it is neat looking? You bet I do. But if I found out it wasn’t, and that at least one small rodent didn’t actually learn the hard way that “Hawk owls in particular eviscerate small mammals before eating their heads and organs, thereafter caching the remains,” well, that’s fine with me.

* If there were as many high-profile serial killers at work as books/TV would have you believe, there’s basically be no good looking women left, unless you count the guys wearing their skin.

Dog Poop DNA Matching: A Natural Fit For SF?

“I was a little surprised…usually because I pick up after myself…most people do. But I was surprised myself. Especially the fine. Being $250 is a little pricey.” [CBS DFW]

“I am so surprised this didn’t happen in SF first,” a friend said to me when I sent her this article on a Texas apartment complex that is using DNA evidence to nab folks who don’t pick up their dog’s shit.

PooPrints, the company providing the DNA matching service, has been mocked on the Colbert Report and has pissed of South Dakota pet owners with their registration fees, reportedly had clients in 28 states as of last year.

So what’s keeping San Francisco, a city known for pet ownership and shit (some of it dog) on the sidewalks? Maybe the problem is that the nearest PooPrints distributor is in LA.

But if you have 20 grand to spend, you can get your own PooPrints distro going. All you need to do is convince a local legislator that the tickets for unpicked poop are the key to municipal riches. I’m imagining that public comment period and snickering already.

Licorice-Loving Rodent Threatened By New Neighbors

TundraVole23“There might be tough times ahead for the poor little tundra vole, for example, which will need to elude more foxes, badgers, pine martens, stoats, weasels, polecats, and mink.” [West/Grist]

Thanks to Winnower pal John, I now have a new thing to worry about — the fate of the microtus oeconomus (aka the tundra vole), whose territory might be seeing a 40% increase in predators by 2080.

According to Wikipedia (where I get all my tundra vole news), the tundra vole digs “underground burrows where it stores seeds and roots, especially licorice root, for the winter. The species epithet oeconomus refers to this ‘economical’ behaviour.”

Why Can’t You See That Your Dog Is Trying To Tell You Something About Your Boyfriend

“Dear Abby: My boyfriend, ‘Richard,’ and I are a mature couple who have been seeing each other for three years. My dog is the issue.

‘Princess’ weighs 9 pounds and is spoiled. She barks at anyone and anything. Richard can no longer tolerate Princess’ barking and has curbed his visits. Except for this issue, he is my dream guy. I feel Richard should understand my attachment to Princess. Am I being selfish?” [Phillips/UPI via SF Chron]

I have so many questions about this situation! Questions that Jeanne “Dear Abby” Phillips, who phoned it in with a “contact a dog trainer” (is this Abby’s new “consult your clergyman”?) response. But, like, who was in the advice seeker’s (“Won’t Give Up the Pup”) life first — “Richard,” or “Princess”? Did WGUTP intend to make the dog-related pun of “curbed”? (And how could Phillips pass that one up? “‘Princess is the one who needs to be ‘curbed'” etc.)

And why are we ignoring the fact that “Princess” might be trying to tell WGUTP something VERY IMPORTANT about Richard? Everyone knows that dogs display aggression in an effort to protect their guardian.

WGUTP, I’d be looking askance at “Richard,” not at “Princess,” were I you.

Don’t Ride A Manatee, Dummy

“‘God — I just — I can’t believe somebody is riding a manatee,’ stammered Sunshine River Tours owner Michael Millsap when informed of the events at Fort De Soto. ‘That’s just ridiculous.'” [Jamison/Tampa Bay Times]

52-year-old Ana Gloria Garcia Gutierrez says she didn’t know that it’s illegal to ride a manatee. So, she rode a manatee.

Another Angle On “Like A Duck Out Of Water”

Do you think ducks are cute? If so, the above video just improved your concentration, if a single Japanese study is to be believed. You can thank me later!

ANYWAY, that video! according to the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary, about a year after 160 fowl were discovered to be “living with a hoarder in appalling conditions,” the rescue org was able to take over the care of these ducks, geese, turkeys and chickens. It was not easy — in the end, it was a judge’s seizure warrant that got the birds into the rescue org’s care.

“For the first time in their lives two dozen recently rescued ducks get their first taste of life in a pond,” Woodstock says about the above video, which was posted last week.

I’ve watched it, like, three times and now my concentration is so amazing that everyone should just watch out.