Archive for the ‘animal behavior’ category

“Murder Hornets” Are Here!

May 4, 2020

Just when you thought that 2020 didn’t have much left to throw at us, we have a new horror. They’re big, and frankly they don’t look real…but Asian Giant Hornets (Vespa mandarinia) appropriately nicknamed Murder Hornets, are a thing, and they’re invading North America… 🙀

Not to be confused with killer bees (so very yesterday), Murder Hornets are an invasive species native to Japan that have crossed over the Canadian border into the Pacific Northwest of the U.S., where they’ve been found in the state of Washington. An impressive two inches in size, Murder Hornets pose a serious threat to already beleaguered honeybee populations, which they can decimate within hours. These giant aggressive hornets bite off the heads of bees, then kind of mash up the thorax of their victims to take home to feed to their larvae. It all sounds like a bad SyFy channel movie…perhaps a script begs to be written for Killer Bees vs. Murder Hornets (No Matter Who Wins, We Lose)!

Now Murder Hornets have a stinger long enough to penetrate a typical beekeeper’s protective outfit, and the sting of multiple insects can be as lethal as snake venom. About 50 people are killed annually in Japan from the hornets, whose sting is likened by victims to having hot metal driven into the flesh. Experts advise, “Don’t try to take them out yourself if you see them. If you get into them, run away, then call us!” Sounds prudent to me, but the running away part might not be easy; they can fly at 25 mph. Serious efforts are underway to track and limit the spread of the insects before it’s too late…

It’s said that the hornets don’t ordinarily attack humans unless threatened. Be careful not to do this, knowing that the right lawyer could probably get a Murder Hornet charge downgraded to a Manslaughter Hornet offense… 🦊

 

“Rambuck” on the lam in Arkansas!

October 26, 2019

In a “hunting gone awry”incident in Arkansas, a spirited buck refused to follow the scenario of obligingly dying after being shot with a muzzleloader from a tree stand by an experienced 66-year-old hunter.  Assuming that the deer was dead, the hunter over-confidently approached the downed animal, at which point the buck got back up for round two, and counter-attacked the hunter, goring him repeatedly with his antlers.

The hunter, who was alone, managed to get off a cell phone call to a family member, who then called 911. Suffering several puncture wounds, the hunter succumbed before he could be transported out. The chief of communications for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission reported that this was the first time such an incident had happened in 20 years; a hunter was struck by a deer’s antlers in 2016, but survived the encounter with serious injuries.

The die-hard deer managed to escape back into the wilderness following the incident, and efforts to track the wily Rambuck with K-9 units have so far been unsuccessful as of this posting.- – Is the Deer Avenger among us?!

 

“Mr. Murderbritches” is Free…

December 13, 2018

You have to love the name “Mr. Murderbritches” for a bobcat kitten, but I wouldn’t recommend petting him because he might rearrange your face. I also had to search a bit for a non-bloody picture of the little guy, whose images often appear with a chicken that he has just killed, or eating a road-killed deer. This is hardly some cuddle-kitten, but rather a tough little hombre, a wild thing that is truly wild…approach at your own risk!

Now Mr. Murderbritches is a 4-to-6-month old bobcat kitten who was first reported by a homeowner in Kanarraville, Utah in their chicken coop, at which time the bobcat hadn’t killed any chickens. He was let out by a sheriff’s deputy, with a live trap set up in case he returned, which he did the following day. Held in captivity for one night, Murderbritches was later released away from the property but again returned, successfully killing and eating a chicken from the coop at that time. Joshua Carver, a conservation officer with the state’s Division of Wildlife Resources, then released the snarling cat back into the wild.

Murderbritches then made his way to an isolated property miles away from where he was released, and became stuck in a dog kennel. The conservation officer captured the small wildcat again, feeding him a delicious meal of roadkill deer and eagle-killed pheasant before releasing him again even further away. The badass bobcat struck and hissed at those releasing him, and hasn’t been seen since. The cat was “too mean” for the conservation officer to tell if the animal was male or female at first.

Now here’s a quiz to see if you’ve been paying attention. Mr. Murderbritches is:

a.) A clown that you don’t want performing at a childrens’ birthday party.

b.) A new Xmas gift doll for a child that you hate.

c.) A new heavy metal band.

d.) Trump’s next nominee for Department of the Interior.

e.) A bobcat kitten.

Aww shucks, you probably all aced the quiz! In the words of Conservation Officer Carver, “I get a kick out of wildlife being wild.” – – Long live Mr. Murderbritches!

https://youtu.be/7xcuJ3OPl8k

High Octopi…

September 24, 2018

 

There are worse things to do to an octopus than make them high; like eating them, perhaps.  Octopuses are also normally rather antisocial creatures to the extent that they’ll fight each other to the death, much like Republicans and Democrats.

Their antisocial tendencies together with their intelligence made them alluring subjects to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, who environmentally exposed octopuses to MDMA, the psychoactive ingredient in the party drug ecstasy.  The serotonin-enhanced octopuses were then allowed access to separate chambers in one of which resided Star Wars action figures, while the other housed an undrugged male octopus.

The drugged octopuses forsook Chewbacca and a storm trooper to go all touchy-feely on the other octopus, wanting to hang out with and touch him!  Although their brains are vastly different from human, octopus behavior on the drug was similar to that of humans in terms of enhancing social behaviors.  With six more arms to hug with, it must have been quite a love-in (“His tentacles seemed to be everywhere!,” she testified).

The social enhancement behaviors were seen only in octopuses given exposure to an MDMA dosage equivalent to what a human might take; higher dosage levels resulted in the creatures lying around and staring at things, again much like humans.  And if you see a huggy octopus hanging around, please don’t send them my way.  I’ve nothing against them, but I only party with mammals… (Octopus’s Garden by The Beatles plays in the background)

Iron Granny Strangles Bobcat!

June 20, 2018

 

In a Charlie Daniels song, the devil went down to Georgia.  He just better not mess with the women there, because they’re a pretty tough bunch…

In a true story, DeDe Phillips, a 46-year-old grandmother living in Hart County, Georgia wandered out of her house with her cell phone in hand to see why a neighbor’s dog was barking.  She had just put a “Women Who Behave Rarely Make History” sticker on the back of her new truck.  Met with a bobcat, the woman took a picture before the bobcat went for her, targeting her face!

Well, when the going gets tough, the tough get going…and knowing that the large feline would go for her upper body, she protected herself by squeezing on its throat.  After a pitched battle in which the woman suffered a broken finger and numerous bites and claw wounds to her face, hands, chest, and legs, Phillips managed to strangle the big cat.  How very metal of her!  She didn’t even call for help because her 5-year-old granddaughter was in the house, and she didn’t want her endangered by coming outside. — This was one granny who could lick her weight in wildcats!

It wasn’t until the next day that she found out that the bobcat tested positive for rabies, and she had her first round of rabies shots. Although bobcat sightings are rare, the animals have been known to attack humans and are especially aggressive when they are sick.  One clearly met its match in Georgia…  

Raccoon Climbs St. Paul Skyscraper!

June 13, 2018

 

Like some kind of furry ninja, a raccoon drew major attention for scaling an office building in St. Paul, Minnesota. Making it all look easy, she took a nap on a window ledge over 200 feet up, and later took a break to do some grooming…

…by this point the ‘coon was a social media sensation, but her career was cut short when she succumbed to the charms of traps set on the roof and baited with cat food. The daring lady Rocket Raccoon was safely released, none the worse for the wear…

(Please note: earlier press versions of this saga misreported the raccoon’s sex and the outcome due to available information at the time.)

 

Deer Motorists…

February 2, 2017

 

img_0307
It’s an all-too-familiar scenario; out driving late at night, when suddenly deer appear on the road, blundering into the way with negative consequences to both the deer and the vehicle.  Since turnabout is fair play, we are shown a reverse case safety promo where two deer are motoring when a clueless human walks onto the road, totally absorbed in his texting.  The deer are forced to brake sharply, and honk their horn.  The clueless human looks up from his texting, startled, and hastens to finish his transit across the road.  The deer couple look at one another, and shake their heads.  A moment later, a trio of texting humans perform the same stunt before the now-stopped vehicle. They often travel in groups, you know…

“Don’t text while on the road,” the public service announcer then intones.  “It’s bad for deer, and for humans”.  Some humans are every bit as self-absorbed, location inappropriate, and clueless as those portrayed, too…

“Scariest Moments” on Mountain Monsters

February 24, 2016

wp-1456279820638.jpeg

I, for one, am generally not keen on “Greatest Hits” episodes of any series as they are usually thinly veiled efforts to repackage old material and stretch out a season.  The “Scariest Moments” installment of Mountain Monsters (S4/Ep05) was no different, being essentially a brief synopsis of six different and unrelated previous episodes.  I’m not going to comment on the episodes as I have previously posted on many of them.  For the sake of reference, however, the episodes covered were on the Hellhound, the Cherokee Death Cat, the Cave Creature, the Bear Beast, the Shadow Creature, and Hogzilla.

The summaries provided by these episodes may be helpful to viewers trying to get a brief feeling for the creature involved, or a general sense of what the show itself is about.  It can be striking how similar the episodes really are, both in terms of the methods involved, the flow of the action, and the outcomes.  In only one of the six episodes profiled was the creature being pursued actually captured, that one, Hogzilla, turning out to be a rather large but perfectly ordinary pig.  

The scariest incident I can remember in the time period covered involved team leader Trapper using self-dentistry to extract an aching tooth using pliers!  The series will return to new episodes this upcoming weekend with one called, the Great Fire Ape.  It will probably be at best a mediocre ape, but one that makes a monkey of them all…

…and by the way, the theme song for this show is called Mountain Man Town  by the Last American Cowboys…  

Not Bad for a Beach Ape!

July 21, 2015

image

Dang, these Aussie guys are tough!  When a cheeky bull shark tried to blindside Australian surfing champ Mick Fanning during a live televised competition, the blighter got a bit more than he bargained for.  Spectators thought that they were about to see someone eaten alive before their eyes, but despite being caught off guard and lacking the formidable choppers of his impromptu opponent, Mick slugged the shark in the back and retreated with all of his body parts intact!

I think we’ve found a worthy successor to  Paul Hogan as Crocodile Dundee!  (Film producers, take note!)  Pretty soon sharks will be watching Human Week on the tube to see if we’re as tough as they’ve heard…

James Patterson’s “Zoo” is Coming!

June 26, 2015

wpid-wp-1435336037761.jpeg

When the revolution comes, mammalian furries of different species will work together, communicate over distances, and intelligently coordinate devastating attacks upon humans that will utterly overwhelm and decimate them!

So is the general premise of Zoo, a popular 2012 novel co-authored by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge. That novel is soon to become a television series on CBS, beginning this upcoming Tuesday evening.  Thirteen episodes are assured, with perhaps additional ones to follow should the series catch on.  Zoo will be set in a variety of different locations around the world rather than in a single unchanging site.  Lion attacks in Los Angeles, California will apparently be featured early on, but we will also see domestic cat attacks.

A renegade zoologist called Jackson Oz is a featured character, with such lines as “Animal behavior is changing!”  Will the humans listen in time? – – Don’t bet on it!  The novel was generally well-received by most, despite some junk science in it. While thus far I’ve only been able to view previews and trailers, you can bet that I’ll be glued to the tube this upcoming week to cheer for the home team!