Controversial squirrel rescue causes more controversy
Last time I reported on Grace the disabled squirrel who a family had rescued and raised without a wildlife permit. Social media helped concerned folks get attention for this issue. The squirrel was seized by the state and brought to a wildlife rehab center. What is unclear is what will happen if Grace cannot be released back into the wild. Petitioners claim that in that case, the state will euthanize her instead of return her to her rescuers. Read about it here.
The cats-box thing is a bit of a joke (and internet phenomenon), I mean, why DO cats love boxes so much? Even science has tried (sort of) to tackle the question. We get a range of answers, from predation advantage (a great place to stalk prey from), to fun (think of Maru), to perhaps the most important reasons: safety and security.
But for one group of cats, cats in animal shelters, boxes aren’t just frivolous additions to the environment, they may be critical to reducing stress. Boxes may save lives. Yet another study, recently published in Applied Animal Behaviour Science, demonstrates that having an appropriate hiding space reduced stress in shelter cats, and helped them adapt better to being in a new environment.
Two deer species have been found responding to distress cries of other species, including seals and humans. Why? These sounds all share some common sound structures and patterns, but the deer only responded when the frequency of non-deer cries was similar to that of their own infants. Structure and pattern may be a universal way to detect "someone is in danger" - and it may be helpful to know there is danger in the area, even if those making the calls are a different species. Read more here.
If you live in the city, you likely see a lot of pigeons, and you likely see a lot of pigeons that could use a pedicure (if they have any toes left). WHY are pigeon feet so wonky? @TetZoo tries to work it out here:
The short answer, injuries from urban "stuff" - but I think there are still more questions! Why so many pigeons and not other urban birds, like crows?
Read more here, where pigeon experts Dr. Haag-Wackernagel and Dr. Lisa Jaquin discuss how fibers get tangled in pigeon feet and cause all kinds of problems (thanks to SavorTooth for that tip!).
Does this squirrel dress better than most college students?
Sneezy the campus squirrel has gained notoriety (and much media coverage) for her high tolerance for being dressed in cute outfits. A "squirrel whispering" student at Penn State has even turned this squirrel's cuteness into an enterprise, including a Facebook page with over 25,000 "likes." Is this squirrel-sploitation or just ridiculously cute? Is this putting Berkeley squirrels to shame?
Well it looks like the methods may be a little sketchy, but a small study suggests that people can learn to see healthy food as rewarding (and show less reward response in the brain to things like donuts and cookies). Can't we have it both ways? I love brown rice AND donuts.