Monthly Archives: October 2015

Our pet cats need enrichment, activities and things to do! But do these things only exist out of doors? No! While there are certainly problems that can arise from keeping a cat indoors under insufficiently stimulating conditions, it doesn't have to be that way. Also note there are safe ways to give your cat a taste of the outdoors, such as via a catio/enclosure, cat fence, or harness training!

Those are all topics that could each take up a whole blog post! Today, just some quick food for thought on why you should consider keeping your cat indoors...

1. This won't happen to your cat

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The cricket equivalent of a box of chocolates?

Male crickets give the female an edible packet of proteins to consume during mating. This sort of "nuptual gift" is fairly common in insects, and may allow physiological and behavioral changes that increase the chance of a successful mating! The longer it takes the female to eat the packet, the better the sperm transfer. Other insects give dead insects or even their own body as part of this pre-nup arrangement, so seems like crickets are getting off pretty easily (no pun intended!).

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Progress on the Feline Genome

genomeScientists have now sequenced the genomes of 54 kitties, including a few wild species. While the emphasis is on learning more about diseases that are common to cats (and in some cases, also in humans), a larger sampling of cats, and hopefully collecting of other data (like BEHAVIOR) will mean a better understanding of what makes cats cats, and how domestication has shaped their bodies, brains, and behavior.

Can cats make you take your medicine?

We know that cute influences our cognition and increases our focus. Now a company is hoping that it will help you take your pills. Patients with type 2 diabetes  will be send medication reminders alongside cute cat photos in the hopes that it will increase adherence to medication regimens.

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Urban snacking

Recently, the food habits of rodents have been all over the news. Urban animals are well adapted to living around humans in part because they are willing and able to eat our leftovers. Not to be outdone by Pizza Rat, rats’ rodent cousins, quickly made headlines for eating milkshakes and cinnamon rolls. Obviously squirrels have a sweet tooth,

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but some like tomatoes

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Power outages and other problems

Squirrel related power outages were reported in: Hutchinson, KS (800 people); Grand Rapids, MI (2000+ people); Somerset in the UK (1000 people); Spokane Valley, WA (2359 homes); and Frederick, MD (1900 homes). Squirrel also caused grass fires in Raymond, MS and Bryan, TX.

Squirrels and politics

Is that a squirrel on your head or are you just happy to see me? Bobby Jindal accuses Trump of looking like he has a squirrel on his head. Frankly, it’s a little insulting to squirrels.

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Squirrels and science

Virus discovery credited in part to squirrels

Scientists studying a seed that had apparently touched a squirrel’s nest found a new giant virus. Note: the original manuscript makes no references to squirrels, nests or seeds.

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Squirrels may need a matchmaker

Russian ground squirrels spend much of their year sleeping – and when they come out of hibernation, it’s time to mate. But apparently the squirrels are suffering from a lack of males to mate with, and the inability of those males who are around to connect with females. Time for a squirrel Tinder app?

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Endangered Red Squirrel

Once declared extinct, the red squirrel is present in the Mt. Graham area of Arizona, where researchers are currently tracking their numbers (approximately 300 individuals) and movements to better understand their behavior.

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Town gets excited about relocated squirrel statue

Folks in Olean, NY have a new 14-foot high fiberglass squirrel living in their park, one of thirty around the town.

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Dead Squirrels

Eating squirrels

I admit, I gagged a little at some of the pictures from the recent Squirrel Cook Off.

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Dog with dead squirrel

Why? I don’t know.

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Baby squirrel rescued from fire in North Carolina

A baby squirrel had been sleeping in the attack of a home that caught fire in North Carolina. As he ran out of the burning house, firefighters gave him a few hits of oxygen before sending him on his way into the wild.

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Brits once again obsessed with squirrel nuts

Yes, animals have genitals. Why this is supposed to be a source of embarrassment I’m not sure.

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Hunting accidents

A 43 year old man near “Coon Valley,” WI was shot in the shoulder by his hunting buddy while seeking out squirrels. They didn’t report on whether they bagged any squirrels before the accident.

In NY, a man was shot in the face after another hunter missed his target (a squirrel). Oops. The injuries were not life-threatening.

…and a man in Indiana shot himself in the leg while hunting squirrels.

You gotta fight for your right…to feed squirrels?

A Canadian man had received several citations for feeding squirrels. The cops even had him placed under surveillance to stop him from offering handout to local wildlife. In response, he took his claims of privacy violations all the way to the Supreme Court. He did not win.

Stuck squirrels

Squirrel stuck in gift shop

Locals expressed concern for “at least one squirrel” running around inside a gift shop in Seattle. The shop owners placed a trap in hopes of catching and releasing the squirrel.

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Squirrels stuck in trap

A Wisconsin police log reports calls of complaints after someone trapping squirrels didn’t notice that two squirrels were in the same trap…and fighting each other.

Take two pills and call me...

biteI got bitten by a squirrel eight and a half years ago. It was a very expensive bandaid. Since then, medical codes have become more specific, including one just for squirrel bites. Note: there are also now codes for orca bites and spacecraft accidents.

 

 

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Fish recognize faces

Damselfish can recognize members of their own species by their unique facial patterns, detectable to us only under ultraviolet light. The fish were tested under conditions where they were rewarded for swimming toward an image of a fish-face they had seen before over a novel image. They overwhelmingly picked familiar faces. Since fish swim in groups, it may benefit them to know their neighbors.

Also, the title of the article should be "Not just a human skill!" - as it is surprisingly not a human skill...

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