It's been a rough few months...I submitted two manuscript revisions (one of which has been accepted! Huzzah!)! I went to New York City to be a panelist at the Better with Pets Summit! And I'm madly preparing for my final experiment that I hope will lead to my receiving a PhD sooner rather than later.
But, until the graduate school tidal wave returns...it's time to find out what squirrels have been up to for the last two months (no surprise, they've been busy).
Squirrels’ Reign of Terror
Marin County on high alert
The biggest news of late is the report of EIGHT separate squirrel attacks in a neighborhood in Novato, CA. Some of the attacks occurred when a squirrel jumped from a tree onto its victim. The problem began a few weeks ago, when the squirrel entered a school, biting a teacher and a student before being chased out of the building.
Are cats becoming more likely to steal or is the internet just making us more aware of these thieving felines? Yet another cat wandering the neighborhood and bringing goodies back home, such as undies and even a bag of weed. This kitty seems to have a preference for My Little Pony. Some cat experts have weighed in on this behavior before. Read veterinary behaviorist Dr. Nicholas Dodman's take here.
Bird feeders spread avian "pink eye"
As sad as this makes me to say, there is yet more evidence that bird feeders can do more harm than good (aside from attracting more squirrels than birds). A new study showed that birds who prefer feeders over foraging are major players in the spread of disease to other birds in their flock. If you feed birds, clean and disinfect your feeder every time you fill it please!!
What kind of movies do chimps want to see?
My undergrad advisor, who worked with Kanzi the chimp, told me that the chimps he worked with loved to watch football games and videos of chimps fighting. A new study, using non-invasive eye tracking, looked at what chimps look at when watching a video of humans, including one wearing a gorilla suit. By changing some features of the video on second viewing, the scientists could see what the chimps remembered, and what they expected to see.
And in the pet squirrels are a bad idea column...a woman in Texas (oh Texas) was bitten by her neighbor's squirrel, B.B., needing stitches and antibiotics after the attack. Keeping a squirrel as a pet is actually not legal in Texas (at least not without some paperwork). The good news: squirrels don't typically carry rabies.
Spiders in both the Phillippines and Peru have been observed building decoy spiders. This behavior had never been observed before but brings up so many questions! Are there evolutionary advantages? Are some decoy spiders better than others (depending on why they do this in the first place!) Is this tool use in a spider? Can they count to eight? I see a field of research developing before our eyes!! Read more here