Tag Archives: predation

Are cats just ruthless killers?

Letting your pet cats outdoors is a controversial topic (and apparently a cultural issue - here in the States, we lean more towards keeping them inside, and the Brits think we're nuts!).  Does it prevent behavior problems? Maybe -- but I have to say I have PLENTY of behavior clients with indoor/outdoor cats who fight with other cats, urinate or spray inside the house, or have aggression or attention seeking issues. So letting cats go outdoors is not the panacea for all feline behavioral ills as some might have you believe (I've previously written about some reasons to keep your cats indoors).

A new book "Cat Wars" might have you thinking that cats are the only source of avian woes (I've also written on this topic before for The Dodo - so don't forget about humans, squirrels, raccoons and other animals that make life rough on songbirds).

My Thumbnail ...continue reading

1 Comment

Dominance: An illusion when it comes to dog-human relationships

domThe always astute John Bradshaw wrote a lovely summary this week as to why trying to assess your relationship with you dog through the lens of a hierarchy is misguided and a possible welfare issue. Read it here!

Could a parrot serve as a witness?

echofascinating story of a parrot who knew too much...while humans have a long history of placing animals on trial, this is a new case questioning whether a talking parrot who had been previously owned by a mob boss could provide court evidence against him. ...continue reading

Dogs: Always dressed up

Why do animals have white patches? Does your dog or cat have "mittens" or a white tail tip? It appears that domesticating animals somehow has selected for this pattern of coat colors...and @DogSpies is going to tell us more!

My Thumbnail

...continue reading

When a squirrel enters your house and eats your fig newtons, what to do?

This article recounts one woman’s experience of a squirrel breaking into her home, turning on the water, eating her fig newtons, and then taking a nap in her bed. Moral of the story: don’t panic, call animal control, then find a way to keep them from coming back in!

...continue reading

Cats in print

A study examining the role of  cats in New York Times' stories over the year revealed some interesting patterns: cats were mostly hated in the 1800's, and beginning in the 1970's, stories about cats were more focused on welfare issues and treatment of cats. This shift likely reflects the growing interest in human-animal relations, and on-going debates over how we treat all animals. Fascinating!

My Thumbnail

Cats + Tech

The MousR is a cat toy being developed to respond to your cats' movements - with "vision" that can detect your cat's reactions. MousR was created by cat-loving PhD students in Engineering at UC Illinois and I'm now wondering if I went into the wrong field! They've almost convinced me to spend $150 on a cat toy! After a successful kickstarter, MousR is set for a fall 2015 release.

My Thumbnail

Now, the Meowlingual has me less convinced. For $169, it will apparently read your cat's facial expressions and meows. Given the Bowlingual's less than overwhelming success (Behaviorist Sophia Yin reviewed it on her blog and said: "Overall, my final ruling is that the Bow-lingual is fun to play with for a while if you got it for free, but it’s not very useful since the translations aren’t trustworthy and most don’t make sense." I'm guessing the same is true of Meowlingual. Buyer beware!

My Thumbnail

What happens if there aren't enough rabbits for cats?

I recently wrote about a study about cat's individual prey preferences, and one of the authors of that study is a co-author on a new paper looking at the effects of the rabbit population of feral cat predation in Australia. Apparently, cats really love rabbits, but when there aren't enough rabbits, they focus more heavily on other animals, including native birds and rodents. This means thinking twice about rabbit-eradication programs. Read about the study here.

My Thumbnail

Why do cats love boxes?

A subject that pops up from time to time, I've even written about it before! People REALLY WANT TO KNOW: why do cats love boxes? It's quite simple really: heat and safety. Wired dug deeper and talked to some cat experts.

My Thumbnail

Killer Cone Snails

Cone snails expose their prey to a massive dose of insulin that sends the fish into a low blood sugar state, making them easier to kill. Are the fish just "hangry"?

My Thumbnail

Like us, chimps like to talk about food

A new study found a relationship between the types of chimps calls, and their discovery of delicious fruits. Seems like they might be talking about the quality and quantity of the fruit on a tree.

My Thumbnail

Sister fish stick together

Cichlid fish are really cool! Recently, it was discovered that among African Neolamprologus caudopunctatus, the females are the ones who disperse, not males. In groups of fish, DNA analysis revealed that small females tend to hang with their bigger sisters. This kind of sibling-shoaling was not found in males of the same species.

My Thumbnail

 

2 Comments

It's Squirrel Appreciation Day! What could be better than getting caught up on all the latest squirrel news?

Imaginary squirrels can be helpful or harmful

housefireA man heard a sound at night that he dismissed as the pitter-patter of tiny squirrel feet. He went back to sleep and woke up when the sound was much louder and he realized that in fact his house was on fire. Luckily, he was not injured, although the home was a goner.

In Omaha, Nebraska, an intoxicated man who was causing a disturbance told police he was on the run from a “pink squirrel with sharp teeth.” He was later taken in for psychiatric evaluation.

My Thumbnail 

Squirrels are gonna shut you down

Squirrel-related power outages recently happened in Redding, CA, Charleston, RI, Tampa, FL (again!), Forest Park in Cincinatti, OH (leading the local high school to be dismissed early), Santa Clarita Valley, CA, and Kansas City, MO.

“Chicken of the tree”

Eating squirrel is gaining popularity, it’s not just for J-Law and rednecks any more. The lean meat is supposedly gamey but tasty. I’m a veg, so I won’t be trying it out. You can even buy it on-line.

My Thumbnail My Thumbnail

Grey squirrel invasion

The grey squirrel controversy continues, with the UK about to spend millions of tax payer’s money to kill grey squirrels in order to protect the endangered red squirrel. Some of that money will also go toward squirrel birth control. Some people are unhappy (at least about the cull, I’m not sure if the Catholics will opposed birth control for squirrels).

My Thumbnail

Meanwhile Europeans fear a grey squirrel invasion of their own, with the French and Swiss up in arms about Italian grey squirrels hitting their turf (note, they are actually American squirrels who were brought to Italy many years ago).

My Thumbnail

Squirrel sports

No we’re not talking about a sports event interrupted by squirrels, we’re talking about a competition designed FOR squirrels. This awesome British dude created an assault course in his back yard, the Squirrel Grand Nutional. It’s almost as good as the feral cat fish-lifting competition.

My Thumbnail

kittyweight

Photo Ops

Holiday Stocking

stockingA little post-holiday joy, as if you haven’t had enough of santa, a cute squirrel playing with a stocking.

New meaning of “robo-squirrel”

roboNo, not the Republican-labeled "government pork" study - squirrels will eat from a giant horsehead mask, a squirrel head mask, so why not a robot mask?

Mom with babies

Watch a mama squirrel move her babies, then take a well-deserved nap.

My Thumbnail

A squirrel makes a snowball

Or this photo was completely a set up

My Thumbnail

Have you ever been peed on by a squirrel?

Twiggy the famous squirrel apparently loves waterskiing and water sports.

My Thumbnail

Have you ever seen a squirrel tongue?

It’s a bit strange.

My Thumbnail

“Shocking” incident

The Irish News reported that this park squirrel “shocked” children by climbing all over them looking for food. I guess nothing shocks me much anymore. At least not when it comes to hungry squirrels.

My Thumbnail

Look up! It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a…squirrel nest!

If you take a moment to look up, you will likely see a drey (a squirrel nest) or two dotting the trees.

My Thumbnail

Predator vs Prey

Bobcat carries dead squirrel around

bobcatKitty’s gotta eat

Flipping out

Watch these ground squirrels practice their evasive leap maneuver to avoid a simulated snake. These squirrels are known for throwing rocks at snakes, and perhaps even taunting them with their tail flagging.

My Thumbnail

Who is predator and who is prey?

Eagles chase this squirrel out of their nest – squirrels are known for making snacks of birds’ eggs.

My Thumbnail

Squirrel fashion

I’ve previously written about squirrel sweaters. Dita Von Teese (who is she again?) made a splash recently with this squirrel-skirt.

My Thumbnail

Belding’s Ground Squirrels – in decline – and eating each other?

cannibalNote that this click-bait title is misleading, there is nothing about squirrels eating each other in this article. It does talk about the impact of climate change on this little rodent friend, and the impact of the BGS on the local crops.

 

 

2 Comments

Photo by Andrew/Polandeze via Flickr/Creative Commons
Photo by Andrew/Polandeze via Flickr/Creative Commons

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that our pet cats are predators at heart, especially if you just fill their bowl of kibble every now and then. But beneath that fuzzy, cute exterior is a potentially vicious killer, even if your cat doesn’t have the opportunity to practice mass destruction of small animals. That’s where playtime with interactive toys comes in! But more on that later!

There are two major categories of predators: specialists – those who hunt just one or two prey types; and generalists – animals with a broad diet or who may show a wide range of prey preferences within a species. Both types are likely related to prey available, and how an animal has adapted over time to that prey availability. These preferences could be learned during development, such as when a mother cat brings injured prey to her kittens, or could be a response to changes in the environment. If prey abundance changes, predators have to change their responses too…or go hungry.

...continue reading

2 Comments

All the squirrel news that's "fit to print" - squirrels got busy in November!

 Squirrels love the holiday season!

cinciEvery year, the Cincinatti Zoo has a “Festival of Lights” – with millions of beautiful lights for their holiday festival. The squirrels historically chewed the wires and removed light bulbs – burying them as if they were nuts – leaving the zoo to switch to LED and not hang the lights until the very last minute. The video is pretty awesome.

Squirrel damage seems to be a theme in the news these days, with this article: “Squirrels are cute until they cause property damage” which outlines the many ways squirrels can damage your attic, trees, and bird feeders.

...continue reading