Aug
03
2014
1

What are some statistics about cats in the U.S. and Canada?

Cats (photo by kwc909 - CC-BY)How many cats are there in the United States? 45.3 million U.S. households own a cat 95.6 million cats are owned in the United States Annual expenses for cat owners $382     Surgical Vet Visits $193     Routine Vet $203     Food $36       Food Treats $337     Kennel Boarding $77       Vitamins $20       Groomer/Grooming Aids $23       Toys Source: American Pet Products Association [more...]

Apr
29
2012
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Are there videos of clever animals?

intelligent-duckMany animals share human characteristics such as problem-solving and game-playing, and display various forms of intelligent behavior. Here are some videos that may surprise you. Skateboarding dogs Dogs who have learned how to skateboard seem to love it, and there are plenty of videos on YouTube of skateboarding dogs. I like this video, because the [more...]

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Feb
05
2012
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What’s it like to touch a chimpanzee?

touching-chimpanzeeChimpanzees are the closest living relatives of humans, in terms of the similarity of their DNA. Although thousands of chimpanzees are held in captivity around the world, the public is rarely able to interact closely with them. However, at Tenerife’s Monkey Park (in the Canary Islands) it’s possible to touch a chimpanzee. At Monkey Park [more...]

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Dec
17
2011
1

Are wildlife documentaries faked?

polar-bearIt caused some consternation when viewers discovered that the polar bear cubs in the BBC’s “Frozen Planet: Winter” documentary were filmed in an artificial den at a zoo. While showing a snow-covered arctic hill, David Attenborough narrated: “Beneath the snow, new lives are beginning”. The scene then showed a mother polar bear with her tiny [more...]

Feb
10
2011
1

Do pigs deserve respect?

pig-sunglasses(This is a guest post) Humans are omnivorous. Meat is a pillar of our diet, that enabled our continued evolution to larger brains. But there are limits. We don't consume our kin—cannabalism incurs universal opprobrium. And we extend our kin to include great apes like the chimpanzee. Globally there is now also a veritable outrage over Japan's [more...]

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Oct
15
2010
3

Can a swan kill you or break a limb?

swan-attacks-manThere’s a widespread belief that swans can cause considerable harm. In the United Kingdom, many people “know” that a swan is strong enough to break an arm with its kick. In other places, people believe that a swan can break an arm with a whack from its wing, or with a jolt of its beak. [more...]

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Aug
06
2010
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What are the other animal words like “canine” and “feline”?

asinine-donkeyMost people are familiar with the words canine (relating to dogs) and feline (relating to cats), but many other animals or animal groups get their own adjective. These are called collateral adjectives, and are generally derived from the genitive form of the Latin genus name. Here is a list of collateral adjectives. Ant: myrmecine. Bear: [more...]

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Oct
06
2009
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What does it feel like to touch an elephant?

Photo by H Browne - CC-BYAn elephant is a remarkable animal, and I am fortunate to have had the privilege to be able to touch one. The skin of an elephant, as you might expect, is tough and rough. It's also wrinkled into deep folds, and more than likely to be covered in parts by a thin layer of mud [more...]

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Sep
10
2009
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What happens on a visit to a South African game reserve?

Elephant sighting on a game drive at Addo Elephant National Park (photo by H Browne - CC-BY)A game reserve combines nature conservation with travel and adventure. Some game reserves also incorporate animal tracking and hunting, but those are not the kind of game reserves we’re discussing here. We’ll take as our example the game parks run by SANParks, the South African National Parks authority. The game reserves are huge tracts of [more...]

Jun
26
2009
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How can I visit an African game reserve without the risk of malaria?

Warning - Objects in mirror are larger than they appear! (photo by exfordy - CC-BY)Many people yearn to see large African animals in the wild—and many African countries have game reserves where elephants, rhinos, hippos, giraffes and lions roam free. But there’s a catch—how to avoid the risk of contracting malaria? Malaria is a dangeous and sometimes life-threatening disease. The cause of the disease is a parasite of the [more...]

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