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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Zoology, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 7 of 7
1. Unusual Creatures by Michael Hearst — Book Trailer

Reading level: Ages 8-12

Add this book to your collection: Unusual Creatures: A Mostly Accurate Account of Some of Earth’s Strangest Animals by Michael Hearst

Video courtesy of With humor and flair, Michael Hearst introduces the reader to a wealth of extraordinary life-forms. Which animal poops cubes? Which animal can disguise itself as a giant crab? These fascinating facts and hundreds more await curious minds, amateur zoologists, and anyone who has ever laughed at a funny-looking animal.

To learn more, visit: http://unusualcreatures.com

Original article: Unusual Creatures by Michael Hearst — Book Trailer

©2012 The Childrens Book Review. All Rights Reserved.

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2. The Zoo Within

This post stems from the Thought Ripples over on Two Voices, One Song. Sometimes when you change a process for one thing, it sticks and bleeds over into other work, as well. That’s what happened here. I hope you enjoy it.

Once in a while, I take a trip through a zoo or sanctuary. While I gaze upon the residents within the confines of the area, taking note of mundane considerations, my mind focuses on the what-might-have-beens. Those are the natural landscapes and living conditions of whatever animal I’m viewing.

Take this guy, for instance. He was brought into man’s arena very early in his life. He worked for a living, hence his missing horn. And when his work was done, he was fortunate enough to find sanctuary on the Olympic Peninsula with other animal actors that had been retired.

He’s a sweetheart, who likes treats and people’s voices. He’s enclosed to keep him safe from those who would taunt and tease and stress him unduly. I think it’s sad that we have lock up the wild things to keep them safe from us, the civilized ones.

Because he’d not been allowed to be wild, he will never know his ancestors’ natural habitat. Then again, at least here he can live a peaceful existence without fear of someone taking his life, as well as his horn. And without his horn, he could have never survived in his natural habitat anyway.

Herds of elk and fallow deer have free run of many more acres of this wild animal park. The bison keep them company as they watch cars go by, occupants snapping and whirring with their cameras. Thankfully, no one can get out of their cars to aggravate the ones trying to eat or rest.

Peacocks keep order. Rabbits watch from the sidelines. Those in the petting zoo take little hands in stride. And everywhere are the sounds of human voices, rather than those of the residents.

Within the shadows cast by trees lurk yaks and zebras, not usual neighbors, though they seem to get along quite well.

The occasional small scene gives an idyllic glimpse of how life in the wild could be if allowed.

0 Comments on The Zoo Within as of 1/1/1900
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3. Wesley the Owl

As I was walking through my local Barnes and Nobel bookstore, a small book with a fuzzy owl chick on the cover caught my eye. The book was Wesley the Owl: The Remarkable Love Story of an Owl and His Girl by Stacey O’Brien. I thought it was a children’s book (it’s not). As a joke, I showed the book to my son Ed, who is fascinated by owls. He bought the book and read it. As he was reading, he would often stop and read funny incidents to me. I just had to read the book myself.

Biologist, wildlife rescuer, and rehabilitation expert who specializes in owl research, Stacey O’Brien lives in California. When she acquired Wesley, a barn owl, as a four-day-old chick, Miss O’Brien worked at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in the Owl Lab. She was asked to adopt him and raise him at home because he had nerve damage in one wing and would never be able to fly well enough to catch an adequate number of mice to support himself and a family in the wild.

Chapter 5: Flying Lessons is one of my favorites. The author describes Wesley’s comical early attempts at flying. She could not help laughing at his antics. She describes how Wesley was embarrassed by her laughter. When she tried to comfort him, he pushed her away with his wings, hissing at her under his breath, faced the wall, and refused to look at her. He would exhibit this behavior whenever anyone laughed at him. Miss O’Brien, fearing the Wesley would become depressed, forbid anyone from laughing at Wesley in his presence. Although she admits to rushing into the bathroom, closing the door, and bursting out in laughter.

There are many comical, heartwarming, and touching parts to Wesley’s story. I enjoyed this book so much I may break my rule about not rereading a book. If you love animals and birds in particular, I recommend this book to you. High school science teachers might also consider adding it to students' summer reading lists.

1 Comments on Wesley the Owl, last added: 4/21/2011
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4. A Scary Fish Story for Friday the 13th

Today is Friday the 13th, so it makes me think of lucky and unlucky things. Personally, I like this date; but I know some people are uncomfortable with it. So, in keeping with the unlucky theme, I am reminded of a recent article about a very unlucky phenomenon in the marine environment. A level of ecological success that has been very lucky for one fish turns out to be extremely unfortunate for many other creatures in the Caribbean Sea.

The beautiful lionfish, with its red-striped face and body and long dorsal spines, is a native of the Indian and Pacific oceans. But in recent years it has gotten into the Caribbean Sea. How? It is thought that just a few lionfish escaped from a smashed aquarium tank during a hurricane in Florida. Usually an animal that gets loose in an alien environment is at a disadvantage. But the stealthy lionfish is a clever hunter and a successful breeder, producing thousands of eggs every four days. A few lionfish were first spotted in the waters around the Bahamas in 2005. Within three years, they had taken over the reefs, experiencing a population explosion by eating many of the native fish species, as well as shrimps and crabs. Scientists have found that the lionfish can reduce a reef’s native population by 75 to 80 percent in just a matter of weeks -- very unlucky for the local inhabitants. The same problem is now happening around the Grand Cayman Islands as well.

Just why are the lionfish so lucky in their new environment? It appears that, unlike the local reef fish, the lionfish are not infested by parasitic worms. Without parasites or any local predators, their mortality is quite low. And they are voracious predators, able to consume up to 30 times their stomach volume! This has caused a problem for local tourism, since people dive on the reefs to see all the beautiful native fishes--only to see an abundance of lionfish. In addition, their venomous dorsal spines can deliver a painful sting, making them a potential danger to divers who come too close. They are also a threat to the local commercial fisheries, since they are eating up native species.

So, what can be done about this fish invasion? Scientists catching a few here and there have not had an impact on their increasing population. But now, unfortunately for the lionfish, the tables have turned and there is one local predator it does have to worry about. Quite recently it has been determined that the lionfish makes a very tasty dish for humans when fried with nice seasonings. And this is turning out to be lucky for local residents and tourists in the Caribbean. Now the fishermen, not just the scientists, are turning their sights on the not-so-lucky lionfish!

Posted by Carol

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5. Wolf Totem


Those who study modern China know that the Communist government struggles with the yearnings and demands of its 55 ethnic minorities. What immediately comes to mind are the calls from Tibetans for more autonomy, or independence itself, and the complaints of the Uyghur people concerning religious and political discrimination in Xinjiang, the the northwest part of China. The majority Han people have been moving into both Tibet and Xinjiang, thereby changing the native cultures there.

In the last few months, we have been hearing complaints from the Mongolian people in China. Mongols are upset that so many Han have moved into Inner Mongolia and disrupted their pastoral way of life. The Mongols have staged protests against the environmental damage that comes with settled agriculture, the strip-mining of coal, the building of highways, the damming of rivers, and the overgrazing of land.
Inner Mongolian grasslands

Background. The Mongols and Han have a long history of interactions. The nomadic Mongols invaded China many times, attracted to the relative wealth of the more settled Chinese. In fact, the Mongols even ruled China from 1279 to 1368, setting up the Yuan dynasty with its capital at Tatu, which is present-day Beijing. The Yuan dynasty was known for its religious toleration, especially of Muslims, Daoists, and Buddhists. During Mongol rule, the country prospered because the Mongols encouraged foreign and domestic trade. Eventually, the Han Chinese became dissatisfied with Mongol rule and threw them out. Since then, the Han have dominated their Mongol neighbors. Now the Peoples Republic of China rules Inner Mongolia.


A Recent Novel. By coincidence, this spring I read a novel about the Han and the Mongolians in Inner Mongolia. Wolf Totem by Jiang Rong tells the tale of Chen Zhen, a Chinese Han who travels there in the 1960s during the Cultural Revolution and falls in love with the traditional Mongol way of life. He and two other Han young people work and live in a community that raises cattle, sheep, and horses on the steppe. While there, Chen learns from a local wise man of Mongolian lore and spritual life and the important place that wolves play in both.
3 Comments on Wolf Totem, last added: 6/24/2011
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6. The Zoo Within

This post stems from the Thought Ripples over on Two Voices, One Song. Sometimes when you change a process for one thing, it sticks and bleeds over into other work, as well. That’s what happened here. I hope you enjoy it.

Once in a while, I take a trip through a zoo or sanctuary. While I gaze upon the residents within the confines of the area, taking note of mundane considerations, my mind focuses on the what-might-have-beens. Those are the natural landscapes and living conditions of whatever animal I’m viewing.

Take this guy, for instance. He was brought into man’s arena very early in his life. He worked for a living, hence his missing horn. And when his work was done, he was fortunate enough to find sanctuary on the Olympic Peninsula with other animal actors that had been retired.

He’s a sweetheart, who likes treats and people’s voices. He’s enclosed to keep him safe from those who would taunt and tease and stress him unduly. I think it’s sad that we have lock up the wild things to keep them safe from us, the civilized ones.

Because he’d not been allowed to be wild, he will never know his ancestors’ natural habitat. Then again, at least here he can live a peaceful existence without fear of someone taking his life, as well as his horn. And without his horn, he could have never survived in his natural habitat anyway.

Herds of elk and fallow deer have free run of many more acres of this wild animal park. The bison keep them company as they watch cars go by, occupants snapping and whirring with their cameras. Thankfully, no one can get out of their cars to aggravate the ones trying to eat or rest.

Peacocks keep order. Rabbits watch from the sidelines. Those in the petting zoo take little hands in stride. And everywhere are the sounds of human voices, rather than those of the residents.

Within the shadows cast by trees lurk yaks and zebras, not usual neighbors, though they seem to get along quite well.

The occasional small scene gives an idyllic glimpse of how life in the wild could be if allowed.

2 Comments on The Zoo Within, last added: 6/26/2012
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7. Happy Holidays!


One of my favorite things this year was to work on the development of these two lovable characters... Mountain and Jingles. You can imagine that it makes for a fun client as well...lots of freedom and lots of creativity. This is their Christmas Card and focus on the simple things in life, like being with the ones you love...appreciating every minute. And they just want peace for this crazy world of ours. To a happy, healthy and creative 2008!

0 Comments on Happy Holidays! as of 12/28/2007 4:01:00 PM
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