Archive for the ‘animal’ Category

An Example of Why I Love my Wife

6 February 2012

I recently received the following volley of emails from my wife while she was waiting to board a plane.

Subject: Animal plane
Maureen to: Toby
02/02/2012 08:39 AM

You know Frontier is the airline with the talking animals commercials…i’ve been excited all morning to find out which animal would be on my plane….but I can’t see it due to the sun!!! it’s either a lemur, a leopard cub, or a skunk.  Maybe I’ll ask the pilot, ha…


Subject: Animal planes
Maureen to: Toby
02/02/2012 09:00 AM

Update…possibly a white tiger cub????!!! Still hard to say.


Subject: Re: Animal planes
Maureen to: Toby
02/02/2012 09:06 AM

Oh my gah its a BADGER!!!


Close Encounters with Creatures

15 January 2010

I feel very blessed in that I have come into close contact with quite a number of this world’s species. I keep a sort of mental collection of these moments. I would love to hear of some of my friends’ similar experiences. Read on to see some of my closest encounters with wildlife.

1) Elephant: touched, ridden, dissected
2) Camel: touched, ridden, eaten, attended slaughter, drank milk
3) Mule Deer: ridden my bike within touching distance, eaten
4) Tarantula: held, owned as pet
5) Cobra: killed, close proximity
6) Python: close proximity, touched, eaten
7) Black Mamba: touched, killed
8) Hyena: surrounded by
9) Zebra: surrounded by, very close proximity
10) Grevy’s Zebra: close proximity
11) Gerenuk: nearly bumped into me
12) Warthog: touched, fed, eaten
13) Giraffe: touched, fed, kissed
14) Patas Monkey: held, fed, emancipated, provided alibi(s) for
15) Monitor Lizard: touched, eaten
16) Beluga Whale: close proximity
17) African Killer Honeybee: stung
18) Sysal Bug: held
19) Secretary Bird: close proximity
20) Gecko: very close proximity
21) Leopard: close proximity (distinctly heard, but not seen), seen at distance
22) Red Fox: occassional close proximity on bicycle
23) Blue Dragon Lizard: touched
24) Hawkmoth: very close proximity
25) Reef Dwelling Eel: fed, very close proximity
26) Manta Ray: close proximity
27) Eland: eaten
28) Ostrich: ridden, eaten
29) White Rhino: very close proximity
30) Cheetah: touched

That’s all for now. Let me hear your similar lists or ambitions. I’d like to try mammoth steak before I die. I want to ride an orca. I’d consider my life an unqualified success if I ever touched a blue whale.

Ironic Cat House

22 December 2009

Fish can haz me?

My mother quilted this fish shaped house for our cat Lucinda as a Christmas gift. She put a lot of work into it and the results were impressive. It took Lucinda some days to warm up to the idea of voluntarily entering the digestive track of a fish. I hope that the following report will warm my mother’s heart.

I set my small camera up to auto shoot the fish every five minutes starting at 7am this morning. Let’s see what the record shows.

Lucinda is no fool, she noticed the camera as early as 07:53.

At 08:28, the cat is clearly out and about.

Fish empty and cat nowhere to be seen at 10:38.

We have ingestion! 10:43.

Cat clearly at ease in fish gut at 11:03.

Three hours and fifty five minutes later, the cat has not left the fish! 14:38 is the time.

Exit cat, 15:53--five hours and 10 minutes inside a fish.

None the worse for the experience at 15:58.

And There you have it.

Favorite Animals

6 August 2009

I’ve been called out. It’s going to be very very hard for me to lay out my favorite animals in very many categories.

Favorite Primate: Mountain Gorilla, Lemur (tie). I also have strong partiality to bush babies. I do not care for the old world or “simple” monkeys. I think the chimpanzee and orangutan are fascinating, but neither have enough honor to rank in my favorites. Both are scandalous drunkards, rabble-rousers, and sexually incontinent. If you can possibly avoid it, do not live with a monkey.

The Mountain Gorilla is immensely powerful, yet peaceful. They have the most powerful bite of all mammals. A male gorilla can turn a car tire inside out with its hands, for fun. They are entirely vegetarian and avoid not only confrontation, but contact of any kind with other large animals. They are serene, immense, silent, hermetic, and steadfast. I love the deep black of their coats and skin. I love the overabundant muscularity coupled with grace. They are very highly intelligent without being combative.

Lemurs I will not say much about at this time. They do things in schedules. They…accept imitation well.

Favorite Monotreme: Duckbill Platypus. It’s hard enough being a marsupial in this world, what with having your entire ecology overturned by imported toads or rabbits. But being a monotreme is another level entirely. Try being a mammal that lays eggs. There are only two such animals on earth. You are probably aware that the platypus is weird. But I would wager even money you don’t know the half of it. For instance, it’s bill is actually an acute electromagnetic field sensor that can find creatures buried in mud. The male has a barb in his heel that is venomous. Venomous mammals are rare people, but there is only one vertebrate on this earth delivers venom using a claw.

Favorite Fatigue Hunter: African Wild Dog. A little known but fascinating mammal, it received brief notoriety in the “Planet Earth” television series. The species uses well-coordinated attacks with strategy yielding very high success rates. They are wildly colored. They symbolize to me the true spirit of dogness. I hang my head when I think of the domesticated fops paraded at dog shows.

Favorite Multi-Optimized Animal: Frigate Bird. When you really get to know the animal kingdom on this Earth, you realize that most creatures are optimized to do one thing really well. Well, the frigate bird is special in that it is supremely optimized in two ways. The bird takes long migrations for nesting and feeding seasons. It is a highly efficient long-range flier. The frigate bird feeds by snatching sea-fish from the water, so it also requires very high agility. If you have ever been impressed by seeing a hunting bird dive into the sea and return with a live fish in it’s beak, consider this: the frigate bird makes a habit of stealing those fish, out of the other birds’ mouths…while flying. Like most things, living or otherwise, that are highly specialized the frigate bird has a sparse yet fine beauty.

Favorite Ruminant: American Bison. Cape Buffalo comes in a close second here. Giraffe is also a strong consideration. What is more hoary, tougher, longer suffering than a bison? Possibly camels. But the camel is a whiner. It is one thing to face into a blizzard. Bison march into them. Behold a bison, and know what it is to never yield the essential.

Favorite Animal which is Probably an Alien Race Observing Us: Cuttlefish.

Favorite Extremely Rare Animal: Pangolin. Both times I visited Maasai Mara National Park, I asked our guides to let us know if anyone on the radio net mentioned a pangolin siting. The first guide merely laughed saying that he had only seen one once in his life. The other didn’t even know what it was. And these men LIVE in the animal’s habitat. Also, pangolins are bipedal. Stop and think about that for a moment if you can.

Favorite Safari Animal: Warthog. Can there be an animal with more sass? They peel out when they run. They can chase lions away.

I could go on here. I could go on and on. And maybe on another day I will. I could talk about moray eels and pygmy marmosets. There are grey parrots and dung beetles I haven’t mentioned. And don’t even get me started on who is really the villian among the lions and hyenas.

The animal kingdom is richer, and weirder than we imagine. A lifetime of consuming every fact of the natural world I could has shown me that even with all the media we have dedicated to it, the wonder and unknown is still considerable.

Also, it seems like I am blogging again.

Toby Update / 3 Entirely New Experiences

13 April 2008

I have recently had three experiences that are entirely new to me. At my
advanced age, this is worth noting.

1. I have received the skin of a civet cat as a gift.
2. My preference for Eastern or Western style toilet equalized.
3. My name appeared in song.

Toby :: 04.14.08