After staring down squirrels in yesterday’s post, I’ll stick with the animal theme and introduce you to Cliff, LeConte Lodge llama extraordinaire. Cliff started working with the llama team the same year as wrangler Alan. He also just happens to be Alan’s favorite, which means he sometimes gets away with murder.
"He’s good about everything," Alan said. "He’s the smartest and strongest llama on the farm. If he sets his mind to it, he can get through any fence on the farm. He’s also more tolerant of people than most of the other llamas."
His full name is Clifford Clifftops. His last name should be plenty recognizable to anyone who’s watched sunset on LeConte. He also knows his name. “He’ll come running to me on the farm,” Alan said. “All the others run the other way.” Of course, Alan usually has a treat in hand for his favorite worker.
Dr. Anton Mari Lim from Zamboanga, Phillippines, plays with Kabang, the hero dog from the Philippines, as she is released from the veterinary medical teaching hospital at UC Davis in Davis, Calif., on Monday, June 3, 2013. Kabang saved two young girls from an oncoming motorcycle in the Philippines struck by a motorcycle in December 2011. She was brought to UC Davis in October, 2012. Photo: Liz Hafalia, The Chronicle (top photo caption)
The clinicians, staff and caregivers that treated and cared for Kabang gather for a farewell photo. Photo: Don Preisler, UC Davis (middle photo)
Kabang shown relaxing in her caregiver’s yard while her surgery healed. Photo: Don Preisler, UC Davis (bottom photo)
Veterinarians and care givers at UC Davis bid farewell Monday to the faceless wonder dog that drew international attention after she leaped on a speeding motorcycle and saved two girls from being run over in the Philippines.
The muzzle-less mongrel named Kabang chewed treats, tossed around a squeaky toy and wagged her tail furiously after she was given a clean bill of health by specialists at the William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital at UC Davis.
Using infrared cameras, surgically implanted electrocardiograms, and radio transmitters, Barnes and his team monitored hibernating black bears (Ursus americanus) for three years. Think of it as CBS’s Big Brother—except someone actually cared about the bear feeds. Their research showed that bears can drop their heart rate from 55 to 9 beats per minute and reduce their metabolism by an incredible 53 percent. They accomplish this without compromising much on body temperature, a crucial fact that allows bears to be more alert than true hibernators. (Those fancy squirrels can require hours to thaw out.)
Higher body temperatures also allow hibernating bears to keep newborn cubs warm. During a period when most animals are locked in hand-to-hand combat with the bony fists of Death, bears perform the miracle of Life. Bear reproduction is actually sort of a boring story though, so let’s move on to …
I’m kidding, of course. Bear reproduction is all kinds of curious. The coitus occurs in spring or summer, when many animals are already giving birth. The male is aided by a penis bone called a baculum, which is not attached to the rest of the skeleton. (Baculi are rather common among mammals, from walruses and chimps to cats and bats. Because the Internet is a wonderful, horrible place, you can purchase baculi online, where they are marketed improbably as Mountain Man Toothpicks. Humans do not have penis bones, alas. Just the euphemism.)
After bears rock it in the usual way, the reproductive process takes a hard left from everything you learned in that sex-ed class taught by the school gym teacher. Following fertilization, the baby bears stop growing after becoming multicelled blastocysts. For a few months, they just float around in a state of arrested development known as delayed implantation. Should the female bear fail to fatten up enough over the course of the year, her body can put the kibosh on pregnancy in an act of self-preservation. Conversely, if times are good, her body will allow more blastocysts to develop and implant in her womb—adjusting the number of cubs created based on fat stores.
Even though the deed is done months ahead of time, active gestation is surprisingly short—just 60 days in polar bears—and this results in helpless, underdeveloped cubs that are usually born between November and February, depending on the species and climate. Super-rich milk ensures that by the time spring comes, the cubs are ready to hit the ground running in a life-or-death race to rotundness. Polar bear milk contains up to 46 percent fat and tastes like the chalky cream of a fishy cow. And how do we know what it tastes like? Well, because polar bear scientists like Andrew Derocher are absurdly dedicated dudes. (click through to read the whole thing)
Photo by Kaisa Siren/AFP/Getty Images(via Do bears hibernate: Polar bear, black bear, grizzly bear sex and torpor. - Slate Magazine)
We all know that feeling - a large lunch leaves us sprawled out on the sofa, unable to move. This juvenile red-tailed hawk was rendered immobile after eating too much. Photographer Steve Shinn managed to snap the stricken bird of prey on its back after a meal of a coot near a nature preserve in Long Beach, California. He says: I found this bird in a very unhawklike position looking very distressed. I called some folks who work for South Bay Wildlife Recovery. The stuffed critter was collected and taken in for some rest and recovery. A day later it was sitting on a perch and seemed none the worse for the gluttonous rampage.
Picture: Steve Shinn/Rex Features (via Pictures of the day: 14 January 2013 - Telegraph)
I think this is one of my favorites that I’ve posted on AC.
so, apparently my staff know me, because one of them got me hooked on panda cam.
a brief list of things i’ve learned from watching since friday:
- pandas eat an almost unimaginable amount of bamboo all the time, allll the time.
- bamboo looks not at all appetizing.
- there is, in this world, a job description for a ‘panda cam operator’. i know this because the panda cams are constantly moving, keeping up with the pandas as they go around their habitat.
- pandas trip and fall, a lot. cute and graceless, my spirit animal.
- when not eating or tripping, pandas sleep. and that’s it. that’s their entire daily routine.
- i believe i have the requisite skills and experience to be a ‘panda cam operator’.
I would like this job.
Sumatran orangutan Tsunami wears eye tracking equipment at Malaysia’s National Zoo in Kuala Lumpur. A team from the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus, led by neuroscientist Dr Neil Mennie, is studying the eye movements of the seven-year-old orangutan to explain some of the mysteries of the visual brain and improve the lives of captive-bred animals.
Picture: REUTERS/Bazuki Muhammad (via Pictures of the day: 10 December 2012 - Telegraph)
I love these monkeys.
(A proboscis monkey in Sabah, northern Borneo)
Picture: Alamy (via Animals in the wild: wildlife around the world - Telegraph)
Obviously the whiskey would be for the owner.
Trevor Pickett with Willow the six year old Greyhound, who’s quilted jacket features two hip flasks (one for whisky and one for water, and two leather pouches, one with a foldable water bowl and one for clearing up mess).
Picture: DAVID BAIRD (via Pooches on parade at the Battersea Dog & Cats Home Collars and Coats Ball - Fashion Galleries - Telegraph)
Why has no one been discussing the important goat demographic?!
New Hampshire, US: a goat named Izak wears a campaign button for President Barack Obama
Photograph: Jessica Rinaldi/Reuters (via 24 hours in pictures | News | guardian.co.uk)