Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Ant Ant?

You may think I'm going too far with this one, but, to me, this beautiful photo of leaf-cutter ants in Costa Rica is very like my previous post, "Flamingo Flamingo." I mean, take a look at the hole they've made at the right, mid-height of the leaf. Am I crazy or is that hole in the shape of a (very fat) ant? In Bucaramunga, Colombia, they would say the hole looks like an "hormiga culona," or "fat-assed ant" -- which the locals fry into tasty snacks. (I can attest to their tastiness because I've eaten them!)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Unseen Feats

While you were sleeping, or gazing listlessly out at the grey, snowy day, a quotidian superhero jumped from the roof of one tall building to another in India, the busy harbour in the near distance. . . .

Monday, December 20, 2010

Winter Stroll

Ah, snow! You need to see this photo if you're getting tired of the white stuff. I don't know why this bear is walking like a human -- surely it's not easy for them?! -- but he looks to me like he's having a pleasant walk on a winter's day. I wonder if he'll curl up with a good book and a hot toddy in his den later?

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Believe it or not, this clusterwink snail (cute name, hey?) really glows this colour. The photo has not been retouched, although the photographers are shining a special light on it to emphasize its bioluminescence. Isn't it lovely!? If you were a dangerous crab or swimming shrimp, it might glow for you!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Caught on film. . .

O.k., you are going to think this is a sketch or animation of a fantastical fish, but this is a photo -- the first ever -- of a Barreleye fish. Its head is transparent, as you can see. The eyes are not at the front of its cute face, but they are the green orbs inside its head; they detect predators in silhouette through its skin. Will wonders never cease?

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Goods on Gorillas

This week's crop of animal photos was exceptional; there were several that I wanted to include, such as a dock in China just full of shark fins drying, or a Buddhist releasing an octopus -- unsold in the fish market in Indonesia -- back into the sea. Moving and troubling images, indeed. I decided on this one as the most picturesque and hopeful. _The Guardian_ reports that "the number of mountain gorillas living in the Virunga Massif in central Africa has soared by 26.3% since 2003, according to a new census. The increase in numbers from 380 to 480 individuals is thanks to 'immense' efforts to reduce poaching and disease, scientists said – but should not be read as a sign that the fight to save the highly endangered species is over." A small glimmer of hope in this cruel world.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Un-Pandas

Hey all,

Two pieces of good news in the panda world: first, there is a newborn cub at the Atlanta Zoo (according to tomorrow's news in the Daily Mail of Islamabad! Boy, am I on top of things http://dailymailnews.com/1210/07/Snippets/index.php?id=5); also, the good scientists at the famous Wolong Centre for pandas in China are preparing the first cub in their history to be released into the wild, and, to this end, they are dressing up as pandas (see photo) so that humans will not be familiar to the cubs. Now I want to work there more than ever!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Sno' Mo

Holiday greetings from Milo, the official face of Animal News of the World! You may be tired of shovelling and driving in treacherous conditions -- and that goes for our friends in Europe, too! -- but Milo would like to remind you of how wonderful the white stuff can be. Apparently, you must stick your face right into it to gain a true appreciation for it. Maybe we'll just take his bark for it. His final message to us this season? "Why don't we all just chill out for the holidays!?"

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Flamingo Flamingo

Hey all,

Can you BLEEPING believe this photo!? It's of a huge group of flamingos in the formation of a flamingo. What are the chances of this happening?It's like some kind of miracle, but I have no idea what it might portend. Amazing.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Three-toed Adorableness!

Hey all,

I'm sorry to give you bad news, but this BEAUTIFUL little creature -- the Pygmy Three-toed Sloth -- is the most endangered and tiniest of all of these special creatures. I diverge from my usual upbeat message to implore you to love them as much as I do! How can we let this tiny piece of Panamanian adorableness go?!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Creepy or cute?

Hey all,

You've met Milo, the Labradoodle of all of our dreams. You have imagined that he loves snow and all things connected to winter. Thus, you might have even guessed that he has winter boots (thanks to me!), in which he loves to prance. But did you know that, in a beige sweater, when sitting down, he has the torso of a self-effacing man -- who has way too much stomach hair? Little did you really know about Milo. . . .

Friday, November 19, 2010

!Amigos Nuevos Colombianos!

Hey all,

Now for some real new from the animal world: scientists have discovered three -- count 'em -- three new species of frog in Colombia, from the Antioquia y Chocó regions of the country. Pictured below is one lovely species. Good news, indeed, when so many other species of frog are passing out of the ecosystem.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Encounter

I offer this image for you to call to mind when you look outside at the grey winter moving in; remember that such colourful, mysterious moments are happening all the time, usually far from where humans can see them.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Beautiful bats?

Hey folks,

This is a photo of Honduran white bats, which Addie/Persephone urged me to search for in response to my last post. Am I glad she did! I never thought I'd say bats are beautiful! Superheroes, yes (after all, they can detect, and miss, an obstacle the width of a single strand of hair simply using their sonar), but lovely? I challenge you to deny it! With that lovely white fur and lemony noses, ears, and legs, what are they but lovely?

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Queen of the Andes

Hi, all!
This is a photo of two birds feeding off a rare plant from South America (here Bolivia) called "The Queen of the Andes." It takes a while to flower -- only blooming once every 80 to 100 years -- but when it does flower, it really goes for it! Enlarge the photo by clicking on it; you'll see that these avid avians have their choice of flowers to choose from. Can you believe that locals used to find these amazing plants a bother and would try to get rid of them -- until they saw that they drew tourists (and their money)? I guess tourism can be good for something, after all!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Quotidian Superheroes

Hey all,

I've always wanted to make a movie or a TV show about the superheroic feats of regular animals -- police dogs that can smell corpses at the bottom of a lake or tiny, delicate black-capped chickadees that hang out in -40 C weather jump to mind -- even before I knew about these Italian goats. These are photos (enlarge them by clicking on them) of Alpine Ibex climbing the Cingino Dam in northern Italy. Why do we invent yarns about superhumans when superheroes are all around us?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Odd Friends

"Let's play Serengeti: I'll pretend to be a lion and you pretend to be an antelope."
"Uh, . . . o. . .k."

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

R.I.P. Paul the Octopus

Dear all,

I'm sorry to report the passing of Paul the Octopus, the King of World Cup bets from this summer. You'll remember that Paul guessed the outcome of all of the matches correctly. They say that he died of natural causes -- at the ripe old age of 2 1/2! Read more here: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/soccer/world-cup-prognosticator-paul-the-octopus-dies/article1772959/
We'll miss you, Paul! You had us convinced for a while that the reason octopi look like giant brains is because, well, you are giant brains, so giant that you can even tell the future. You brought some magic to our lives, so thank you!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Small World

Hey all,

This photo won fifth place in Nikon's Small World photo competition, in which scientists send in their best photos of microscopic life (see http://www.nikonsmallworld.com/). I think it should have received the first prize! It's a bird of paradise seed, believe it or not! As Javi says, "It's beautiful even before it's born." Amen.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Beautiful Bugs

O.k., maybe it's not "animal" and maybe it's not breaking news, but I never thought I'd think a photo of a bug is beautiful -- and you have to admit that John Hallmen's photos, from Sweden, are just that. The colour is extraordinary and even the texture on their creepy bug-bodies is interesting. I guess even insects have their share of beauty. You can check out the rest of them at this link:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The White "Dorse" of Huffington?

Hey all!

Are you aware of this southern England (Oxfordshire) landmark, called "The White Horse of Uffington"? It's 3,000 years old! I think it's just beautiful! But apparently it's the source of debate lately, since some say it's actually a dog. What do you think?

Friday, October 8, 2010

800 pounds of fluffy friend

Hey all,

Here's a photo to cheer your heart as you head into the long weekend:

This is Casey Anderson and his 800-pound best friend, a young male grizzly. If you want to see more of this dynamic duo, check out their show on the National Geographic website:
Enjoy! And have a great Thanksgiving weekend!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Gallopin' Guadalupe fur seals!

Finally, some happy news on the environmental front! The handsome fellow (or lass) you see pictured below -- a Guadalupe fur seal -- was thought to be extinct in 1892 due to overhunting for their pelts. Thankfully, they have been found in strong numbers, some say 15,000, off the coast of Mexico. Hey, weren't the devil rays I featured a few posts ago also found off the coast of Mexico? It seems that it's not all bad news there, either!

Click on this lovely photo to make it bigger:

Friday, September 24, 2010

R.I.P. Rowdy

Well, folks, this is a sad day at Animal News of the World. Our trusty reporter, anchor, and weatherkitty, Rowdy, has finished his last assignment. We know he's crashing the gates of kitty-heaven already and probably annoying the angels with his abrasive meow and haughty attitude. We'll miss him terribly and will always remember his signature phrase:

"Signing off from the fish-tank, this is Rowdy for Animal News of the World."

Dozens of devils

Hey all! Check out this incredible photo of "an unprecedented congregation of Munkiana Devil Rays in Mexico" (click on it to open a larger view of it):

The caption for the photo (in _The Guardian_) goes on: "An incredible picture of rays swimming through the ocean in a colossal school has scooped top prize in the Environmental Photographer of the Year 2010 awards. The thousands-strong group of Munkiana Devil Rays were spotted in Baja California Sur, Mexico, by German conservation photographer Florian Schulz." A well-deserved award for this incredible and poetic shot!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Monday, September 20, 2010

Best dog photo ever?

Hey all! This photo was brought to my attention by my rockin' friend, Ally. It's by a great photographer named Tim Flach:

Hungarian sheep-herding dog

For more amazing dog photos of his, check this link out:

After seeing the above pic, though, what other dog photos might anyone want to see? I have this image seared into my brain. I LOVE it! The dog makes me think of Bob Fosse for some reason. Could it be because "all that jazz" now resides in this Puli's dreadlocks? Go figure!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Mean German goose

This is a more personal image, one from the HUGE stash of photos of animals in my hard-drive. I include it at the request of my good friend Allan in Newcastle, England, to whom I sent it during my sabbatical trip to Europe the day it was taken (by Javier) at the zoo in Berlin; you can click on it to enlarge it:
I thought we would be friends, but you can see the surprise and horror on my face as I discovered that, foodless, I was unwelcome at the petting farm area of the zoo. Using my tiny purse as a shield, I managed to out-maneuver the rangy fowl!

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Well, folks, the big news today is that the Guinness World's Book of Records has a new entry: the world's smallest cow. Here's a photo of her with her big (normal sized) bull friend:

This is an undated Guinness World Records handout ...

She may look like a baby, but she's 11 years old and has 9 normal-sized calves. Her breed is small -- she's called a "Dexter" cow -- but she's a particularly small version. Did I mention that her name is Swallow? I hope this is a reference to the bird, and not her fate on a plate!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Mass migration of female walruses and pups to dry land

The big story today is that thousands of mother walruses and their babies have moved to dry land in Alaska -- and in numbers that have never been seen before. Here is a photo of the big event:

Walrus high on the barrier Island beaches near Pt Lay, Alaska, 2010

The story, from _The Guardian_, goes on: "Researchers from the US Geological Survey (USGS), who have been tracking walrus movements using satellite radio tags, say 10,000 to 20,000 of the animals, mainly mothers and calves, are now congregating in tightly packed herds on the Alaskan side of the Chukchi Sea, in the first such exodus of its kind.

"It's something that we have never seen before in this area," said Geoff York, of the WWF's global Arctic programme. "As the ice decreases, the walrus are abandoning it earlier and earlier. They are having to swim ashore, or to linger on less suitable drift ice for long periods of time."" Scary stuff, my friends.

Friday, September 10, 2010

World's Tiniest Frog

Hello, friends! Welcome to the inaugural edition of Animal News of the World. This blog is dedicated to keeping track of and informing interested parties about all of those many amazing news stories about animals with which I am currently overloading my loved-ones' inboxes. I'll also post great animal photos to this site. Let's see how this goes. This is my first blog!

Here's today's big story: the world's tiniest frog, an article that comes complete with a photo of the wondrous creature:
Micro frog found in Borneo is one of the tiniest frogs in the world photo

It's just one of the endless marvels of nature: