Elephant Nature Park, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Elephant Nature Park, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Weird Animals You Didn't Even Know Existed

After a brief hiatus while traveling without internet in Thailand (blog coming soon!) and then getting my laptop stolen, I am back with a new blog!

Now I believe I know about A LOT of animals - ALLLL the animals, to be exact (or so I like to think)! But I'm humbled and brought back down to Earth when someone tells me about a species that I wasn't aware existed. You can bet I go right to a computer and look it up in order to learn everything I can about it (and pretend I knew about it the whole time).

This blog is dedicated to some of these unusual creatures - and count yourself lucky if you've heard of any of them!

Serow

"I don't even bother looking in the mirror anymore."

("Serow Capricornis sumatraensis" by Melanochromis) 
The serow ranges throughout parts of Asia, India, and the Himalayas. They are basically temperamental, solitary, and sometimes fuzzy, goat-antelopes. Both males and females have beards and small horns, which I imagine makes mating/dating a tough game.

Tinder profile: "Hi, my name is Serowphina, my beard is 19 inches long (beard pic sent separately) and I love to pee on things! Swipe right - I'd love to mark you as my territory."

(www.britannica.com)
The serow is endangered, and is often hunted for its meat and body parts, which are used in local medicine. Apparently, it is believed that the broth obtained by boiling a serow head is a remedy for arthritis. So drink up!

You know you wanna....

(http://wattsupwiththat.com)
And lastly, admit you wanted to see the beard pic....

All 19 inches, baby!

(www.jelldragon.com)

Hirola

The world's rarest antelope, the Hirola resides in Africa and is critically endangered. It is often called the Four-Eyed Antelope due to its large preorbital glands

"Call me four-eyes one more time and I'll cry pheremones on you."

(www.wikipedia.org)
The hirola doesn't receive much media attention, unfortunately, and its long-term future is far from guaranteed.

This might be the only sad, gay hirola left in all the world.

(www.deviantart.com)
A sanctuary has recently been built in Kenya that has been surrounded by predator-proof fencing. Breeding of the hirola there is going well so far. 

"Whelp, guess we HAVE to have sex now. Dang."

 (www.edgeofexistence.org)
To support hirola sex, you can donate here.

Saiga

The saiga antelope is the derpiest antelope in existence, boasting a large humped nose that hangs over its mouth. The nose is flexible and inflatable to help it breathe clean air during dusty summers and warm air during cold winters.

"You wish you had a giant sea cucumber on your face, too. Derp."

(www.wikipedia.org)
The saiga lives in Russia, Mongolia, and some more places around that area, and is critically endangered as well. 

"If only my nose wasn't in such high demand!"

(www.zmescience.com)
If you've ever watched Star Wars, then you've seen a saiga. Lucky you!

"I wasn't always this mean. I was born in the savannah-ghetto and am a recovering grass addict."

(www.photobucket.com)
Threats to the saiga include over-hunting, demand for the horn (again with the Chinese medicine thing), habitat loss, severe winters and summer droughts. Hopefully this nose will prevail and the saiga will live long and prosper (err...wait...).


Pudu

The pudu is the world's smallest deer, and quite possibly the cutest thing, ever. Destined to replace your ugly dogs and cats, the pudu resides in South America.


"Everything on me is tiny!"

(http://www.zootierliste.de/)

There's the regular pudu, and then there's the EVEN SMALLER pudu!

Yer killin' me, homes!

(www.wikipedia.org)
Pudus are solitary animals and only pair up to mate. And, get this, the pudu barks when in fear, and bristles its fur and shivers when angered. There is absolutely nothing I'd like to see more than a tiny, barking, shivering mini-deer!

Seriously!

(www.phation.deviantart.com)
Pudus mark there territories with piles of pudu-poo (aka poo-doo) around the perimeters. That's probably the only thing that's not cute about them (and even that is debatable). 

(www.etsy.com)

Jerboa

It's a mouse! It's a rat! It's a pig! It's...Dumbo?? This can only describe the jerboa, a special pig-mouse-elephant hybrid in the rodent family.

Sticking with our Star Wars theme...

(www.drawing365.tumblr.com)
But seriously, these guys are oddly cute. Who can resist a giant pair of fuzzy pig-mouse-elephant ears?

"I heard that."

(www.pinterest.com)

Jerboas are big-time leapers, which live in North Africa and Asia, and have hind limbs that are at least four times as long as their forelimbs along with long tails that add to their balance. And without further ado, I present this video of jerboic cuteness. Though it does not look super-healthy, this pygmy jerboa is certainly adorable. Hopefully it was a rescued jerboa and is still alive somewhere in the desert today, jumping happily after an unsuspecting dung-beetle...



Banded Linsang

What do you get when you cross a giraffe, a cat, and something with really large sexual anatomy? The Banded Linsang!

"Hey, my eyes are up here."

(www.pinterest.com)
This animal spends most of its time in trees in the forests of Borneo, Thailand, Malaysia, and Sumatra, and is part of the civet family. A civet is a sorta-kinda cat that is a much fuzzier, less long-necked, angrier version of the Linsang.

"%^#* you!"

(www.tripadvisor.com)
In fact, the most expensive coffee in the world is produced by the civet cat. Deep in the forests of Asia, the civet cat forages for juicy ripe luwak coffee beans and eats them. As they move through the digestive tract of the cat, they undergo chemical changes and fermentation. The bean itself is not digested and comes out in the cat's poop. Some smart people decided to process the bean from the poop and sell the resulting coffee. It has been described as having an "elusive musky smoothness" imparted by the cat's anal glands. Excellent.

Now that's something I'd spend $50 a cup on!

(www.dailycoffeenews.com)

If you pick up a gram of this "special" coffee, you will pay upwards of $300. Since I know you're all ready to fly out the door to make this purchase, just be sure the coffee comes from a sustainable source. Otherwise you might not only be supporting disgusting coffee, you might be supporting civet cruelty (factory farms) as well.

"So much poop, so little time."

(www.beverageelite.com)


I pride myself on styling this blog after cracked.com. If you haven't visited them yet, prepare to laugh and check it out. Or visit my previous cracked.com-like owl blog here

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Mount Evans and its Famous Mountain Goats


They're cool, they're calm, and they're hangin' out at 14,000 feet! It's the Mt. Evans mountain goats! I took a trip up the highest road in the continental U.S. to photograph the goats and to enjoy the beauty that is Mt. Evans, Colorado. I was lucky to see so many goats up there! The road just opened a couple of weeks ago, due to a particularly stormy spring and impassable conditions. The babies, who are normally born in June, are just weaning now, in August! Lucky for me...


Baby mountain goat and it's protective mama

Licking minerals from the rocks

Beautiful animals
The bighorn sheep and marmots were out in force as well. Temperatures at the top of the mountain were near 30 degrees, even though it was 90 degrees down in Boulder.

Just hangin out on the highest cliffs ever

The highest road in the U.S.

Sundowners

Yellow-bellied marmot
Though this was my first time ever seeing mountain goats in the wild, I had taken my first trip to Mt. Evans last Autumn. The mountain was carpeted in gold, and the lakes reflected the autumn colors. It's definitely a sight to be seen! It only took an hour to hike down to the valley, but 2.5 hours to get back up! At 13,000 feet, you forget that breathing itself is a task.

Hiking down the mountain

In the golden valley

Breathtakingly beautiful
If you visit the mountain, make sure you bring plenty of water and warm clothes. And say hi to the goats for me!



All photos copyright Jennie Burns.


Sunday, August 9, 2015

My first black bear sighting!

I was just so excited I had to share! Been wanting to see one for quite some time now.

Black bear near Gold Hill, Colorado

Unfortunately I didn't have my camera with me - so this was snapped with a point and shoot. Still...

Next on the list: mountain lion!


Sunday, May 10, 2015

Saving squirrels and other wildlife adventures with Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Center

Raccoons and foxes and baby squirrels, oh my! This March I began an internship at the Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Lyons, Colorado. And let me just tell you it is everything I thought it would be! And it puts me one pawstep closer to my dream job as a wildlife rehabilitator.

Spring is baby squirrel season, so the majority of my job is feeding these sweet, furry babies. Most of these squirrels were found orphaned because their mothers were hit by cars or caught by dogs.

Baby squirrel ready for meds

Feeding the babies via syringe

This is me at my happiest
Nothing quite compares to the cuteness of a baby squirrel burrito!

The "Jackson 5"

Aren't we cute?
Squirrels are fed a squirrel-specific formula every few hours until they are larger, when we start feeding them nuts, sweet potato, pinecones, cheerios, and mineral lab blocks. In just a few short weeks they are moved to outside cages where they will learn the skills they need to adjust to a life in the wild. Shortly thereafter, they are released.

Feeding the older squirrels through the cage

Just a few days away from being able to go outside!

As the squirrels get older, the influx of raccoons begins! The raccoon nursery can hold dozens of babies, and can be quite a handful.

But my cuteness surely makes up for it!
Here's what I think of that camera!

Raccoon slumber party
Other animals that come into the center on a regular basis are foxes, coyotes, and rabbits, for a variety of reasons, including being caught in traps, being poisoned, hurt by dogs and cats, or having broken bones. Whatever the reason, the rehabbers at Greenwood, together with the help of volunteers and interns, do everything they can to care for and release these animals back into the wild.

Young coyote being assessed

Tiny cottontail rescued from the jaws of a dog

Mammals aren't the only animals at Greenwood. We also receive an influx of wild birds and waterfowl. We are home to over 20 baby ducklings at the moment. My favorite part of caring for ducklings is changing their cage linens. They get so happy about their new linens and cutely run around all over them, nipping at them and generally rejoicing.

Happy babies
 
At Greenwood we do everything with love...

I had the opportunity to watch a Common Poorwill and a Ring-necked Pheasant be assessed in the bird intake room upon arrival. I had never seen either of these birds up close and personal before. The Poorwill stayed with us for a few days and we took him outside to assess his flying abilities before releasing him.

Assessing a Ring-necked Pheasant

Beautiful colors

Common Poorwill - a nocturnal insect-eating bird
Getting ready to feed the Poorwill
Flying the Poorwill
Flicker with a bandaged wing

Mountain bluebird with a possible break


I am thoroughly enjoying my time and work at Greenwood, and have mad respect for the rehabbers there, who work day and night to ensure to the best of their abilities that each and every one of these animals gets put back into the wild where it belongs! Thank you, rehabbers!!





Have you found injured or orphaned wildlife and don't know what to do? Check out Greenwood's website for tips on how to handle your wildlife situations. If you'd like to make a donation to Greenwood, you can do so here. Thanks for reading!

*All photos belong to Jennie Burns and Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Center