What Happened to The Crossbreed?

When I was younger, I loved a book called The Crossbreed. It's about a cat that was a cross between a house cat and a wild bobcat.  It was a fun adventure that got me interested in bobcats and lynxes and the differences between them.  

Even the cover illustration was compelling, and wonderful to refer to while reading inside about the length of a bobcat's tail or the tufts on its ears. See the original, below...

The Fish That Lived For 226 Years

Before the United States officially existed, she was born. Hanako, a red Koi, was found to be 217 - 226 years old at her death in 1977.

In the last decades of her life, Hanako was cared for by Dr. Komei Koshihara.  This is what he said about her in 1966:

"This "Hanako" is still in perfect condition and swimming about majestically in a quiet ravine decending Mt. Ontake in a short distance. ... She and I are dearest friends. When I call her saying "Hanako! Hanako!" from the brink of the pond, she unhesitatingly comes swimming to my feet. If I lightly pat her on the head, she looks quite delighted. Sometimes I go so far as to take her out of the water and embrace her. At one time a person watching asked me whether I was performing a trick with the carp. 

Although a fish, she seems to feel that she is dearly loved, and it appears that there is some communication of feeling between us. At present my greatest pleasure is to go to my native place two or three times a month and keep company with "Hanako"."

Koi are Japanese carp which have been bred for many years to display certain colors; they are described as "living jewels".  When Koi are purchased, they are looked upon as creatures to be passed from generation to generation. Therefore, the cost of certain Koi can be quite high.

What's the most ever paid for a Koi?  The rumor is...$2.2 million.  Let's take a look at this lucky fish:


A Smack of Jellyfish

You're watching Animal Planet and the camera zooms in on five lions lazing in the sun.  You think, hey, a pride of lions.

In the distance, you notice wildebeest, hundreds of them ... a whole herd.

You glance at the aquarium next to your TV and notice that, as usual, your six neon tetras are moving together in a school.

Then your pack of four Yorkies jumps up on the couch with you, searching for the cheese puffs they know you've dropped.

Pride, herd, school, pack; these are words that describe bunches of the same animal. Easy. 

But what would you call, say, seventeen otters?


Can You Really Spy Animals?

Let's have some fun with camouflage!

Take a look at the following images and pick out the animal(s) 
in each one.

And DON'T miss the chameleon video at the very's astounding! Just turn down your speakers; the music is techno-obnoxious.

The answers will be at the end of the post...but leave me a comment and tell me how many you found before peeking!

Keepin' It Clean

Jingles was a great horse.  He was young, but fairly gentle, and coming along in training as a good cowhorse.

But one day, he wouldn't let his owner slide the bridle over his ears.  No matter what she did, Jingles thwarted her at every turn. He even nipped at her.

The next day, Jingles reared up and struck out when she approached. 
He shook his head, bared his teeth, and made deep discontented noises.

The vet was called to examine Jingles, but he was so wild, he was tranquilized first.  And as he looked the horse over, the vet found something strange.

Three huge ticks were embedded deep inside one of Jingles' ears.  Those ticks, feeding uninterrupted inside his ear, were the reason he was acting crazy. The vet removed the ticks and put them in a jar for us kids to look at...they were each the size of a large marble!

Poor Jingles... if only there'd been an Oxpecker around...


The Ninjas of Camouflage

God created some amazing animals.

They aren't wildly spotted or striped.

They aren't blazing with color.

They don't have tusks and horns.

In fact, you'd even have a tough time noticing that they're here.

But they are.


Got Cow?

You see them by country roads; in dairies and grazing in the fields.  They all look the same.

They're just COWS!

But I bet you haven't seen some of the hardiest, strangest cattle in the world.

Let's take a look:



You think that baby deer above is so cute, don't you?

Look, how small! And soooo sweet.

But someday, that little baby is going to grow up.

And become a special sort of deer.

A tiny deer with tiny antlers, yes ... but

one that eats grass and small mammals!

A deer that defends its territory with its tusks!

Are you picturing Bambi-zilla?  :)


The Creature That Makes Perfume Smell Good...and Coffee Expensive!!

Here it is...but what is it? Raccoon?  Fox?

They're called toddycats in English, and musang in Malay.

They live in trees, plains, rain forests, and river... and, if you live in Africa or Asia, they just might slip through your backyard at night.

They're even kept as pets.

6 Ways the Intelligence of THIS Bird Can Be Terrifying

They're black and knowing.  Denizens of graveyards and Edgar Allen Poe's imagination. These birds were feared as omen-bringers and symbols of death.  

A group of them is known as a conspiracy; or even a murder...

But they're intelligent.  So intelligent that maybe we humans should keep a closer eye on them.  Why?


The Penguin in Your Storm Drain

You almost don't even notice them.

You see squirrels and birds every day... maybe smelled a skunk or two.  You may have even chased a raccoon off your porch with a broom.

But have you ever had a baboon raid your home for food?

Move Over Silkworms, Spiders Coming Through!

A rare textile made from the silk of more than a million wild spiders went on display last week at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.
How did spiders produce this unique golden cloth?

Missed in Madagascar

I was once admiring huge slabs of granite in a warehouse when I came across something amazing; granite from Madagascar.  

Smaller than the rest, the slab stood like a glittering queen among the lesser, suddenly duller granite.  It had electric blue glints and rainbow flashes of Mother of Pearl. Fossils, each like a tiny nautilus, were embedded throughout the smooth surface. It was stunning! The photo of it below doesn't do it justice...

5 Animals Raised From the Dead

Remember Lazarus?  Jesus raised him up alive after he had been dead in the grave three days.

But in the scientific world, some animals have been raised from the dead after eons of time have gone by.

Aren't They All Alike?

I used to think so.

Cute as babies, certainly, but they all looked greenish-gray as adults. 

Turns out sea turtles have some fantastic colors...there are even white ones, like the one below


The Wild Pig That Never Was

What animal sweats pink,

...has skin that cracks easily in the sun,

...only comes out at night,

...and is only 30 inches tall?


7 Things You Didn't Know About Frogs

  • Not all frogs can leap, or even hop. The desert rain frog (Breviceps macrops) has legs that are too short to hop. Instead, it walks...take a look!


How to Recycle Animals

From the monstrous Aluminum Can Dragon to the ethereal Zip-Tie Bear, people are using trash to make art.  

Take a look at the above animal sculpture; it's beautiful...and made out of old tires!

But let me cruise you through animals made out of all kinds of junk...they are really something!

Three That Are Gone Forever

A hideous beast, armored and horned.

Aggressive and near-sighted and highly dangerous.

If it's charging you, and it very well might, you'll want to say your prayers.

Not everyone's favorite animal, for sure.

But what if it's gone?  Forever?  Would you care?

Here's a tiny portion of what the planet Earth lost in 2011.


Angry Birds

There are birds out there.  

Birds you may have never seen 

or heard of.

Big birds.

And they're angry.

The most dangerous birds on earth...

Attitude: Bad

Weaponry: Formidable...want to see?


Crushes Small Insects...or Large Bones

So what eats insects, but has the most powerful, bone-crushing bite force among mammals?

The hyena.

I once petted a hyena; and I put the experience in the same category as the first time I touched a was a shock.


Hyena Men of Africa

Now wouldn't it be a bit scary to come across a gang like this? 

I think so! Even though they have a muzzle on their....uh...hyenas.


Love's Doves...that will shock and awe

Oriental Turtle Dove making a heart with its wings

Awww... doves are so Valentines, aren't they?  Soft, pure symbols of love.  

And who hasn't seen the sweet turtle doves nestling together cozily?


Are another name for pigeons.

Which have been characterized as "rats with wings".

So why do "doves = love"

but "pigeons = pests"?


Does This Fur Make Me Look Fat?

The answer is... um... yeah.  You look fat, kitty.  

But that's not your fault.  You have the heaviest coat of any cat, because...

Bengals & Savannahs...Exotic Cats for Pets

A few decades ago, a cat breeder had a really wild idea.  

She saw that people wanted exotic cats as pets. She also saw how often those exotic pets were discarded as they grew from cute kittens to big, hard-to-manage adults.

So the cat breeder decided to breed a type of cat that was tame and affectionate, but still exotic in appearance.

She chose an Asiatic Leopard Cat, and bred it to a domestic cat. And after several generations of careful planning, what she got was exactly what she was hoping for...


4 Stealth Mammals Uncovered in 2011

So we've all heard about the wolf in sheep's clothing.  

But what about the wolf in jackal's clothing?

Yes, it happened.

Last year, some people thought that there was something funny going on in the jackal world...


Yes, This Mouse Is Singing

In 1925, J. L. Clark discovered something unusual in a Detroit house. It was a mouse...that could sing.

He captured the mouse and listened to it singing in its cage.

It sounded like...

Hybrids: the good, the bad, and the really ugly

Sooo, Leapons and Narlugas. Amazing hybrid animals.

But what's a hybrid?  It's the result of a mating between two animal species, subspecies, genera, or family.

Hybrids are interesting because they're unusual...most animals that hybridize do so because of scarcity of mates in their own species, or changing territory patterns due to weather or other pressures.

Narlugas are the offspring of beluga whales and narwhals.  Though seen in the wild, there has not been one actually captured.
Check out the photos below:

Grolar Bears and Pizzlies...

You know I love Polar bears.  What you don't know is that I feel the opposite about Grizzlies.

Grizzly bears, to me, are frightening and huge and unpredictable; which really, Polar bears are, too...but Polar bears look cuter while doing it!  :)

Polar bears live at the top of the world, in the arctic regions. Grizzly bears live near streams and trees. But as the icepack gets smaller, more grizzlies venture farther north. 

Check out the maps of their ranges... do you see anything interesting?