The King....Manely

Photograph by Natalie Manuel

The King of Beasts...the lion.  

Surveys tell us that most people, though they have trouble naming many other animals shown to them, can identify a male lion.

That's a relief!

There are eight subspecies of lion, most of which live in Africa. 

A small number of Asiatic lions, like the one pictured below,  live in the Gir Forest in India:

Most lions are varying shades of color, but there are some white lions living wild in Tambavati. 

White lions are not albino, but leucistic South Africa lions; That means their normal tan coat color is suppressed with the chinchilla gene, but their eyes are gold-brown, not red like a true albino's.

Lions are the only big cats that lives in groups, called prides. The pride can have up to forty members, most of which are females and cubs.

That big lion mane? Lions are the only big cats where it is easy to tell the males from the females.  Except in Tsavo, where the Maneless lions live.  

Did you know that maneless lions tend to be man-eaters?  Check those out here.

And speaking of manes, let's take a look at the different colors their manes can be: 

Amazing variety, isn't there?

 Got something to say about this?  Leave me a comment!


Strange Deer Hunters Find

There are secrets in the world. 

Secrets we would probably never see if it weren't for hunters and photographers.  

Like coyotes who are part dog.

Strangely colored giraffes.
Sea slugs that look like candy.
Polar bears that hug sled dogs.

But in the woods near you, there lurk deer like you've never seen before.  

See the two deer at the top of this page?  The one on the right is a big beautiful buck.

The one on the left is a buck with some amazing antlers. His antlers are called "nontypical".

They look almost....melted. But deer antlers can be even more bizarre. Let's look at some nontypical deer, both on the hoof and, ahem, on the wall.  

Just to make sure we all know what a normal whitetail deer looks like, I've added one on the chart below.  So let's compare a normal whitetail to some nontyps: 

Hard to believe, isn't it?  

Now let's compare a normal mule deer to... uh...other mule deer:

These guys are incredible. 

And of course you've got to see the top five nontypical bucks ever! 

 Just FYI, the blacktail deer above are a type of mule deer.

But, you ask, are there nontyp deer in art? You bet:

I like the way his antlers connect together in the middle, though as far as I know that's not possible in real life :)

If you want to see more nontypical deer, you can visit here (a clean and trusty website) and click on the yearly calendars... there are some amazing photos that I wasn't able to put on my blog.  

And leave me a comment!


Attack of the Jellies!

They aren't fish, so their name has been changed...

...to Sea Jellies

Which I like better than their old name... Jellyfish.

A sea jelly is made of the top part, called the umbrella, and the bottom part, called the bell.

Many live upside down, looking like plants on the ocean floor.


Weird Hats That Birds Wear

I was 6 years old when I realized that birds wear hats.

It came from the Roadrunner. You know, the bird that was always foiling Wile E. Coyote's plans. I loved watching that cartoon, and I naturally thought that roadrunners were tall, long-legged, and wore hats with ornate purple feathers on their heads.

So imagine my shock on the family's road trip out West, when my parents stopped the car and pointed excitedly along the road saying, "Look, girls! A roadrunner!"

I looked, saw nothing. I stood up and leaned out the window and searched frantically. 

THIS is what I saw:

THIS is what I was looking for:


Turns out, the real roadrunner is a fast, foot-high creature that blends amazingly into his desert surroundings. He has a tiny tuft on his head for a hat...and that's about it. No purple plumes anywhere.

Well!  Another childhood belief utterly smashed.  But I found out there are other birds out there with hats that are unbelievable. Some are pretty, some are scary, and some are just...indescribable.

So here they are, weird hats that bird wear!

First, the pretty hats:

That Tufted Titmouse is just so cute.

Now the hats of royalty:

Mmmm, beautiful!

Some very silly hats:

Hah.  I would have named that Kingfisher the Court Jester Kingfisher.   :)

Here are some pretty scary hats:

Those guys look very....hungry

And some hats that are a bit hard to believe:

So how about this bird below and his weird hat?  Do you know what bird he is?  Leave a comment if you do...