Tag Archives | Animals

Animals Are Mysteriously Getting Fatter

animal obesityOur pets are becoming obese, as well as pests and vermin…but bafflingly, so have laboratory rats given the same controlled diets that have been in use for decades. Could toxins, viruses, or some other factor be at play in humans and animals living in proximity to our society growing fatter decade after decade? Marginal Revolution writes:

In a remarkable paper Allison et al. (2011) gather data on the weight at mid-life from 12 animal populations covering 8 different species all living in human environments. Dividing the sample into male and female they find that in all 24 cases animal weight has increased over the past several decades.

Cats and dogs, for example, both increased in weight. Female cats increased in body weight at a rate of 13.6% per decade and males at 5.7% per decade.

The authors also looked at animals not directly under human control such as rats. For the 1948–2006 time period, male rats trapped in urban Baltimore experienced a 5.7 per cent increase in body weight per decade and a nearly 20 per cent increase in the odds of obesity.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

A Jaguar In The Peruvian Jungle Tripping On Hallucinogenic Plants

Did humans discover the components of ayahuasca by observing animals? And when large cats go on a psychedelic trip in the jungle, what do they see? The Daily Grail reveals:

A jaguar in the Peruvian rain forest eating the Banisteriopsis caapi vine, one of the major constituents of the shamanic brew ayahuasca. (The jaguar seems to be affected somewhat by the vine.)

To make things doubly interesting, one of the most commonly reported elements in ayahuasca visions are…jaguars! And these visions even seem to transcend cultural and geographical boundaries. Chilean psychiatrist Claudio Naranjo administered harmaline to 35 white, urban volunteers, without telling them the substance they were taking nor the expected effects. He was surprised to note that “strangely enough, tigers, leopards or jaguars were seen by seven subjects even though big cats are not seen in Chile.”

Continue Reading

Will Translation Devices Soon Allow Us To Talk With Animals?

talk to animalsThe Atlantic speaks with Con Slobodchikoff, a professor of animal behavior at Northern Arizona University, who has spent 30 years decoding animal communications and believes we are approaching the point of breaching the human-animal language divide:

A computer science colleague of mine and I are using artificial intelligence techniques to keep a computer record of the call that prairie dogs were making, analyze it with these AI techniques, and then spit back the answer to us, which potentially could be in English. And then we could tell the computer something that we wanted to convey to the prairie dogs. And the computer could then synthesize the sounds and play it back to the prairie dogs.

The [prairie dogs] have word-like phonemes, combining those into sentence-like calls. They have social chatter. They can distinguish between types of predators that are nearby — dogs, coyotes, humans — and seem to have developed warnings that specify the predators’ species and size and color.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Pregnant Couple Prepares For ‘Dolphin-Assisted’ Birth

p125228-Cozumel-Our_dolphin_friendsIs amongst dolphins the best way for an infant to emerge into the world? I can see this going horribly wrong. Via Fox News:

A pregnant woman and her husband have traveled to Hawaii where they plan on having a “dolphin-assisted birth,” a water delivery among dolphins. Heather and Adam Barrington, of South Carolina, are preparing for the July arrival of their first child through a series of prenatal and postnatal swims with a pod of dolphins at The Sirius Institute in Pohoa, Hawaii.

The Sirius Institute describes itself as a “a research consortium with the purpose of ‘dolphinizing’ the planet.” They recently set up the Dolphin Attended, Water, Natural and Gentle Birth Center (DAWN), due to what they claim is an increasing demand on their web site for people looking to give birth near dolphins. The Sirius Institute claims that giving birth with dolphins is part of an ancient native Hawaiian practice.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Totem Animals for the Anthropocene

Picture: NARA (PD)

Picture: NARA (PD)

The new ecological paradigm is not nature with man-made systems interfering with it, but man-made systems with natural systems embedded in them. This vast man-made system encompasses the entire globe. There is no wilderness. There is no frontier. Nature has become completely co-opted by culture, but through chaos, randomness and unintended consequences, culture becomes nature once again.

In contrast to optimistic progress thinkers who believe human beings’ control of nature will steadily increase until we are ultimately able to live without it, I argue that the idea that we can completely dominate nature is an illusion. Nature is changing along with us

The Chernobyl Exclusion zone becomes a refuge for wolves and wild horses. Raccoons and coyotes take up residence in cities. Invasive species are on the rise.

As a person who practices shamanism, I no longer identify with federally protected endangered species, which are often tranquilized, radio-collared, inoculated, micro-chipped, poked, prodded and monitored from helicopters on a regular basis.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

India To Recognize Dolphins As “Non-Human Persons”

non-human persons

Are we moving beyond the human/animal binary? Via Environment News Service:

India’s Ministry of Environment and Forests has decided to forbid the keeping of captive dolphins for public entertainment anywhere in the country. In a policy statement released Friday, the ministry said:

“[Their] unusually high intelligence as compared to other animals means that dolphin should be seen as ‘non-human persons’ and as such should have their own specific rights and is morally unacceptable to keep them captive for entertainment purpose.”

The grassroots Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organization, FIAPO, was pleased with the decision. FIAPO spokesperson Puja Mitra called the decision “a huge victory for the dolphins!”

Ric O’Barry, director of the U.S.-based Earth Island Institute’s Dolphin Project, said, “Not only has the Indian government spoken out against cruelty, they have contributed to an emerging and vital dialogue about the ways we think about dolphins – as thinking, feeling beings.”

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Can Animals Get High On Marijuana?

ram-RACannabis can have tremendous benefits for sick creatures, but veterinarian Dr. Andrew Springer Browne, who has treated numerous pets that got a hold of their owners’ pot brownies, warns that animals should never ingest THC. Via the The New Inquiry:

Yes, an animal can get high on marijuana, but I would call it a very bad trip rather than being stoned or high.

The main clinical signs in dogs are low body temperature, dilated pupils, increased sensitivity to noise and movement, being unsteady on their feet. The animals are usually distressed and whimpering or howling. With really high doses they are collapsed, with a slow heart rate, barely responsive. This can last 24 to 48 hours. Usually they survive.

I would say though that any amount of marijuana is too much for an animal. Also, marijuana can have a variable amount of THC in it and also may contain contaminants like fungal spores, pesticides, or fertilizer.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Uruguayan Scientists Create Healthy Glow-In-The-Dark Sheep

It has been announced that nine sheep born this past October at Uruguay’s Institute of Animal Reproduction have been developing normally and living contentedly. The sheep were genetically engineered to contain a gene from a jellyfish which spurs the production of green fluorescent protein, a modification which will no doubt soon be a common one for designer house pets:

Continue Reading

Russia Launches A Variety Of Animals On A Space Journey

space animalsWe know what kinds of rodents and lizards we are sending up into space, but the question is, what sort will return? Yahoo! News:

Geckos, mice and gerbils and other animals launched into orbit Friday to begin a month-long Russian experiment to study how space travel affects living creatures. The space mission, scientists assure, will return the animals to Earth alive.

A Russian-built Soyuz 2 rocket carried the Bion-M1 space capsule, with 45 mice, eight Mongolian gerbils, 15 geckos and numerous other species. They are expected to spend a month in orbit, flying 357 miles above Earth while scientists on the ground monitor the health of the capsule’s passengers.

While the project is run by Russia’s Federal Space Agency, an international team of scientists is overseeing the mission’s many experiments. Bion-M1 is Russia’s first mission dedicated to launching animals into space in 17 years. The last Bion mission carried rhesus monkeys, geckos and amphibians into orbit for 15 days in 1996.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Florida Hit By Invasion Of Hundreds Of Thousands Of Giant Snails

giant african land snailWill this be how the world ends — covered in snail slime? Tampa’s WTSP reports:

Since September 8, 2011 when the snails were first found, the Florida Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have collected more than 40,000 of the Giant African snails.

The Giant African land snail is one of the largest land snails in the world, growing up to eight inches in length. State officials said this invasive species eats at least 500 different agricultural crops, can cause damage to plaster and stucco on homes and though rare, can carry rat lungworm, a parasite that can cause meningitis in humans.

The last reported outbreak and eradication of the Giant African land snail in Florida occurred in 1966 when a boy smuggled three Giant African land snails into Miami as pets and his grandmother released the snails into her garden. It’s not known how the latest outbreak started, but it’s illegal to bring the snails into the US without a permit.

Read the rest

Continue Reading