Saturday Surprise — A Hodge-Podge

Today, I have somewhat of a hodge-podge for you.  I thought we all needed something to laugh about after the past couple of weeks {years}!


Have you ever done something really dumb … you know, those kinds of things that make you smack your head and say, “I can’t believe I did that!”  🙄  Oh come on now, you know you have — we all have!  Let me start out with a couple of my own … er … less-than-brilliant moments.  My van is old, with 221,000+ miles on it, and it needs to be started every couple of days to keep it at least semi-functional.  Since I only use it once a week to pick up my online grocery order from the Kroger that is less than a mile from home, I usually start it every other day, let it run for 10 minutes, then go back out and turn it off. But one time, I forgot it was running, and a couple of hours later when my daughter returned home from work, she said, “How long has your van been running?”  Oops.  Now I set the timer on my phone to remind me!  Then there was the time years ago when I was at the grocery checkout and suddenly realized my keys weren’t in my pocket.  I panicked, and the cashier asked me what was wrong … “I can’t find my keys!” … and she calmly asked, “Is that them in your hand?”  🤦

Here are some gems from readers of Bored Panda …

  • I have a key fob for my car. It’s set up so that if you hit the lock button once, it locks the car. If you hit the same lock button again, it locks it again and honks the horn so you know you’ve locked it for sure. The thing is, I always want to make super sure that it’s locked, but sometimes I come home to my condo super late, and my parking spot is right under someone else’s window. I noticed that if the key fob was farther away from the car when I hit the button twice, the honk was not as loud. So out of consideration, I would always wait til I was halfway up the stairs to do the double lock honk. What a great neighbor I am! Anyway, after maybe 2+ years of doing this, one time my girlfriend and I were in my condo and I realized I needed something out of my car. So I go down there but when I get there I realize I had forgotten my keys. Well, I had my phone, so I called my girlfriend and asked if she would stick her arm out the window with the key fob and unlock my car. She mistakenly hit the lock button twice and my car honked. Really loudly! Even though she was all the way up on the third floor! It was only then I realized…the honk was always the same. It only sounded softer when I was farther away…because I was farther away. I have a master’s degree…

  • My coworker asked if there is lactose in eggs, I thought to myself “they both come from the same animal, so maybe”. For 5 seconds, I thought milk came from chickens.

  • I once had a brain fart and forgot that porcupines were animals. I was hanging out with my family and my niece mentioned that her favorite animal was a porcupine, and I laughed for a good long time before explaining to her that porcupines weren’t animals. I’d gotten them mixed up with pine cones. I have a graduate degree. My niece was maybe 6 at the time. She schooled me.

  • When I was cleaning out my shed in the back, I stepped on a rake and the pole smacked me in the face. Literally, like the cartoons. It happened three more times before I came up with the bright idea to move the rake.

  • I was sitting in traffic, and I noticed that all the other lanes were moving while mine hadn’t budged an inch. I craned my neck trying to see what the hold up was, and finally figured out that I wasn’t in a lane at all, but had been patiently waiting behind a line of parked cars.

  • A couple months ago, my husband and I went on a walk. There are a lot of trails where we live and a couple of lakes. So we walked down a trail to the lake, turned left up another trail, and ended up at the top of a street. We start walking down the street and I realize there is a house that has a wishing well in their front yard like we do. I point it out to my husband and then I realize they have the same truck we do, too. I point out the truck and then I realize that we were in front of our own house. It wasn’t my brightest moment.

So, what are some of your not-so-bright moments?


I always find critters help bring down my stress levels (unless it is my own recalcitrant furry family members while they’re intent on destroying furniture or pulling up the carpet!). Recently, Agora challenged international photographers to participate in the #Animals2020 photo contest with their best shots of living creatures around the planet.  Here is a sampling …

1-iguana

Iguana — Jakarta, Indonesia

2-koala

Mother & baby koala — Australia

3-monkey

Baby monkey — Kedoya Utara, Indonesia

10-fox

Arctic fox — Iceland

17-bekantan

Mother & child Bekantan — Cisarua, Indonesia

19-owl

Barn owl — Northumberland, United Kingdom

22-lion

Lion — Gondwana Game Reserve, South Africa

23-Ibex

Ibex — Chamonix, France

25-puffin

Puffin — Smoker Island, Wales, United Kingdom

41-bee

Bee on flowers — South Korea

42-bird-zebra

Bird on zebra — Moremi Game Reserve, Botswana

This is just a sample of the full collection, but you can see the rest, along with some of the photographer’s stories.


And last, but not least … in case you still haven’t chuckled … a few really bad (don’t say I didn’t warn you) jokes, courtesy of Reader’s Digest

  • What did the fish say when he swam into a wall?  Dam.
  • What do you call a fish with no eyes? A fsh.
  • Did you hear about the Italian chef who died? He pasta-way.
  • Did you hear about the fire in the shoe factory?  10,000 soles were lost. The police said some heels started it.
  • What’s the difference between a rabbit and a plum? They’re both purple except for the rabbit.
  • What do you call an alligator in a vest? An in-vest-igator.
  • I could tell that my parents hated me. My bath toys were a toaster and a radio. – Rodney Dangerfield

toonNow, try to put the serious stuff out of your mind for a couple of hours today and enjoy your Saturday, ‘k?

Saturday Surprise — More Fun Critters!

Good Saturday morning, friends, and welcome to the weekend.  Now, this has been a week of waiting with bated breath, being thoroughly disgusted by acts of certain people who I shan’t sully this post by mentioning their name, and I really thought we all needed to relax with some cute critters this morning.  Trouble is, I couldn’t find just the right collection that I thought would take your minds off our troubles and bring a smile to your faces.  HOWEVER … I went back to some of my earliest Saturday Surprise posts and found this one from November 2017 — three years ago. (As you’ll see by the first paragraph, times were tough back in 2017, too!)  I hope that it accomplishes the goal of at least bringing a bit of a smile to your face and kicking off the weekend with an “Awwwwww” moment.


Good Saturday morning, friends!  And you’re just in time for Saturday Surprise!  It has been a challenging week, both in terms of keeping up with the news (impossible), keeping my mood stable (almost worked, with a little help) and other challenges.  Now you all know what my favourite thing is, right?  So, I decided to treat myself to a bit of happiness today, and hope it brings you some too, with some more mostly-unheard-of animals!


blue footed booby 1

Say ‘hello’ to this adorable Blue-Footed Booby, native to subtropical and tropical regions of the eastern Pacific Ocean. It is easily recognizable by its distinctive bright blue feet, which is a sexually selected trait. Males display their feet in an elaborate mating ritual by lifting them up and down while strutting before the female. The female is slightly larger than the male. (of course, and she falls for a guy stomping his feet in front of her … figures)

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How about this guy … the Venezuelan Poodle Moth, only recently discovered (2009) and not much information is available yet, as scientists are still trying to figure out quite what it is …

Venzuelan poodle moth.jpg Personally, I think it is cute, but not something I would want to wake up and see staring at me!


fluffy cowfluffy cows

These, friends, are Fluffy Cows.  Okay, technically they are a Scottish breed called Highland Cattle, but where I first found them, they were dubbed Fluffy Cows, and I thought it was cute.  Aren’t they much cuter that regular Texas Longhorns?


Fluffy pigs

And speaking of fluffy, how about fluffy pigs!  These are Mangalitsa Pigs, also known as ’a pig in sheep’s clothing’. It is a Hungarian breed of domestic pig. It was developed in the mid-19th century by crossbreeding Hungarian breeds from Szalonta and Bakony with European wild boar and the Serbian Šumadija breed. The Mangalica pig grows a thick, woolly coat similar to that of a sheep.


Endangered duck breeding success

Great family portrait of these Madagascar Pochards, don’t you agree?  They are an extremely rare diving duck, that was thought to be extinct in the  late 1990s. Specimens of the species were rediscovered at Lake Matsaborimena in Madagascar in 2006. As of March 2013, the population is around 80 individual ducks.


Look what I found … Greater Bamboo Lemurs, also known as the broad-nosed bamboo lemur and the broad-nosed gentle lemur, is the largest bamboo lemur, at over five pounds or nearly 2.5 kilograms. It has greyish brown fur and white ear tufts, and has a head-body length of around one and a half feet, or forty to fifty centimeters. They have relatively long tails and long back legs for leaping vertically amongst the trees of their forest habitat .


Wombat

This guy has captured my heart!  He is a Northern Hairy-Nosed Wombat, found only in  Epping Forest National Park in Queensland, Australia … Meeka, could you send me one?  They have bodies covered in soft, grey fur and even have fur on their noses, a trait that sets them apart from the common wombat. They have longer, more pointed ears and a much broader muzzle than the other two species. Individuals can be 35 cm high, up to 1 m long and weigh up to 40 kg. The species exhibits sexual dimorphism, with females being somewhat larger than males due to the presence of an extra layer of fat. Oh, doesn’t it just figure???

wombat 2

Why does Australia get both Koalas and Wombats … couldn’t they share at least one of the two?


Normally I wouldn’t associate octopi with the word cute, but just look at this Dumbo Octopus, also known as the Grimpoteuthis … but we will stick with Dumbo Octopus, for obvious reasons.

dumbo octopus

This guy is so named for the prominent ear-like fins which characteristically protrude from the mantle just above the eyes and which give a vague resemblance to the ears of Walt Disney’s flying elephant Dumbo.

cumbo octopus 2


Ever hear of a Gerenuk?  Me neither, but they are also known as the giraffe gazelle, The Gerenuk is a long-necked antelope found in the Horn of Africa and the drier parts of East Africa.

gerenuk

gerenuk-2.jpg


And last but not least, I shall leave you with this … the Blobfish.

blob fish

He looks just the way I feel some days!!!

The Blobfish is a deep sea fish that inhabits the deep waters off the coasts of mainland Australia and Tasmania, as well as the waters of New Zealand. The flesh of the blobfish is primarily a gelatinous mass with a density slightly less than water; which allows the fish to float above the sea floor without expending energy on swimming. Its relative lack of muscle is not a disadvantage as it primarily swallows edible matter that floats in front of it such as deep-ocean crustaceans. Sounds a bit like a lazy fella to me …

blob fish 2


I do hope you all have enjoyed visiting with the animals, and that you have a wonderful weekend.  Better get out and enjoy it now, for winter is on its way!  Hugs ‘n love to all!

Saturday Surprise — More Squirrels!

Conversation between me, myself, and I, with name-calling and profanities removed:

Me:  It’s 11 days before the election … surely you can’t expect me to manage a Saturday Surprise post this week?

Myself:  Okay, fine, so go to bed, then, lazy.

I:  Look, you write about politics all week … don’t you want a break?

Me:  No, the political situation is important!  It’s the thing weighing most heavily on my mind, the thing that has wrecked my appetite and my sleep!  I can’t find humour today … I just can’t.

Myself:  Oh great, feel sorry for y’self, why don’t you?

I:  Look, maybe you don’t want a break, but maybe your readers would be grateful for one, don’t you think?  Think about them, not yourself.  They’re worried too, and they need something to smile about.

Me:  Well … since you put it that way …

Myself:  Then get busy, you lazy sod.

Me:  I’m going, I’m going … would you please shut up!

And so … I went in search of something to give us all a reason to smile!  And I found – squirrels!!!

Geert Weggen is a Dutch/Swedish international awarded photographer specialiced in photographing Red squirrels.  In December 2018, I did a Saturday Surprise post featuring some of his squirrel photography.  This week, he put out a new collection of adorable photos, but first, I’ll let Geert tell you a bit about himself and how this all came about …

“15 years ago, I built a house with a balcony in a small village in the middle of Sweden beside a forest. I never expected that my balcony would become a photo studio for wild animals. Now I make my living with red squirrel photography.

It all started with a fox standing in front of my door. I started to take photos of the fox. After 2 weeks of daily visits, the fox started to climb onto my balcony and climb into boxes. This was the start of creating scenes on my balcony where I would lay out food for wildlife and capture them with my camera.

The studio is built 1 meter from the ground and is directly connected with my kitchen window and the forest. This is how I make compositions at eye level, 3 meters from my window. I use food to lure animals.

There can be a total of 14 squirrels visiting my garden, but mostly, there are 6 coming daily. I do not give them much food, so that they are not dependent on me.

I have won prizes, published books, and been published in many newspapers and magazines, TV and radio broadcasts, as well as worked together with publishers and artists. I have also done commercials and organized workshops. I’ve also been featured on Bored Panda many times, and you can find the links to these articles hereherehereherehere, and here.

Although there can be many squirrels coming in my scenes simultaneously, they are rarely all perfectly in focus or the right composition; therefore, I sometimes capture 2 photos with the animals in different positions and stack them together. Another thing I do is cloning out wires, pins, or food buckets if needed.”

squirrel-1squirrel-2squirrel-3squirrel-4squirrel-5squirrel-6squirrel-7squirrel-8squirrel-9squirrel-10squirrel-11squirrel-12squirrel-13squirrel-14squirrel-15squirrel-16squirrel-17squirrel-18squirrel-19squirrel-20squirrel-21squirrel-22squirrel-23squirrel-24squirrel-25squirrel-26squirrel-27squirrel-28squirrel-29squirrel-30

Me, myself, and I all hope that the cute, furry squirrels brought a smile to your face, and we wish you a wonderful weekend!!!

Saturday Surprise — 2020 Wildlife Photographer Awards!

I thought I might struggle to find a fun thing for Saturday Surprise this week, but then … I discovered that this week the 2020 Wildlife Photographer winners were announced on October 13th, and I knew I couldn’t pass that one up!  The photos are always so great.  This is the 56th year for the contest, and for the first time ever, the awards ceremony was conducted virtually due to the pandemic.  As I told you in last year’s post about the Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards,  this is the largest wildlife photography competition in the world. It is an annual international wildlife photography competition owned by the Natural History Museum.  The first competition was held in 1964, with three categories and around 600 entries. By 2008, the competition had grown to over 32,000 entries from 3100 photographers in 82 countries.  This year, there were over 49,000 entries!

And as was the case last year, I cannot possibly show you all the gorgeous photos, but have picked the ones I thought were the best of the best. You can find more at the Natural History Museum website, as well as information about the photographers and other trivia.


Of course, we must begin with the grand title winner, Sergey Gorshkov, who won with this photo titled The Embracewild-2 This picture shows the intimate moment an endangered Siberian tiger hugs an ancient Manchurian fir tree to mark it with her scent. It took Russian photographer Sergey Gorshkov over 11 months to capture using motion sensor cameras.  Sergey scoured the forest for signs of Amur, or Siberian, tigers, searching for the best place to set up his camera trap. He knew his chance of photographing one was slim, but his mind was made up. “From then on, I could think of nothing else,” Sergey says. Finally, his dedication paid off: he captured a rare glimpse of this magnificent tiger in its wild habitat.


This year’s Young Photographer of the Year (ages 15-17) award went to Liina Heikkinen of Finland for this photo, titled The Fox That Got the Goosewild-13It was on a summer holiday in Helsinki that Liina, then 13, heard about a large fox family living in the city suburbs on the Finnish island of Lehtisaari. The island has both wooded areas and fox-friendly citizens, and the foxes are relatively unafraid of humans. So Heikkinen and her father spent one long July day, without a hide, watching the two adults and their six large cubs, which were almost the size of their parents, though slimmer and lankier. In another month, the cubs would be able to fend for themselves, but in July they were only catching insects and earthworms and a few rodents, and the parents were still bringing larger prey to them. On this evening, the vixen arrived with a barnacle goose. Feathers flew as the cubs began fighting over it.


Frank Deschandol’s original aim was to photograph the vibrant cuckoo wasp. In a sandy bank on a brownfield site near his home in Normandy, France, he located tiny digger wasp burrows suitable for a cuckoo wasp to use. He then set up an infrared beam that, when broken by a wasp, would trigger the super-fast shutter system he had built. Despite the extremely narrow depth of field and tiny subjects, he captured not only the cuckoo wasp but also the sand wasp.wildlifeTitled A Tale of Two Wasps, this remarkable simultaneous framing of a red-banded sand wasp (left) and a cuckoo wasp about to enter next-door nest holes is the result of painstaking preparation. The female cuckoo wasp—just 6 millimeters long—parasitizes the nests of certain solitary digger wasps, laying her eggs in her hosts’ burrows so that her larvae can feast on their eggs or larvae. The much larger red-banded sand wasp lays her eggs in her own burrow, which she provisions with caterpillars, one for each of her young to eat when they emerge.


This next one is titled The Pose … I would swear this guy used to be my boss!  This is a photo by Mogens Trolle of a young male proboscis monkey seemingly deep in thought (or asleep). wild-11


The Village Cat by Masood Hussainwild-8

Masood spent the evening tracking a tiger in a nearby forest. Just as he was heading home at sunset, his driver spotted this big cat, lying on the wall of an abandoned village school.


Late Delivery by Catherine Dobbins d’Alessiowild-20


Surprise! by Makoto Andowild-19


The Perfect Catch by Hannah Vijayanwild-16A brown bear pulls a sockeye salmon from the shallows of a river in Alaska’s Katmai National Park. The greatest concentration of bears – and tourists – is around the waterfall at Brooks River, where viewing platforms enable visitors to watch bears catching salmon leaping up the falls.

Young Hannah chose to focus on a quieter scene and a different style of fishing.

Instead of snatching at leaping fish or jumping on them, the female put her head under the water to look for one.  She catches a nutrient-rich sockeye still in its ocean form – before it has developed its reproductive red colour and pronounced jaws.  The presence of the salmon in autumn ensures the bears’ survival through the winter.  Alaskan brown bears are among the world’s largest bears. Males may eat 30 salmon a day and weigh more than 450 kilograms by the end of the summer. Females are smaller and typically weigh a third less.


Eye of the Drought by José Fragozowild-14Believe it or not, there’s a hippopotamus in there!  An eye blinks open in a mud pool as a hippopotamus emerges to take a breath – one every three to five minutes.  The challenge for José, watching in his vehicle, was to catch the moment an eye opened.

For several years, José has been watching hippos in Kenya’s Maasai Mara National Reserve, a remnant of the drought-stricken Mara River.  Hippos spend the day submerged to keep their temperature constant and their sensitive skin out of the sun. They emerge at night to graze on the floodplains.


Life in the Balance by Jaime Culebraswildlife-3A Manduriacu glass frog snacks on a spider in the foothills of the Andes, in northwestern Ecuador. As big consumers of invertebrates, glass frogs play a key part in maintaining balanced ecosystems. That night, Jaime Culebras’s determination to share his passion for them had driven him to walk for four hours, in heavy rain, through the forest to reach the frogs’ streams in the Manduriacu Reserve. But the frogs were elusive and the downpour was growing heavier and heavier. As he turned back, he was thrilled to spot one small frog clinging to a branch, its eyes shimmering like mosaics.


wild-27wild-26wild-10wild-7wild-6wild-4wild-3wild-1

I hope you enjoyed the beautiful photos and critters!  Now, go have a wonderful weekend, but please, my friends, observe every possible safety measure if you’re out in public.

Saturday Surprise — Critter Love

Given the events of the past week, I thought there couldn’t possibly be a Saturday Surprise post in me this week, and was preparing a post about … well, you’ll find out this afternoon.  But then, I came across a post on Bored Panda and … by about the 7th picture, I found a funny thing happening to my face.  The corners of my mouth were turning up and I was saying, “Awwwwww …” repeatedly!  So, long story short, I decided that I could step away from the drama & trauma of the world for just a bit and share some “awwwww … “ moments with you guys.

It seems these days that some people cannot accept any who look different from themselves, say have a different skin tone or accent.  But these critters prove that looks, fur colour, size, gender, and even species are irrelevant in the grand scheme.

According to Arizona Humane Society’s Pet Behavior and Pet Training Manager Jenny Dagnino, social relationships and friendships between animals of different species are common.

Take a look at some of these guys … I guarantee they’ll bring a smile to your face …

critters-1

This pelican befriended the dog who kept hanging out and seemed lonely.  The man who took this picture adopted the dog, but brings him back every day to visit his pelican friend.

critters-2

critters-3critters-4critters-6critters-7

Even height doesn’t matter to these two!

critters-8

Wasn’t there once a book or a film titled “The Owl and the Pussycat”?

critters-9

And I know there is both a novel and a Disney film about “The Fox and the Hound”!

critters-11critters-14

You may remember these two, Herman the pigeon who can’t fly, and Lundy the chihuahua who can’t walk, for I wrote a post about them in February.

critters-17critters-18critters-21critters-23

Yet another Fox and Hound!

critters-24critters-25critters-26

Growing up together

critters-68critters-52critters-48critters-43critters-40critters-38critters-29critters-28

critter-34

♫  So Happy Together

critter-37critters-5

Giving comfort in the time of need

critters-10

“Hey!!!  Give us back our brother!”

critters-15Now, if all these adorable critters didn’t warm your heart, then … I just don’t know what will!  Perhaps a cute critter video?

Now that you’re smiling and feeling all warm ‘n fuzzy inside, go forth and have a terrific WEEKEND!!!

Saturday Surprise — Cursing Parrots and Cute Critters

Well, it’s certainly been another of those exhausting, nerve-wracking weeks, hasn’t it?  Time for just a bit of humour, for ‘just a bit’ is likely all I can muster tonight, but I wanted to see if I could help you start the weekend with a smile.


Curses!!!

The Lincolnshire Wildlife Park located in Friskney, England, adopted five African grey parrots back in August, but you won’t see them on display if you go there.  The parrots, Billy, Elsie, Eric, Jade and Tyson, seemed to be causing the zoo some problems, or rather their language was.  Turns out they knew more swear words than a lot of humans and they weren’t afraid to use them. parrotWith more colorful language than plumage, the birds used different curse words in different British accents, but they were all unprintably coarse. At one point, a group of women walking past the aviary thought the lewd comments shouted at them were from a hidden staff member.  The park had no complaints — in fact, visitors reveled in swearing right back at the birds — but the park officials feared children and parents might not enjoy the experience as much.  So, the parrots were moved into a temporary space away from the public eye, giving them time to be around more family-friendly birds and hopefully clean up their language.

Steve Nichols, the chief executive of the Lincolnshire Wildlife Park, said …

“When a parrot swears, it’s very difficult for other humans not to laugh. And when we laugh, that’s a positive response. And therefore, what they do is they learn both the laugh and the swear word. It’s not so bad with one on its own, but then, if you get five together, once one swears and another one laughs, and another one laughs, before you know it, it sounds like a group of teenagers or an old working men’s club.  Billy is the worst one.”

Now that the birds have been removed from the public exhibits, some guests are arriving who have heard about the vulgar birds but don’t know which cage they’re in. So they have taken to swearing at all of the birds, hoping they’ll get some abuse back!  Personally, I find this entire thing hysterically funny, but I’m sure there are some who would be offended.  The birds seem to have calmed and are due to be back in the public venue soon.


I was RIGHT (for once)

Y’know how I always try to end Jolly Monday and sometimes Saturday Surprise with a cute or funny animal video?  I’ve just always thought it seemed like seeing cute critters would start the day off right.  Well, turns out there is scientific evidence to support my theory!quokkaA new study conducted by the University of Leeds has discovered that watching videos of cute animals is great for your health!

Tourism Western Australia and The University of Leeds partnered up to explore the physiological and psychological impact of cute animals on students and staff at the University of Leeds.

The sessions involved 19 subjects — 15 students and four staff members — and was intentionally timed during winter exams, a time when stress is at a significantly high level. The participants were asked to watch a 30-minute slide show that included photos and video clips of various cute animals, such as puppies, kittens and quokkas.

In all cases, the study saw blood pressure, heart rate and anxiety go down in participants, 30 minutes after watching the video.

The average heart rate of all participants fell from 72.2 bpm to 67.4 bpm: A reduction in heart rate of 6.65% in just 30 minutes.

The average blood pressure across all participants dropped from 136/88 to 115/71. In percentage terms, this represents a 14.9% drop in systolic blood pressure and a 18.28% drop in diastolic blood pressure.

Anxiety rates also went down by 35%, measured using the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory.

In a post-study questionnaire, some of the participants comments included:

“I felt happy and calm”

“I wanted to be on that beach with those little kangaroo things (quokkas)

The study also found that most participants preferred video clips over still images, particularly of animals interacting with humans.  And so, rather than me rambling on and on, let’s watch a cute animal video!!!

And … got time for one more?


And on that note, I hope you guys have something fun planned for the weekend!  Keep safe and be happy, my friends!

Saturday Surprise — Nature ‘n Critters

After the week we’ve had … WHEW!  I think we need a breather, a break from the madness, don’t you?  So, I made a few stops here ‘n there and decided to go with some interesting nature pics (in other words, critters!!!) I found in The Guardian’s Week in Wildlife feature.  Just seeing the wonders of nature and the cuteness of the critters will relax you and make you set aside your angst for a few minutes.

Bryde-whale

A Bryde’s whale and seagulls feast on anchovies in the Gulf of Thailand. The species has been spotted more frequently after the absence of tourists during the pandemic, which raises hopes of the marine ecosystem being restored after years of damage

anteater

An anteater is released in the Amazon forest after receiving veterinary treatment in Rondônia state, Brazil. Creatures of the Amazon, one of the earth’s most biodiverse habitats, face an ever-growing threat as loggers and farms advance further into the territory

koala

A young female koala named Ash sits on a Eucalyptus branch at the Australian Reptile Park in Sydney. A New South Wales parliamentary inquiry released in June 2020 found that koalas will become extinct in the state before 2050 without urgent intervention

porcupine

A wounded crested porcupine at the veterinary clinic of the ministry of the environment, waiting to be treated and released, in San Salvador

jaguar

An injured adult male jaguar walks along the riverbank at the Encontros das Águas park, in the Porto Jofre region of the Pantanal in Brazil. The Pantanal is suffering its worst wildfires in more than 47 years

hornet

A European hornet eats a rotten pear near Rennes, western France

golden-frog

A golden frog at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Gamboa, a rainforest near Panama City. Cocooned from the outside world, 200 critically endangered golden frogs are living a sheltered existence in Panama, protected from a devastating fungus that threatens to wipe out a third of the country’s amphibian species

red-admiral-butterfly

A red admiral butterfly closes its wings on a sunny day in Hengistbury Head, Dorset. • This caption was amended on 21 September 2020. It is not a peacock butterfly as the picture agency originally stated.

spider-web

Ash from nearby wildfires clings to the threads of a spider web in a blackberry thicket in western Oregon, US. Ash has been raining down in the area for the last due to the fires

grasshopper

An Adimantus ornatissimus grasshopper rests on a tree near New Delhi on 9 September. The grasshopper family is one of the most diverse, including more than 6,700 valid species around the world.

mountain-lions

P-54, a three-year-old mountain lion living in the Santa Monica mountains, gave birth to a litter of kittens – males P-82 and P-83, and female P-84 – last May. Researchers believe this is her first litter. A mountain lion baby boom has occurred this summer in the Santa Monica mountains and Simi hills west of Los Angeles. Thirteen kittens were born to five mountain lion mothers between May and August, according to the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.

black-apes

A herd of Sulawesi black apes (Macaca tonkeana) waiting for passersby to provide food on the Trans Sulawesi road section, Parigi Moutong regency, Central Sulawesi province, Indonesia on 8 September. Even though the local natural resources conservation agency has prohibited the provision of food to endemic animals because it can change their behaviour, many passersby ignore the ban.

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Eight-month-old koala joey Jasper clings to mother Nutsy at Sydney zoo on 8 July.

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Acorn woodpeckers look for bugs in a dead tree in the Angeles national forest where the Bobcat fire is burning above Duarte, California about 27 miles north-east of Los Angeles on 7 September.

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Although protected by the US Endangered Species Act since 1973, there are only about 300 black-footed ferrets alive in the wild today, spread across about 20 sites in the western US, Canada and Mexico. Habitat loss and the widespread shooting and poisoning of prairie dogs are factors, but nothing poses a greater threat than the plague-carrying bacteria Yersinia pestis.

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Smoke from numerous nearby wildfires tints the sun a vivid colour as a vulture is silhouetted on its perch on a dead tree near Elkton in western Oregon on 9 September. Hot and dry weather continues in the Pacific north-west with the potential for more massive wildfires.

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A macaw seeking food about to land on an antenna in Caracas, Venezuela on 5 September. Caracas’ signature bird, the blue-and-yellow macaw, is one of four such species that inhabit the valley. Legend has it that it was introduced in the 1970s by Italian immigrant Vittorio Poggi, who says he nurtured a lost macaw and trained it to fly with his motorcycle as he cruised around his neighbourhood.

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A ditch jewel dragonfly (Brachythemis contaminata) seen on the outskirts of New Delhi on 6 September.

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A male lesser prairie chicken climbs a sage limb to rise above the others at a breeding area near Follett, Texas. Wildlife advocates say efforts to restore the birds could be set back by a proposal made on 4 September to exempt areas from habitat protections that are meant to save imperilled species.

And there you have this week’s selection of wildlife photos.  Some are so adorable, some unique in ways of their own, and some are just … weird-looking.  But, as they say, never judge a book … or a critter … by its cover … or its fur!  I hope you’ve enjoyed the cute pics today, hope they brought a smile to your gorgeous faces, and now I hope you have a wonderful weekend!  And to start you off on the right foot … here’s a funny critter video!

Saturday Surprise — Funny Critters

I haven’t done a Saturday Surprise post for a couple of weeks, but since most of my posts have been pretty dark this past week, I thought I owed you guys a break from the darkness.

For the past two years in September (2018, 2019) I have posted pictures from the Comedy Wildlife Photography finalists … so let’s make it an annual tradition, shall we?  These critter photos are so fun they are bound to bring at least a bit of a smile to even the most curmudgeonly face!

The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards is a global photography competition founded in 2015 by Paul Joynson-Hicks and Tom Sullam. It was established with the goal of promoting the conservation of wildlife and their environs through the use of positive and upbeat imagery. Through the use of humorous images, the competition has gained a global following, and offers a new approach to building conservation awareness. The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards have had 3 bestselling books published, working with Natalie Galustian, Joel Simons and Blink Publishing. In 2019 Michelle Wood was brought in as the third director. In 2019 the 40 finalists were showcased at the annual Wildlife & Safari Travel Show. The competition has annual exhibitions around the world and recently launched another competition: The Comedy Pet Photography Awards in association with Mars Petcare.

I hope you enjoy this year’s finalist selections …

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Surprise smiles, Lake Bogoria, Kenya.  While walking on trail at the southern side of Lake Bogoria, the photographer spotted a group of dwarf mongooses Photograph: Asaf Sereth/CWPAs 2020

langurs

The race, India ‘My friends and I walked in the centre of the small town of Hampi in India. There was bicycle parking nearby. Suddenly a flock of langurs jumped on these bicycles and began to frolic. We were afraid to frighten them away, I started taking pictures from afar, but then we came very close to them and the langurs continued to play with bicycles’ Photograph: Yevhen Samuchenko/CWPAs 2020


monkey

So hot, Japan A monkey soaks in natural hot springs Photograph: Wei Ping Peng/CWPAs 2020


elephant

I had to stay late at work, Chubut, Argentina ‘South sea elephant in Patagonia (Isla Escondida) They adopt very curious gestures!’ Photograph: Luis Burgue/CWPAs 2020


polar-bear

Lamentation! Spitzbergen, Norway Photograph: Jacques Poulard/CWPAs 2020


seal

Having a laugh, Caithness, Scotland ‘A young common seal chills out on a rock in Sinclair Bay, its thick layer of blubber moulding into the contours of the rock. Looking as if it is enjoying a really good joke, the seal is, in fact, yawning’ Photograph: Ken Crossan/CWPAs 2020


damselfly

Hide and seek, Devon, England ’As this azure damselfly slowly woke up, he became aware of my presence. I was lined up to take a profile picture of his wings and body, but quite sensibly the damsel reacted to the human with the camera by putting the marsh grass stem between me and it. I took the shot anyway. It was only later that I realised how characterful it was. And how much the damselfly looks like one of the muppets’ Photograph: Tim Hearn/CWPAs 2020


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Smiley, El Hierro, Canary Islands Photograph: Arthur Telle Thiemann/CWPAs 2020


puffins

Seriously, would you share some? Scotland ‘Atlantic puffins are amazing flyers and their fishing talents are, well, as you see, some do better than others! I just love the second puffin’s look: can I just have one please? Photograph: Krisztina Scheeff/CWPAs 2020


kingfisher

It’s a mocking bird! Near Kirkcudbright, Scotland ‘I was hoping a kingfisher would land on the “No fishing” sign but I was over the moon when it landed for several seconds with a fish. It then flew off with its catch. It appeared to be mocking the person who erected the sign!’ Photograph: Sally Lloyd-Jones/CWPAs 2020


parakeets

Social distance, please! Kaudulla national park, Sri Lanka ‘This is the beginning of a scene which lasted approximately one minute and in which each of the rose-ringed parakeets used a foot to clean the partner’s beak. While the whole scene was very informative, this first photo with the male already holding his foot high in the air was just asking to be taken out of context’ Photograph: Petr Sochman/CWPAs 2020


elephants

Wait up Mommy, look what I got for you! Kaziranga, India ‘At the Kaziranga national park, this elephant mother and calf seemed completely oblivious to our jeep and went about their stroll through the pond. The mom seemed to be giving her calf lessons on eating the hyacinth: select a lush green bunch, rip them out from the root, pound the stems against the trunk to remove the mud and then swallow whole. The calf looked like she was thoroughly enjoying the lesson and duly followed her mother’s every move’ Photograph: Kunal Gupta/CWPAs 2020


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Tough negotiations, Israel Photograph: Ayala Fishaimer/CWPAs 2020

 

penguins

I could puke, Falkland Islands ‘This picture was taken at sunrise. A group of gentoo penguins went to the shore to go fishing when one stopped and vomited’ Photograph: Christina Holfelder/CWPAs 2020


hippos

Laughing hippo, Masai Mara national reserve, Kenya ‘The baby hippo whispered to the mother’s ear: “I had a wonderful dream. Alex invited me for tea so I went to his tent. He pointed to the empty chair and invited me to sit on it. I did so and suddenly the chair broke. I was on the floor. Alex started laughing and went to the adjoining chair to sit down. As soon as he sat down, I heard a loud crack. His chair also broke and he was thrown on to the floor. We both started laughing with tears coming from our eyes.” Then I woke up and started smiling’ Photograph: Manoj Shah/CWPAs 2020


mouse

O sole mio, Hungary ‘It’s like he was just “singing” to me! She had a very nice voice’ Photograph: Roland Kranitz/CWPAs 2020


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Faceplant, Namibia ‘This elephant calf in Namibia was slow to notice when his mother started to move away. When he tried to hurry and catch up, he tripped over his front feet and faceplanted. His mother heard the commotion and immediately came back to help him up, and the calf continued on his way with no damage except to his dignity’ Photograph: Tim Hearn/CWPAs 2020

Saturday Surprise — Critters!

Saturday Surprise almost wasn’t again this week … I thought I couldn’t find a smile, couldn’t find any humour.  But a voice inside my head kept whispering … “You got this.  Your readers depend on you to help them smile.  It isn’t all about just you, y’know!”  And finally, after the voice, one of my two alter-egos, invaded my thoughts one time to many, I set aside what I was working on and went in search of … something fun.  Actually, it didn’t take me long to find several things and the hardest part was deciding which was the most fun!

Now, most of you who have followed Filosofa’s Word for any time know that if I’m looking for a pick-me-up, it’s almost certainly going to involve critters, and today is no exception.  Living in a world populated only by the human species would be, to me, the worst nightmare imaginable!


Remember I told you a couple of weeks ago in a Jolly Monday post about Tucson the dog, who kept hanging around a Hyundai dealership until finally they adopted him and gave him a job?  Well, in Richmond, Australia, a similar thing happened, only this time with a cat … Elwood, the cat!  He hung around the Epworth Hospital so long that they finally gave him a job as a security guard, complete with his own badge!Elwood

According to his co-worker, Chantel Trollip …

“He is lovely and friendly, but not overly affectionate. He enjoys a good pat, but likes to keep things short and move around a fair bit. He is on the security team, after all, has to make sure everyone coming and going gets checked. I think any potential criminals are thwarted by his sweetness when passersby see him! He has a very sweet chirp of a meow and I think anyone with any ill will would automatically change their plans upon hearing it and so I assume this is his way of getting the job done.”

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I bet most of you have never heard of the Somali elephant shrew!  In fact, I hadn’t until last night when I was digging around for fun critter things.  This little guy has been considered extinct for the past 50+ years, since 1968, and was just found safe and sound in Djibouti, a country in the Horn of Africa, by a group of scientists.shrew-1According to Steven Heritage, a research scientist at the Duke University Lemur Center …

“We did not know which species occurred in Djibouti and when we saw the diagnostic feature of a little tufted tail, we looked at each other and we knew that it was something special. This is a welcome and wonderful rediscovery during a time of turmoil for our planet, and one that fills us with renewed hope for the remaining small mammal species on our most-wanted list.”

shrew-2In order to catch these Somali elephant shrews, researchers set up more than 1,000 traps at 12 locations. To lure these cuties in, they used a mixture of peanut butter, oatmeal, and yeast.

At first sight, it looks kind of like a mouse. But there’s also this tiny trunk-like nose that resembles an elephant’s. Apparently, some of the Somali sengi’s closest living relatives are the aardvark, elephant, and manatee.shrew-3shrew-4shrew-5


Foxes are known for being friendly and curious, and they aren’t above paying a visit to people’s homes and gardens on occasion.  I came across some fun pictures of such fox guests, invited or not …

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Snack Time!!!

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Our Humane Officer Was Called Out To Ocean Beach Yesterday Because A Resident There Reported A Critter Had Gotten Into Her House. The Resident’s Dog Was Playing With An Unknown Animal, Who Ended Up Running Into The House


Well, folks, that’s all I’ve got for this Satur …

jolly  What, Jolly???  What are you doing up this early on a Saturday?  Huh?  Oh … that’s right … I can’t believe I almost forgot the cute critter video you picked out last night!  One of the cutest animals in the world is the quokka …


Okay, now we’re finished!  Have a happy weekend, my friends!

Saturday Surprise — International Cat Day!

Hello dear friends and welcome to the …weekendBig plans for the weekend?  Relative to the last 20 or so weekends, we do actually have ‘big’ plans, for this evening.  We are having a cookout with our friends/neighbors Maha, Ali, and their three sons.  We haven’t gotten together to share a meal and an evening for quite a while, largely due to the pandemic, but it should be fun.  They are from Iraq and grill a number of interesting dishes, while we will provide such mundane things as potato salad, pasta salad, homemade cranberry sauce, and a dessert or two.  The best part, though, is just spending an evening in their company, lots of love ‘n laughter!

Today, August 8th, just happens to be International Cat Day!!!  As one who shares a residence with five cats, I dare not ignore this day, else I could end up in shreds!  International Cat Day was created by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) in 2002. The IFAW has existed since 1969 and was founded in Canada.

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A few interesting and fun facts about cats to kick off the day …

  • Over 30% of U.S. households are shared with at least one feline family member. We don’t refer to ours as pets, and don’t consider ourselves ‘owners’, for really, they are furry family members, not an object to be ‘owned’.
  • Mary Todd Lincoln was once asked if Abe Lincoln had any hobbies? And her reply was “cats.”
  • Charles Dickens once said, “What greater gift than the love of a cat?”
  • John Lennon was also a big fan of cats. Over the years, he had cats named Salt and Pepper, Major and Minor, Tim, Sam, Mimi, Bernard, Sally, Elvis, and Jesus.
  • The British Government employs over 100,000 cats to keep mice away—that’s almost double the population of Greenland.
  • The mayor of Talkeetna, Alaska, is a cat named Stubbs. He is now responsible for the town’s steady stream of around 30-40 tourists daily, which is pretty good, for a town of just 900 people.
  • In the 1870s, a Belgian village trained 37 mail cats to deliver letters. Conceived by the esteemed Belgian Society for the Elevation of the Domestic Cat, the plan was to wrap waterproof mail bags around each feline’s neck. The plan failed.
  • Tom, of the Tom and Jerry cartoons, was originally named Jasper.
  • The wealthiest cat in the world is Blackie, a feline who inherited its owners’ near $13 million estate after their death.

toon-2While all our kitties, past and present, have been average tabbies or tuxedos, there are a number of rather unique cat breeds in the world.  Rather than me telling you about them, this video presents an array of ten of the most unique ones in the world …

The purpose of International Cat Day, besides giving me an excuse to post some fun cat pictures, is to encourage people to adopt a cat from their local shelter, and also to help educate those who live with cats about such things as feline health, grooming, care & feeding.  With that said, how about some cute & fun kitty pics?

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black-catYou’ve all heard the myth that black cats are bad luck, but did you know that in the UK and Japan, black cats are considered good luck!  In the English Midlands, new brides are given black cats to bless their marriage, and the Japanese believe that black cats are good luck—particularly for single women. Meanwhile, the Germans believe that a black cat crossing your path from left to right is ominous, but if the feline switches directions and goes right to left, it’s fortuitous.  Who knew?

Let’s finish our celebration of the cat with a cute kitty video, yes?

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s short ‘International Cat Day’ celebration!  Remember … cats are people too!  If you are lucky enough to share your domicile with a cat … be sure to hug him/her today, and maybe splurge and give them a bit of catnip, or just a tiny bit of tuna … or tuma as our own Miss Izzie calls it!  I hope you have a fun weekend, whatever you do!toon-3