Dolphins of the Deep

Let’s start the week with a “happy” posting — about dolphins.  They are one of the most beloved of all marine animals.

Watching these beautiful creatures swim next to your boat is an exciting opportunity to see dolphins up close!

 ~

34+ Members of Marine Dolphins

Today, I’m going to specifically write about the marine dolphins.  As a point of interest, there are river dolphins that inhabit the Yangtze (China), Ganges (India) and Amazon (Brazil) Rivers.

Two of the most well-known marine dolphins are:

  • the Orca, or Killer Whale, and
  • the Bottlenose Dolphins

We probably know more about dolphins than about any other mammal in the ocean because of the popular TV series, “Flipper,” and our visits to Sea-World.

Things You Might Not Know About Dolphins 

The birth of a single dolphin takes 12 months!  The infant is born tail first, probably an adaptation to living in water.  Immediately after birth, “aunts” or other group members, help the baby to the surface for its first breath.

The calves live with their mothers for several years; they may continue to take mother’s milk for (up to) 5 years.  They are most often seen swimming under their mother’s tail, close to the milk supply.

Calves use this extended time to learn their place in the social order of their group.

Dolphins living close to shore tend to live in smaller groups than the dolphin groups living in open ocean.

Fascinating Facts About Orcas

After studying these mammals for 25+ years, biologists have discovered that there are 2 distinct groups:  transients and residents.

Residents live in a distinct area (such as:  Orcas living off the west coast of Canada and the US).  Their pod stays in that area for their entire lives and they eat fish.

Transient Orcas, as their name implies, travel wherever food leads them and they live off other marine animals: seals, etc.

Enemies of the Dolphin

The most dangerous enemy is man.

Sharks occasionally attack dolphins.  The bottlenose pod may act together to try to kill the shark or drive them away.  You can see teeth marks on some bottlenose — their battle scars.

Because of their intelligence and adaptability, dolphins are delightful to see.  “A Day with the Dolphins” is a popular activity on the west coast; dolphins and humans swim together!

‘Caribbean Locals’ is used by permission of Vantage Point Graphics

~

This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

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Published in: on June 20, 2011 at 12:18 pm  Comments Off on Dolphins of the Deep  
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Why do Leopards Have Spots & Other Amazing Facts!

I’ve been fascinated by these big cats since seeing them in Africa some years ago.  Today, I’d like to share some fascinating facts about leopards.

A Leopard is pure "poetry in motion:" controlled power and sleek majesty wrapped in fur! Watching one stalk prey or run is awe-inspiring!

~

Just the Facts 

Although the smallest cat in the Panthera genus (lion, tiger, jaguar and leopard),  the leopard can bring down prey that is larger than itself.

Leopards are the most adaptable of the big cats and can live in habitats that range from:

  • mountain
  • desert
  • Mediterranean scrub,
  • bamboo thicket
  • forest
  • cultivated land
  • rainforest

They are the only cats that have both desert and rain forests as their habitat.  They have spots to help them blend into their surroundings.

How Well do Leopards See at Night? 

Leopards have large eyes and can see at night in light that is only 1/6th of what a human needs!  They hunt day or night, when game is available.

Their eyes are in a forward position (versus a cow’s on either side of the face); this means that they have binocular vision.   They can focus both eyes on a single thing and judge distances.

The Leopard’s Solitary Life

The largest family unit in a leopard’s realm is the mother cat and her cubs (between 1 and 4, with twins being the norm).  Once the male leaves his mother,  he leads a solitary life.  Why?

Unlike lions, the leopard is totally responsible for feeding himself.  If he can’t hunt, the leopard will starve.  Thus, he must stay injury-free.

This leads to some interesting situations.  If lions, wild dogs or other large carnivores approach a feeding leopard, he will abandon the meal to avoid confrontation.

The mother leopard has this same instinct; at a kill, she will eat first.   After having her fill, she lets the cubs feed.

Can Leopards Store Food?

In a way, they do.  Leopards carry their prey to sheltered places or in trees (!) to avoid other scavengers that do not climb high in trees (lions and hyenas).

Leopards particularly like to drape (even heavy) prey across a high tree limb, to keep their meal away from other carnivores (animal-eating predators).

~

There are lots of books with the basics about leopards.  However, I wanted to share some of my favorite facts about these sleek, gorgeous animals!

The only leopard  hunting that goes on now is a “Photography Safari.”

~

‘On the Prowl’ is used by permission of Vantage Point Graphics

~

This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Published in: on June 10, 2011 at 12:01 am  Comments Off on Why do Leopards Have Spots & Other Amazing Facts!  
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How Much do You Know about Wolves?

“Through the centuries, we have projected onto the wolf the qualities we most despise and fear in ourselves. “

— Barry Lopez, Of Wolves and Men

Gray wolves are the largest animals in the canid family. His extended family includes: jackals, domestic dogs, dingoes, foxes, bush dogs and other wild dogs.

 ~

Man has had a love-hate relationship with wolves for thousands of years.  One way to understand the wolf is to learn more about him.

When the Gray Wolf Breeds

Surprisingly, gray wolves only breed once per year, in the months of January or February.  The  latitude where the wolves live determines the breeding date.

After a gestation period of 63 days, the pups are born between March and May.  A litter is usually 5 or 6 pups.

“… What Big Eyes You Have …”

The average male gray wolf is about 6 feet long (including the tail) and between 70 and 100 lbs.  Measuring from 33 to 38 inches at the shoulder, a gray wolf is an awesome sight in the wild!

Females are a bit smaller.

Gray wolves are at their largest in the coldest climates, where they use the extra bulk to conserve their body heat.

Although called ‘gray’ wolves, their color may actually range from white to black  — with many other shades included: tan, buff, sandy brown, cream and red.

How They Live

Wolves live in packs.  These packs vary in size from fewer than 7 to a maximum of about 20.  The amount of prey helps decide the ideal size of a pack for an area.

The wolf’s main diet consists of moose, deer, rabbits, caribou, bison, beaver and mice.

Once, these creatures roamed over most of  North America — except for arid desert and tropical forest regions.  Now, however, the Endangered Species Act protects the wolves in the US (except for Alaska, where they are not endangered).

In 47 of the 48 lower states, the wolves are endangered;  they are ‘threatened’ in Minnesota.

On the Other Hand

The federal government has reintroduced the gray wolves back into regions where they have been gone for generations.  This has not been met with joy in all areas. 

Not everyone is happy about the return of the gray wolf!

 Next Time:  The Story that Goes with this Photo!

~

“Ridgetop Survey” is used by permission of Vantage Point Graphics

The second photo was sent (via email) by my husband, Richard

~

Know someone who might be interested in reading more about the outdoors, hunting and fishing?  Please pass this along!  

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Thank You!

·

This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Published in: on May 4, 2011 at 9:52 pm  Comments (1)  
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A Few More Words About Wolves

This is a continuation of my reminiscing about our big Siberian Husky, who lived with us for most of his 12 years.  We miss him still.

Part 1 is:   A Few Words About Siberian Huskies and Wolves

Who Can Forget the Lonely Howl of a Wolf?

Akula and Singing

Most evenings at dusk, our Husky Akula would start to sing.  He would howl with gusto!  The other dogs we had then joined in the singing, including our Chow, Wendy.

Wendy has carried on his habit.  Every evening about dark, she starts the schorus and our Lab and Bassett Hound chime in!

Akula has been dead for more than 5 years, and still they continue.  Neither the Lab nor the Bassett Hound ever met Akula, but they love to sing.

Wolves are Fascinating

Howling is part of a wolf’s pack behavior.  In spite of what humans belive, wolves do not howl at the moon.

To the wolf, their pack is everything.  A pack is a group of 8 to 15 wolves; usually they are an extended family.  There is the alpha male and alpha female, the pups and assorted subservient wolves.

Food is always an issue.  The alpha wolves are often assisted by the lower-level wolves to find enough to keep the pack fed.  Other lower-level wolves baby-sit the pups while the alphas are out hunting.

When a Wolf is Shunned

We often hear of the ‘lone wolf’.’  What is that?  It is a wolf that is shunned by its pack — perhaps for being a runt or one of the lower-level wolves who tries to take over the pack and survives (the fight).

This wolf can not join another pack but must create his own.  He may have to range more than 600 miles to find a mate and create his own pack.

While he is roaming, he is careful to circle around the marked territory of other packs.  If he doesn’t, they will kill him because he is not one of them.

When the Alpha Male Dies

Biologist Gordon Haber (of Alaska), compares the death of an alpha wolf to the death of a respected elder of a clan.

“Removing the depository of the group’s knowledge — for wolves the den-sites, trails, hunting strategies and interpack behavior — incapacitates the survivors.” *

~

* Excerpt from Wolves, by Daniel Wood.  1994:  Whitecap Books, Vancouver, page 13.

~

“Howling at the Moon” used by permission of Restyler’s Choice Graphics

~

This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

More than 1000 Rear Window Graphics in 27 Categories!

Published in: on February 25, 2011 at 9:35 am  Comments Off on A Few More Words About Wolves  
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A Few Words About Siberian Huskies & Wolves

Ever since our son brought home a Siberian Husky, I’ve been fascinated by wolves.  I think Huskies are (only) slightly more evolved wolves.

 

Siberian Huskies are Domesticated Wolves!

~

We live in south Texas and one summer we had daily temperatures in the 100+.  Akula, our Husky, kept dropping weight and looked awful; I took the fateful step of moving him inside with us.

And our World Changed

Akula (Russian for ‘shark’) regained his lost weight and showed us what a ‘sociable’ dog can be.  He followed us into the bathroom … peeked at us from under the kitchen table … slept on his floor rug beside our bed.

After Akula died a few years ago (of old age – 12 years-old), he left a huge void in our lives.

My husband and I agreed it is unfair to bring a ‘cold-weather dog’ to such a hot climate.

When I get nostalgic about Akula, I take wolf and husky books out of the library.  I thought I’d share with you some of what I’ve learned.

Facts About the Wolf

 

Wolf Howling at a Full Moon

~

About 12,000 years ago, man domesticated some wolves.  They are the ancestors of  all our dog breeds today.

It’s rather hard to see any wolf in a Pomeranian dog but no problem at all when you are looking at a Siberian Husky.

Huskies still have the howling trait of their forefathers, while most dogs bark.

When the 17th century colonists arrived in America, wolves ranged over all of North America from Canada’s Arctic tundra to central Mexico.

The only areas wolves did not inhabit were:  the southeast corner of the US and coastal Mexico and California.

The only other mammal that has adapted to such a range of climates and terrains is man!

More tomorrow!

~

 

‘Teamwork’ used by permission of Vantage Point Graphics.

‘Howling in the Snow’ is used by permission of Restyler’s Choice.

~

This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

More than 1000 Rear Window Graphics in 27 Categories!

Published in: on February 24, 2011 at 3:43 pm  Comments (1)  
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Today’s Quiz: This is a Very Strange Year!

Frankly, this has been a strange year!  On the first day of the year, I fell and injured my knee – badly.

Ten days later, 4 dogs jumped me in my own fenced yard and bit me 3 times!

Currently, I’m hiding out * and getting a little nervous.               

And then, along comes this quiz….

Does This Quiz Work for You Too?

This is just odd. This year we will experience 4 unusual dates: 1/1/11, 1/11/11, 11/1/11 and 11/11/11.

Now, take the last 2 digits of the year you were born & add that number to the age you will be this year. The total should be… 111

(except for the very young, in which case the number should be 11).

Does Anyone Know Why This Works?

I sure don’t … but it is interesting!

~

* I’m waiting for my fortune-teller to tell me it’s OK to venture outside again!   😉

~

Don’t Forget: This Sunday, I’ll show off some of my new 75 College Rear Window Graphics!

~

This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

 

Published in: on January 26, 2011 at 9:27 am  Comments Off on Today’s Quiz: This is a Very Strange Year!  
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What is the main ingredient of WD-40?

(The fishing danger article is going to take a bit more work; I expect it to be ready soon.)

Before you read to the end, does anybody know what the main ingredient of WD-40 is?

A neighbor had a new beige truck.  Overnight, someone had sprayed it with a can of red spray paint.

Give WD-40 a Try When You Have a Problem!

Another neighbor knew to spray over the new paint with WD-40.  It removed all the messy red paint and the truck was beige again!  It didn’t harm the original paint!

WD-40 = ‘Water Displacement # 40.’

The product began from a search for a rust preventative solvent and degreaser to protect missile parts.

WD-40 was created in 1953 by three technicians at the San Diego Rocket Chemical Company. Its name comes from the project that was to find a ‘water displacement’ compound.  They were successful with the fortieth formulation, thus WD-40.

  • The Convair Company bought it in bulk to protect their atlas missile parts.
  • Ken East (one of the original founders) says there is nothing in WD-40 that would hurt you…

Uses for WD-40 That You May Not Know About!

Fishing and Outdoor Uses

  • WD-40 attracts fish. Spray a little on live bait or lures and you will be catching the big one in no time. Also, it’s a lot cheaper than the chemical attractants that are made for just that purpose. Keep in mind though, using some chemical laced baits or lures for fishing are not allowed in some states.
  • Use it for fire ant bites. It takes the sting away immediately and stops the itch.
  • Removes dirt and grime from the barbecue grill.
  • Keeps ceramic/terra-cotta garden pots from oxidizing.
  • Keeps rust from forming on saws and saw blades, and other tools.
  • Gives a children’s playground gym slide a shine for a super fast slide.
  • Lubricates gear shift and mower deck lever for ease of handling on  riding mowers.
  • Rids kids rocking chairs and swings of squeaky noises.
  • Lubricates wheel sprockets on tricycles, wagons, and bicycles for easy handling.

Cars and Vehicle Uses

  • Removes road tar and grime from cars.
  • Bug guts will eat away the finish on your car if not removed quickly! Use WD-40!
  • Restores and cleans padded leather dashboards in vehicles, as well as vinyl bumpers.
  • If you sprayed WD-40 on the distributor cap, it would displace the moisture and allow the car to start.
  • Restores and cleans roof racks on vehicles.

Home Use

  • Protects silver from tarnishing.
  • Gives floors that ‘just-waxed’ sheen without making them slippery.
  • Removes stains from stainless steel sinks.
  • Keeps glass shower doors free of water spots.
  • Camouflages scratches in ceramic and marble floors.
  • Removes splattered grease on stove.
  • Loosens stubborn zippers.
  • Untangles jewelry chains.
  • Keeps scissors working smoothly.
  • Cleans and lubricates guitar strings.
  • Lubricates noisy door hinges on vehicles and doors in homes.
  • It removes black scuff marks from the kitchen floor! Use WD-40 for those nasty tar and scuff marks on flooring. It doesn’t seem to harm the finish and you won’t have to scrub nearly as hard to get them off. Just remember to open some windows if you have a lot of marks.
  • Lubricates tracks in sticking home windows and makes them easier to open.
  • Spraying an umbrella stem makes it easier to open and close.
  • Lubricates and stops squeaks in electric fans
  • Lubricates prosthetic limbs.
  • Keeps pigeons off the balcony (they hate the smell).
  • Keeps bathroom mirror from fogging.
  • Removes all traces of duct tape.
  • Folks even spray it on their arms, hands, and knees to relieve arthritis   pain.
  • WD-40 is great for removing crayon from walls. Spray on the mark and wipe with a clean rag.

Laundry Uses for WD-40

  • Removes lipstick stains.
  • Removes tomato stains from clothing.
  • Lubricates fan belts on washers and dryers and keeps them running smoothly.
  • If you’ve discovered that your teenage daughter has washed and dried a tube of lipstick with a load of laundry, saturate the lipstick spots with WD-40 and rewash. Presto! The lipstick is gone!

Unusual Uses

  • Keeps flies off cows. (I love this one!)
  • Restores and cleans chalkboards.

Some States Use Lots of WD-40

  • Florida’s favorite use is: ‘cleans and removes love bugs from grills and bumpers.’
  • The favorite use in the state of New York: WD-40 protects the Statue of Liberty from the elements.

Now, What is WD-40’s Main Ingredient?

Fish Oil!

~

This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Published in: on January 24, 2011 at 9:22 am  Comments (1)  
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Some Fascinating Facts About Rattlesnakes!

This Mojave is a mid-sized rattler that rarely grows longer than ~ 39 inches!

Snake Bites

If you have no interest in getting bitten by a snake, the best states to inhabit are:  Alaska, Maine or Delaware (These states do not have wild rattlesnakes). *

‘Caution’ is the watchword in the states with the highest number of snake bites per capita:  North Carolina, Arkansas, Texas, Georgia, West Virginia, Mississippi and Louisiana (in that order).

Who Gets Bitten?

The likely victim of a bite is determined by: Location, the age and occupation of the victim, plus the time of day.

As America becomes more urban and suburban, conflicts between man and snake decline.  Thus, snake bites become less of a problem each year.  However, if you are one of those bitten, that statistic is of slight interest!

Most snakes are nocturnal.  Rattlers also prefer to slink away, and not strike.  However, this brings up the next human reason in the equation:   Boys and men are more likely to be aggressive towards snakes.  When a snake sees no choice, he strikes.

Males, between the ages of 20 – 30 are the most likely group to be bitten by a rattlesnake.  Most snake bites occur in the spring and summer, while snakes are most active.

As one might guess, the hands and feet are the most likely areas to receive bites.  This has something to do with the next factor:  occupation.

Folks who are in agricultural jobs are the most likely to be victims of a snake.

If You Don’t Want to Be a Statistic

Here are a few ideas for avoiding a snake bite:

  • Are you in an area inhabited by snakes?
  • Are you wearing high leather boots and long pants while in “snake territory?”
  • Are you reaching into an area where you cannot see what you are touching?
  • Are you moving around in places where snakes usually hide?
  • Are you walking at night in an area known to have snakes?
  • Is someone in your group harassing a snake?
  • Are you stepping over something (log or rock), but can’t see what is on the other side?
  • Are you wading in shallow water?
  • Are you wading along banks in thick, wooded areas?

~

* There are a few reports of snake bites in Delaware – probably from captive snakes!

~

‘Mojave Rattlesnake’ used by permission of Vantage Point Graphics

~*~

This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Published in: on November 8, 2010 at 1:16 am  Comments Off on Some Fascinating Facts About Rattlesnakes!  
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Sometimes it is Best NOT to Fool With Mother Nature!

In relation to birds, fish and animals, America is a very different place from the way it was when the Pilgrims arrived.

We have learned a great deal about introducing birds, fish and animals to new habitats and new continentents.  Sometimes, the introduction has been good for America and sometimes it has caused disaster.

Accidental Travelers

Sometimes birds and animals followed humans across large land masses — and settled in new areas.  At other times, humans accidentally carried animals and/or birds across the seas.

At the time that grackles, crows and starlings came to America, we didn’t understand the consequences of  introducing new species to an area.

Intentional Introductions

In other situations, we brought creatures to America because we thought they would solve a problem or provide new hunting opportunities.

In the area of fishes, carp and brown trout were intentionally brought to American waters.

The ring-necked pheasant, axis deer, black buck antelope and fallow deer were thought to be fine additions to the American landscape.

However, time-and-time-again, we have learned that we shouldn’t fool with Mother Nature!

Tinkering with Mother Nature’s Plan

In the 1870’s, some bright fellows brought kudzu to southern America (from Japan) — to help with erosion.  It solved that problem — but created others.

Kudzu Over-Runs Local Plants & Costs Millions to Eliminate! Hemingway, SC

Now we know that kudzu over-runs 150,000 acres/year!  It is considered to be a pest vine.  Millions are spent, trying to curtail this vine’s growth.

What We Know Now

Sometimes, a new species does not adapt to a new habitat.  At other times, the new species does so well that it over-runs the native species.

Kudzu Growing Over Trees in Atlanta, GA

In other words, sometimes the plants and animals native to an area are pushed out because of the growth (and expansion) of the new species.

How You Can Help

I think that one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned from the Tea Party is that grass-roots activism is not dead in America.

You and I can make a difference — particularly in wildlife decisions made on the state level.  How?

  • Keep Informed!
  • Stay Involved!
  • Follow-up!

Keep an eye on news reports and online hunting and  fishing sites.  Study the impact that pending legislation will make in your state.

Attend meetings, join hunting and fishing causes that make sense.  Find out who the ‘movers-and-shakers’ are.  Be positive and persistent!

When decision makers make decisions that benefit wildlife causes, let them know you appreciate them!

~^~

This is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesandGraphics.com

* Kudzu photos used through the GNU Free Documentation License & Wikipedia.

Published in: on August 1, 2010 at 10:49 pm  Comments Off on Sometimes it is Best NOT to Fool With Mother Nature!  
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If You Meet a Rattlesnake**

This is One Puppy I'd Leave Alone!

If you are camping, hiking, or even out hunting, you should pay close attention to your surroundings.  While you are enjoying the scenery or excitement of hunting, keep an eye out for a fellow-traveler … the rattlesnake.

If You Hear a Rattle …

You are probably within 4 – 5 feet of a rattler.  This is no time to decide to out-run the reptile.  This is the time to freeze-in-place.

If you patiently stay in place, you can out-last the snake and he will slither off.

If you start to run and the snake is ready to strike, there is no way you can move fast enough!  Remember that rattlers can leap forward one-half the length of their body.

And if He Bites?

Rattlesnake bites are very dangerous.  Remember how we learned to ‘cut and bleed’ the bite and then apply a tourniquet? Forget it!  That is s-o-o ‘old school.’

Within 30 minutes, the bitten area will swell up and turn black & blue. The accepted policy now is to use an ace bandage or soft cloth. Put it between the bite and your heart.

Don’t tie it as tight as a tourniquet — cutting off circulation isn’t the idea. The best plan is to hurry to get medical attention immediately after applying the bandage.

Interesting Facts About Bites

Not everyone who is bitten gets venom in the bite!  In about 30% of cases, no venom is transferred during the bite. Your best protection is thick clothing and leather boots.

Another surprising statistic has to do with the location of the bites: About 98% of snake bites are to hands and feet.

Finally

Rattlesnakes, or any snake, for that matter, prefer not to bother with you.  They would prefer to slither away — in peace.  Don’t force them to attack. It will ruin your day!

Don’t let your undies get bunched up over snakes.  Remember that we share the earth with snakes, and they were here first!  Just use caution and reason.  The truth is:  Snakes like you less than you like them!

~~~

Jim sent this very interesting comment: “… rattlesnakes don’t always rattle prior to striking. I can’t sight my original source for this information but here is a quote from wikipedia (suppose to be referenced but I could figure out which reference when with what information). “Adult snakes may lose their rattles on occasion, but more appear at each molting. If the rattle absorbs enough water in wet weather, it will not make noise.” Just thought I’d pass it along….”

~~~

This blog is a companion to my website, EasyOnlineOrdering.com