Reader question: what's up with this squirrel's raggedy fur?

squirrel with white patchy fur

This VA squirrel has white, gray and rusty fur at all different lengths and angles. Can you figure out what’s wrong?

Keep reading Reader question: what’s up with this squirrel’s raggedy fur?


Tips: how to find migrating monarch butterflies

Monarch butterflies are migrating down south right about now. Check pines and milkweed after a rain. Check Journey North for an interactive spotting map for roosts.

Keep reading Tips: how to find migrating monarch butterflies

Heidi, the fat, American cross-eyed possum, dies in German zoo

Heidi, who was orphaned in NC and hand-raised, became a celebrity in Germany. She was fat and ultimately arthritis did her in.

Keep reading Heidi dies. The fat, American, cross-eyed possum charmed the world from a German zoo

Top 10 Animal Webcams of 2011

Just a couple years after the Shiba Inu cam sensation, wild animals are fascinating millions of viewers with reality TV, family tragedies and triumphs.

Keep reading Top 10 Animal Webcams of 2011

See horseshoe crabs mate tonight and at full moon in June

The full moon, high tide is the best night this month to see masses of horseshoe crabs mate in Delaware Bay and all along the east coast. Also try the full moon in June.

Keep reading See horseshoe crabs mate tonight and at full moon in June

Elk return to Missouri after 150 years

Missouri becoming the seventh state in the east to reintroduce elk. Kentucky, which now has 11,000, is giving them 50.

Keep reading Elk return to Missouri after 150 years

Auto Draft

Laboratory beagles like my Moxie and Huckleberry were specifically bred to be experimented on because they are small and docile. Other dogs are picked up by Class B dealers in shelters and “free to good home” ads.

Keep reading Where do laboratory beagles come from?

Purple Martin Festivals and Fans

Cape May lighthouse and birdhouse / By Vilseskogen

If you live in the eastern U.S. chances are there’s now a purple martin festival or fan club nearby–or will be soon. Watching and attracting America’s largest and most co-dependent swallow has become a big pastime and $30 million business. About a million Americans have put up housing for purple martins, says Louise Chambers, the Education Outreach Director for the Purple Martin Conservation Association. Purple martins are a special species because east of the rockies–where most of the country’s 11 million martins nest–they depend on people for 95% of their housing says, chambers. The martins (Progne subis) The martins are tame and tolerant of their human fans because they understand their special status, writes James R. Hill, III, the association’s founder: “The Purple Martin is one of the few birds in the entire world that was never persecuted or hunted by man, instead it was nurtured and loved by him.” Some people do try to chase the martins away–and decades ago even killed them mistaking them for starlings, Chambers says. In 2007, the last year figures are available, the USDA’s Wildlife Services, the federal agency for killing what’s considered nuisance wildlife, chased away 625,720 purple martins, mostly in Mississippi and Kentucky, and killed five. By now most Americans think of martins as something to enjoy, not shoo away. About 125,000 Americans a year try to because what martin lovers adorably call landlords: they put the distinctive white houses or gourds. A recent

Keep reading Purple Martin Festivals and Fans

Why Assateague is Way Better than Chincoteague

Assateague Island National Seashore, MD, Wild Ponies

Wild ponies live on Assateague, a barrier island divided into a good side (Maryland) and a bad side (Virginia). Oh, Virginia will call you–with bombastic billboards, then the impossibly scenic seaside Chincoteague. But cover your ears and keep driving to Maryland.If you do get lured to Chincoteague you’ll find, alongside the cute cottages, lots of mini golf courses and a shabby pony attraction. Chincoteage residents are such cheapskates that rather than pay taxes like the rest of us for a fire department, they have a volunteer one and the fund it by auctioning off the wild ponies each year. Viriginia is not for dog lovers. On the way to their side of the island, they have a huge sign, no pets allowed, NOT EVEN IN YOUR CAR. The townspeople claimed it was very important rule. “The dogs could hurt the endangered species.” The ponies? Really? And if it’s not the ponies, if this is just another piping plover situation, why all the fuss?Somehow when the ponies walk to the Maryland side, where dogs are allowed in and out of cars, they seem to do just fine. Maryland was very friendly. The ranger told us she’s never been to the island without seeing ponies. Sure enough, we saw ponies right away on the road in. Some were galloping in the bay, others mobbed by tourists on the roadside. Jolly’s reaction? None. Pony reaction to Jolly in the car? None.Maryland even let us take

Keep reading Why Assateague is Way Better than Chincoteague