Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Best of Living Alongside Wildlife in 2014

Here are a few of my favorite posts from 2014. Did you miss any?

January 11th: Why Writing About Exotic Species Got Me Called an Activist Fraud

"A few weeks ago I wrote an article that appeared in Slate Magazine about how biologists try to tell the difference between species that are exotic and those that are invasive, using some of the exotic reptiles that have been found in South Florida as examples....Overall, I've been very pleased with the response to my article and received some great feedback. But, to my surprise, I have also provoked some outrage and personal attacks..." Read more...


January 21st: Hognosed Snakes: Goofy Opossums of the Snake World -- A Guest Post Comic by Ethan Kocak --


January 27th: Do Endangered Species Stop Progress? A Case Like You've Never Heard. A five-part series by Sean Graham.

"...My eyes bulged at the sight of this thing, and I continued to pull. As the creature’s head and neck cleared the hole, the resistance suddenly stopped, and the beast’s trunk and abdomen started unfurling from the hole. I gasped, and for some reason I said, “Oh no!” as the critter continued clearing the hole, inch by inch, its pink-purple flanks wriggling. “Oh no!” I said again, smiling, giggling, my eyes getting bigger, not believing..." Read more...


February 3rd: Frog Love is in the Air (and on Video): The Winter Breeders of Louisiana -- Guest Post by Philip Vanbergen --

"...To get footage of this species calling, I had to leave the city of Lafayette and venture east to the Atchafalaya Basin, the largest wetland and swamp in the United States. After speaking with local naturalists, as well as through my own experience, I was aware that a healthy population of the species existed there. So, on January 13, 2014, after a period of heavy rainfall in the morning, I departed for the Basin. Only a few seconds after exiting I-10, I heard a full-scale chorus of frogs. Filled with excitement, I drove a few miles north to find a good area for filming..." Read more...


March 5th: Parasites in Paradise: Origins and Action. By Brian Folt.

"...But maybe while I was out catching turtles I got a little more than I bargained for, because now my skin is playing host to a party of parasitic worms..." Read more...


April 28th: Changing Night Skies: How an Exotic Disease in Decimating America's Backyard Bats. By David Jachowski.

"Across the eastern half of the US, the bats you see in the night skies this spring and summer have dramatically changed from the ones you saw less than a decade ago.  The little brown bat, the once common dusk-time companion that harmlessly fluttered in millions over American homes has undergone a 91% decline.  Other species, like the endangered Indiana bat, have now gone from modest steps toward recovery back to the doorstep of extinction..." Read more...


May 5th: A Triangular Shaped Head Does Not Mean A Snake is Venomous (or Poisonous).

"We’ve all heard it. If a snake has a triangle or diamond-shaped head, it is venomous (or poisonous), right? Wrong. This trick just doesn’t work and we should stop using it..." Read more...


May 13th: Natural Springs, Brownback Salamanders, and the Good Folks of St. Clair County. Another five-part series by Sean Graham.

"...To tell the story right I have to mention the many people I met along the way, for with few exceptions the springs that are home to the salamander are on private land. I met colorful and dignified local folks from Alabama to Tennessee, and they allowed me surprisingly unfettered access to their property, and in one particularly astounding case, their water supply. These people are as unique and as integrally tied to the landscape as the salamander is. They drink from the springs where the salamander breeds. The salamander and these folks are united by their love of the springs..." Read more...


July 8th: Ratsnake Freakout: Cottonmouth in an Alabama Toilet Edition.

"I'm very excited because Rat Snake Freakouts are one of my favorite topics to write about. If you're new to the blog, these freakouts occur when people see a Rat Snake (i.e., a very common snake on the East Coast of the United States in the Pantherophis genus) and freak.the.hell.out..." Read more...


September 15th: Snake Call! The Bangladesh Python Project. A five-part series by Jon Hakim.

"I hadn't even settled into the dormitory when Caesar's announcement rang through the rooms. 'We've got a snake call in the village! Who wants to go?'..." Read more...


November 27th: What Jurassic World Has Gotten Wrong About Wildlife So Far.

"...The Jurassic Park series is close to the heart of a generation of wildlife biologists and paleontologists, but that doesn't mean it is immune from criticism. Hey, if you're going to make a movie about dinosaurs and science, you should get both right! Well, I suppose they don't need to get everything right, it is a science-fiction movie after all, but it is our responsibility to point out where the movie is being inconsistent with the wildlife science (and don't call anyone nerds for doing so!)..."  Read more...



"It is time for the somber and annual eulogy of the animals that went extinct in the past year (previous versions: 2012 and 2013)." Read more...

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