December 2009

Octopus Uses Coconut Shell as a Tool

A recent article in

the journal Current Biology by Dr Julian Finn from Australia's Museum Victoria and a group of researchers describes individual veined octopuses (Amphioctopus marginatus) using halved coconuts as shelter. This is being cited as an example of tool use. There's a fair amount of video coverage of the behavior from footage filmed between 1999 and 2008 off the coasts of Northern Sulawesi and Bali in Indonesia. I've linked to two below, and there's an ever better example embedded in this BBC article about the phenomenon.

Be Wary of Christmas Pet-Giving

If The Lady and the Tramp is misleading in any way (as adorable as it is), it’s definitely in the scene where Jim Dear provides Darling with a new Christmas puppy. Granted, J. and D. are a married couple who may or may not share in taking care of little Lady; and perhaps Darling had been wanting a dog her whole life, was ready to care for one, and was a perfect model dog owner.

However, that’s simply not the case for many recipients of Christmas pets. In fact, many of them are so unfit to care for an animal that bestowing such a gift on them in the first place could qualify for animal endangerment. I’m not suggesting that people who give animals be fined for doing so; it’s a very thoughtful gesture that shows love and kindness for both the gift recipient and the animal. After all, if the new pet owner is a good one, the animal is getting a gift, too. But if he or she is not, nobody wins.