July 2012

Pygmy Rabbits: The Cutest Threatened WA Residents

"The Columbia Basin pygmy rabbit has been separate from the main population of pygmy rabbits for thousands of years"

 

While wild and feral rabbits are familiar to most Washington residents, many people are surprised to learn of the existence of pygmy rabbits. And even more surprised to learn how threatened they are as a species. This week marks a milestone, as the Oregon Zoo released the last of its breeding pairs of pygmy rabbits into the wild. 
 
The pygmy rabbit is the world's smallest rabbit species. Adults weigh about one pound, and have a body which is about 10 inches long. By comparison, the more familiar cottontail rabbit weighs a whopping 2-4 pounds, with a body that is 14-19 inches long. The cottontail is itself quite small, and many people mistake cottontail rabbits for pygmy rabbits, which can throw researchers off the count. 
 
(The easiest way to tell the difference, aside from learning to discern the size differences, is that the pygmy rabbit is gray in color without the brown overtones of the cottontail. The pygmy rabbit also does not have the eponymous white tail that the cottontail flashes in alarm when it dashes away.)

Tiny kitten survives accidental Pacific Ocean crossing in a shipping container

Recently I accidentally left a few of my strawberry plants un-watered for months. I was ready to give them up as lost and gone until my upstairs neighbor took a look and found a couple healthy shoots amid the crusty, withered growth. “Clip off all the dead bits and start watering again,” she advised. Fast forward one month and the plants are green, full and heartier than ever. While I’m no evolutionary biologist, I have to wonder if the months of drought weeded out the weaker sprouts, leaving only the most resilient in my pots.

The kitten in this story is like those resilient sprouts—determined life in the face of death.

Extravagant dog wedding puts owner back $158,000

“Baby Hope, do you take this pooch to love, not spend the night with, and advocate for animal welfare as long as you both shall live?”

It was these words heard by more than 250 celebrity guests at a New York pet wedding last week which sealed forever pooches Baby Hope and Chilly Pasternak in holy matrimony.

Well, perhaps charity matrimony would be a better way of putting it.

Runaway dog boards Irish Rail, underestimates the long arm of Twitter

Tuesday night, in a commuter town outside Dublin, Ireland, Patches the Jack Russell terrier turned and walked away from his comfortable suburban home. Worried owner Deidre Anglin posted pictures on Facebook and Twitter, hoping to spread the word and smoke him out. But there was no sign or word from Patches until the following morning when train commuters on the 6:49 a.m. from Kilcock noticed a lone dog in the train car. He made quite a few friends among rail workers and commuters, and as they were petting his head and scratching behind his ears they began suspecting his owner wasn’t anywhere on the Irish Rail.