I have a website!

Call me Koryos. I study animal behavior and evolution and I write novels.

My blog is like 85% animal science and 15% video games with a smattering of kvetchy text posts so I hope you're ok with that. And I also like... write fiction... occasionally.

I KNOW I WROTE THAT CAT POST BUT I CAN'T DIAGNOSE YOUR CAT'S BEHAVIORAL PROBLEMS PLEASE TALK TO A VET I AM NOT A VET

MOONY IS AN AXOLOTL AND IT ALSO SAYS WHAT HE IS AT THE TOP OF THAT POST QUIT ASKIN ME WHAT HE IS

If you're interested in reading some of what I've written, remember that I have a website!

 

Anonymous asked
Do you consider ferrets 'exotic' pets, or just high maintenance? I mean- they definitely aren't for everyone but they can't survive very long outside our homes.

There’s no single definition of just what it means to be an exotic pet, so it’s hard to say. But since ferrets were domesticated roughly 1-2,000 years ago (to the point where there is actually some confusion regarding which wild mustelid they were domesticated from) and the fact that they show neotenic traits just like other domesticated animals, I’d consider them non-exotic. Furthermore, they are much more rehomable as adults than, say, a kinkajou or a serval.

Doesn’t mean just anyone should get one, but that’s equally true for cats and dogs.

Sources:

Davison, A., Birks, J. D. S., Griffiths, H. I., Kitchener, A. C., Biggins, D., & Butlin, R. K. (1999). Hybridization and the phylogenetic relationship between polecats and domestic ferrets in Britain. Biological Conservation, 87(2), 155-161.

Poole, T. B. (1972). Some behavioural differences between the European polecat, Mustela putorius, the ferret, M. furo, and their hybrids. Journal of Zoology, 166(1), 25-35.

The Perilous Attraction of Owning Exotic Pets

Nat Geo did a lovely article a few months ago on some of the issues and controversy surrounding the ownership of exotic pets in the US. One big thing I’d like to add:

One of my biggest concerns with exotic pets is that they can be incredibly difficult to rehome, so that even in cases where you did everything right, circumstances may force you to put your animals on one of the long, long waiting lists of animals trying to get into sanctuaries. In the show “Animal Repo” there was a couple who had built a lovely enclosure for their two tigers and took great care of them but were forced to give them up by their insurance company. They were lucky to be able to find a sanctuary.

People pay thousands of dollars for cubs, but adult big cats and other exotics are actually often worth more dead than alive.

A few interesting docs on exotic animal ownership I’d recommend:

The Elephant in the Living Room (available on Netflix)

Louis Theroux: America’s Most Dangerous Pets

Parrot Confidential (available on Netflix)

One Lucky Elephant (available on Netflix)

Vice: An Inside Look at the Exotic Animal Trade (full mini doc linked)

Project Nim (while Nim was not technically a pet, this is a great doc that shows how wrong things can go for an exotic animal in human care)

'everything in the house is sticky' congrats it's like you have a teenage boy living with you

do you ever post something and think “i wonder how long it will take for someone to make a connection between this and semen”

I love spice cake so much. One of these days this week, we should eat it. :)

absolutely we should but you will have to ACT FAST. sweets do not last long in this house

because it’s worth it. Will you post the recipe of the spice cake? I still have your tornado cake recipe in my food porn tag and I’m not ashamed.

hahaha omg i forgot about that. but this was just a random recipe i got online except i substituted applesauce and a dash of oil for shortening because WHO EVEN HAS SHORTENING IN THIS DAY AND AGE

I made a spice cake from scratch which turned out great and I should have stopped there but then I was like “nah I’ll make my own icing too!” hubris goeth before a fall children it came out too runny and now there is icing everywhere. on the counter, on the floor, on me, on my laptop, basically everywhere besides the cake. why must men try to play god

libutron:

Living Stone - Dinteranthus vanzylii 
Dinteranthus vanzylii (Caryophyllales - Aizoaceae) is an intriguing solitary or clumping plant with attractive bodies and flowers that is very similar to Lithops in shape and colors but with no apparent dormant period.
The body is formed by two succulent leaves almost fully united, up to 4 cm tall and is sunken in the ground for most of the leaf length. The leaf pair forming a cone or a funnel with the leaf tips broad, flat, but sometime with a thin horny keel near the fissure. It is chalky white to clear paste or greyish with irregular red or brownish markings and dots.
As Lithops this species is also native to the Cape province, South Africa.
Reference: [1]
Photo credit: ©Etwin Aslander | Locality: South Africa (2011)

libutron:

Living Stone - Dinteranthus vanzylii 

Dinteranthus vanzylii (Caryophyllales - Aizoaceae) is an intriguing solitary or clumping plant with attractive bodies and flowers that is very similar to Lithops in shape and colors but with no apparent dormant period.

The body is formed by two succulent leaves almost fully united, up to 4 cm tall and is sunken in the ground for most of the leaf length. The leaf pair forming a cone or a funnel with the leaf tips broad, flat, but sometime with a thin horny keel near the fissure. It is chalky white to clear paste or greyish with irregular red or brownish markings and dots.

As Lithops this species is also native to the Cape province, South Africa.

Reference: [1]

Photo credit: ©Etwin Aslander | Locality: South Africa (2011)

funkysafari:

A duiker is a small to medium-sized antelope native to Sub-Saharan Africa. by DJMcCrady

funkysafari:

A duiker is a small to medium-sized antelope native to Sub-Saharan Africa. by DJMcCrady

wakatobidiveresort:

Flatworm really is as flat as a leaf, and seems to glide with a rippling motion over the rocks and sand. Did you know that flatworms have only the most rudimentary of eyes, which allow them to detect the presence of light, but little else. (Photograph: Walt Stearns)

wakatobidiveresort:

Flatworm really is as flat as a leaf, and seems to glide with a rippling motion over the rocks and sand. Did you know that flatworms have only the most rudimentary of eyes, which allow them to detect the presence of light, but little else. (Photograph: Walt Stearns)

I would have liked to have a preorder available for the ebook version of Darkeye book 2 by now but arrrrgh it’s taking so long to edit. (I think it’s because I’ve been dreading that chapter. You know. THAT chapter.)

I still do think I’ll have it ready by November 1, even the print version, so no worries there, it’s just gonna be tighter than I wanted it to be. Buuuut that’s okay. EVERYTHING IS FINE. HAVE A SAD HYENA FACE

image

rambeltilx:

birdghost:

videohall:

A parakeet trying his hardest to say ‘Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition’

I’M CRYING

the spanish inqui-baby bird

This video isn’t just cute, it shows the degree of creativity this parakeet has. He’s combining different words and phrases he’s learned to make new “calls”!

Anonymous asked
I'm curious if you have any hypotheses about possible causes for human relationships existing on such a wide spectrum including anything from totally exclusive monogamy to totally inclusive polyerosy. The more I look, the more I notice humans seem to have more "relationship styles" than any other mammal and I can't help wondering if there's some genetic/instinctive/physiological reason behind it. Your thoughts?

Well, to start with, I wouldn’t actually say that humans have more relationship styles than any other mammal. I think that the issue is that how we look at human behavior and how we look at animal behavior are very different things- obviously, we have a much more detailed and nuanced view of our own species than any other.

It’s important to remember that most science is consumed by the idea of the average. That is, if we were trying to write a description of how an animal behaves, we’d describe what we saw happening the most often. This is a useful way to look at things, because it allows us a way to generalize populations. But this does not mean that that is the only way that things will happen.

If you tally up the human species by culture, you will find that about 85% allow occasional or frequent polygyny (the practice of one man marrying multiple women). That’s a huge percent, and if an alien researcher were examining human behavior and saw that statistic, they might conclude that humans are overwhelmingly polygynistic.

Of course, it’s a little more complex than that, because even among cultures that permit polygyny, most men only marry one woman. Generally, in these cultures, having multiple wives relates to a man’s wealth and resources. This is similar to mating behavior in, say, the red-winged blackbird. Males with the best territory will often attract more than one female. This also occurs in red foxes, which all the literature will tell you are a monogamous species: under the right conditions, male foxes may take more than one female mate.

We, as humans, are familiar with many more relationships within our own kind than monogamy and polygyny, of course, but that’s because we live and breathe human behavior every single day. We rarely spend so much time with animals, particularly animals that are breeding, which is why we might assume that their behavior is static or can be easily categorized. This is simply false. The “averages” that science looks for are generally the widest part of a vast spectrum of behaviors.

Normally, what we find in animals is that the degree of behavioral flexibility relates to how specialized an animal is. If a species lives in only one type of environment, with only a few resources it is designed to use, it may not need the behavioral flexibility that leads to multiple mating types. The opposite is true for humans; we are arguably one of the best generalist species around. We live in a myriad of habitats utilizing a myriad of resources and thus, arguably, have the capacity to accommodate a range of sexual lifestyles.

This is, of course, a gross oversimplification of human behavior, as everybody who is human knows. It doesn’t at all take into account the individual- their desires, their values, their history, et cetera. This is a degree closer than most science goes, and it goes for humans as well as animals. Individual animals will have their own behaviors and preferences just like humans do. We just look at them from much further away than we do ourselves.

Further Reading:

Different trends in human culture: Gray, J. P. (1998). Ethnographic atlas codebook. World Cultures, 10(1), 86-136.

Not only are red-winged blackbirds polygynous about half the time, they also show a high degree of promiscuity and polyandry: Westneat, D. F. (1993). Polygyny and extrapair fertilizations in eastern red-winged blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus). Behavioral Ecology, 4(1), 49-60.

One study found that about half of red fox litters were not the product of a monogamous male-female couple; both polygyny and polyandry occurred among the remainder: Baker, P. J., Funk, S. M., Bruford, M. W., & Harris, S. (2004). Polygynandry in a red fox population: implications for the evolution of group living in canids?. Behavioral Ecology, 15(5), 766-778.

Greylag geese most often form male-female bonds, but under some circumstances they may form male-male or male-male-female bonds: Sommer, V., & Vasey, P. L. (Eds.). (2006). Homosexual behaviour in animals: an evolutionary perspective. Cambridge University Press.

Marmosets and tamarins display a range of mating styles, including polyandry, monogamy, and polygyny: Goldizen, A. W. (1988). Tamarin and marmoset mating systems: unusual flexibility. Trends in ecology & evolution, 3(2), 36-40.

These are all just examples of animals with highly flexible mating styles that I came up with off the top of my head. There are many more species where differing mating styles are less common and therefore less frequently documented, but still exist.

newbirder:

Anhingas are simply stunning. I saw this male on my trip to the Everglades National Park last spring, and these are still some of my favorite photos. 

I’ve created a new site for my photography, that I will be using in addition to this one - check it out below!

http://zambellophotography.com/