Tag Archives: animal

Up Close and Personal With a Wild Animal

As I returned home with my daughter after visiting the playground, we encountered a wild animal. There it was, the Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog!

We were in mortal danger! This bloodthirsty creature was ready to lunge at us and tear our throats out! But I have been trained the arts of Bunny Fu. I battled bravely, and the fiendish rabbit ran away. I managed to take a picture of it as it escaped in fear.

I was lucky, wasn’t I?

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Arachnophobes, Don’t Look

Is there anything you really don’t like?  Something that can give you nightmares?  How about this?

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Golden silk orb-weaver spider.

This is a golden silk orb-weaver spider.  They can be found all over the world with various colours and patterns.  But they’re all quite big and build elaborate webs.  Although I’m not fond of spiders, I do have to admit that these are quite beautiful.  I even took a video of it.

So, that was about as close as I could get to it.  I really don’t like spiders.  I find them creepy.  They have a venom that is quite strong, but it’s not lethal to humans.  We’d survive when bitten, but we’d feel a lot of pain in the area of the bite.  I’ll stay away from them.

So, what’s your nightmare?  Can’t wait to read your comments.

What Will You Write? #3 – I, Elephant

The winner of #2 has been decided, so now it’s time for our third edition, and it’s a very different one.

What Will You Write? is a series of writing challenges that I am posting every one or two weeks.  How it works is, I post the beginning of a scene and give you the genre or theme.  You finish the scene and post it on your blog. Please read the challenge page for more information and past winners. The rules are simple:

  • First, read what I’ve written.
  • Second, copy it and finish writing the scene.  Please keep your portion of the writing at less than 1,000 words.
  • Then, post your story to your blog.
  • Make sure you link back to this post so others can come and join in.
  • Make a post in the comments below with a link back to your post (it’s likely that if you use WordPress, there’ll be a pingback, but please leave a comment with the link nevertheless).

The deadline is about 5 days from today.  Let’s make that 3:00 pm GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) on June 14th.  I’ll be going to bed after that time, so I can give you some leeway if you post it within 5 or 6 hours after that deadline.  But after that, I need to judge.

After the deadline, I’ll read all of the entries and decide on who I think wrote the best scene.  Originality is very important.  I will judge it based on which one grabs my attention the most.  Once I’ve decided, I’ll post the winning story with a link back to the writer’s original post.  After that, I’ll include links back to everyone else’s entry so you can see what everyone wrote.  The winner will have the opportunity to write their own prompt and be a guest judge if they want.

This week’s theme is not a genre.  It’s a very specific theme.  There are some rules to this one.  First, it must be written in first person point of view. Second, the narrating character is an animal.  So, what you’re going to be doing is writing a story from the point of view of an animal, entering its mind and giving it human-like thoughts.  The animal is an elephant.  Here is the prompt:

The pride of lions stalked us.  Their hungry eyes focused on my little one, my only daughter.  She didn’t understand the danger.

I warned her, three infrasonic grunts.  “Come close to me,” I said.

She shook her head and stumbled.  The largest lioness crept closer to my daughter.  I couldn’t wait any longer.  I charged at the group and they scattered.  But there were too many of them, I realized.

So, now it’s your turn to finish the story.  As you may know, elephants have rather sophisticated social dynamics and are quite intelligent.  They even mourn their dead.  I’m very interested in seeing where your stories go. Good luck!

Encyclopedia Entry #4 – Giant Panda

The giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca), or simply the panda, is a bear from China that has a special place in both Chinese culture and the world’s imagination.  They’re a unique animal with a lot of misconceptions.  They’re extremely popular in zoos, as they’re not in a lot of zoos.  Why are they so interesting?

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This panda was busy snacking at Ueno Zoo in Tokyo, Japan. I took this photo myself a couple weeks ago.

5 Interesting Facts

1. The panda’s classification has been a subject of debate for quite some time.  It was unknown whether they were true bears, more closely related to raccoons, or somewhere in between.  Molecular analysis showed that the panda is indeed a true bear.  Its closest extant relative is the spectacled bear. Read about it here.

2. Despite the panda having a diet of 99% bamboo, it is technically a carnivore.  But they are known to eat meat when it’s available.  So, like other bears, they have an omnivorous diet.  Unlike other bears, they eat mostly bamboo.

3. All pandas are owned by the Chinese government, including those born in zoos in other countries.  Pandas are loaned out to zoos around the world for 10 year periods for up to US$1,000,000.

4. An endangered species, the panda lives only in China, but used to have a much broader range that included southern and eastern China, as well as northern Vietnam and Myanmar (Burma).  There are an estimated 3,000 pandas in the wild.

5. The panda has five fingers and a thumb.  The thumb actually isn’t a real thumb, but a sesamoid bone (see here).  It’s very useful for the panda, as it helps it hold bamboo.