Archive for the ‘Common’ Category

AMAZING Animal Crossing!

January 4, 2008

Wildlife photographer Steve Bloom captured the extraordinary image below that shows some of the nearly 1.5 million animals that migrate across the Mara River in Kenya every year.

Amazing Zebra Crossing
(Click on the image to enlarge.)

Most of the animals are wildebeest — almost half of the 1.5 million animals. They are accompanied by 500,000 gazelle and 200,000 zebra.

The crossing is dangerous… Hundreds of crocodiles wait in the water. And once the animals get through that danger, they need to avoid lions, hyenas, leopards and jackals on the other side!

An article from the Daily Mail describes the migration:

They are travelling South to reach the new grasslands of the Serengeti, leaving behind the now parched woodland of the Masai Mara National Park.

Once they arrive in February, they will spend the wet season here on their breeding ground.

Come next June they will undertake the journey north once more, to the now rejuvenated forests of Masai Mara.

It is one of nature’s most remarkable cycles, replenishing the vegetation of Northern Africa. A 500km round trip, it is undoubtedly one of the natural world’s most astonishing phenomena.

Good Dog, Bad Cat

October 12, 2007

In two recent posts, we noted the intelligence and loyalty of Labrador Retrievers. I just came across this great story about Thumper, yet another amazing Lab:

Thumper, a black Labrador retriever, is getting credit for saving a Greenville man when a fire swept through his home.

Roland Cote says his wife and their 7-year-old grandson were away when the blaze started early Sunday in a converted two-story garage. He says Thumper grabbed him by the arm to wake him, leaving just enough time for him to dial 911 before fleeing the fast-moving fire.

While the dog is the hero, a cat is the bad guy in this story.

Cote says the fire marshal investigator believes the blaze was started when Princess, the family cat, tipped over a kerosene lantern. Cote says he and his pets escaped safely, but he says Princess did get her tail singed by the flames.

Meet Endal, an Incredible Labrador Retriever

October 7, 2007

In a recent posting on Labrador Retrievers, we noted the intelligence and skill of this amazing breed of dog.

CNN recently published a great article about Endal, an amazing example of the love and caring that Labs are capable of.

Endal is a Labrador and companion to Parton, aformer Royal Navy sailor that has been wheelchair-bound since 1991. About nine years ago, Endal was introduced to Parton and has served as his “arms and legs” and best animal friend.

Endal helps with the weekly shopping, stops his master from rolling out into the road, and knows how to deal with any number of buttons, switches, levers and knobs.“If I fall unconscious, he can put me in the recovery position,” says Parton. “He can cover me with a blanket, then hit the emergency phone. He’s very aware of my body position — what I’m doing.”

The article describes the incredible training the dogs receive — nearly 18 months!

“You start when they are young and giggly and bouncy, and then you teach them how to use their nose, their mouth and their paws, and to use them in combo,” says Bondarenko. “We call it trial and success, because every time the puppy tries something, we make it successful for the puppy.”

Unsuccessful behavior is ignored, and daring work is approved with a noisemaker that clicks. Soon, puppies realize that the clicking sound means they’ve done something really clever.

“So he wants to do it again and again,” Bondarenko explains. “At about 12-, 14-months, we’re working in wheelchairs and we say ‘OK, now it’s for real.'”

Labrador Retrievers: Loyal canines with a playful temperament

October 4, 2007

Labrador Retrievers — also known as “Labradors” or “Labs” — are the most popular dog breed in the world. Labs love people and other pets and can quickly make themselves an important member of a family. They are also among the most useful domesticated animals and are greatly valued by enforcement agencies for their incredible detection skills and work ethic.

Labrador Retrievers were originally bred for working in the water. And they really love to get wet and swim. They were trained to retrieve fishnets and lines for fishermen and they can swim in cold water. They have an outer coat that is short, straight, and dense, plus an undercoat that is soft and keeps icy water away from the skin and body.

Labradors also have webbed feet! They can learn to swim really quickly, as the video below of a Lab named Lucy shows:

Labrador Retrievers are very friendly and outgoing, and love to be trained. They are very intelligent and they are both proactive (taking initiative) and reactive (responding to commands). Many Labs work as seeing-eye and rescue dogs. In fact, most guide dogs are Labradors!

A Golden Jackal in Action

September 16, 2007

Our retailers have found that Jason + Jennifer Jackal (Golden) are popular with parents and children.

The word ‘jackal’ is usually used in a negative sense, but there are interesting tidbits worth knowing about these animals.

Jackals mate for life and keep close-knit families. Together, they jointly will defend their territory and share food. And most importantly, they raise the next generation together! Sometimes children stay with parents even after they’re all grown up to help take care of the next litter.

Jackals are scavengers. While they hunt for food, they are often looking for leftovers. Below is a video of a golden jackal in action:

Poitou Donkeys: Often stubborn with a long and shaggy coat

September 11, 2007

When we decided to make donkeys a part of our first series of Noah’s Pals, we quickly knew that the beautiful Poitou Donkeys would be the right choice in terms of breed. While Donkeys are ‘common’ across the world, the Poitous are not as well known as their cousins.

Poitous were originally introduce to France by the Romans and they are now raised in the Poitou region of France. Just like they were 2,000 years ago, Poitou Donkeys are loved for their strength and stamina. They are known for their strong and sturdy build, and only the Andalucian donkey is similar in size.

Poitous have long, dark, shaggy coats of hair the can become very tangled without care. They look adorable with big ears that can flare out to the side. We believe that our Daniel + Divinity Donkey do a great job of representing the ancient Poitou breed!

Daniel + Divinity Donkey (Poitou)

Dalmatian Spots

September 1, 2007

Dalmatians are one of the most recognizable breeds of dog and are easily identified by their beautiful, white coats that are covered by distinctive spots. No other breed of dog has spotted markings!

Dalmatian puppies are adorable and arrive to the world with white fur and no spots — but they grow in very quickly. The spots will continue to grow in size, and in number, as the Dalmatian gets older and older. The growth does slow with age though. Spots can vary in size and are often smaller on the face and the tail.

Purebred Dalmatians have spots that are either black or sometimes brown. There are other colors that sometimes appear on these gorgeous dogs, including blue-gray and pale yellow spots.

Drew + Destiny Dog (Dalmatian)

The Kangaroo Gets Away!

August 12, 2007

We have several Australian animals in our collection, including the Red Kangaroo, the Southern Koala, and the Platypus. While we have several canines in our collection (Dalmatian, Labrador Retriever, Golden Jackal, and Coyote), we don’t have the Australian dingo.

Dingos are wild dogs, often found in Australia but are popular throughout Southeast Asia. They are similar to wolves and modern dogs. They often hunt in packs, but sometimes will look for prey solo. Here’s a video of a dingo eyeing a young kangaroo — but the speed of the hunted is too much for the dingo.

Mountain Goat: Sure footing helps them rise to snowy tops

July 23, 2007

Mountain goats are beautiful and peaceful creatures that are very comfortable with their sometimes very harsh environment. They are known for their beautiful woolly white double coats. They also have thick beards, and dark, shiny horns — features that are reflected in our very own Mason + Marion Mountain Goat.

While the Mountain Goat looks like a goat, it really belongs to a different genus. It is only found in North America and is also called the Rocky Mountain Goat. They like to live in high elevations away from predators, often perched on cliffs and in snowy areas. Mountain goats are among the biggest mammals to live in high altitudes and they will generally stay above tree level, but will find time to venture down to lower elevations.

Mountain goats have feet that designed for climbing steep and slick slopes. Inner pads act like skids and provide traction. Their hooves can also spread apart for better gripping. Their short and muscular legs are designed for balance and jumping, not running.

The video below shows mountain goats enjoying a summer day:

The Eagle Has Returned!

June 29, 2007

Great news just a few days before July 4th… The bald eagle has been removed from the list of threatened and endangered species! The bald eagle nearly disappeared from the ‘lower 48’ of the United States several decades ago. It now has a presence in each of the lower 48 states with almost 10,000 nesting pairs. The bald eagles in Alaska have maintained their strength throughout the last century with a population of 50,000 and 70,000 birds.

A news release from the US Interior Department noted the importance of continued vigilance:

“Bald eagles will continue to be protected by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Both federal laws prohibit ‘taking’ – killing, selling or otherwise harming eagles, their nests or eggs.”

Bald Eagles are beautiful birds with magnificent white head and tail feathers. Females can weigh up to fourteen pounds and can have a wingspan approaching eight feet. Males are smaller than females. The live near water where they can find fish, so look for bald eagles near rivers and lakes.

Eagles are loyal mates and keep their partners for life. They can build very impressive nests that become bigger and bigger with each passing year. Sometimes they can span ten feet and weigh 1,000 pounds! They can live up to 25 years in the wild. And thankfully with the conservation efforts, more and more of these birds will live long and productive lives.

Bald Eagle Head Shot