Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Latest Project


Found on a nature trail and brought into the clinic by a good Samaritan.

I think he's a male, but not positive; tiny kittens are difficult to sex. His eyes should open any day now.

Judging by the area he was found, his mother is probably a feral. She may have been startled and dropped him, or was planning to return to get him later. So we'll never know if he was truely 'abandoned'. But you never know. We had another 'orphaned' kitten brought in a few months ago where the mother (a feral, though apparently healthy) left one of her kittens in a bush near an apartment and didn't come back for over 24 hours. A person couldn't stand looking at it anymore and took it in and started bottle feeding. Three days later the mother returned to the bush and sniffed around like, "huh, didn't I leave something here?"

Maternal instinct is a variable thing. At worse, he was saved from being a feral cat. I told him, on his first night here, as he spat out the rubber bottle nipple over and over and cried for the real thing, that life is tough sometimes and he would just have to get used to it and things would work out. Maybe he understands this, because now, two days later, he thinks formula and rubber nipple are just fine and dandy.

He'll be ready to go to a new home in five to six weeks.


Me: "Will you hold him while I make up his bottle?"
Tom: "Will he poop on me?"
Me: "He can't poop on his own yet. So unless you plan to lick his genitals to stimulate that, you should be fine."
Tom: "Wasn't planning on it."

This dog intrigues me

I went out with a doctor to a rancher's house to check a horse with an injured foot. He'd called us ahead of time to let us know no one would be home but that the mare was easy to catch. We drove up and parked near the house and two dogs trotted out to greet us.


Terrible guard dogs, both of them. They each let out a few cursory barks, then came over to sniff us, tails wagging in a friendly manner. Then they both flopped down to supervise as we took a look at the mare.


They have the confident, laid-back demeanor of true farm dogs. They have a hundred acres to run on, yet even though they're both unaltered they stay near the house. They rarely see a kennel or a leash. They're both fit and trim. They've been well-socialized to people and other dogs and animals by the constant stream of workers that come through to work with the cows.


I don't know what mix of breeds created this guy, but those eyes catch your attention, don't they? I don't know where the rancher got him, or what he uses him for or if he's just a pet.


He looks like he could be a street dog from just about anywhere in the world.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

An Epic Battle

Mantids are scary. If they were the size of cats, I think we'd be screwed.
I was already a little freaked out by them, with their too-intelligent eyes that follow you when you walk by. Then I had to go and witness this:

I was cleaning the large animal area at work the other day when I noticed three praying mantis sitting together on a fence post. Two larger ones which I assumed were females, and a smaller one, probably male. I admired them for a moment, then continued on with my work. A few minutes later, I glanced over at them just in time to see one of the females take a few steps and leap onto the other female, grasping her thorax. Soon it was a fight to the death. They grappled, biting at each other's faces and arms.

A few minutes after that, I watched the male tiptoe closer and closer to the fight, then finally hop onto the back of the attacking female and start to mate with her as she was killing (and eventually decapitating and eating) the other female. I don't know his fate, because I had to go back inside. But when I came out an hour later, only the (now engorged) victorious female remained on the fence, with a pathetic pile of shredded wings on the ground below her feet.



Nature, red in tooth and claw, indeed.