This was Anton’s idea, at the dinner the other night, but I will get it started here anyway.
An interesting animal I had
I never owned an unusual species of animal. As a little kid I had small turtle named Aeschillus. Later I had two horses, half-brothers, whose names meant the same in two different languages – Meraklija in Serbian and Kefli in Hebrew both mean “one who truly enjoys life and good things in life”. My wife was a better namer of horses – her last one, the one she brought into the marriage, she named Double Helix and his barn nickname was Watson. A cat and a dog also became “mine” through marriage. We had a Love Bird briefly, and some tetras, a couple of great dogs and, of course, the three cats that sometimes grace the pages of this blog: Biscuit, Marbles and Orange Julius. Probably the most interesting animal I had, but could not really claim full ownership of (it was probably owned by someone, but was considered to be communal) was a skewbald Cameroon Pigmy Goat that served as a stall-mate to Meraklija as he was a highly strung Thoroughbred who needed company to calm him down. There were several goats in the barn, each living where needed, no matter who owned the horse in question. One of the goats was not a pigmy, but a normal-sized white goat who had to be milked every dawn and dusk by whoever was feeding the horses that day. So, on Thurdsays – my feeding day – I got to milk the goat and keep the milk for my own consumption if I wanted to.
An interesting animal I ate
Everyone has tried a taste of their lab animal at least once, so yes, I had eaten marinated and fried breasts of Japanese quail once. Delicious! Also, whenever we gelded a colt, I’d take the ‘prize’ home, marinate for a day or two, then everyone from the barn would come over to one of our houses for some great fried horse whitebreads.
An interesting animal in the Museum
George – the ancient python at the Museum of Life Science in Raleigh was everyone’s favourite for many years. Seeing a stuffed dodo is always an emotional moment.
An interesting thing I did with or to an animal
Sure, I did some stuff to my lab animals, e.g, surgeries. That is not such a big deal. More interestingly, I once participated in the Christmas slaughter of three pigs at the farm where I kept my younger horse. It is hard work and makes you really appreciate your food afterwards.
An interesting animal in its natural habitat
Bumping into a snake is always exciting. Deer, possums, raccoons, rabbits, turkey vultures and red-tailed hawks are common around here and not that exciting to see. I once saw an octopus that came too close to the coast, minutes before it was harpooned by the owner of a local seafood restaurant for dinner. Standing in the dark in Florida at the beach and watching a whooperwill on a perch from just a few feet away for almost half an hour was quite a thrill.
OK, let’s get this started. I am tagging:
Update: Responses are coming in fast!
Here are Chris Clarke (and Tigtog who was tagged by Chris) and Brian Switek (aka Laelaps), the fastest out of the gate. Very cool stories – I’ll try to track it into the future, the tagged and the taggees, as much as I can. Oh, I did not know that Kate also rides horses and she also has a question for Spanish-speaking naturalists. And definitely check out the responses by Theriomorph and Julia Heathcote.
PZ Myers is waxing poetic..and erotic…about fish!
Update 2: Steve put the announcement up on the latest Friday Ark, so now everyone is tagged!