Cool Animal Meme

I've been tagged!

It's cool, it's about animals and I've only got an hour to blog this morning before work, so let's do it.

An interesting animal I had

All of the animals I've made friends with over the years have been a bit weird in their own way, I suppose. When you get the chance to get to know something with such a different brain, you're bound to be surprised by its behavior.

About five years ago, I took my friend's tarantula under my care since he had been "joking" about letting it go in his suburban backyard. Tarantella is a Chilean rose-haired tarantula, fairly commonplace as far as Theraphosid pets go, but before her, I had never owned a spider. At the beginning of my junior year, I went in to soak her sponge and she was on her back in the corner of the terrarium, legs curled under her abdomen. Naturally my first thought was that she was dead, but I wanted some confirmation. I did a bit of searching and found that this was in fact the first step in the rose-hair's ecdysis. She would lose her old cuticle in a matter of days, and the only thing I could do was keep the terrarium nice and moist while she went through her transformation, and remove all of her cricket snacks so they could not harm her once she was teneral.

It was a thrilling experience for me. This is how animals have been growing for hundreds of millions of years, and I had a chance to take an intimate glimpse into that process.

An interesting animal I ate

I come from a large Italian family, and I'm used to being surrounded by strange animal parts at the dinner table (or at the very least talk of what has been eaten "when I was a child"), but I've restrained myself for the most part. I've eaten some obscure plant derivatives, but I'm light on the eating weird meat category. I suppose the strangest animal I've eaten was octopus. Cephalopods are huge in the Italian community. We can them, fry them and toss them with pickled veggies as appetizers. They're especially yummy on Christmas Eve, with the rest of the seafood delights.

An interesting animal in the Museum

Carcharodon megalodon always impresses me while wandering through the Smithsonian's wonderful fossil exhibits.

An interesting thing I did with or to an animal

Dissecting a shark was pretty damned cool. I once tried to keep a large snapping turtle in a chicken wire cage, hoping to watch him for a couple days. While we were sleeping, he dug himself out and escaped.

An interesting animal in its natural habitat

Just off the top of my head: In the mountains I've seen black bears browsing the blueberries, wolf spider moms carrying their young on their backs, red tailed hawks attacking the nests of smaller birds, flies and other marsh-dwelling insects fall into the trap of Sarracenia purpurea and white tailed deer gathering by the hundreds to browse the fields.

Keep the meme alive!

Tagged: Jen, Jenn, Mon@rch, Kevin, Garfman, Thud, and Nuthatch


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