Monday, August 1, 2016

Messages from Animals

Just to clarify my understanding there are five “Animal Classes” with 'vertebrates' (backbones): Mammals...Birds...Fish...Reptiles...Amphibians.
Mammals include people, dogs, cats, horses, duckbill platypuses, kangaroos, dolphins and whales. What do all these have in common? MILK! If an animal drinks 'milk' when it is born and has hair on its body, it belongs to the mammal class.
Birds are animals that have feathers and that are born out of hard-shelled eggs.
Fish are vertebrates that live in water and have gills, scales and fins on their bodies. Some fish can climb onto land and hop about.
Reptiles are a class of animal with scaly skin. They are cold-blooded and are born on land. Snakes, lizards, crocodiles, alligators and turtles belong to the reptile class.
Amphibians are born in the water. When born, they breathe with gills like a fish. But when they grow up, they develop lungs and can live on land.
Any animals that have more than 4 jointed legs are Anthropods.
Insects, spiders and crustaceans all belong to this class of animals.

Do Wolves Really Howl at the Moon?
As mystical and ancient as the notion of 'wolves howling at the moon', they are predominantly nocturnal animals and are therefore, naturally associated with darkness and with the moon. This romantic idea came from ancestors' ancestors. Since the Neolithic Age, wolves have been paired with the moon, whether in images or literature. Native American Seneca tribes believe that it was actually a wolf that sung the moon into existence. With this historical significance, it really isn't surprising that this ancient folklore has evolved into today's popular belief.

Since wolves are nocturnal, naturally they will be more vocal at night. They point their faces to the sky to howl, simply because of the acoustics generated from this gesture...the higher they send the sound, the further it will travel. Wolves howl as a means for long-distance communication...and can convey a range of information with different pitches and suspension of notes. They may be rallying their a signal as to the alpha wolf's location...delivering a warning to other packs to remain outside this wolf's territory...a chorus of howling can act as protection for the pack!
When my daughter was in High School and my son in University, we had a black and white Siberian Husky called Kiska. On very cold winter nights, living outdoors with a unique doghouse for shelter, she'd go to the back fence around midnight...raise her face to the moon and howl and howl. Fearing that neighbours would be disturbed by this eerie 'wilderness call', I brought her into the house for a few hours on those nights. My son and Kiska had a special camaraderie, so I concluded she was communicating with him at tell him about the moon, the stars, the frigidity of the night and her loneliness without him at home.

Why Do Lions Roar?
Lions are very protective of their homes...and a male lion whose main job is to defend his pride, uses his loud roar to warn off anything that might threaten his family. On a still night, lions can be heard 7 to 8 km away. Roars are not only used to 'proclaim territory' but also to rally straying members of his tribe...and they do this every evening! Roaring is also one of their strategies for catching prey and as they creep up on them...and when they are close enough, they will let out a roar that confuses that animal and strikes fear into the lion's prey. The prey cannot then 'think' or 'react' correctly out of fear and so is trapped and caught by the lion.

The Trumpeting of Elephants
Living in herds, the African elephants trumpet, growl and rumble in a classic example of elephant conversations. Being highly intelligent, they are most fascinating to watch. All parts of their body movement convey messages; in verbal form they have very loud trumpeting sounds which can signify aggression as well as danger...this trumpeting can be sent at various frequencies depending on who they wish to contact. It is common for them to generate sounds that can be heard for several kilometres. When males want to attract females, they can offer very high-pitched sounds for many hours throughout the day...which may actually cause a female to emit powerful hormones announcing a desire to mate with him
Bees Sting
A honey bee that is away from the hive, foraging for nectar or pollen, will rarely sting ~ except when stepped on or roughly handled. Honey bees will actually seek out and sting when they perceive the hive to be threatened, often being alerted to this by the release of attack pheromones. Bee stings could be of a bee, wasp, hornet or yellow jacket (even the bite of a horse-fly).The stings of most of these species can be quite painful. A human body's reaction to a bee sting may differ significantly
Beware of Piranhas
They only exist in mostly white-waters of South America...some in black-water, some in habitat for them is where 2 rivers meet for combination of two waters. Ranging in length from 8 to 20 inches, they have long razor-sharp-teeth. By travelling in schools of 100's and 1,000's, they present a daunting challenge to predators, as well as with animals and humans. Jungles of the Amazon Basin are nature to them. While feared by swimmers for its aggressive attacks, they feed mainly on aquatic plants, insects, smaller fish and snails...occasionally feasting on small mammals and birds that fall into their environment. Piranhas are the prey of river dolphins, large birds, crocodiles, turtles and larger fish
The Songs of Birds
Birds can sing at any time of the day, but during 'Dawn Chorus' their songs are often louder, livelier and more frequent. It's mostly made up of male birds, attempting to attract mates and warn other males away from their territory. Their 'chorus' comprises trills, tweets, melodies and crescendos. Bird songs of the 'Dawn Chorus' (when the early hours are coolest and driest), lack the atmospheric variables ...which allow the bird songs to travel  farthest, giving their voices better range.

In my neighbourhood are many trees, often around 5 am when I'd be wakened by the many birds with their morning 'wake-up-calls'; frequently I'd hear a nearby FREE-DOM...then from a more distant place, Free-dom sent in reply as an echoing response (my translation) for their message which was a series of 'song and response'. Later I discovered a red cardinal in a tree near my parking space...and further away was his brownish morning songsters!
A delightful picture in my living room is of 5 small bluebird chicks
sitting side by side on a branch...titled “The Chorus Line.”

An Environmentalist’s Reflection (by Jane Goodall): The tree I had in the garden as a child, my beech tree ~ I used to climb up there and spend hours. I took my homework up there; I took, my books up there . If I was sad... it just felt very good to be up there…among the green leaves and the birds and the sky…just listening to the messages of nature

Merle Baird-Kerr…written January 16, 2015
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