Harvestman and Carrion Beetle

Liz sent me these nifty photos she took of a harvestman, or daddylonglegs.

In the bottom picture, you can see what looks like the bud of a purple flower. It's actually a carrion beetle, a very cool critter in its own right.

If you're wondering what a harvestman is, take a look at the mini-documentary Parker and I made about them a while back:

Monkey Gets Loose, Attacks Man

A pet capuchin monkey bit a man in Florida. His injuries are minor. Capuchins aren't especially big, but they've been known to cause serious injuries by biting repeatedly. In a 1997 case, one of them nearly killed its owner and amuptated some of her fingers.

The video linked below shows firefighters trying to capture the monkey. They eventually succeeded.

Monkey Gets Loose, Attacks Man - Video - WPLG Miami

Snapping Turtles

Thanks to Jake M., who worked as a wrangler at my summer wildlife program for kids. More recently, he was kind enough to show me some snapping turtles he captured. That's me above, handling one of the little beauties. I'm the one on the right. After cleaning the leeches off them (below), Jake released these turtles into the river where he found them.

Jake and I probably deserve any bites we get while playing with snapping turtles, but unprovoked attacks happen occasionally. Some swimmers have lost toes to large snappers. The power of the bite is phenomenal. The video below shows a captive snapper feeding on rats. It's a good illustration of the animal's predatory technique: seize with the mouth, then decapitate or eviscerate with a quick stroke of the claws.

This video is not for the squeamish.

Elephant kills 3

An elephant has killed three people and injured others near Dehra Dun, India. Male elephants in the condition called musth have always been a danger, but in recent years competition for resources has meant that almost any elephant can become dangerous.

Elephants are still used as beasts of burden in parts of India. Most of them never hurt anybody. 

Advise from WII sought to check attacks by rogue elephant - The Times of India

Reindeer attacks woman

In Britain, a reindeer spent more than two hours trying to gore a woman. She emerged with surprisingly minor injuries.

Scientist injured by shark in the South Pacific

A grey reef shark (also known as a whaler) repeatedly bit a scientist with the Nature Conservancy. The man was trying to release the shark from a net in which it had become entangled. The man's injuries are minor.

The grey reef shark is a member of the requiem family, which includes the tiger, bull, and oceanic whitetips sharks, among others. Like many of its relatives, it is known to attack humans on occasion. It is not known to have killed anyone.

Kiwi's horror shark attack - national | Stuff.co.nz

How to identify a shark on a biting rampage. - By Julia Felsenthal - Slate Magazine

How to identify a shark on a biting rampage. - By Julia Felsenthal - Slate Magazine: "From the diameter of the bite, scientists may be able to suss out the shark's size. The way that the victim's flesh is torn surrounding the points of incision can indicate the motion the shark used while biting; some sharks, particularly smaller ones, have the flexibility to vigorously shake their heads while attacking. Examining the bite marks, as well as the places where shark teeth scraped on human bone, can reveal whether the teeth had smooth or serrated edges."

Deer versus Dog, Cat, Human

In British Columbia, a deer has thrashed a newspaper carrier. The man ended up with eight stitches and a black eye. He says he didn't see any fawn nearby, but of course fawns try hard not to be seen.

Another deer incident, from a few months back, was captured in this video. It features a domestic cat finding a fawn, to the discomfort of the doe. A dog gets involved too. Whether it was just passing by or had scented the fawn is impossible to tell from the clip. Violence ensues.

Giraffe tramples man to death

Giraffe tramples man to death - Newsday: Everyday News for Everyday People

Giraffes are a traffic hazard in Africa, much like the deer are in North America. What we have here, though, is a far more unusual scenario: A giraffe purposely killing a human.

Red Sea Shark Attacks

Matawan Creek, New Jersey

Red Sea Shark Attacks: Killing Spree Puzzles Scientists - Yahoo! News

I'm not recommending this news report, which is a bit misleading on several points, but wanted to mention a couple of important items in it.

First, it quotes George Burgess of the International Shark Attack File confirming that one particular oceanic whitetip shark was responsible for at least two separate attacks. "We can actually say with certainty that one individual shark was involved in two of them without fail," he says. "That has not been documented before." I'd only add that while it hasn't been documented to a scientific certainty before, there's no real doubt that a single shark mauled three people in Matawan Creek, New Jersey, in 1916. One of those victims provoked the shark by trying to stop it from feeding on the child it had killed. The other two attacks were unprovoked. Two other people were taken by sharks in the ocean nearby around this time, but we can't be certain the same shark attacked them.

Scientists do not believe sharks ever take people as preferred prey. It would appear that the same shark rarely attacks more than one human in a lifetime. It's hard to be certain because it's difficult to prove which shark is responsible for a given attack.

The other important item here is an admission by the authorities that the sharks they caught last week were the wrong ones. "We did some efforts last week but I think we failed." and Salem Saleh, director of the Tourism Authority in

Egypt shark attacks: 'Multiple species' behind attacks

A few clarifications. There have been three attacks. The first one injured two people. Early reports had the second one also injuring two, but the BBC is saying only one person was injured on that occasion. The third attack was the fatal mauling of a German woman.

As this story mentions, experts have studied the photos and confirmed that at least two different species are involved, including an oceanic whitetip shark and apparently a shortfin mako. Both of those species are known as kill people on occasion. The Egyptian government claimed that the mako it killed earlier this week was one of the culprits, but this seems doubtful. Its identity could be established either through its stomach contents or possibly by comparing it to the photo taken right before the attack.

BBC News - Egypt shark attacks: 'Multiple species' behind attacks

Shark Attacks: Livestock carcasses in the Red Sea?

One theory offered in explanation of the recent shark attacks in Egypt claims that the sharks were drawn by the carcasses of sheep in the water. This news report from a few weeks ago confirms that a ship did dump many carcasses and that the resulting pollution was heavy enough to cause concern at Sharm-el-Sheikh. According to the theory, scavenging sharks followed the drifting line of easy meals to the resort beaches where people were in the water.

Blood in the Red Sea: Eyewitnesses Describe Shark Attacks

A British tourist took this photo of a victim pulled from the water after being mauled by a shark. The article linked here has eyewtiness accounts from two British couples.

Sharm-el-Sheikh shark attack: Photo shows blood in Egypt's Red Sea | Mail Online

Meanwhile, experts are saying the wounds indicate at least two different sharks are involved in the three separate attacks. Pictured below is an oceanic whitetip shark photographed just before one of the attacks and believed to be the culprit. Conservation officers killed a smaller oceanic whitetip and a shortfin mako shark, but there seems to be no evidence linking those two to the attacks.

Update: The full story of the attacks at Sharm El-Sheikh:

Deadly Kingdom cited in Cougar Story

Cougar sightings are controversial these days. Lots of people spot cougars, or think they do. Wildlife officials are often skeptical. This article does a great job explaining how that skepticism comes about. Coincidentally, it also cites a certain naturalist author with cougar experience.

Experts weigh in on cougar sighting | Denton Record Chronicle | News for Denton County, Texas | Local News

Meanwhile, in Alabama, a man survived an attack by a cougar (which in that part of the country is often called a panther).

Egyptian shark attacks fifth person

That resort in Egypt has suffered yet another shark attack. This time the victim is a 70-year-old German tourist. She died before reaching the hospital after the shark amputated her hand or (according to a different source) her arm.

Egyptian officials had already killed two sharks. They released a video (linked in the post below) and this photo, both of which show a small mako. Though makos do sometimes attack humans, reports claimed the shark involved in the two earlier attacks  was an oceanic whitetip. Those attacks left four Russian tourists hospitalized.

The reports so far do not make clear whether one shark is responsible for all the attacks. Oceanic whitetips sometimes travel in pairs or larger groups.

Oceanic whitetip shark kills German tourist near resort in Egypt: officials

Oceanic Whitetip Shark attacks tourists in Egypt

At a resort in Egypt, three people were mauled by an oceanic whitetip shark in two separate incidents.

Experts cited in the article I've linked below say this is extraordinarily rare, with only nine documented attacks by this species on record. That's a misleading claim, though, because the oceanic whitetip has certainly taken many victims of shipwrecks. It's not possible to document which species killed a particular person in those circumstances, but survivor accounts of disasters like the sinking of the Indianapolis in World War II give strong evidence that this species took dozens, and in a few cases hundreds of people.

The oceanic whitetip doesn't get the press of the great white and the tiger shark, species that routinely come close to shore and occasionally take people. But when people venture into the deep water, this very common and widespread species is likely to be nearby. I venture to guess that it has eaten more people than any other shark species.

Egypt closes beaches over shark attacks | World news | The Guardian

This report claims there were four victims in the two incidents, all of them critically injured. Apparently at least one, and possibly two, people lost limbs in the second attack.

Black Widow Pictures

Thanks to everyone who sent in photos of harvester ants. The contest is over, and the winner is Mike Dekker. Mike will receive a free copy of The Book of Deadly Animals (that's what they're calling it in the UK) when it's published next year.

Mike also sent me these images of the black widow in his garage. The purple plastic storage container in the background makes the widow look almost green.

Black Widow Bite -- a story from The Red Hourglass
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