Mountain lion found in backyard

Officials used a tranquilizer dart to capture this cougar in a back yard in Tulsa. A friend from the area tells me this address is "just northwest of downtown Tulsa, not far from Tulsa Country Club."

A wildlife official quoted in the story says cougars are rare in Oklahoma, but folks in the Western part of the state might dispute that. They are certainly rare in urban yards, which suggests this one may be an escaped pet.

(Thanks to Matt O. for the news tip.)

Mountain lion found in backyard taken to Tulsa Zoo | Tulsa World

Another pet cougar:


Most of us are insulated from the realities of consumption. Even for vegans, the production of food is a messy, sometimes unappetizing business, one that brings us closer to our own animal natures. It’s easy to fall into delusion when we eat only factory-processed foods. Processing your own food forces you to notice how things live—and how they die.

Reader Steve V. poses this question: Does any other animal take care of another for an extended period for the purpose of eventually eating it? I haven’t come up with any so far. Certain ants keep aphids and feed them; the ants eat the honeydew the aphids secrete. That’s closer to dairy farming than butchery, however. Some parasites confer accidental benefits on their victims. For example, some intestinal worms reduce the allergic response in humans. But this is a long way from actually feeding the victim.

Perhaps the closest parallel with our habit of raising animals for food occurs in lichens. The lichen is a symbiote, part fungus, part alga. Both partners get benefits, but the alga does all the work of feeding both through photosynthesis. In effect, the fungus is a farmer. There are even fungi that take over the brains of ants and cause them to climb trees. Once up the tree, the ant undergoes a peculiar metamorphosis. Its brain sprouts a fungus, which disperses spores over the jungle floor.

So that’s my best answer, until somebody points out a better: We’re like fungi. Some of us more than others.

Mountain wolf kills one, injures another in Kütahya

In Turkey, a wolf, apparently rabid, has killed one woman and critically injured another.

A rabid wolf is arguably the most dangerous of all carnivores. In the Old West, there were reports of single wolves attacking more than 100 people in a few hours. 

Mountain wolf kills one, injures another in Kütahya

Slideshow: North American Wolves:

Survivor Describes Leopard Attack

The leopard often kills by biting through the skull of a human or other primate. It sounds as if this one attempted to do just that.

Arachnaphobe's Nightmare

Antique illustrations of arachnids from the Century Dictionary (1886).

Eating a Rattlesnake

I received this interesting series of pictures in an email forward. The email identifies the predator as a black snake, though I find claims on the web that it is actually an indigo. The victim is a Western diamondback rattlesnake. 

Honeybees in Mortal Combat

Here are images by the great illustrator Edward Detmold depicting life inside the beehive. That last image shows queens locked in mortal combat. The winner gets the hive.

See Me at the Fox Cities Book Festival

The Fox Cities (Wisconsin) Book Festival is coming up April 9-20. I'll be there April 12 to tell some Tales from the Deadly Kingdom and sign books. This is a huge event that would be worth attending even without the world's deadliest nature writer. Come see us.
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