Fun Animal Observations from a Zoo Docent

1. There are several ways to classify the large cats, one of the more useful ones is into the roaring cats (tigers, lions) and the purring cats (bobcats, lynxes). The puma (also known as the mountain lion) is the largest cat that purrs. I’ve heard it up close, it’s amazing. A cheetah’s purr sounds like an idling motorcycle engine.

2. Kangaroos cannot move their legs independently of each other, they have to move them in sync – when they’re on land. When they’re swimming, they can move them separately. Hopping is their most efficient way to move – a walking kangaroo is awkward as hell. They swing both legs forward using their tail as a third leg to prop up while their legs swing.

3. People often think that flamingoes’ knees bend the wrong way. They don’t – the joint you’re seeing in the middle of their leg isn’t their knee, it’s their ankle. Their knee is up by their body, and it bends the same way ours does.

4. Giraffes only sleep 1-2 hours a day.

5. Bald eagles’ vocalizations are not what you expect. When you see a flying bald eagle in the movies and hear that majestic caw sound? That isn’t an eagle, it’s been dubbed over with another bird, usually a red-tailed hawk. Bald eagles actually sound…not majestic. Kind of like if a kitten could be a bird.

6. Elephants are one of only a handful of animals that can pass the mirror test – in other words, they can recognize their own reflection (and not think it’s another animal, as dogs and cats usually do). They tested this by placing a chalk mark on an elephant’s forehead and then showing it a mirror. The elephant investigated the mark on its own forehead, indicating it knew that it was looking at itself. The only animals that pass this test are the higher primates, the higher cetaceans (orcas, dolphines), elephants, and weirdly, magpies.

7. One-fifth of all the known mammal species are bats.

8. A kangaroo mother can have three joeys simultaneously at different stages of development: an embryo in her womb (kangaroos can do what’s called embryonic diapause which means sort of putting the development on pause until she’s ready for it to develop further), a joey in her pouch attached to one nipple, and a joey out of the pouch on the ground who nurses from the other one. The amazing thing? Each of her nipples make different formulations of milk for each joey’s different nutritional needs.

9. Bonobos, our closest genetic relative (they are more closely related to us than they are to either chimps or gorillas) are almost entirely non-aggressive, matriarchal, and use sex to solve all their problems. They engage in both same and opposite sex interactions, non-penetrative sex (oral, rubbing, manual) and with any age. That’s an interesting area to work in, lemme tell you.

10. Tortoises have super loud sex. Like, really loud.

11. All grizzlies are brown bears, but not all brown bears are grizzlies (grizzlies are a sub-categorization of the brown bear).

12. Reindeer are the only deer species where both males and females grow antlers. The males shed theirs the beginning of December, the females shed theirs in the spring. So all of Santa’s reindeer are girls, heh. I love telling little kids that.

13. If a rhinoceros knocks off its horn, it grows back faster than you’d expect. One of ours, Rosie, has knocked hers off twice.

14. Gorillas get crushes on each other. And on the humans that take care of them. Male gorillas also masturbate. I don’t know if the females do, I’ve never seen it. Sometimes it’s like a soap opera up in there.

15. Langur monkeys are silvery-gray in color – their babies are bright orange. Like Cheeto orange, I do not exaggerate.

16. Polar bear fur is not white, it’s transparent, like fiber optics. Also, their skin is black.


Some Sunday Fun

An oldie but a goodie.

You are in a band. Your band is about to release their first album. Follow these directions to build it.

1. Go to
The first article title on the page is the name of your band.

2. Go to
The tail (last three or four words) of the very last quote is the title of your album.

3. Go to
The third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

4. Use the graphics program of your choice to put them together into your first album.

5. Go to the random title generator site and come up with the names of the 12 tracks! (I added a bonus track because that’s just the way I am.)


Stripped Search
The Captured Sky
Boyfriend of Memory
The Secret of Fire
Crying in the Streams
Obsession of the Servant
Green Rings
The Kissing Storms
World of Search
The Flames’s Gate
The Soul of the Barmaid
Evil in the Child
Red Hunter
The Playful Eyes

And the fabulous, never before released bonus track:

Luck in the Winter


Homemade Microwave Popcorn

  • 1/4 cup of popping corn (generally $0.99 for a pound bag. This is enough to make at least 50 bags of microwave corn)
  • 1 Teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Popcorn salt to taste (it has finer granules than table salt with the same taste)
  • And the following tools:
  • A stapler
  • A teaspoon
  • A measuring cup
  • A brown paper bag, and—of course
  • A microwave

Step One:

Measure out the popcorn and dump it into the paper bag. Carefully add salt and any additional seasonings you might want. Shake gently. Now add the teaspoon of olive oil.

Step Two:

Close the bag, folding it over twice. Secure with one stable in the middle of the fold. (Contrary to popular belief, staples will not arc in the microwave.) Shake the bag to evenly distribute the corn/oil/salt mixture. Place the bag, side down, in your microwave and nuke it until you hear the popping occurring at roughly 3-5 second intervals. (My microwave has a “popcorn” setting on the control panel. I find that is about fifteen seconds too long.) You might want to put a folded paper towel under the bag to soak up the oil that will seep through the bag.

Step Three:

Open the bag with care because steam will escape and you can get scalded. Pour into a bowl, serve and enjoy the taste and the knowledge that this heaping bag of microwave popcorn cost less than ten cents and isn’t full of unnecessary added chemicals and preservatives!

Rolodex of Hate

Last night Ben and I saw Bianca Del Rio’s perform her Rolodex of Hate at the Paramount Theater. It was fabulous. I can’t recall the last time I laughed so hard. The girl is brilliant. It’s no wonder she won the last season of Drag Race, and why this season’s contestants all seem so…unremarkable.

If you have a chance to see her in person, by all means make the effort. You won’t be disappointed.