Africa Talk at Black Earth Library

Just a quick post to let locals know that I'll be giving a talk on December 1st at the Black Earth Library on my animal-behavior focused trips to Africa. I'll combine the best of my and Jim's photographs and talk about the adventures of safaris in Kenya, Botswana, Tanzania and Rwanda. We'll talk about radio-collaring "Jones," the breeding male of an African Wild Dog pack, sitting with gorillas in Rwanda and the impact of the current drought on the people and animals of East Africa. If you're in the area, I hope you can come! 7 pm, December 1st, 2009 Black Earth Library, 1210 Mills Street, Black Earth, WI 608 767-2563, Ext. 3 If you can make it, come up and say hi. Here's my favorite photograph from the trip we took in August, on the Masai Mara. Read More

Veterinarians on the Front Lines

Greetings from Oregon. I just finished up with two talks at UC-Davis and a day long seminar in Corvallis, Oregon, sponsored jointly by OSU and Wonder Dogs. The participants and hosts could not have been more delightful, and I thank everyone for making the trip enjoyable and more than worthwhile. All three events had a large number of veterinary students attending, and it was such a joy to see them there. So many bright, energetic people... truly is inspiring, and especially good to see so many of them interested in behavior. One of my talks at UC-Davis, specifically for vet students and veterinarians, was on Canine Aggression. I appreciated the opportunity to speak about such an important topic, and thought I'd convey a summary of one of the points I made, which was what can vets do in Read More

Tender at the Bone

Well, Tender at the Bone is admittedly the title of a book about food (if you love food and good writing as much as I do, this is a fantastic book by food critic Ruth Reichl), but I borrowed the phrase to continue our discussion about dental health and chewing on bones. If you haven't followed it yet, read the comments from my A Fully Functional Tooth? post, they add lots of meat to the conversation (sorry). A few readers asked for more photos from Africa, so I thought I'd combine topics and send some more pictures of our time with the pack of African Wild Dogs. Relevant to dental health, here's a photo of the mouth of "Jones," the 4 year old breeding male who was darted and radio collared when we were there watching. What I think is interesting is how good some teeth look (keeping in Read More

Comparative Canid Behavior

This summary doesn't begin to address the subject in depth, to do so would require a book, but I hope you'll find what I've written interesting nonetheless. My biggest problem with this was not spending all week on it... the topic is so interesting, and almost every fact led to a question. (Territorial? Well, that's a highly variable concept. How does it differ between species, say dogs and wolves for example.) You can see the problem here, but one of the great things about science is that it every answer generates new questions. That's heaven for discovery junkies like me. AFRICAN WILD DOGSĀ  Lycaon pictus: Also known as Cape Hunting Dogs or Painted Dogs, these canids are not "dogs" at all (note they are in a different genus than wolves and dogs). Called the wolves of Africa, they Read More

Be Glad Our Cats are Small

I'm working on a post about the comparative behavior of wolves, coyotes, African Wild dogs and domestic dogs, but here's a short digression for the cat lovers. An adult lioness in the Maasai Mara marks a bush after rising from a nap. You can clearly see the stream of urine in the photo. Aren't you glad our house cats don't weigh 260-450 pounds? A female cheetah marks a tree. We found this cheetah right after landing in the "Kenyan Serengeti," the Maasai Mara. After we landed at a tiny airstrip and loaded up in safari vans on our way to our lodging, we ran into a hunting cheetah who was stalking Impala. After a few minutes she made her move, and dashed at the herd. She was too far away for us to take any photographs, but none of us will ever forget watching one Impala leap over five Read More