Horsey Stuff, 9 Things a New Horse Person Needs to Know

September 26, 2014 by  
Filed under All Posts, Horses

All types of horses and ponies

You may discover a horse person hidden inside of you, if you find yourself dreaming -and daydreaming- about horses!

Clues that you are a horse lover are pretty easy to spot. The first sign is when you repeatedly catch yourself spending a lot of time thinking about horses.

Soon you are imagining riding, jumping, and doing all sorts of wonderful things with a horse. Then when you start devoting your weekends and vacation time to horse shows and clinics, well, you may be hooked.

You can imagine having a great time with a horse, so maybe it’s time to get started! Of course you will have to find a horse to work with, but there’s lots of little horsey things to learn as well. Armed with a little knowledge will go a long way in helping on your journey to becoming a horse person.

List of 9 Horsey things to know about:

  1. An equestrian is not a cowboy
    Cowboys work cattle

    A cowboy is someone who rides a horse and whose job is to take care of cows or horses. They may perform in rodeos and some may also have the qualities that are commonly associated cowboys, as depicted in movies.

    An equestrian is a very hardworking person that is committed to the sport of riding horses, and is also committed to the animals, horses and ponies, that he or she rides.

  2. Wear appropriate clothing
    Horse riding apparel

    Equestrian apparel in not about high-fashion, rather it’s about good functional clothing for activates both on and off of a horse. Appropriate apparel starts with a pair of riding boots. You know you have a good boots if they get crinkly around the ankles and have dirt on them. And no, you don’t wear them to a fancy restaurant.

  3. Don’t be an urban cowboy
    You don’t get a horse to move by waving your hands about with your legs flapping, and then hooting out an exciting “hi-yah!” You do use your voice when riding a horse, and you also use your seat, hands, and legs. You will usually get your horse to move by looking up, moving your hands forward, and squeezing with your legs.

  4. Learn about the different types of horses
    Types of horses

    It’s important to know about the types of horse breeds, and the difference between a horse and a pony.

    A pony is not a baby horse, nor is it a miniature horse.

    A baby horse is also not a pony, and actually has different names depending on whether it’s a boy or a girl. All baby horses are foals, but a boy can be called a “colt” while a girl is called a “filly.”

  5. Use the correct terminology
    Horse knowledge

    Do some research at your local library or surf the web for commonly used horse terms and quick facts to help you out.

  6. Be honest about your knowledge
    When other horse lovers know you have limited knowledge, experienced horsemen and women are far more likely to explain terminology, share information, and help you out in any way they can.

  7. Be eager to learn
    You’ll never learn unless you ask, so don’t be afraid to ask for an explanation about a horse term that you’re not familiar with, or if you need clarification about something. Many horse people are very happy to discuss their horses.

  8. Learn proper horse riding etiquette
    Horse Riding etiquette

    Arena riding may be the only option at times, so understand and follow proper horse arena etiquette. It will make ring riding with other’s fun and safe.

  9. Be courteous, calm and sensible
    Always ask a horse owner for permission before touching their animal(s).

Horse people are a strange breed, and many times normal people may not understand their obsession! So be prepared for the strange stares that you may get when you start wearing barn clothes into the grocery store. You may even get a funny look when you have to remove bits of hay or tack off of the passenger seat when you’ve offered your friend a ride.

Set an example and be the best horse person you can be. Don’t flaunt your experience or act like a know-it-all. Instead take your social clues from the horses themselves, and act like they act with their herd. Horses tend to hang with those that are of the same rank or a rank just above or below themselves. So with other horsey people, be willing to share what you know, learn from them, and work on becoming friends. With those that are not into horses or learning about them, don’t be a bore.

Start on your exciting adventure by checking out the different types of horses and ponies, and find the breed that’s best for you!

Clarice Brough is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

Photos and collage images provided courtesy of Animal-World.com contributors on Dr. Jungle’s Pets and Animal Photos and Classroom Clipart.

The 8 Most Popular Man-made Animals

Popular Man-made Animals and more!

Man-made animals are real live animals!… not animal wannabes like chia pets, furbies, or virtual pets.

Some of the most popular and favored animals that we encounter everyday are basically man-made. These animals are not a new phenomenon; many have been around for thousands of years.

Today’s domestic pets are some earliest animals to be developed. Yet for some of the most popular man-made animals, the original species are no longer found in nature. In fact there are contrary opinions on some, about which species they even originated from.

Since the time when the first wild dogs began skirting human encampments to catch snacks and waste to fill their bellies, the crafting of animals began. Man with his incredible creativity took specific species, domesticated them, and then began to develop them to fill all sorts of needs. They were selectively bred for optimal forms and vocalizations so that they could provide protection, aid in hunting, carry loads, and even be a food source.

Man then took the next step and began to craft animals for more than just practicality. Select breeds began to be developed for unique appearances and for song. New body shapes emerged as well as longer or shorter limbs and tails along with unusual and attractive skin coverings of feathers or fur. But a favorite development has been, and still is, the incredibly beautiful new color forms.

Popular man-made animals are mostly developed from a single species, selectively bred for particular traits. There are also hybrids and mutations. Hybrids result from crossing two closely related species while mutations result from a change in a gene or a chromosome.

Looking at the history of any particular group, however, you will find that a number of breeds are also now “extinct.” Those are animals that lost favor for one reason or another, so were no longer developed.

The 8 most popular man-made animals:

  1. Dogs
    Dog BreedsDog Breeds

    The dog Canis lupus familiaris is the first domesticated animal. Although there are varying studies, it is believed its domestication could have started as early as 34,000 years ago. Other closely related dog types are wolves and foxes. At one time was a popular belief that the ancestors of today’s domestic dogs were wolves, but that lineage has pretty much been disproven in more recent studies.

    There are well over 300 breeds of dogs, not including all the newer designer dogs being developed today. The breeds we see today however, are at most only a few hundred years old.

    The categorization of dogs differs slightly between breed registries. In the United States we usually follow the groupings as set by American Kennel Club (AKC). These groups are the herding dogs, working dogs, hound dogs, sporting dogs, non-sporting dogs, terrier dogs, toy dogs, and mixed dogs.

  2. Cats
    Cat BreedsCat Breeds

    The domestication of cats is believed to have started at least 8,000 years ago. This is indicated by a cat jawbone found on the island of Cyprus in 1983, which dates back to about 6000 B.C. The first record of domesticated cats is from about 3000 to 1450 B.C.

    The African wildcat Felis silvestris lybica is the ancestral subspecies from which domestic cats are descended. In Northern Africa, somewhere around 7000 to 5000 B.C., these small, tabby-striped wild felines arrived in human settlements and started the process of domestication. The domestic cat was first classified as Felis catus by Linnaeus in 1758, but can also be called by its subspecies name, Felis silvestris catus.

    Today there are not only the natural breed cats, but also hybrid cat breeds, cat breed mutations, and exotic cats.

  3. Horses
    Horses and PoniesHorses and Ponies

    The modern horse is the direct descendant of the Eohippus, which lived about 60 million years ago. Their domestication began around 4000 BC and is believed to have become widespread by 3000 BC.

    There are three types of horses, medium sized light breeds that originally evolved in the southern hemisphere, large heavy (draft) breeds that evolved in the northern hemisphere, and the shorter durable Pony breeds that evolved in both.

    The horse breeds can further be divided into three groups based on temperament; the light horses are the “hot bloods” known for speed and endurance, the heavy or draft horses and ponies are “cold bloods” used for heavy work, and the “warm bloods” are crosses between the two with a focus on riding.

    Today there are more than 300 breeds of horses, each developed for particular uses. There are also a number of wild horse populations, called “feral breeds”, in numerous countries around the world.

  4. Rabbits
    Pet RabbitsPet Rabbits

    Rabbits have been around for at least 3 to 4 million years. All domesticated rabbits are descended from the European Rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus. This is the only species of rabbit which has ever been domesticated. They were first domesticated in Spain, but then became widely distributed by the seafaring Phoenicians. Still today wild European Rabbits can be found in countries all across the world.

    Rabbits have a great capacity to multiply themselves and so can be readily raised. They have been domesticated and used for many different purposes. Today there are at least 40 known breeds and around 130 varieties. There are also 10 or so varieties that are now extinct.

    Pet rabbits can be categorized into four broad groups; fancy breeds, lop breeds, fur breeds, and rex breeds.

  5. Canaries
    Canary VarietiesCanary Varieties

    All domestic canaries are descended from the Atlantic or Island Canary Serinus canaria. Since 1478, when the Spaniards conquered the Canary Islands, these canaries became favored for their beautiful song, coloration, and feathering.

    Today there are basically three breed types of domestic canary and numerous varieties in each breed and there are many mixed breeds. The breed types include: the Color Canary bred for various colors, the Song Canary bred for their song, and the Type Canary bred for distinct characteristics of shape, feathering.

    Some canary types that were popular at one time are no longer available, having made way for new varieties and the varieties that are currently popular.

  6. Goldfish
    Goldfish TypesGoldfish Types

    All the goldfish of today originated from Central Asia (Siberia). They are descendants of a wild carp fish known as the Prussian or Gibel Carp Carassius gibelio (syn: Carassius auratus gibelio).

    Goldfish are one of the first aquatic animals in recorded history to be kept as pets. They were originally developed in China, beginning somewhere between the years 265 – 420. They were then traded to Japan in the 1500’s, to Europe in the 1600’s, and to America by the 1800’s.

    The results of this century’s long endeavor are the wonderful goldfish varieties we see today. They have been developed for body shape and form, finnage, and a wide variety of beautiful colors. It is estimated that there are over 125 types of gold fish.

  7. Guinea Pigs
    Guinea Pig VarietiesGuinea Pig Varieties

    The Guinea Pig Cavia porcellus, is also called the “Cavy,” and is a species of rodent. The popular guinea pigs of today are believed to be the result of the hybridization of three closely related cavy species. They were domesticated between 9000 and 3000 B.C. by the Incas of Peru, and were used for their fur as well as used for food. English and Dutch slave traders took some of these guinea pigs to Guinea (thus the name “guinea”) and then to Europe, where they became popular pets.

    There are many breeds of guinea pig or cavy that have been developed to become very appealing pets. The English or American Short-haired, Abyssinian which has a rough-coat, and the Peruvian which has a long-coat, are the three “core” breed that the others were developed from. Today there are at least 13 recognized breeds, a number of unrecognized breeds, and many color varieties of each breed type.

  8. Pigeons and Doves
    Dove and Pigeon TypesDove and Pigeon Types

    All domestic pigeons and dove have come from a single species of wild pigeon, the Rock Dove Columba livia. There is no scientific separation between them, but in general the term ‘pigeon’ is usually applied to the larger species and ‘dove’ to the smaller species. They are generally recognized as one or the other by the common names given to them over the years.

    It is not known when these birds first became kept in captivity, but they have been bred and hybridized for various purposes for thousands of years. They have been crafted for specialized traits such as the homing instinct, aerial acrobatics, and unique feather structures. There are over 200 domesticated pigeon and dove breeds with at least 1250 varieties of these breeds.

There are all sorts of other animals that have also been developed through selective breeding. They include not only mammals, but also birds, aquatic species and reptiles. A lot of exciting new varieties being crafted today, yet they still represent only small a handful of animals when you consider the hundreds of thousands of species found throughout the Animal World.

Clarice Brough is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

Photos and collage images provided courtesy of Animal-World.com contributors on Dr. Jungle’s Pets and Animal Photos and Classroom Clipart.

The Cat’s Meow, When cats talk people listen!

September 12, 2014 by  
Filed under All Posts, Pet Cats

People listen when cats talk, and most experts agree that this is precisely why cats are to so talkative towards their human companions!

Some cats are quite chatty while others scarcely make a sound. Some of that’s genetic but there is also the individual personality. Along with vocalization cats use a combination of scent and body language to communicate.

In a cat world without people, adult cats primarily use scent and body language. Cat-to-cat communication is a symphony of subtle symbols and they may also use a variety of vocalizations, but they seldom meow at each other. Meows are pretty much reserved for that special relationship between a mother and her kittens.

Well in a cat-to-people world scent obviously doesn’t work, nor are humans particularly adept at body language. Cats quickly learn that their particular humans simply don’t “get it” and that the only way to get direct communication is through conversation.

In her book “Cat Wrangling Made Easy,” Dusty Rainbold says that one researcher, Nicholas Nicastro, believes that cat vocalizations aren’t even a true language. Cats have simply learned that sounds manage our emotions and they become extremely skilled at using their vocalizations to manipulate us. So cats talk to communicate with us, and that’s why we listen.

How does your cat talk?

In conversations with your cat you’ll hear a wide range of chatters, murmurs, chirps, trills, and kitten-like squeaks. On occasion you may hear growls, spits, and caterwauls as well. But of course our favorites are the purrs and meows.

Cats can make all sorts of sounds, with a lot of variations of the simple meow. Rainbold says that a 2002 Cornell University study documented hundreds of different cat vocalizations, ranging from soft purrs to tomcat battle yowls. Yet what all those sounds mean is a mystery to us.

The sounds domestic cats will make can be grouped into four distant types:

  • There are the vowel sounds that are variations of a “meow.” There’s also that sweet, open-mouthed “silent meow” which is so high pitched the human ear can’t hear it.
  • Chirps and chattering are types of articulated patterns that express frustration.
  • There are the softer sounds of murmurs and purring.
  • Then there are strained intense sounds such as hisses, growls, and screams.

You’ll want to get familiar with your cat’s usual vocal patterns, and then pay attention to any changes. If a silent cat suddenly starts talking up a storm, or a pleasantly chatty cat changes to yowling, it could be trying to tell you something. My Siamese cat is often quite talkative, but when she really wants to be fed, her meow gets loud. If she doesn’t get fed right away, it becomes even louder and sometimes starts to get a little reverberation going.

What’s your cat saying?

You are listening to your cat, so now let’s figure out what your cat may be trying to say. Each type of sound is your cat’s way of communicating its particular need or mood.

  • Meowing
    The meow is very versatile and can have a surprisingly wide range of variations. Meows are mostly your cat asking for something. They can range from kittenish, coy, and shy to forcefully demanding your attention.

    The “silent meow” is basically an ordinary meow. It does make a sound but is pitched above your hearing. Cats can detect sounds up to 50-65 kilohertz, while our hearing is limited to approximately 18-20 kilohertz. We find this meow so adorable that cats quickly learn that it’s highly effective for getting what they want.

  • Chattering
    Chattering is an odd sound your cat will make while watching birds outside a window. It is a rapid click-click sound they make with their teeth. Although there are mixed ideas of what this means, it’s generally thought to be an expression of excitement or a frustration at not being able to pounce on a prey. It is almost always in response to birds, while watching rodents cats will be silent.

  • Chirping
    A soft trill or Chirping sound is used to greet other cats or humans. It is a sweet, friendly vocalization that falls between a meow and a purr.

  • Purring
    The purr is everybody’s favorite cat sound. The purr is often attributed to a contented cat, and cats do purr when they are happy. But it is actually an overflow of any emotion. Cats may purr when content, happy, frightened, furious, or even in pain. In the more distressed situations purring is thought to be a self-soothing and self-healing mechanism. Research has shown that the frequency of the purr aligns with the same frequency that aids in pain relief, wound healing, fracture healing, and bone growth.

  • Growling and Yowling
    These are some of the loudest and most intense sounds a cat can make. Growls, wails, howls, and snarls are warning sounds. These are dramatic and often effective ways to ward of potential combatants or competitors. Cats will growl at each other or at humans as a warning to back off.

  • Hissing
    The hiss is a sound of annoyance, and depending on the situation, is mixed with fear or a lot of bluster. It can also indicate pain or stress, but in all cases it means “back off.” If you’re petting your cat, stop and give him a chance to calm down, and then try to determine the cause. If he hisses every time you touch him in a certain spot, he could be injured or ill.

Cats are wonderfully diverse in their ability to communicate with us. When they talk, people listen. It does makes you wonder, who’s domesticated whom! Visit our World of Pet Cats to learn more about these fascinating animals, or to find your special breed!

Clarice Brough is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

True Percula Clownfish, Nemo’s Look-alike cousin, Under Protective Scrutiny

September 11, 2014 by  
Filed under All Posts, Animal News, Aquariums, Saltwater Fish

See all types of clownfish

You can rest assured “Nemo” is not under review, rather its Nemo’s Look-alike cousin, the True Percula Clown, that’s undergoing scrutiny!

Concern about threats to our planets animals and their habitats abound. So the recent flourish of articles, describing the Nemo inspired fish from the popular movie “Finding Nemo” as possibly endangered, immediately caught my eye.

I love Nemo, and hate the thought of the fish that sparked his creation being in a dire situation. But no, it is not the Nemo inspired clownfish that’s being scrutinized. The Nemo caricature was designed from the Ocellaris Clownfish Amphiprion ocellaris, which is a fish with a very wide distribution. The clown whose status is in question is the True Percula Clownfish Amphiprion percula, also known as the Orange Clownfish.

Percula Clownfish protective Status review

A petition from the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) to list the True Percula Clownfish and seven damselfish species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) was submitted to the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration‘s (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)
two years ago, on September 14, 2012. NMFS announced on September 3, 2014 that the Percula clownfish Amphiprion percula may warrant protection under ESA.

NOAA Fisheries determined that the petition did not present substantial information to pursue the six Indo-Pacific damsel species and the Caribbean damselfish will be reviewed by a regional office. But they do feel the Percula Clown warrants review.

For their review, they are soliciting scientific and commercial information to help in their determination. If you are interested you can submit your comments to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), but they must be received by November 3, 2014.

Ret Talbot gives a really good overview of the status review process in his article, “Orange Clownfish a Step Closer to Endangered Species Act Listing.” He says that “NMFS cited major anthropogenic stressors such as global climate change and ocean acidification as the primary basis for the finding.” He goes on to discuss the perceived threats and the responses of interested parties, including the Marine Ornamental Defense Committee of the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC).

All the fuss about “Nemo”. the False Percula Clownfish

The Ocellaris Clown (the Nemo inspired clownfish) and its look-alike cousin, the True Percula Clown, are some of the most popular aquarium fish, and are brilliant favorites to encounter when diving!

No, the Ocellaris Clownfish Amphiprion ocellaris is not the clown whose status is being reviewed. Alluding to Nemo turns out to be is as “fishy” as Nemo himself in addressing the True Percula’s status review.

It’s amazing though, how the “Nemo” theme was picked up on as a sensational title plug. It makes more sense that it has been played up though, when such fanciful statements deftly led the way. “Finding Nemo’s getting harder as global warming and acidifying oceans destroy the coral reefs the clownfish calls home,” was stated in a press release by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD). It then goes on to say, “Endangered Species Act protection… will help make sure these beautiful fish survive in the wild and not just in the movies.”

Now I like sensationalism just as much as the next fellow, but I like it to be factual sensation. I guess it’s an honest mistake though, with these two clownfish being so similar in appearance. It takes a very clever eye to discern the differences between these two, even a challenge for experts. In fact, these two are so similar that the Ocellaris Clown has been dubbed the False Percula Clownfish.

True Percula Clown VS Ocellaris (False Percula) Clown, here’s 3 identifying clues:

  • The best way to tell the difference between these two is knowing where they originated from, though their territories do overlap a bit in some locals. The True Percula is found in the Northern Queensland and Melanesia (New Guinea, New Britain, New Ireland, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu). The False Percula on the other hand, has a much wider distribution. It is found in the Andaman Sea (Andaman and Nicobar Islands), Indo-Malayan Archipelago, Philippines, northwestern Australia; coast of Southeast Asia northwards to the Ryukyu Islands.
  • Another clue is the number of spines in the dorsal fin. The True Percula has 10 dorsal spines while the False Percula has 11 (rarely 10).
  • Coloring is a very tricky clue, because these two can be so similar. They both are orange fish with broad white bars. However the True Percula has black margins of around its white bars of variable widths, and they can sometimes be rather thick. The False Percula often has thin black margins, but sometimes may not have any margins at all.

These two clownfish are a win-win species for both the aquarist and in nature. Providing the best environment in the wild is of utmost importance, and these adorable fish provide a wonderful experience for divers. In captivity both species are successful breeders and the captive bred specimens are readily available. Not only have these captive bred fish proven to be very hardy in the aquarium, there are now a number of really cool color morphs available too.

Clarice Brough is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

Goldfish Identity Crisis! Which Fish is which?

September 9, 2014 by  
Filed under All Posts, Aquariums, Freshwater fish

Fancy Goldfish TypesGoldfish of all kinds!

You may think you know what a goldfish is but hold on to your hat… knowing which fish is which is no simple task!

Everybody knows what a goldfish is, right? After all, we’ve all read “The Cat in the Hat” by Dr. Seuss, and watched the wild ride of that poor goldfish in a bowl, and just about everybody has kept a goldfish at one time or other!

Fish keepers and even people who aren’t fish keepers know what goldfish are; at least they think they do. So what’s all the fuss? A goldfish is simply a goldfish right?

Goldfish are such a common fish, and they are seen in every pet store. It may have been true that a goldfish was simply a goldfish if humans had not been thrown into the mix. But when a man sees a lump of clay or anything else in his surroundings, human nature takes over. Man simply has to mold that clay into a beautiful creation, and so it has been with the development of goldfish.

Step into your local pet store and tell them you want to get a goldfish. They will happily take you over to their coldwater system and show you their fine selection. You will see fish that look just like the common goldfish, but you may also see all sorts of different fish. And that’s where the goldfish identity crisis begins!

Set aside that cute Dr. Seuss book and step into the world of fancy goldfish. You’ll quickly see that there is nothing simple about the goldfish. There are over 125 different varieties, each with it’s identifying features.

Here’s a look at the complexities of the goldfish:

Body: Goldfish come in all sorts of shapes (and sizes).

 

There are skinny goldfish…

Shubunkin GoldfishShubunkin Goldfish

But also goldfish that are so fat they may even look like golf balls…

Pearlscale GoldfishPearlscale Goldfish

And some goldfish will have highly arched backs…

Ranchu GoldfishRanchu Goldfish

Head: Although goldfish can have normal heads, they can also be very abnormal.

 

Some goldfish have lumpy heads…

Redcap Oranda GoldfishOranda Goldfish

And then there are those with lumpy heads AND lumpy cheeks…

Lionhead GoldfishLionhead Goldfish

Or how about a goldfish with bushy eyebrows?

Pom Pom GoldfishPom Pom Goldfish

Eyes: Many have normal eyes, but some goldfish will have very funny eyes.

 

Some goldfish have bubble eyes..

Bubble Eye GoldfishBubble Eye Goldfish

Or telescope eyes…

Telescope GoldfishTelescope Goldfish

And even eyes that gaze at the stars…

Celestial Eye GoldfishCelestial Eye Goldfish

Fins: Goldfish may have normal fins, but there’s also some very interesting fins.

 

Goldfish elegance shows its stuff with beautiful long flowing fins…

Fantail GoldfishFantail Goldfish

Or full flowery fins…

Veiltail GoldfishVeiltail Goldfish

But sometimes they are missing a fin, those known as dorsal less goldfish…

Lionhead GoldfishLionhead Goldfish

Color: You would think the color of goldfish would be, well gold.

 

Now this is a typical goldfish!…

Common GoldfishCommon Goldfish

But some goldfish are all black…

Black Moor GoldfishBlack Moor Goldfish

Or they can have a multitude of colors…

Ryukin GoldfishRyukin Goldfish

And some will even look like a panda…

Panda Moor GoldfishPanda Moor Goldfish

So yes, there are those simple goldfish that we all know and love, but with an expanded idea of what a goldfish can be… we can bring the goldfish identity crisis to an end!

Clarice Brough is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

National Wildlife Day 2014, a Lifesaving celebration

September 4, 2014 by  
Filed under All Posts, Animal News, Reptiles, Wild Animals

See lots of interesting animalsGiraffe family at Hoogle Zoo, Salt Lake City, UT

Celebrating wildlife! National Wildlife Day reminds us of our role in conservation and as animal caretakers!

Since the beginning of time the journey of wildlife has been enfolding. Today is set aside to honor where wildlife has been and where it’s going. But most importantly, it serves to remind us of our responsibility to the animals we share this planet with.

Animal life in its many forms fills us with awe and inspiration. We, as the human species of animal, often think that we are the epiphany of creation. Yet the beauty and sheer diversity of animal species and their many natural attributes like strength, speed, flight, and even living underwater, is incredibly humbling.

Our human role in the animal world is that of wildlife stewards and the overseers of nature. Due to our unique ability to mold and dominate the natural world, it falls to us to be the caretakers of all other life.

Our role as animal caretakers

National Wildlife Day brings awareness of the plight of many endangered animals across our nation as well as globally, and the ongoing need to preserve and rescue them from decline.

This day also serves as a salute to the many outstanding zoos, aquariums, animal sanctuaries and reserves that are helping to preserve so many animals as well as to educate people about conservation, especially our children, as they will be the future caretakers.

Steve Irwin feeding a crocodile, Australia Zoo, December 27, 2005Steve Irwin feeding a crocodile, Australia Zoo, December 27, 2005, Photo Wiki Commons, courtesy Richard Giles

National Wildlife Day was created in 2006 by Colleen Paige, an animal advocate, conservationist, and animal behaviorist. She created this day in memory of Steve Irwin, affectionately known as the “Crocodile Hunter.”

Steve Irwin was an Australian wildlife expert, conservationist, and television personality. He had an incredible love of all animal species and he devoted his life to educating us about many of these amazing creatures. He became best known for the internationally broadcast wildlife documentary series, The Crocodile Hunter, which he co-hosted with his wife Terri.

National Wildlife Week

The National Wildlife Week is another animal species celebration! But it is an even more extensive look at our role as animal stewards. It is the longest-running education program designed around teaching and connecting kids with the awesome wonders of wild animals. It will be held on March 16-22, 2015, which will be its 77 anniversary.

About the founder of National Wildlife Day

Colleen Paige’s love for animals started at a young age. Her first rescue was a cat when she was 5 years old. This and other personal experiences, good and bad, led her to dedicate her life to helping and saving both people and animals.

Colleen volunteered in animal shelters and cared for horses at summer camps. Later as an ambulance driver she helped to rescue people, both adults and children, as well as multiple pets and strays, rushing each in turn to emergency centers. She followed this up with animal behavior training, animal rescue, and working with wildlife.

It was the lack of recognition for the 300+ rescue dogs on Ground Zero after 9/11 that led Colleen to create her first national day, the National Dog Day. Her focus was a day set aside as a lifesaving celebration for dogs, and it met with great success.

Since then she had created another 15 additional livesaving celebration day for other animals. National Wildlife Day is one of these, just a few other are the National Horse Protection Day, National Farm Animals Day, Pet Day USA, National Pet Travel Safety Day, and National Cat Day.

Clarice Brough is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

Traveling with a horse? 6 Tips to Make the Trip Easier

September 3, 2014 by  
Filed under All Posts, Horses

Horse Care for a healthy equineHorse going into trailer, courtesy Jan Glas on Flickr

Across Town or Cross Country: Saving Your Horse from Transport Stress!

Motion sickness and travel stress affects many people, but did you know that horses can get stressed when traveling, too?

Most of the time, owners can lessen the stress and sickness for their horses by simply being more careful when loading the trailer and while driving.

It is safe and simple to transport horses, if you consider all the factors that could cause your animal undue stress. Take steps to reduce, or even remove them. Doing so will not only protect your precious cargo, it will give you the peace of mind to keep your focus on the road.

If you’re taking your horse horse across town or across the nation, the following recommendations can make the ride much easier for everyone.

Think Head Heavy

Horses bow their heads often. They’re not depressed – they do this to alleviate respiratory stress and for mucus-draining purposes. Traveling in a straightaway trailer with limited space stresses horses and their ability to breathe. They may even compete with the other horses for extra space in the carriage. If trailer room is limited, leave your horses untied, or give them enough leeway to move around a bit and bow their heads for better breathing and comfort.

Make Friendships and Friend Trips

When possible, ship horses with their friends, meaning other horses they’re familiar with. This lowers the risk of attracting disease from other animals. Also, like humans, horses feel comfortable around those they know. They feel less stress when coupled with recognizable horse mates. Consider investing in a 2-horse gooseneck trailer, which provides a lot of space, yet allows for plenty of comforting companionship.

Always Keep it Clean

In tight spaces, pathogens from manure have a far greater influence on a horse’s respiratory system, especially if the animal is already feeling stressed from the trip. Always clean your horse trailer thoroughly between treks. For long trips, stop intermittently to clean manure from the trailer, and wash away all traces of urine and dried feces.

Teach the Horse to Load

Loading is extremely stressful for horses, and a time when injury is most likely to occur. Teach your horse the loading procedure by walking them through it until they are comfortable with the process. Don’t overwork your horse by over-practicing, though. Just get them familiar with loading, and give them a refresher course once or twice a week.

If your horse is especially difficult or reluctant to learn, hire an experienced and patient trainer. If there has been a longer gap in trips, take your horse for a practice run by making a short road trip.

Maintain Air Quality

Unless you’re traveling in the colder northern territory, it’s not likely your horse will get too cold. However, horses become stressed and sick due to poor ventilation and rising temperatures inside the trailer. Leave the trailer windows or vents open. Check for drafts coming from the back of the trailer that could blow exhaust fumes into the small area. Maintain great air quality and make accommodations to keep the inner cabin from becoming too hot or cold for your animals.

Let Your Horses Rest

Travel taxes horses, both mentally and physically. If you’re planning on using your horse for an athletic or farm-related event after the journey, leave early to give the animal a few days, even as much as up to one week, to rest and get its strength back. For after-trip conditioning, give your horse about a week to recover and get back to normal health after a long drive.

Be Gentle

Timing and money may be important factors to consider, but the best way to care for your horses is to adopt a slow and steady driving routine, rather than an erratic and time-sensitive trip full of stress.

In order to understand hauling horses better, have someone drive the trailer while you sit in the back, mocking the ride of the horses. Some horse owners even secure a half-full glass of water to the top of the dashboard, noting that any water splashing outside the glass is the direct result of erratic and potentially unsafe driving.

Dan Kelly has been working with horses since he volunteered at a neighbor’s ranch as a teenager. With a heart for their grace and strength, he often writes about horse training and care on equestrian blogs and training sites.

Learn more about horses. See the World of Horses and Ponies with all types of horse breeds from light horses and ponies, to draft horses!

Darn Cute Animal, Do You Know What it is?

August 28, 2014 by  
Filed under All Posts, Animal News, Wild Animals

See all types of cute animalsPhoto Wiki Commons, courtesyEugenia and Julian

A very cute animal that you may think is a Zorse… but it’s not of course!

This adorable fellow looks kind of like a horse and kind of like a Zebra, but it is neither, nor is it a cross breed!

We all know lots of cute animals. Dogs, cats, and other common pets first come to mind because they are easily recognizable. Yet there are many other really adorable critters out there, and this one is truly unbelievable.

This handsome fellow is known as an Okapi, scientifically described as Okapia johnstoni, and is closely related to the giraffe. In fact, it and the giraffe are the only living members of the Giraffidae family. It is also known as the Forest Giraffe or Zebra Giraffe.

The Okapis have long legs and the robust body shape of the giraffe, but they are missing that long giraffe neck. They are good sized animals too, with adults reaching over 8′ (2.5 m) long from their head to the base of the tail. Adult males will also have short, skin covered horns known as occicones.

Just like the giraffe, one of the most distinguishing features of the Okapi is a very long, flexible tongue. Their tongue is over 13 1/3 inches (34 cm) long. It’s great for striping leaves and buds off of trees, but also comes in handy for wiping the eyelids off and cleaning out its big ears!

This animal species is actually more of a newcomer to the “known” animal world. It wasn’t recognized and described by the scientific community until 1901. Prior to that it was only heard of in a rather vague manner. An early Congo explorer, Henry Morton Stanley, had mentioned it as some kind of donkey and Europeans had also heard mention of it in earlier times. But it was elusive and they came to call it the “African unicorn.”

The Okapi is neither little, nor is it common, but it sure has a striking appearance!

At first look this fellow appears to have the equine traits of horses and zebras. The brilliant white stripes on its front and back legs make it look like it has some zebra in its design. But no, it is neither horse nor zebra, nor a cross of the two.

There is a Zorse of course, a man-made cross of a horse and zebra, but that is a totally different animal. And over a century ago there was also a curious subspecies of the Zebra that had striping only on its head. It was known as the Quagga Equus quagga quagga. This subspecies ranged in the southernmost plains of South Africa until the nineteenth century, but is now known to be extinct.

Unlike horses and zebras, and even giraffes, Okapis are not particularly sociable. They like to live alone in secluded areas. Each Okapi will range across several square miles, foraging along well trodden paths, and their ranges will often overlap. But that doesn’t make them social and males are protective of their territory. A bull will allow females to pass through his domain but these animals will only come together during breeding time.

The population of Okapis has dwindled as a result of habitat destruction and from poaching. A 2013 study estimates that there are about 10,000 living animals, down from 40,000 about a decade ago, and so they are now listed as endangered. The Democratic Republic of the Congo created the Okapi Wildlife Reserve in 1992, but unfortunately the Congo civil war has threatened both wildlife and the conservation workers in the reserve.

Clarice Brough is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

Happy Baby Animal, But What the Heck is it?

August 26, 2014 by  
Filed under All Posts, Animal News, Wild Animals

Wombat baby, see a Ringtail Possum marsupial tooWombat baby recovering nicely after rescue, Photo courtesy Park Victoria-Facebook

This adorable baby animal is a newborn Wombat rescued from its mother’s pouch after a fatal accident!

A mother Wombat was apparently grazing along a roadside in Australia and hit by an oncoming car. A passerby, familiar with the type of animal she was, searched her pouch and found a still living baby trying to nurse on its mother’s teat.

The little baby animal was shivering with cold, so the rescuer quickly made an emergency phone call to a wildlife helpline in Kinglake, Victoria. Kim Hunter, a 48 year old ranger and volunteer animal care giver, soon arrived at the scene to pick up the baby and take it to her home. Although the baby was close to death, Kim was able to nurse her back to health with around-the-clock care.

A sad story for the mom, but a great rescue for the baby. Kim named the baby “Leah,” who now at five weeks of age has doubled in size. She’s grown from a tiny 300 grams (10.4 oz) when found to a whopping 650 grams (1.43 lb).

In Kim’s own words, as reported by John Kelly of Mirror.com.UK, the online edition of a British tabloid The Daily Mirror, “Leah was cold to the touch and weighed only 300 grams when she arrived, she now weighs 650 grams. She’s very lucky, although she was uninjured she was cold to the touch and I’d say she was only a few hours away from dying.

“Wombats often graze at the side of the road and are sometimes hit by oncoming cars, her mother must have shielded her against the blow. Leah is too young to grow her own fur yet so I keep her on a heated mat, I have to bottle feed her every four hours, even throughout the night. But it’s definitely been worth it, we’ve built a strong bond over the weeks, she knows I’m her mum now. The online response to Leah is unbelievable, people have really fallen in love with Leah.”

Wombats are small pudgy looking marsupials that walk on four legs. Marsupials are mammals that carry their young in a pouch. Well known examples include kangaroos, wallabies, possums, opossums, and koalas. Wombats are great burrowers. They use those very long claws you can see on the adult, along with strong rodent-like front teeth to dig extensive burrow systems. A unique characteristic of these marsupials is that the females pouch is backward-facing. This way they don’t get soil in the pouch from their energetic digging.

Wombat AdultWombat Adult at Maria Island National Park, Photo Wiki Commons, courtesy JJ Harrison

A mother Wombat gives birth to a single baby and then carries that baby in her pouch for about six to seven months. The young Wombat weans at about 15 months and becomes sexually mature at 18 months. A full grown adult averages a length of about 3 1/4 feet (1 m) and weighs between 44-77 lb (20-35 kg).

Mother Wombats must forage heavily to feed both themselves and their young babies. They tend to forage along roads, but unfortunately this means often crossing the roads as well as feeding early in the morning and late into the night. Drivers must be very careful.

Kim’s experience with this baby has created quite a stir and its been reported in numerous online publications. Further, with the very curious picture of this baby looking much like a reclining little old man with a big smile on its face, got picked up to become a subject of a Photoshop challenge on Reddit. Thus some creative/crazy humans had a lot of fun and with it and it has become a meme.

Yet what really strikes me is the human capacity for compassion and caring, and that trumps all other sideline fascinations. Big kudos go out to the passerby who rescued the newborn and to Ranger Kim Hunter, for her quick action to save baby Leah’s life and her continuing dedication as Leah’s “mum.” Kim’s got her work cut out for her with these babies not weaning until around 15 months of age, and Leah has lots of growing to do! And lastly, a big thanks to Parks Victoria for posting the photo on their facebook page, helping to bring awareness to this darling animal.

Clarice Brough is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

Colorful Macaw enjoys the challenge of the race, and wins!

August 22, 2014 by  
Filed under All Posts, Animal News, Pet Birds

What could be a more remarkable sight than a pretty Macaw in freeflight and her human friend racing down the road!

Imagine a bird companion that can actually do something as awesome as this; a pet that can go out in the world with its owner to flex and have fun.

This incredible antic, a race between bird and scooter riding man, took place about a month ago near Kolimbithres beach in Paros, Greece. The length of the race was about 3 miles (5 km). The goal, into the village for coffee!

First the Blue and Gold Macaw takes the lead, and then it’s neck and neck as the scooter races forward. But in the end, as they traverse the twists and turns, the colorful bird cheerfully squawks “hello” to her friend as she pulls ahead to lead rest of the race. It was not a fast race, as a Blue and Gold Macaw can fly between 27-30 mph, but it was a fun race.

See more MacawsPolo, a gorgeous Red Fronted Macaw in freeflight!

Keeping free flying pet parrots is not a new phenomenon; in fact it has gone on for hundreds of years. Before it became common practice to keep pet birds in cages they usually had free reign on their owner’s property. Today however, it is a more unusual sight, and is simply not a good practice for every owner.

As with all pet keeping situations, there are pros and cons to freeflight that must be considered carefully.

The parrot owner must be very dedicated and the parrots must be trained, as they are not automatically expert flyers. It can take anywhere from a few months of indoor work, to several years, before they are trained and ready for an excursion in the open. There must also be a place for them to fly that is relatively safe from predators and other dangers.

Darren contributed the above photo to Animal-World showing his lovely Red Fronted Macaw, Polo, in freeflight. He says he will free fly Polo indoors and outdoors, but strongly cautions, “This is done only with much training. Do not try this unless you know what you are doing.”

There are a small number of parrot owners that train their birds to fly freely. Most will chaperone their bird’s outdoor excursions, though a few let their birds fly without supervision. Then there are also those whose parrots are allowed a larger “free space.” This is provided by using aviary netting or walking them with a bird harness.

Owners who practice freeflight believe these birds enjoy a happier, healthier life than clipped birds and if flying is handled properly, danger can be avoided. It takes a very close relationship with a bird to train them for freeflight.

Darren’s close relationship with Polo is obvious from his remarks, “Polo is gorgeous, very loveable, and LOVES to lie on his back in my lap and play. He can be a little nippy, but not hard. He is not loud at all and LOVES attention. They are absolutely fantastic birds and a GREAT joy to have. He is AMAZING… ;)”

Ultimately it’s that very close relationship between keepers and their parrots that keeps the birds around!

Clarice Brough is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

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