strange behaviors

Cool doings from the natural and human worlds

  • Richard Conniff writes about behavior, in humans and other animals, on two, four, six, and eight legs, plus the occasional slither.

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Archive for the ‘Kill or Be Killed’ Category

Kingfisher Triumphant

Posted by Richard Conniff on September 27, 2014

kingfisher by Haibo Chi

(Photo: Haibo Chi)

This photo is from the Epson International Pano Awards, a photo contest, and a selection of winners is appearing in the Mail Online.  I think a number of the winners could have competed in the Best Photoshopping category, or maybe The Best Manipulation of a Photograph Beyond Any Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Food & Drink, Kill or Be Killed | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Leopard Attacks Honey Badger, Loses

Posted by Richard Conniff on September 26, 2014

Yesterday the leopard seemed to have the world by the ass.  But today a leopard meets a honey badger, a quarter of its size and ten times as mean. World now has leopard by ass.  Circle of Life and all that.

This sequence also comes from Botswana, by way of Dutch photograher Vincent Grafhorst.  The text is from The Mail Online (Caveat:  I am doubtful about the attribution of that quote to Mark Twain):

An unlucky leopard got more than it bargained for after trying to catch and eat a honey badger.

These pictures show the leopard lamenting its overconfidence when the smaller beast lived up to Mark Twain’s old adage: ‘It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.’

After spotting the badger from a distance, the leopard managed to rush down inside its burrow and drag it outside for what it thought was going to be an easy meal.

But despite catching its prey by the neck, the tough mammal managed to wriggle free thanks to its loose skin.

David and Goliath: An unlucky leopard

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Fear & Courage, Kill or Be Killed | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Don’t Look Now, It’s A Leopard Dive-Bomb

Posted by Richard Conniff on September 25, 2014

I was in the Okavango Delta recently and saw a leopard gracefully climb down a tree, at leisure. 

But this photo and video sequence from the same vicinity is incredible.  It’s by Yasmin Tajik of Shalimar Studios (which is–go figure–a Las Vegas wedding photo outfit; I bet they catch every punch when a cat fight breaks out on the dance floor).

First the video, then the stills, with Tajik’s narration.

On a safari trip at Chief’s Camp in Botswana we were out one morning with our ranger Tutalife, exploring Moremi National Park, when Tutalife stopped the vehicle and pointed out a female leopard in the tree tops.

The leopard was intently Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Kill or Be Killed | Tagged: , , | 14 Comments »

Cormorants Like Fish Ladders, Too.

Posted by Richard Conniff on May 8, 2014

Clever cormorant says, "Howdy" to alewife.

Clever cormorant says, “Howdy” to alewife.

 

A few weeks ago I wrote about the new fish ladder bringing alewives back to Rogers Lake in Old Lyme.  These devices are built mainly to help fish recover old breeding grounds blocked off long ago by dams.  But the alewives aren’t the only ones to benefit.  In its weekly report on fish-counter results at fish ladders around the state, the Connecticut DEEP recently included this photograph from the fishway at Bunnell Pond in Bridgeport.  Something about the shadow-puppetry character of the photo makes it especially creepy.  Another photo showed Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Kill or Be Killed | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Young and the Wild on the Streets of LA

Posted by Richard Conniff on February 18, 2014

Gopher snake schools juvenile red-tailed hawk on the streets of the city

Gopher snake schools juvenile red-tailed hawk on the streets of the city

I’ve written a few posts lately about wildlife in the city.  Then, last night on Facebook, I  happened to run across this strange photo, taken on December 28 in the middle of Los Angeles, not far from Dodger Stadium.

The photographer was “David A.”  and this account seems to come from a friend:  “It’s hard to say what a hawk was doing tangled up with a snake in the middle of Scott Avenue in Echo Park on Friday afternoon. But David A., who snapped the photo above, and a few other people watched and waited as the serpent and bird of prey were locked in a strange embrace on the pavement near Elysian Park: ‘I thought I heard one person say that they thought the hawk had been run over as it just came down with the snake in the street. It must have just grabbed it. I was there maybe five minutes. In that time, the hawk was in the position pictured and the snake was slowly freeing itself (not so much wrestling). The hawk wasn’t moving much. We stood by to make sure no cars would run them over. Once free, the hawk flew off and seemed to not be harmed. The drama ended with the snake slowly slithering back in the direction of the park,’ David said.”

One Facebook commenter suggested that, in the manner of Hollywood stars drawing unwanted attention, the hawk is saying, “No pictures, please.”

Here’s a more informed explanation by Greg Pauly of the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum.

The posting also brought out this even more spectacular photo Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Kill or Be Killed | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Treetop Alligators

Posted by Richard Conniff on February 11, 2014

This is a deeply disturbing idea.  Imagine paddling down a stream and looking up to see an alligator or crocodile looking down.  Check out the press release:

treetop alligatorWhen most people envision crocodiles and alligators, they think of them waddling on the ground or wading in water — not climbing trees. However, a University of Tennessee, Knoxville, study has found that the reptiles can climb trees as far as the crowns.

Vladimir Dinets, a research assistant professor in the Department of Psychology, is the first to thoroughly study the tree-climbing and -basking behavior. The research is published in the journal Herpetology.

Dinets and his colleagues observed crocodilian species on three continents — Australia, Africa and North America — and examined previous studies and anecdotal observations. They found that four species climbed trees — usually above water — but how far they ventured upward and outward varied by their sizes. The smaller crocodilians were able to climb higher and further than the larger ones. Some species were observed climbing as far as four meters high in a tree and five meters down a branch.

“Climbing a steep hill or steep branch is mechanically similar, assuming the branch is wide enough to walk on,” the authors wrote. “Still, the ability to climb vertically is a measure of crocodiles’ spectacular agility on land.”

The crocodilians seen climbing trees, whether at night or during the day, were skittish of being approached, jumping or falling into the water when an approaching observer was as far as 10 meters away. This response led the researchers to believe that the tree climbing and basking are driven by two conditions Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Kill or Be Killed | Tagged: , , | 7 Comments »

Best Commuter Show on Earth (Not Nice for Dolphins)

Posted by Richard Conniff on February 4, 2014

This video just went up, showing what commuters saw from a ferry yesterday in British Columbia.  Here’s the story from the Vancouver Sun:

An increase in transient killer whales and white-sided dolphins in the Strait of Georgia led to a rare sighting of an attack between the two mammals on Monday near Nanaimo.Travellers on board a BC Ferry were stunned as they Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Kill or Be Killed | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Man Versus Wild. Wild Wins.

Posted by Richard Conniff on February 4, 2014

The lead on Todd Masson’s story in today’s New Orleans Times-Pacayune caught my attention:

Chris Morris’ handle on a popular Louisiana hunting-and-fishing forum is “Chris Morris vs. Wild.”

On Sunday, Wild won.

Morris is apparently a hunter with a not particularly enlightened world view.  He was out squirrel hunting on Sunday, and ran into a big surprise:

Morris was moving in the general direction of the squirrel when his attention was diverted immediately and permanently from the small rodent. A 140-pound feral boar had heard Morris’ approach and jumped up from its bed only 8 feet away.

“I turned and looked, and by the time I saw it, it was 6 feet away and closing,” Morris said.

Such situations are not uncommon Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Kill or Be Killed | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Tonight, You Sleep With The Starving Pigs

Posted by Richard Conniff on January 18, 2014

Bild1

Nothing like a colorful murder with Saturday morning breakfast (ah, the bacon and eggs).  Here’s the report from Claudio Lavanga at NBC News:

An Italian mobster fed a rival gangster to starving pigs — and then marveled at how the victim screamed and how the swine gorged themselves, police say.

The gruesome tale — right out the movie “Hannibal” — came to light when police released a wiretapped phone call by Simone Pepe, a member of the ‘Ndrangheta, the most powerful and violent of Italy’s four Mafias.

The caller recounts how he used an iron bar to Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Kill or Be Killed, The Primate File | 1 Comment »

Holy Crap! These Are Some Scary Slave Raiders

Posted by Richard Conniff on January 11, 2014

ZooKeys-368-065-g001

These modern slave-raiders work on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, up around Traverse City, Michigan, and the secret of their success is traveling light and quick.  They also employ chemical camouflage and have a deft way of murdering anyone that gets in their way.

European researchers discovered this astonishing behavior.  They’ve named the species Temnothorax pilagens, from pilere (Latin): to pluck, plunder or pillage. The paper is just out in the open access journal ZooKeysHere’s the press release

In contrast to the famous slave-hunting Amazon Ants whose campaigns may include up to 3000 warriors, the new slave-maker is minimalistic in expense, but most effective in result. The length of a “Pillage Ant” is only two and a half millimeters and the range of action of these slave-hunters restricts to a few square meters of forest floor. Targets of their raiding parties are societies of two related ant species living within hollow nuts or acorns. These homes are castles in the true sense of the word — characterized by thick walls and a single entrance hole of only 1 millimeter in diameter, they cannot be entered by any larger enemy ant.

An average raiding party of the Pillage Ant contains four slave-hunters only, including the scout who had discovered the target. Due to their small size the raiders easily penetrate the slave species home. A complete success of raiding is achieved by a combination of two methods: chemical camouflage and artistic rapier fencing.

The observed behavior is surprising as invasion of alien ants in an ant nest often results in fierce, Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Biodiversity, Fear & Courage, Kill or Be Killed | 5 Comments »

 
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