Fox Attacks


In Vermont, a rabid fox attacked a boy and his ax-wielding parents. The Bennington Banner tells more:

Eight-year-old Rimmele Wood was playing in his family’s yard when the fox appeared and bit him on the leg on July 11, according to his father, Ned Wood. The fox "latched onto" the boy’s leg, he said, and was not letting go.

Ned Wood said he was able to kill the fox with an ax and free his son. "My wife brought me the ax and I dispatched it rather quickly," he said.

Dr. Robert Johnson, the state’s public health veterinarian, said the attack was the sixth rabid gray fox bite of a person this year in Vermont. The state typically sees just a "handful" each year, he said, but the high rate this year is not alarming, he said.

In other fox news, people have asked me about the recent attack on twin babies in the UK. Most fox attacks are, like the one in Vermont, the result of rabies. But the UK incident was clearly a predatory attack. Babies are small enough to fall within the acceptable size range for fox prey. In my files I have other cases of foxes sneaking into homes on food raids, but pet cats are the usual victims.



Giant Jellyfish Attacks New Hampshire


MSNBC reports that more than 50 swimmers were stung by a lion's mane jellyfish, or perhaps several, at a New Hampshire Beach. With tentacles extending for dozens of yards, these creatures are among the largest in the world--but not the heaviest. This one weighed about 40 pounds, though doubtless a lot of it broke off in the water when handled. No one was seriously hurt in this "attack." The sting of the lion's mane causes hours of pain.

(Thanks to Faye for the news tip.)

Bedbugs Invade Lingerie Store


The Wall Street Journal reports the latest on New York City's continuing bedbug crisis:

Bedbugs continued their conquest of commercial spaces in New York City this week, shutting down a Victoria's Secret on the Upper East Side and the downtown headquarters of an advertising agency.

For a few decades, dioxin and other potent insecticides made bedbugs rare in the US. The toxins turned out to be far more serious health risks than the bugs, so the US government put limits on their use. Now, a few decades further on, the bedbug is returning to its traditional place in human habitations.

The good news is that, as blood-sucking pests go, bedbugs aren't especially good at spreading disease. In fact, they've never been clinically proved to spread anything except disgust, though their bites do cause a lot of itching and sometimes a rash. That makes them far less dangerous than mosquitoes, lice, and ticks.

Design




I found a dimpled spider, fat and white,
On a white heal-all, holding up a moth
Like a white piece of rigid satin cloth--
Assorted characters of death and blight
Mixed ready to begin the morning right,
Like the ingredients of a witches' broth--
A snow-drop spider, a flower like a froth,
And dead wings carried like a paper kite.

What had that flower to do with being white,
The wayside blue and innocent heal-all?
What brought the kindred spider to that height,
Then steered the white moth thither in the night?
What but design of darkness to appall?--
If design govern in a thing so small.

--Robert Frost


Photography by D'Arcy Allison-Teasley

The Cost of Snakebite


How dangerous an animal is depends on a lot of factors, including human behavior. This article discusses a human factor that may soon make snakes far more dangerous: the FDA. When regulations stop the supply of antivenin, people will suffer.

Polar Bears



More images from Minnesota photographer Wayne Allison. Courtesy of D'Arcy Allison-Teasley at www.taltoshorsetribe.blogspot.com/.


An Encounter with a Gorilla


Europeans didn't really know the gorilla as a distinct species until the 19th century. (They often confused it with the chimpanzee and debated whether it was a type of orangutan.) Accounts of it from that time are mostly folklore, emphasizing its habit of murdering people. It wasn't until the 1950s that field observations finally laid that myth to rest.

But as early as 1897, an explorer named Mary Kingsley told of a perfectly harmless encounter with gorillas. In the jungle one day, her guide motioned her to silence. Together, they crept up on a clearing, and that's when she . . .


Kingsley's ideas about people show the bias of her time, but her description of gorilla behavior is the first accurate one I know of. She concludes with a personal observation:


Butterflies and Moths of Wisconsin




It's summer in Wisconsin, which means the butterflies and moths are looking good. D'Arcy tells me that she spotted one at the bank the other day and just had to capture it, no matter how difficult the shot. An employee came out to ask her whether she needed an ambulance.
D'Arcy knew the names of all the ones in the slide show:
1. Sphinx moth
2. Painted lady
3. Eastern tiger swallowtail--male
4. Eastern tiger swallowtail--female
5. Mourning cloak

--but the one below is still a mystery. Anybody recognize it?

Lepidoptera of Wisconsin, photographed by D'Arcy Allison-Teasley. Courtesy of www.taltoshorsetribe.blogspot.com/.
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