Rust: The Conclusion



This story is now available in a new eBook:

Nature Gothic
The Best Wildlife Stories of Gordon Grice




Cougar Injures Toddler

Toddler mauled by cougar in Vancouver Island park; animal being tracked - Winnipeg Free Press:

"UCLUELET, B.C. - A cougar attack that injured an 18-month-old boy in a British Columbia park was stopped after the child's grandfather and a family friend scared off the animal, which also lunged towards the boy's four-year-old sister, parks officials said Tuesday.

The boy was listed in serious condition in Vancouver's Children's Hospital after he was attacked Monday evening in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. The attack happened a popular day-use spot at Kennedy Lake, east of Ucluelet."

Rust, Part 1 of 2




This story is now available in 

Nature Gothic: 
The Best Wildlife Stories of Gordon Grice




Leopard Hurts Hunters

In South Africa, a two hunting guides were injured by a wounded leopard. I believe this sort of guide is what used to be called a "white hunter"--a professional who guides amateurs to get their trophy kills as safely as possible. According to Peter Capstick, following up a wounded leopard is just about the most dangerous gig on the planet.

Leopard attacks on game farm: News24: South Africa: News:

"A foreign trophy hunter had shot and injured a leopard late on Saturday afternoon, and a tracking party set out to find the animal, said ER24 spokesperson Andre Visser.

Instead, the injured leopard stalked and attacked the group, at 09:00 on Sunday.

The leopard darted for the trophy hunter, but the male guide, believed to be in his mid thirties, stepped in front of his client.

The leopard mauled the man's left shoulder, arm, and abdomen, while his wife received multiple lacerations to her arm."


Confirmed: Grizzly Killed Hiker in Yellowstone


Follow-up to the news item linked here this morning. Yellowstone officials already suspected, from evidence at the scene, that the Michigan man whose remains were found on a Yellowstone trail died from a grizzly attack. The autopsy results have now confirmed that suspicion.


Predictably, some papers are treating this latest killing as part of a nature-strikes-back trend, even though grizzlies remain a highly improbable way to die. (But, as documented here over the summer, black bears are another matter. I'll be writing about that in more detail in an upcoming issue of Men's Journal.) 

Yellowstone: Hiker killed by bear; Identity released | KBZK.com | Z7 | Bozeman, Montana:

"Rangers discovered signs of grizzly bear activity at the scene Friday afternoon, including bear tracks and scat. An autopsy was conducted Sunday afternoon and determined that Wallace died as a result of a bear attack, the park said. Park rangers, wildlife biologists, and park managers are continuing to investigate."



Photo by Wayne T. Allison

A Mystery Resolved in Rust



August, 2011: In a summer when orange funk rained from Alaska skies and poisonous seaweed littered the beaches of Brittany with dead boars, when a Texas lake turned blood red and a holy man declared we were living in the end times, the wounded world seemed to be telling us something we'd rather not hear. Be that as it may, scientists now have some answers in the mystery of the Alaskan funk. From MSNBC:

"Further tests with more advanced equipment showed the substance is consistent with spores from fungi that create 'rust,' a plant disease that accounts for the color, said officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The gunk appeared Aug. 3 at the edge of Kivalina, an Inupiat Eskimo community at the tip of a barrier reef on Alaska's northwest coast."


There are many kinds of rust, one of which is an old friend of mine. I wrote about that species in Nature Gothic: Best Wildlife Stories of Gordon Grice

Yellowstone Fatality Under Investigation

Rangers probe whether bear killed Yellowstone hiker - WDAF:

"An autopsy would likely reveal whether the man was the victim of an animal attack, another kind of accident or died of natural causes. Rangers have not ruled out that the man's remains may have been scavenged by bears after he perished by some other means."

[Caution: Lots of pop-ups on the site linked here.]

Matador Gored Through the Throat






This is old news, but I only recently came across the photos. The matador survived reconstructive surgery and infection to return to the ring. For his above-average efforts, the bull was killed. 

Matador pierced in throat and tongue by bull 'recovering well' - Telegraph:

"The horn of the animal tore into the bullfighter's throat and emerged through his mouth in a dramatic goring that had the crowd screaming in horror.

The pink-stockinged, sequined matador was lifted into the air and then dropped to the sand. The bull backed away after it was distracted by fellow matadors who dashed to the rescue.

Mr Aparicio struggled to his feet, staggered a few yards spluttering blood, and was then carried from the ring."

When Moons Collide



Earth Had Two Moons That Crashed to Form One, Study Suggests - Yahoo! News:

"'It is entirely plausible for a Trojan moon to have formed in the giant impact, and for it to go unstable after 10 million to 100 million years and leave its imprint on the moon,' study coauthor Erik Asphaug, a planetary scientist at the University of California, Santa Cruz, told SPACE.com. Imagine 'a ball of Gruyere colliding into a ball of cheddar.'

The remains of this Trojan moon would make up the highlands now seen on our moon's far side. At the same time, the impact would have squished an underground ocean of magma toward the near side, explaining why phosphorus, rare-earth metals and radioactive potassium, uranium and thorium are concentrated in the crust there."

Be that as it may, I offer these images of the face we've all seen. Photography by Dee Puett; music by Incorporal Air. 

Grackles







Photography by Dee Puett


Coyote Attack in Massachusetts

Coyote attacks two-year-old girl in Weymouth, MA:

"Ramponi says after the attack, she called 911, looked out her back window and the coyote was still in her backyard, listening to the girl scream, she thinks.

As of now, Weymouth Police say the coyote still has not been found."

Brown Bear Kills Two in Siberia

Deadly animal attacks - bear attack:

"A trip to the river for the father-daughter pair ended in tragedy, as both were mauled and devoured by a bear. This happened in eastern Siberia, near Petropavlovsk Kamchatsky. The bear killed Igor Tsyganenkov, by overpowering him, breaking his neck and smashing his skull in the process. It then caught up with Olga Moskalyova, 19, who ran for about 65 m before being attacked."

Grimly amusing translation issues abound in this report. The predator is a brown bear, the same species as the grizzlies more familiar to US readers. 

Shark Kills South African Surfer

‘Sea was red in seconds’ - Western Cape | IOL News | IOL.co.za:

"“He was lying on the board paddling back to the surf after a ride when I heard him scream as the shark hit him the first time and pulled him off the board. Tim was trying to climb back on when the shark came around and hit him again. I only saw the fin. Tim disappeared under the water for a moment and, when he came up a few seconds later, the sea around him turned red,” Clarke said.

Eighteen-year-old Plettenberg local Cameron Payne was with Van Heerden and four other surfers when the shark attacked.

“I was about 20 metres away from Tim. I was just lining up a wave when I heard one of the two Australian guys surfing with us shout ‘shark!’.

“I looked across and saw the shark’s tail thrashing as it churned up the water around him. There was a lot of blood,” Payne said."

Praise for Deadly Kingdom in Wall Street Journal

In an article in the Wall Street Journal, Brad Leithauser lists Deadly Kingdom among the Five Best Nature Books.

Five Best: Nature Books - WSJ.com:

"The book is good when describing creatures that are patently murderous—sharks, crocodiles, bears—but even better when recounting the hazards of those regarded as cuddly and benign."

Seal, parrot, cat & chimp: Animals communicate with people




Seal, parrot, cat & chimp: Animals communicate with people. | Global Animal:

Here's an interesting article. I don't buy the seal and the cat mentioned here as examples of authentic interspecies  communication, but the parrot and the chimp are well attested. Unlike some of the chimpanzee stories reported here, this one does not end with anybody losing his or her face.

"At the preserve, Lucy was put in a cage at night to protect her from predators. She had only ever slept in a bed inside a nice, quiet, suburban home, so the jungle was a completely new and frightening environment for her. She was also scared of the other chimps, strange creatures she had only encountered a few times before in her life, preferring to stay close to her parents and Janis whenever she could. She wasn’t eating because her food had always been delivered to her on a plate; she didn’t even understand the concept of foraging. When her parents suddenly became distant and weren’t providing her with the life she had always known, Lucy became confused and sad. She would often use the sign for “hurt.” And she lost much of her hair due to the stress of her new situation. Realizing that Lucy would never move on if they stayed, her parents left her behind after three weeks."

Crocodile vs. Tiger



Interesting report on relations between two top predators. In Africa, the situation is similar: lions often prey on Nile crocodiles, but the reverse seems to be rare. Thanks to Croconut for the news tip.

Fifteen-foot Bengali crocodile claims king of jungle title from tiger - Telegraph:

"A post-mortem examination of the carcass of an eight-year-old male tiger discovered by rangers on the banks of a jungle river on Tuesday has confirmed that he was killed and eaten by a crocodile. The tiger had been attacked as it swam across the river and was killed in what they believed had been a fierce struggle.
Bivash Pandav of the Wildlife Institute of India's Endangered Species Department said attacks by tigers on crocodiles were common – a crocodile was killed recently in Ranthambore tiger reserve. 'However, this is the first time we have heard of an attack by crocodiles on a tiger,' he said."

Death Stories: More Mummies of No Man's Land



In 1950, a certain traveler found himself near the extremity of Oklahoma. As he drove west, the rolling short-grass prairie gave way to a sea of sunflower, which in turn yielded to a terrain of buffalo grass dotted with scrub pine and red cedar.  From this landscape rose grotesquely beautiful rock formations.  Around dusk the road began to skirt the rocks in broad sweeping curves.  A gigantic human face loomed in the gathering dark.  It was only sandstone, but its appearance unnerved the traveler.  Further on, his headlights gave apparent motion to four pillars of eroded stone.  They seemed like huge women walking in a solemn procession.

Rounding a curve, the traveler suddenly found himself in a little town posted as Kenton.  It was an orphan town, remote from everything, literally within a stone’s throw of New Mexico and Colorado.  When he stopped to ask about lodging, the traveler found he’d gained an hour.  The town claimed allegiance to a different time zone than the rest of the state.

The only hotel was a turn-of-the-century building that looked like something from a western movie.  A covered boardwalk ran in front of it, leading no further than the corners of the hotel itself.  Inside, things seemed more modern--sleek brass lamps, chairs covered in fake vinyl.  The burly desk clerk, a man named Tharp, was happy to chat with a road-weary traveler.  The main attraction of the area, Tharp said, was fossils.  He told about the time his own nephew, a fossil enthusiast, had been driving a road grader for the county.  The blade of his machine snagged on a bone six feet long, which turned out to be the femur of a brontosaurus.  That was the first of many dinosaur finds in Cimarron County.

But dinosaurs weren’t even in the running when it came to interesting fossils, Tharp continued.  A few miles south of Kenton was an ancient lake bed.  The flint weapons unearthed near it showed human habitation stretching back ten thousand years.  A prehistoric people hunted there, taking the bison that inhabited the region at the time, broad-shouldered hulks much larger than their modern descendants.  On the shore of the ancient lake, the people butchered their kills.  The place was still littered with scrapers and broken arrowheads.

The traveler remarked on the eerie rock formations.  The clerk said the odd geography was riddled with caves.  On the walls and ceilings of the caves, and even on the bare faces of the rocks, were the graffiti of several ages.  Traders who passed through on the Santa Fe Trail in the late 1800s wrote some of them.  The rest were pictographs, painted in red or pecked into the stone.  They showed humans, snakes, birds, deer, and quadrupedal animals that might have been dogs, all in crude strokes.  Some of the drawings formed patterned circles of uncertain meaning--scientists claimed they were sun, moon, and stars.  The pictographs had been on the stone walls hundreds or even thousands of years.

“Since you’re interested in this stuff, I’ll put you in the fossil room,” Tharp said, presenting the key.

Soon the traveler retired to “the fossil room.”  It seemed an ordinary hotel room except for a few dozen arrowheads and scrapers arranged on the writing table and some fragments of basketry tacked to the walls.  After he had settled in, he noticed an odd ornament hanging on the door.  It appeared to be a chunk of stone about the size of a watermelon, and it had been carved into the shape of a human fetus.  The traveler deduced that this homunculus must be some graven idol made by ancient Indians.  He went to bed.

In the morning, as he shaved at the sink, the mirror happened to frame the image of the homunculus behind him.  Certain details he hadn’t noticed before began to impress themselves on him.  For example, the thing’s hair was not carved from stone.  It seemed to be real hair.

He examined the thing closely.  It felt like rough stone.  The dark-red hair was real, though it might have come from a horse’s tail.  Then he looked into the face, and all doubt died.

The eyes squinted tightly.  The lips pulled back from the teeth in the snarl familiar to anyone who has ever stumbled on a dead and desiccated animal.  No one would, or could, carve such a face.

At the front desk he confronted Tharp with this information.  Tharp laughed.

“I guess I should have mentioned that to you,” he said.  “Most people think that’s kind of a neat deal, but some don’t care for it.”

“What is it?” the traveler said.

“It’s a mummy of a little boy.  About 2000 years old, they say.”  He told how the thing had been discovered in a nearby cave.  The traveler allowed that it was, in fact, pretty interesting. 

“Want to see his mother?” Tharp said.


*

In the attic, the traveler held a flashlight on Tharp’s thick arms and hands, which were digging into a steamer trunk.  A heavy quilt lay in the trunk, and beneath it another and another.  The clerk lifted them out one at a time, sliding his arms beneath them gently as if they were sick children.  The quilts seemed to occupy the entire depth of the trunk, but when the last was lifted out, the traveler shifted his flashlight, and the beam picked out a mass of gray and sepia.  The traveler brought the light to the grimacing face, then down to the torso.  Unlike the first mummy, this one was imperfect.  Great gouges marred the rib cage and one thigh.

“The rats got to her,” the clerk explained.  “Not here.  We run a clean establishment.  I mean sometime between when she died and when we found her.”

Black Bear Attacks Near Aspen

Bear attacks sleeping climber near Maroon Bells in Aspen Colorado | Real Aspen | Roaring Fork Valley News, Guides, and Information:

“The bear lingered around the campsite after the attack, despite many efforts to scare it away,” Borst said.

The two other climbers in the group controlled the bleeding with first aid supplies they had with them. They also activated an emergency transmission from a GPS transmitter before fleeing their campsite at Minnehaha Gulch.

The man was able to hike out under his own power, authorities said, and was taken to Aspen Valley Hospital where he is awaiting surgery.

It was the second such attack in fewer than 24 hours.

Elephant vs. Volkswagen


Natan Slifkin pointed me to this account of a small car and a large elephant. Apparently this has been circulating as an email forward with, as usual, some inaccuracies.

Car flipped by randy elephant bull: News24: South Africa: News:

"'I never thought I would be killed by an elephant,” John Somers of Rustenburg said on Monday.

What is more, it was his 66th birthday - and he was in a Volkswagen Passat he had owned for only two weeks."








North Carolina Shark Attack

Jlencion/Creative Commons

Shark bites tourist at Kure Beach | StarNewsOnline.com:

"As we were running ashore, the shark kept chasing us … It didn't stop until we were about 5 feet from the shoreline," Matt said in a phone interview Friday. "My brother said he saw the fear in our eyes."

Kure Beach officials confirmed Friday that a shark between 4- and 6-feet long bit Trang, 28, about 5 p.m. Wednesday in the vicinity of the H Avenue beach access. The attack occurred about 15 feet from shore in about a foot of water.

What’s so scary about pit bulls?

Creative Commons/Tatiana Sapateiro


Fact checker: What’s so scary about pit bulls? | Reno Gazette-Journal | rgj.com:

Are pit bulls more aggressive than other dog breeds? Here's a fresh take on this long-running controversy.

"You’re more likely to be killed by your own mother than a pit bull."

Coyote Attacks in Colorado



"A second coyote attack on a child within the past month. . . . "


Mexican West Coast Rattlesnake



Thanks to J. A. O' Ruiz Gutierrez, who sent me these pictures of the Mexican West Coast rattlesnake, also known as the green rattlesnake because of the olive color adults develop. At more than six and half feet, the largest specimens rival the size of the Western diamondbacks I wrote about in Red Hourglass.







Details on One of the Russian Shark Attacks, Plus Another Shark Attack in Puerto Rico

'Sea animal' bites off both swimmer's arms | Herald Sun:

"A woman vacationing in Puerto Rico was mauled by a shark in the bioluminescent bay of Vieques, requiring emergency surgery for wounds to the leg, officials said."

Hammerheads Suspected in Russian Shark Attacks


Two Shark Attacks in Russia in One Day - International Business Times:

"Another man near Vityaz village had both his arms bit off by a rogue shark. The 25-year-old was about 30 miles from the location of the first incident, and according to reports, he fought off the animal to protect his wife."

Spider Webs in the Pines




D'Arcy notice these oddly spherical webs in pine trees. Closer examination revealed a nondescript brown spider entering one of the spheres. Since these are spherical, rather than flat, they don't seem to match the webs of the agelinid spiders we often see here in western Wisconsin. I wanted to examine them myself, but when I arrived a couple of days later, the spheres were gone. I wonder if masses of hatchlings made them? 


Photography by D'Arcy Allison-Teasley

Seychelles Shark Kills Honeymoon Tourist

Seychelles Shark Kills Honeymoon Tourist : Discovery News:

"THE GIST

  • The shark ripped off the tourist's arm and tore into his leg.
  • The attack occurred in the same spot where a French diver was killed earlier in the month.
  • The Seychelles Maritime Safety Authority issued a swimming ban at the Anse Lazio and Anse Georgette beaches."
No word yet on what species of shark is involved. Thanks to Croconut for the news tip. 

Wild boars invade farms, attack pets, chase people



Wild boars invade farms, attack pets | Reuters:

"'We've shot them right square in the head and the bullet will glance off and they'll get up and go. Their skulls are so thick in the front, if you don't happen to hit it at a perfect 90 degrees, with the way their heads have that kind of curved shape, the bullet will glance right off,' he added."

Worldwide, feral pigs have been among the most destructive invasive species. Fortunately, they're delicious.

Thanks to Steve V. for the news tip.


Related Post: Wild Boars of Germany

First U.S. Fatality from Vampire Bat Rabies



Vampire bat attack! Migrant worker becomes first U.S. fatality - U.s. - Catholic Online:

"A 19-year-old Mexican migrant worker who was bitten by a vampire bat in Michoacán, Mexico later fell ill and died while he was working at picking cane sugar at a Louisiana plantation has become the first reported U.S. fatality due to a vampire bat attack. Before his death from a virulent form of rabies, the young man complained of fatigue, shoulder pain, numbness in his left hand and a drooping left eye."

The article, quoting a CDC publication, claims the range of the vampire bats may be creeping northward because of global warming.

Are dogs willing to eat the remains of their masters?



Are dogs willing to eat the remains of their masters? - By Brian Palmer - Slate Magazine:

"Dogs are perfectly willing to eat human corpses, and there's no evidence that they treat their masters differently than any other dead body. Many cultures consider dogs unclean precisely because of their tendency to scavenge our remains. In The Iliad, Homer makes nine references to dogs eating dead bodies. Dogs consumed the body of Jezebel, a princess in the Old Testament, after her defenestration. There is evidence that ancient Romans considered the low-hanging cross a crueler form of crucifixion than the high version, because it enabled dogs to rip the body apart."

The Iliad, in fact, begins something like this:


Goddess, sing of strong Achilles,
whose vengeance broke uncounted evils
on the Greeks. It sent the souls of heroes
to Hell before their time
and, such was the will of Zeus,
their bodies were left to the feasting dogs
and birds of prey. 



Lynching a Pangolin


A Pakistani newspaper carried this odd item about a pangolin killed by superstitious villagers. As noted in the story, this is neither necessary nor constructive.


The pangolin (eight species in the primitive order Philodota, not closely related to anything else) is notable for having the longest tongue, proportionally, of any mammal. Its tongue is anchored in its pelvis and ribs, and when extended is longer than the rest of its body.  It has no teeth, but grinds its food with a gizzard-like structure in its stomach. With the pangolin, evolution revisited the idea of scaly armor. This insect-eater is hairy, like most mammals, but the hair on its back mats together to form hard scales. Like the nine-banded armadillo, the pangolin can roll into a ball, presenting only its armored back to predators. It also knows more aggressive ways of countering an attack. It has stout claws, can lash its armored tail like a whip, and, like the skunk, sprays a repulsive fluid from an anal gland. It can also pinch an attacker between its scales. People have received minor injuries from these sundry defensive measures.


Another demonstration of the power of the pangolin's defenses comes from this recent news item, in which one pangolin meets a pride of lions.



What Eats People, Part 14: Elephants



Croconut pointed me to this interesting report about an elephant killing 17 people. The scenario is familiar: people and elephants in competition for the same land and its produce. Elephants remember the places where they like to feed and will return to them even after months of absence. When they find a favored feeding spot infested with people, they may react the same way a human does when he finds ants eating food he things of as his. In this case, the humans killed the elephant’s young, which may have led her to kill humans on sight. We don’t know exactly how similar an elephant’s emotional life may be to ours, but one interpretation here would be rage.

None of this is unusual. What’s different about this story is that the elephant seems to have eaten human flesh. This sounds quite shocking, and of course this simple-minded TV show points up the abnormality of it. The truth is, we don’t have enough context for evaluating this behavior. It may be that elephants have done this before; how often do their stomach contents get checked, even in cases of human death?

We do know that one of the elephant’s many weapons is its bite. They have certainly been observed biting people. I often hear claims that herbivores simply don’t eat flesh, but this is wrong and simplistic. Many animals will consume things outside their usual diet on occasion. Sometimes this is the result of a pica, an abnormal craving caused by nutritional deficiencies in the diet. It’s the same reason some people feel a compulsion to eat dirt. The elephant’s teeth are designed for grinding plant matter, but it has more than enough power to grind animal flesh if motivated. (Whether its stomach can actually digest this matter is another question.) In its January 12, 1948 issue, Time magazine reported this interesting behavior in a zoo elephant:


SWITZERLAND: An Elephant with Imagination - TIME: "One day, Chang brusquely snatched a doll from the arms of a little girl. For this he was banished to his pit. Then on a stormy November morning three years ago, zoo keepers saw blood on the floor of the pit. In Chang's straw bed they found a bloodied human hand and toe. The horrified keepers and police learned the unbelievable truth. Chang had devoured a young woman; he had swallowed her clothes, her hat, and even her large handbag."


This report, if true, lends some support to the pica hypothesis. Until recent decades, the nutritional needs of animals were not well understood, and they often suffered picas in captivity.

I don’t actually think that’s the cause of the anthropophagy in this recent case, however. This was not a predatory attack, but an adjunct to retaliatory violence. We know many other animals, even if not particularly disposed to take human flesh, will eat it once it becomes available—which happens if, for example, the animal itself happens to kill a human for non-predatory reasons. Domestic dogs sometimes kill a stranger who enters their yard, then eat him. This looks like violence incited by a territorial defense, followed by opportunistic eating of the body once it’s dead.  There’s a well-known case of a photographer named Bill Tessinsky who apparently made a mother brown bear feel threatened. She killed him in defense of her cubs, then fed on the body. The elephant is obviously not a carnivore, and perhaps it’s not subject to this same urge—but this one had been driven away from plant food.  Her hunger may have led her to a dietary experiment.

So there’s a  possible scenario, and here’s a wilder one. Eating is itself an aggressive behavior. One theory of human cannibalism is that it terrorizes survivors into flight or submission.  To eat, or otherwise mutilate, an enemy is to advertise how dangerous you are to other enemies.
  


Previous Post in This Series

Crows recognize and mob aggressive humans



Hitchcockian crows gossip about mean humans - Technology & science - Science - LiveScience - msnbc.com:

This article has a misleading title, since the crows are only attacking humans who have abused them. The exciting and new part is that the crows seem to communicate to other crows about which humans are dangerous.

"Even after going for a year without seeing the threatening human, the crows would scold the person on sight, cackling, swooping and dive-bombing in mobs of 30 or more.

'Most of the birds that are scolding us are not the ones we captured,' said study researcher John Marzluff, a professor of wildlife science at the University of Washington and an occasional victim of crow attacks. 'It's likely that they're learning from their parents and their peers that this dangerous person is still out there.'"

Related Post: Death Cycle Part 4

Photo by D'Arcy Allison-Teasley

Woman Pets Tiger; Results Poor

UPDATE: Tiger attacks wildlife park employee - CBS 21 News - Breaking news, sports and weather for the Harrisburg -York -Lancaster -Lebanon Pennsylvania area:

"A woman is reportedly recovering from emergency surgery following a tiger attack at a Central Pennsylvania animal park, according to state police.

The victim, whose name has not been released, is an employee at the Lake Tobias Wildlife Park in Halifax Township, Dauphin County, park officials said.

After finishing her shift as a safari tour bus driver Thursday, the woman entered into a secure area beside the enclosure where two Bengal tigers live, according to the park manager. The woman apparently attempted to reach her arm into the tiger enclosure to pet one of the animals, which then clawed or bit her arm near her elbow."

Cookiecutter Shark Scoops Human Flesh


A new report documents a case of the tiny cookiecutter shark, a type of dogfish, biting chunks out of a live human. This species typically takes bites from large fish and marine mammals, leaving them scarred but alive. 

University of Florida News – New study documents first cookiecutter shark attack on a live human:

The species is small, with adults reaching about 2 feet, but their unique jaws specialize in scooping out a piece of flesh, leaving victims with a crater-like wound.
“Not only is it painful, but it presents a difficult circumstance for recovery in the sense that there has to be plastic surgery to close the wound and you have permanent tissue loss,” said co-author George Burgess . . . . “It’s very different from any other kind of attack we have in the International Shark Attack File because of the size of the shark and the modus operandi.”"

Related Post: The Old Man and the Sharks 




Face Transplant for Charla Nash, Victim of Chimpanzee Attack




I feel dirty posting anything from the Today Show, but here it is.

Earlier Chimpanzee Posts (including some about this case)

Death of a Mule




Text and photography by guest blogger D’Arcy Allison-Teasley


Mule Gal and Mule Guy are neighbors, they are friends and they own the barn down the road where our mare is boarded. They are the sort of people who you call when your woods are on fire and they come immediately with tanks of water and shovels... and hugs.

I know because I did - and they did.

And, as you can guess from their nicknames, they love their mules.

They love horses, too. 

But as Mule Guy points out, you can ride a horse to the edge of a cliff and say "jump" and a well-trained horse will. Do the same with a mule and the mule will say "you first." He swears their legendary stubbornness is simply a sign of superior intelligence.

Mule Gal is a reserved rider, a very sensitive, highly intelligent and intuitive woman who had a deep and rich relationship with her mule partner. She's no cowboy. He was no ranch horse. Trust was their theme, and they were a joy to see together. This mule had the demeanor of a gentleman, the patience of a saint, and the deep, dark eyes of an old, wise soul. 
And this mule loved his human.

Mule Gal's mule was struck and killed by lightning last night during a furious storm. I witnessed this same storm, from my place just down the road. I captured several pictures of the storm's dramatic lightning. It's entirely possible that one of the pictures I took is the strike that took this gentle mule's life.   





Lightning is a frighteningly powerful force of nature.

A precious, beloved life - over in a flash. Literally.

But the heartache has just begun for Mule Gal.

Fortunately, friendship and healing are powerful forces, too. And Mule Gal has many good memories of her kind mule to help her smile through her tears.

Farewell to a Gentleman Mule. 

You will be sorely missed, but never forgotten.




Related Post: Kansas City Lightning

Monkey vs. Tennessee Law Enforcement

Very aggressive monkey attacks Tennessee woman | Reuters:

"Wilma Smith is in Bedford County Jail, serving time for manufacture of methamphetamine and weapons possession. Her husband had been caring for the monkeys."


Related Post: Patas Monkey Attack

More about the Norwegian Polar Bear



A somewhat sensational report with further details and photos:

The prowling, ravenous polar bear pictured a week before killing Eton-educated teen and seriously injuring four other Brits | Mail Online:

"It is believed that the flare-triggering defence systems in place at the BSES camp were faulty, which allowed the animal to enter the campsite early on Friday morning and being its attack.

Horatio, 17, was 'ripped to pieces' by the polar bear according to Patrick Flinders, who was in the tent next to the aspiring doctor when bear attacked."

Another link with more about the survivors


Jogger vs. Pack of Dogs

Stonewall woman receives award for bravery in dog pack attack | NewsOK.com:

"“They were coming at me like hungry piranhas, and I was dinner,” Murray said. “The harder I fought the more aggressive they got.”

Murray tried to ward them off with a small pocket knife, but the six dogs — ranging from medium to large — kept coming at him with all their weight behind their snapping, sharp teeth. He said the canines had him surrounded. Although blood oozed from the numerous wounds the dogs had made in his calves and thighs, Murray continued plugging along, covering five blocks while the dogs repeatedly lunged at him."

Raccoon vs. New Jersey couple

Raccoon attacks Rensselaer Road woman - NorthJersey.com:

"'These weren't puncture wounds like a dog bite, but wounds like a knife would make tearing open the flesh,' Duane Pierce said.

'The animal was ferocious. A child could not have survived this,' said Denise Pierce, who is still recovering from the bites."


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Falcon Attacks Woman and Dog

MyKawartha Article: Trained falcon attacks woman and dog:

"The woman was walking her dog on Glenwood Street north of Trent University [in Ontario] when they were attacked by a trained falcon. The 67-year-old woman sustained minor injuries to her eye, chin, cheek and shoulder."

Wild Boar Injures Hunter

Hunter injured in wild pig attack near Lake Sonoma | PressDemocrat.com:

"A 70-year-old man was flown by helicopter from a remote area northeast of Lake Sonoma Wednesday morning after he was bitten by a wild pig.

The man was flown by helicopter to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital with wounds to his knee and hand.

Officials believe the man, who called for help at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, was hunting the pig with his dogs. The dogs chased the pig into the bushes before the wild animal charged from the brush and attacked the hunter, said Capt. Jon Lovie of Cal Fire."


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