Saturday, December 22, 2007

Bear gets (Gov.)Pawlenty (MN) pardon

ST. PAUL – Solo the one-eared bear received a Christmas present of life.
“We are going to give the black bear a reprieve, a pardon,” Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty announced on his weekly Friday radio show. “It is a good pre-Christmas, pre-holiday announcement.”
State Department of Natural Resources officials had considered putting Solo down because she had become too friendly with people, which could be dangerous. But now state officials say she will live out her life in a wildlife sanctuary, but no decision about where to send the bear family will be made until next week.
Solo is a 4-year-old, one-eared bear that has become well known to residents of Eagles Nest Township near Tower, Minn. That is where she and her cubs are hibernating under a private cabin.
Pawlenty, saying all he knew about the case was what he read in newspapers, came down on the bear’s side Friday.
“My feeling is this bear should not be euthanized,” Pawlenty declared.
DNR officials said Friday afternoon that the bear family will be sent to a captive facility where the three can live without “uncontrolled interactions with people.”
“This solution satisfies our original and primary concern about public safety,” said Michael DonCarlos, DNR wildlife research and policy manager. “The typical behavior of a black bear, like any wild animal, is to avoid humans. This bear is habituated to humans and has lost its fear of people, which makes it impossible to predict its behavior.”
DNR officials said they are looking into several locations for the bears. Solo and other bears in the area eat from bird feeders that are placed on trees and residents’ decks. Solo has allowed people too closely to her. That created fears she could attack if people get too close.
In June, 28 township residents signed a petition calling Solo a nuisance.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Hello, Ellie

Ellie rat is an adoption that is a year and half old. Ellie is very mellow and loved to be snuggled or to sit on shoulders.

not so wee little beastie

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says that Solo, a one-eared black bear hibernating with her two cubs underneath a private cabin, has become too familiar with humans in Eagles Nest Township. [Associated Press]

DULUTH, Minn. – Some residents of a northeastern Minnesota township just can’t bear the thought that the Department of Natural Resources would give Solo a permanent hibernation.
The DNR says that Solo, a one-eared black bear blissfully hibernating with her two cubs underneath a private cabin, has become too familiar with humans in Eagles Nest Township. But many of those humans have put out food for Solo and like having her and other bears around.
An estimated 25 bears live in the township, but many residents recognize Solo because she only has one ear. The other was ripped off when an adult bear attacked her as a cub, Humay said.
“Personally, I think it’s premature to kill the bear,” said Township Board Chairman Dan Humay. “A number of people are convinced this is not an aggressive animal. It hasn’t done anything to merit destruction.”
One of those people is Lynn Rogers, a longtime bear researcher who has a radio collar on Solo and has been studying her habits to find out if people’s “diversionary feeding” of bears makes them less likely to break into homes or cause other damage.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says that Solo, a one-eared black bear hibernating with her two cubs underneath a private cabin, has become too familiar with humans in Eagles Nest Township. Associated Press But the DNR told Rogers in a Dec. 5 letter that some of the reported problems with Solo last summer, in which she got close enough to some residents to sniff or nudge them, “may be a direct result of your activities, which have habituated the bear to human presence.”
In November, the owner of the cabin learned that Solo and her cubs were hibernating under the unoccupied cabin – and that Rogers, founder of Ely’s North American Bear Center, wanted permission to put a video camera there and broadcast images on a Web site.
Instead, the cabin owner asked the DNR to remove the bears. That, along with the earlier complaints, prompted the DNR’s plan to euthanize Solo and relocate her cubs, said Mike DonCarlos, the agency’s wildlife research and policy manager.
The cubs are young enough to learn new habits, DonCarlos said, but Solo’s behavior probably can’t be changed.
“The bear is willingly approaching people without fear,” DonCarlos said. “That’s not normal behavior, and that is sufficient cause for a public safety concern. We have to err on the side of caution.”
Minnesota’s wild bear population is thriving, numbering in the thousands, he said, and the DNR usually kills a few dozen a year in the name of public safety. He admitted Solo’s situation is unusual because the problem bear is currently hibernating.
DonCarlos said the plan remains in place despite complaints, although “there’s no timeline, and it’s not likely (to be carried out) this week.”
That hasn’t stopped a 14-member “Community Bear Committee” from devising a 17-page plan called “Living with Bears ... Coexisting with Wildlife in a Natural Setting.” It concluded that, while habitually aggressive or destructive bears may need to be killed, that research or nuisance bears might simply be deterred through coordinated efforts like electric fences around gardens, storing barbecue grills and bird food inside, and driving problem bears away with loud noises or pepper spray.
“Killing the bear might be the expedient thing to do,” Humay said, “but we’re eager to see if we can be effective in finding a different solution.”

Friday, December 14, 2007

Geneticists make obsolete old game of cat and mouse

Associated Press
Published Friday, December 14, 2007

TOKYO – The age-old animosity between cats and mice could be a thing of the past with genetically modified mice that Japanese scientists say show no fear and shed new light on mammal behavior.
Scientists at Tokyo University say they have used genetic engineering to successfully switch off a mouse’s instinct to cower at the smell or presence of cats – showing that fear is genetically hardwired and not learned through experience, as commonly believed.
“Mice are naturally terrified of cats, and usually panic or flee at the smell of one. But mice with certain nasal cells removed through genetic engineering didn’t display any fear,” said research team leader Ko Kobayakawa.
“The mice approached the cat, even snuggled up to it and played with it,” Kobayakawa said. “The discovery that fear is genetically determined and not learned after birth is very interesting, and goes against what was previously thought.”
The findings suggest that human aversion to dangerous smells, such as that of rotten food, for example, could also be genetically predetermined, he said.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Candymaker Cruelty

Learn more at

Mysterious mammal caught on film

An "extraordinary" desert creature has been caught on camera for what scientists believe is the first time.

The long-eared jerboa, a tiny nocturnal mammal that is dwarfed by its enormous ears, can be found in deserts in Mongolia and China.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

wee little ratties

"You would not like me when I'm angry..."

"Dems the chances you take, dems the dice you rolls.."


"I made you a cookie..."

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Great Escape

Christopher comes home from work one day this week in the morning. I'm getting ready for work, bustling about. He pops into the bathroom and says, "Do you know that Gabby is out?" I stare speechless, then mumble a "No..." I come out to see Gabby running on top of the tall Martin's Cage he and Drinky live in as young, eligible bachelors that they are. Chris scoops him up and we both puzzle over how he got out. No doors are open, no top left unsecured. I hurry off to work leaving a very concerned Chris.

Later, I get a voice mail on my cell. "I figured out how Gabby got fact, he even showed me now...twice!" He went on to explain that Gabby was squeezing himself through the lab block self-feeder attached to the side of the cage. It's hard to believe, but somehow he managed it. As Chris pointed out, heaven knows how long he's been taking these field trips?! Thankfully, he hadn't bothered the mice in the cages on top of the rat cage...

We put a stop to it by blocking the exit to the feeder, but I had to chuckle at his sneekiness despite it all.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Bounty rats

Drinky rat is harder to get posed, he is always on the move.

Gabby rat is more of a camera ham, but I think he is just waiting and hoping it is over soon.

shoulder rats

Drinky rat and Gabby rat hang out.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

A Patriarch Passes

The day after we introduced Chaucer to his boys, he declined rapidly; we think it was a stroke. Christopher nursed him all yesterday, his healing hands worked magic massaging Chaucer's tired broken body, fed him Pediasure by dropper, and made sure he was warm and loved.

Last night he was put to bed, I checked on him around 2am and he was still with us. But this morning Chris came into the bedroom with Chaucer cradled in his arms, in a towel, "...He's gone."

Chaucer would have been 2 years old this coming January. He came from a line bred for longevity. Mother nature fooled us again.

R.I.P., beloved Patriarch.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Chaucer rat meets Drinky rat and Gabby rat

Daddy Chaucer rat meets his baby boy rats Drinky and Gabby.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Mighty Mouse

I hope this new strain of mouse means that eventually fancy mice bred with this line might live longer, healthier lives. One can hope...

Friday, November 02, 2007

The Boys Meet Dad

Tonight the boys met their Papa. It was quite amusing, because both Drinky and Gabby rushed poor Chaucer, they couldn't wait to say "Hi, hi, hi!!", but Chaucer was a little more reserved. He started sniffing them. They started sniffing him. Then it was off to the crazy car races as they ran around the big ottoman weaving in and out of each other's path. The boys would dive under Chaucer's chin, and he would come up behind them, almost mounting them, not sure of who/what at first. Eventually he settled down, with his 'wise Buddha' face, and they laid down beside him, and it was so sweet. It went well, very well, for a first meeting. We have high hopes they will be great friends. Photos and movies, to come...

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Brother rats

Brothers Gabby rat and Drinky rat napping in their favorite corner in their favorite way.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Babies on the go...

The babies rats were separated from momma Isis rat last night and I think it was harder on me than it was for them. The kids will be 5 weeks old this week and are were well on the way of eating their block and other solids as well drinking from the water bottles. Momma Isis looked a little sad when she was moved back in with her friend Amelia rat, but they settled back in together very well with only a couple of forlorn looks towards the baby rats cage.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sunday rats

Momma Isis rat naps with baby Drinky rat and baby Gabby rat.

Club Rat

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

All In The Ratty Family

Poppa Chaucer rat muses while eating a treat.

"Treats is a serious thing."

Momma Iris rat gathers baby Gabby rat and baby Drinky rat around her. Today the babies are three weeks old.

Baby Drinky rat and baby Gabby rat stand guard for momma Isis rat.

"Hello, world. Where are the treats?"

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Furrbutt Farms Rat Rescue

A woman dotes on more than 30 rats she rescues and hopes to place in good homes.
Furrbutt Farms Rat Rescue website.
News videos here and here.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Young rats on the go

When the baby rats want to go, they go. It's very hard to get them still long enough for pictures.

Frisky baby boy rats

Now a little over two weeks old, the ratty baby boys eyes are wide open and they are up and running. I watched while Drinky rat raided momma's food stash, grabbing a yoggie cheerio and munching away on it. Gabby rat even tried to steal the yoggie cheerio away from Drinky rat. A lower hanging water bottle has been added should the baby boys be interested in drinking in their own. When I play with Drinky rat I am certain I hear and feel him bruxing. Both ratty boys love playtime away from momma and momma Isis rat does not seem to mind the free time. The baby boy rats are starting to finger wrestle with me, giving me little bits and licks on my finger tips.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

momma and baby rats

"That's enough, o.k.?!"

"I see you..."

"I see you, too..."

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Baby Update

The two "boys," tentatively named Gabby and Drinky, are doing well. Both ratty babies are active and respond well to stimuli. This evening the ratty babies greeted me, licking my fingers and snuggled into my hand and were both excited to explore the world outside the nest. Momma Isis rat is well, too.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Baby Rats in Motion

Fuzzy updates

Almost a week old, the rattie babies snuggle in their corner while momma Isis rat is entertained. The babies are getting used to being handled.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Fuzzy updates...

Momma Isis rat let us peek on on her babies this morning. There is one with dark fuzzy fur and another with grey fuzzy fur. The darker colored baby was actively snuggling with the lighter sibling. I'm still sad that Momma Isis rat lost two (or more) babies since birthing but such things are not as easy to predict or avoid. Momma Isis rat greets us with bruxes and snuggles and demands for treats and appears to be in good health. We'll start handling the babies as Isis rat allows us.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Young Spidey Rat, Esq.

Young Spidey rat has grown up into quite the fine gentleman rat.

Spidey rat enjoys his playtime and is good cuddle buddy.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Little updates

Momma Isis rat let me in this morning. In fact she was ready and waiting for me and desperately wanting to come out for play and snuggle time. As she climbed onto my shoulder I was able to reach in and find three babies. Each time I picked on up Isis would calmly take the baby out of my hand and put it back. Otherwise Isis was not too upset. As Isis and I continued our inspections and while she was distracted I put in some fresh bedding to mix in with the soiled bedding. Isis allowed me to hold all three babies together for a short time: they are small but appear to be healthy and well fed. Each baby responded to my light touch with a wiggle and a small squeak. Momma Isis rat let me know it was time to put everyone back proceeded to rearrange her nesting materials.

Meanwhile, Amelia rat, who had some sort of respiratory issued and was separated from Isis rat during the last week of Isis's pregnancy, was taken out of her temporary cage and put back into the big, fun cage. Amelia rat literally lit up with glee when she realized she was going back home to her wheel, hammocks and multiple levels of running around space. Amelia rat inspected her old home and then had some quality time on her wheel before choosing which hammock to nap in.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Little updates

Momma Isis rat has let me check in on her and the babies one time before letting me know I had to go away (the last time I checked her she gently nipped at me and pushed my hand away.) I found momma and babies under the bedding, not long after the birthing, and Isis was busy cleaning and moving them. Isis let me rearrange the bedding and do an initial count. Isis has moved the babies a couple of times and appears to have accepted them. I'll leave her and the babies alone for awhile before checking in on them later tonight.


The Babies are coming...!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Waiting and wondering...

Sweet old Amelia rat nibbles a treat.

Sweet old Amelia rat nibbles a treat.

A very pregnant Isis rat nibbles a treat.

A very pregnant Isis rat nibbles a treat.

Chaucer rat would rather sleep.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Waiting & Watching

We've been a bit busy, sorry. One of the things we've been busy with is...matchmaking.

Yes, once again we are trying to bring forth little Chaucers and little Isis's. It is official 'Isis Watch' time around the Wee Little Beasties house. Today is her due date! So far, no news. We'll keep you posted...

Thursday, September 06, 2007

First a threat, then an eviction: Pet ducks to go

First a threat, then an eviction: Pet ducks to go
BARNESVILLE, Minn. – Jeana and Eric Lanum have until Monday to remove a pair of Pekin ducks from their property or they will be in violation of the city’s pet ordinance, city officials determined Wednesday.
The Lanums, who moved to Barnesville from Fargo earlier this year, want the City Council to revise the ordinance so ducks Winnie and Babbles can stay. Their latest effort – filing a petition last month asking for changes to the ordinance – failed Wednesday.
During a special meeting, Mayor Ken Bauer asked the six City Council members if they wanted to revisit the pet ordinance.
The Lanums’ petition and a counter-petition filed by two city residents on Aug. 13 contained enough valid signatures to reconsider the ordinance, Bauer said.
“I’m going to proceed to entertain a motion to re-examine our animal ordinance as it now stands,” he said.
The council remained silent.
Councilman Kim Simonsen broke the silence by asking for discussion on the motion, but Bauer declined. “I think everything that’s been said has been said,” Bauer said of the pet ordinance.
The council voted 5-1 in June against changing the pet ordinance that only allows dogs, cats, gerbils, hamsters and caged birds.
Residents opposed to changing the ordinance are concerned about disease being spread by the ducks and that other people will ask for exceptions for other animals not included in the ordinance.
Bauer repeated his request for a motion two more times. Council members were silent both times.
Bauer then ruled that the Lanums’ petition was denied for a lack of motion. “It is now in the Police Department’s hands to enforce our animal ordinance.”
“Obviously this is disappointing,” Eric Lanum said after leaving City Hall. “We don’t know what our next move is.”
In a related development, the Lanums and their ducks faced threats in an incident Saturday.
Barnesville police and Clay County sheriff’s deputies responded to the Lanums’ neighborhood around 12:20 a.m. after a man approached the Lanum residence and threatened the ducks.
Robert Jerome Hilgers, 38, was arrested when police determined he was drinking and driving at the time of the incident, court papers say. His blood-alcohol content was reported to be 0.21 percent.
He drove up to the house with the headlights off and said, “I’m going to shoot those (expletive) ducks,” Jeana Lanum said of Hilgers. She also said someone let the air out of her vehicle’s tires.
Hilgers was charged with two counts of DWI and one count of disorderly conduct after being arrested, court papers say.
“It’s been five months of pure hell,” Jeana Lanum said after Wednesday’s meeting. Three weeks after moving to Barnesville, city officials notified the Lanums that they were violating the ordinance.
At the time, Bauer asked law enforcement to hold off on any action against the Lanums until the ordinance issue was resolved.
Police Chief Dean Ernst gave the Lanums until Monday to get rid of the ducks or face a misdemeanor charge for violating the ordinance.
The Lanums said they would be moving from Barnesville, but did not say where they would go.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Young Antelope Found Playing With a Dog

Young Antelope Found Playing With a Dog
The Associated Press - Friday, August 24, 2007

A friendly young antelope found cavorting with a dog along a walking path was probably picked up illegally in Wyoming and may be too tame to return to the wild, wildlife authorities say. A family believed to have brought the animal to Colorado could face charges that carry fines and jail time, said Larry Rogstad, a district officer for the state Division of Wildlife.
The 3-month-old, 15-pound buck was spotted Wednesday morning, running and playing with a neighborhood dog named Skeeter along on the Poudre River trail, a path that runs through Greeley and the nearby town of Windsor.
"It's just the craziest thing I've ever seen," said Ronda Underwood. "We were just riding along the trail and saw this antelope playing with a dog."
She said the antelope came up to her, nuzzled its head and neck along her leg and seemed almost to beg to be petted.
Rogstad was summoned for fear that the antelope would be attacked by the numerous coyotes in the area. The animal, dubbed "Poudre" by passers-by, was taken to a wildlife refuge where handlers will try to get it ready to return to its natural habitat.
Rogstad said that may not work.
"It is totally imprinted now," he said. "The animal actually thinks he's a human."
Rogstad said members of the family believed to have brought the animal from Wyoming could face charges including illegal possession of live wildlife. He declined to name the family.
Wyoming officials could also bring charges, he said.
It wasn't immediately clear why Rogstad believed the animal was brought from Wyoming, about 40 miles north of Greeley. Antelope are found in both states, but the nearest indigenous antelope are about 20 miles from the city.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Mouse Queen of Oz

Most know of the Wizard of Oz, mostly through the 1939 film. Some know the books by L. Frank Baum. And then there are those of us who, despite knowing the film, never read the books, and are delighted to find out that there is a lot more to them than the film. No surprise there - it's the way it usually is!

I was delighted to find out there is a Mouse Queen in the book, and she and her subjects are most helpful to the main characters...

Featured on LOLRATS

Our little angels no longer with us were featured on LOL Rats today. If you haven't visited, you really should. It's guaranteed to put a smile on your face!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Return of the neurotic pigeon

The neurotic pigeon, who hides in the carport to avoid the hawks, returned for a visit.