Sunday, July 30, 2006

Dr. Dolittle Project

Dr. Dolittle Project
The fundamental goal of this research is to develop a broadly useable framework for pattern analysis and classification of animal vocalizations, by integrating successful models and ideas from the field of speech processing and recognition into bioacoustics.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

A tribute to a rat

Artist: Chantal Kreviazuk Lyrics
Song: Say Goodnight, Not Goodbye Lyrics

Say goodnight, not goodbye
You will never leave my heart behind
Like the path, of a star
I'll be anywhere you are

In the sparke that lies beneath the coals
In the secret place inside your soul
Keep my life, in your eyes
Say goodnight , not goodbye

Don't you fear, when you dream
Waking up is never what it seems
Like a jewel buried deep
Like a promise meant to keep

You are everything you ought to be
So just let your heart reach out to me
I'll be right, by your side
Say goodnight, not goodbye

You are everything you ought to be
So just let your heart reach out to me
Keep my life, in your eyes
Say goodnight, not goodbye

Say goodnight, not goodbye

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Rats at play

The ratty girls are frantic about their new playhouse...

Get this video and more at

Get this video and more at

Get this video and more at

Irish (Rat) Folktales

A Clare woman told me that a man whose love was rejected by a girl living in Limerick city died, and his soul went into a rat and used to bite her throat until she had to emigrate. The rat tried to follow her and was drowned, and so the persecution ended.

A curious ‘parliament of rats’ was held near Durra in Upper Bunratty, the fields being covered with them, but, when it broke up, the ‘troops’ dispersed, and no bands were seen at any distance from the rendezvous.

A rat was ‘heard talking with the Devil’ in the grave of an unpopular person before 1875, but how the holders of this curious conversation were identified was never stated.

I have met a belief in speaking rats in eastern Clare and among fishermen at Kilkee.

From A Folklore Survey of County Clare by Thomas Johnson Westropp

Monday, July 24, 2006

" the least of these..."

"Anyone who has accustomed himself to regard the life of any living creature as worthless is in danger of arriving also at the idea of worthless human lives." - Albert Schweitzer
Three South African kids torture and then light on fire (read: kill) a mouse...
"We cannot have peace among men whose hearts find delight in killing any living creature." - Rachel Carson, American Author and Marine Biologist
Three Minnesota teens torture and kill a turtle...
"Of all the creatures, man is the most detestable. Of the entire brood, he's the one that possesses malice. He is the only creature that inflicts pain for sport, knowing it to be pain. The fact that man knows right from wrong proves his intellectual superiority to the other creatures; but the fact that he can do wrong proves his moral inferiority to any creature that cannot." - Mark Twain, American Novelist

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Room with a View

I found this mystery photo of a field mouse in a hollowed out tennis ball, set on top of a sturdy stalk, on this page, but have NO idea what the story is behind it...!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Rats in Art

A 15th century mariner of literary consequence once drew an imaginary coat-of-arms. Quite humorous, too. Taking a closer look at it here, you will see that a rat has reversed fortune and caught a cat...

Friday, July 21, 2006

Girl's Night Out

Mmmmm...What is THIS? (Regina) What? (Eva)

EvaI'll take a taste when no one's lookin... (Eva)

Tastes funny... mmmm...better take another taste... (Beatrice)

ReginaI don't care WHO'S lookin'...I'm gonna have MORE! (Regina)

Cat Burglar

Willy, a 1-year-old cat is photographed Thursday, July 20, 2006, with a display of several pairs of garden gloves that he took from unknown yards in his neighborhood in Pelham, N.Y. Willy has brought home nine pairs of gloves and five singles over several weeks laying them on his owners' front or back porches. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Dogs of War

This little guy is looking for his owner.

He lives in Beruit...

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Afternoon rat time

The rats doing what they do best during the afternoon.

The three girls, Eva, Beatrice and Regina, sleeping in their hammock.

Chaucer says "I'm not too sleepy..."

Slugo says "Don't hate me because I am fuzzy..."

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Tube Mice

As disgruntled commuters file out of a metro station, a lonely grey tube mouse vainly searches for his friends. Meanwhile, a shady vigilante in a dimly lit room packs into a case what appears to be a sniper rifle. Who can solve the traffic chaos on the dark streets of London?

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Mouse Knight

Once upon a time there was a small white mouse, born with a litter of small mice, in a small home where the people did not expect it.

And so starts the incredible story about a mouse...who knew how to read, who slew a dragon, and much, much more!

Friday, July 14, 2006


An image from a Jewish children's book; see the complete image here...

Clara's contentment

Our little old lady mouse Clara is still getting on just fine.

"What do you mean, 'little old lady mouse?!'"

"No more pictures, please."

"Oh, what I have to put up with..."

Somewhere in Utah...

desert mouse
This little one lives in the wild in a very remote (but beautiful) place in the American southwest called Buckskin Gulch...

Thursday, July 13, 2006


This is a news story about a definitely-not-wee creature - an elephant - but I was touched by it and decided to make an exception and share it with you...
The medical team, unsure what to do next, decided to construct a care station around the beast, and called for some elephant trainers, or mahouts, to come survey the situation on Friday...

...[A veterinarian] is prognosis was guardedly optimistic.

"When his body is ready, there is a chance that he will stand again because right now he has the will to help himself again," he said. "At first, he didn't have the will at all."

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Ideas 1, Execution 0

[Translated from French (badly) by Google]

A Cat, named Rodilardus,
Rats such failure made,
That one did not see any almost more,
Such an amount of it had put the burial inside of it.
Little that it remained about it, not daring to leave its hole
Found to eat only the quarter of its penny;
And Rodilard passed, at the miserable race,
Not for a cat, but for a devil.
However, one day that with the top and far
The gallant one went to seek woman,
During all the Sabbath which it made with its lady,
The resident of the Rats held chapter in a corner
On the need present.
As of the access, their Senior, anybody extremely careful,
Opina which it was necessary, and earlier than later,
To attach a grelot to the neck of Rodilard;
That thus when it would go in war,
Of its walk informed, they would flee out of ground;
That it knew only this means there.
Each one was of the opinion of Mister the Senior:
Thing did not appear to them with all more salutary.
The difficulty was to attach the grelot.
One known as: "I do not go there, I am not so stupid."
The other: "I would not know."
So that without nothing to make One was left.
I have many chapters seen,
Who for nothing were thus held;
Chapters, not of rats, but chapters of monks,
Even chapters of canons.
Should one only deliberate,
The court as advisers abounds;
It is necessary to carry out,
One does not meet anybody any more.

Jean de La Fontaine

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Chaucer's quiet moment

Chaucer enjoying the afternoon in his hammock as he snuggles with his "mommy blanket." [yes, his mom sent the blanky with - she scented it for him to help him not get too lonely in his new home with us...]

Sunday, July 09, 2006

"When the Cat's Away..."

If you would like to see the original graphic at full size with greater detail, click here...

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Mice Capable of Empathy

Mice Capable of Empathy
A new study by McGill University professor of psychology Dr. Jeffrey Mogil shows that the capacity for empathy, previously suspected but unproven even among higher primates, is also evident in lower mammals.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


I don't normally post stories about dogs here, since I don't own one, nor do I consider them wee (well, most of them aren't...)

However, I can't resist posting this one, which I first saw in a local rag in the twin cities during the aforementioned long weekend trip. It's just too funny, and too cute, and I suppose (to some...not to me, but to some...) too wierd!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Rodent Adjustment

Where have you been? was the collective question. We had been gone only 3 days and someone had been coming in to check their food and water. But they still were not satisfied.

After an initial look over and getting Chaucer settled in each weelittlebeastie got a formal snuggle. Slugo rat chatted and bruxed and seemed very happy to see us. Boober rat scowled a bit but then snuggled in on my shoulder. Clara mouse was asleep but after some kissing noises she sat up and looked at me and chattered back. (Clara had also done a major remodel on her cage, moving most of the bedding to one side against her water bottles.) The ratty-girls Beatrice, Regina and Eva where popping and bouncing and crawled up my arms onto my shoulders the moment their door was opened. And as for Agatha budgie, she was too busy looking at herself in the mirror.

Chaucer was at first excited. But after being introduced to his new home and all the new animals and animal smells he seemed to be less than excited. I tried to make a point of playing with Chaucer first, before handling the other animals, so he could get used to the routine. Chaucer seems to be slightly jealous about me playing with the other animals before he got his snuggle time. Chaucer also seemed very picky about the layout of his house, but, accepted where I put his hammock and promptly filled it with food and treats.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Chaucer's inspection

"This shall do..."

"...For now."

We meet our new friend...

This weekend, on a mini-vacation, we stopped at the De La Luna Rattery in Maple Grove, Minnesota, where we met some very wonderful rats (and ferrets and chinchillas), and met the lady who cares for them, Stacey. We met the old man of the bunch, Diesel Potter (Chaucer's father, who is 4 1/2 years old and doing quite well, thank you very much), the mothers and litters, as well as the boys who lived separately from the rest. Stacey runs a great rattery, with lots of love and care, and has bred some wonderful varieties of velveteen-coated rats, very soft fur. Her rats are also long-lived, with good genetics. We had a choice between little Solera, a girl, and her older cousin, Chaucer. Hard choice! I really loved Chaucer though, his color was amazing and unique. He is called a 'Sky Blue, capped Dalmation dumbo' - quite impressive! I bought him, and told Stacey we would be back on Monday on our way back to take him home, and that we did; he was quite a trooper all the way...

Everyone, meet Chaucer...Believe it or not, he's only a little over 5 months old and already a big guy!


A mouse rides on the back of a frog in floodwaters in the northern Indian city Lucknow June 30, 2006...

Saturday, July 01, 2006

baby barn owl

This baby UK barn owl, left, has puzzled wildlife experts because it has smaller eyes and is lighter than normal. The bird was found alone in an aircraft hangar in Gloucestershire.