Walking Rocks?

Query: When I was in Death Valley earlier this year, I saw some enormous 750-pound rocks that appear to travel across the desert on their own. I remembered your article about rock tortoises, and wondered if that’s what these rocks could be?

Corn of Plenty (Part 4 of 4): A Field Guide by Dr. Midas Welby

Corns of the Air: Air-corns utilize their horns for jousting, playing tic-tac-toe, and spearing food in mid-flight. Air-corns often lurk undetected in trees, wood piles, and rain gutters. When bored, they use their horns to ring the doorbells of unsuspecting humans. When the door begins to open, the air-corn flies away.


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Going On Hiatus

December 6, 2014: I am loving college, but I have to admit, I’m overwhelmed.

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Pine Cone Feeders

A Present For Imaginaries: When winter comes, I get concerned about providing extra shelter from the elements for Imaginaries. Recently, I read about people who build wildlife brush shelters out of branches and plants in their yards, and thought this was a great idea.

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Unusual animal sighted!!

Query: Last week, I saw a dead animal by the side of the road. At first, I thought it was a cat, but I noticed that it had a very long neck, and a long, thick tail. The animal was covered in black fur and had no spots. That’s all I was able to see of it. I saw this animal in southwestern Colorado. Can you tell me anything about it?

Answer: I believe that you may have seen an American subspecies of an arassus, also known as a dard. Various sightings of this creature have been reported worldwide, with widely-varying descriptions depending on the local species. Most commonly, the arassus is described as having a lizard-like body (which you saw in the long neck and thick tail) and a cat’s head. The species of arassus seen in the western U.S. is fur-bearing, its pelt growing darker and darker as it grows older. As you describe the animal as having a solid black coat, the one that you saw was probably quite old.

American arassi are increasingly uncommon, and often mis-identified as small black panthers. I’m so sorry that this one was dead.


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