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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A Plague of Augerinos!

Notes from the Southwest: The western United States is currently under drought conditions, but the extent to which lakes and rivers have been drying up exceeds even that which would have been caused naturally by drought. We therefore suspect that due to these already-dry conditions, augerinos are breeding up in epidemic numbers and attacking the waterways (see photo of waterway attacked by an augerino).

Augerinos need dry conditions to live. When they encounter waterways, they drill small holes underneath the surface of lakes, rivers, and other waterways and drain away the water. This is especially true around dammed-up areas like Lake Powell, where territories that were originally home to the augerino have been flooded.

Augerinos breed up more abundantly during times of drought, when waterways become lower, thus replicating the augerino’s preferred habitat. As they breed and spread, requiring ever drier country in which to live, they begin to drill into existing waterways to drain them. And that’s when we start to see the water levels in natural waterways drop down even further.

Augerinos are almost never seen, as they drill into waterways below the level of the water and rarely come out of their subterranean dens. The shape and size of their drill holes indicates that they may be a snakelike creature, with either strong teeth like a beaver, or a hard pointed tail which they can use to drill their holes.

While troublesome, augerinos are relatively short-lived (18-24 months), and therefore not that difficult to manage long-term. The end of the drought due to climate conditions will cause natural waterways to run more freely again, and the presence of the running water should discourage the augerino from breeding up so aggressively. - Hayduke Too, Senior Field Agent, Iranigami


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