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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More About Wapaloosies

Wapaloosie Rescue Operation: Last month, the description of a wapaloosie was posted here (see Archives - Have You Seen - Wapaloosie). Remember reading about the two wapaloosies who were recovered from a Murk (smuggler) who intended to sell them as pets for spoiled-brat kids? Well, guess who has them now! My sister and I!!

Nonny at the Double Helix Ranch thought that we would be the best kids for the job, for two reasons. First, we’ve both just begun our dragon-keeper apprenticeships and this would be good experience in handling Imaginaries. Second, our old cat died last year and we have an empty cattery cage set up outside, with climbing branches and a really high roof. It’s the perfect place to keep the wapaloosies until they’re ready to be released back into the wild.

One of the wapaloosies, Pinky, had been dyed a shocking pink color, and can’t be released unless she sheds her fur and goes back to her normal color. That one was given to my sister to take care of. She got off easy, if you ask me. HER wapaloosie just climbs up to the top of the cage and hides there.

The wapaloosie I’m taking care of, Snappy, had been declawed. That means he can’t climb at all – he just lies there, looking miserable. He also bites. A lot. If I don’t want to get chewed up, I have to wear thick gloves when I handle him, and since he’s as wriggly as a ferret, it’s very hard to keep a good grip on him with those gloves on.

I decided to see if I could invent prosthetic claws of some kind so that Snappy could climb and be less miserable, but it’s harder than I thought it would be. First I tried fastening little metal garden rakes from a toy farm set under his paws, using ribbon. But the rake tines weren’t sharp enough for climbing, so I filed down the tines and tried them on him again.

Snappy was able to climb halfway up the tree trunk in the cattery with his new claws, but then the ribbon slipped and one of his paws slid free. He hung there by one foot squeaking – the call of a wapaloosie sounds like sizzling sausage – until I was able to get a ladder into the cattery and rescue him.

That’s when I knew that before anything else, I needed to invent a wapaloosie-rescue device. I took the sharp-edged cutters off a pair of long-handled pruning shears and fastened a pair of felt-wrapped hot-dog tongs in their place. It took a little practice, but I got pretty good at catching the wapaloosies in the tongs and bringing them back safely to ground level.

My sister came up with the idea of tying little Velcro mittens onto Snappy’s paws, and adding strips of Velcro to the climbing branches in the cattery. That worked fine until he decided to try and climb a part of the tree that didn’t have Velcro on it. After that incident, we lined the bottom of the cattery with about six inches of sawdust, so that if Snappy falls again, he’ll have a soft landing.

I’m still experimenting with ways to allow Snappy to climb, because he won’t eat unless he’s at the top of the branches in the cattery. If any of you readers out there have any good ideas, please email us through Contact Us at this website, and I’ll let you know how it works. Thanks for your help! – 49, Apprentice Agent, Iranigami


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