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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Update On The Wapaloosies

A Successful Conclusion: Thank you for all the help you gave us in developing climbing claws for Snappy, the wapaloosie (see Archives/Have You Seen/ Wapaloosie and Archives/Field Notes/More About Wapaloosies). “Million,” using Velcro on the inside of the cuff holding the garden-rake claws in place was a brilliant idea. “Purple,” your sourcing out for us better, more durable miniature garden rakes from that Zen garden website has given Snappy a much better grip on the bark of the branches in the cattery. And “Fish,” the idea of running a modified fish-hook to his tail has given him a whole new lease on life! Now I can put Snappy into the cattery and leave him there all day, and he almost never falls anymore. I have to bring him in at night to check that his prosthetic claws are working, because the cuffs still tend to slip and shift, and his “claws” need sharpening, but he’s much more independent now.

The good news is that Snappy and Pinky had babies! Normally, wapaloosies only breed once a year in the wild, and nobody has ever been able to breed wapaloosies in captivity before, so this was a pretty extraordinary event.

At first, we didn’t know about the babies. Apparently wapaloosies lay eggs under the bark of the trees and leave them alone. But one day we went out there and suddenly it sounded like it was raining, and all these little tiny wapaloosies started falling down, the way inchworms do. As soon as they hit the ground, they squeaked – it sounded like a sausage sizzle – and started inching their way to the trees, to climb back up again.

We really wanted to pick them up, but we didn’t. Pinky has stayed pink, and Snappy still slides out of his claws from time to time, so it looks like we will never be able to release those two back into nature. But if we don’t taint the babies with human contact, we may be able to set them free.

We left them all growing in the cattery for about a week until they were the size of cocktail franks. Then my sister and I got in there with ladders and the Wapaloosie-Fetchers I invented, and harvested every single baby that we could find. We collected 39 of them. My dad drove us deep into the forests, on protected lands – I won’t tell you where – and we released them back into the trees.

When we got home, we had to clean up the mess on the cattery floor – 39 baby wapaloosies make a lot of poop. Over the next few days, we found that we had missed four, so we took them out the next weekend to the same spot and let them go too.

We still have Snappy and Pinky at home in the cattery, but their children – the 43 wapaloosies we took into the forest – will grow up wild. - 49, Apprentice Agent, Iranigami


Copyright © 2012, 2013, 2014 by Penelope Stowell. All rights reserved. This website is a work of fiction and does not depict any actual persons, creatures, places or events.