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 Lopsided Goat?

Query: I was hiking in the Alps with my parents, and high up on the mountain, I think I saw a goat whose left legs were shorter than his right legs. My parents said it was an optical illusion, but I still say that I saw what I saw. What could this be?

Answer: You may have seen an Alpine dahu, which is the European variant of the American gyascutus (see Have You Seen). The term “dahu” refers to any animal that has one pair of legs shorter than the other, which allows it to keep its balance on the steep slopes of its mountain home. While this may seem a very useful adaptation, dahus can only travel around a mountain in one direction – either clockwise or counterclockwise, depending on which side has the shorter legs - and if they fall, they may not be able to get back up.

Swiss dahus appear to be a kind of mountain goat, but in Italy, dahus have been described as much larger and hairier than any known goat and may represent a different species.

Dahus are becoming quite rare, and are informally considered a protected mammal in some French alpine towns. We have asked our Swiss agents to return to the area where you were hiking to see if they can find further evidence of the dahu that you saw. Thank you for reporting your alert observation to us here at 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.