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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Central American Whintosser, also known as Cephalovertens semper- ambulatus.

Range: Originally confined to Central America, packs of whintossers have more recently begun to migrate northward into California and the American Southwest, taking up residence primarily in burned-out forests, where they are well-concealed.

Physical Description: The whintosser is a long-bodied creature resembling a dead pine tree, with a heavy head and tapering tail. It varies in size from six to sixty feet long, depending on its age. Most notably, it has numerous legs, sprouting from all sides of its trunk and tail, which allows it to toss itself upon its prey and still land on some of its feet.

Characteristics: In spite of their bulk, whintossers are surprisingly agile and quick, and can hurl their own bodies over long distances. Aggressive and short-tempered, whintossers are also capable of lying still for long periods of time on the forest floor, where they blend in with tree-litter, to await the approach of prey. They are meat-eaters and will attack anything smaller than they are.

Co-endangered species: California condor. Up until last year, only a single breeding pair of whintossers in North America had been identified. However, due to improving conditions for the species, whintossers appear to be expanding their territory and reproducing successfully. It is impossible to know how many there are, however, as they are so skilled at camouflage, and those who actually see a whintosser in action rarely live through the encounter.

Recent sightings: The most recent sighting indicates that several packs of migrating whintossers have moved into various forest fire burn sites in California, and as far east and north as Colorado.

What to do: Whintosser attacks are extremely dangerous, as it is rare that you would see a whintosser before it sees you. When walking through woods with extensive tree-litter, or through burned-out forest areas, exercise extreme caution. It can be very difficult to tell a whintosser from a fallen tree (see photo).


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.