Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category

You guys know how much I love these nature videos. Animals just being animals like you read about. The Battle at Kruger was amazing, and I’ll post it below. This second one features a lone Water Buffalo being attacked by a Lion, fleeing to the river for safety, getting attacked by a Croc, heading back to land only to be attacked by the whole damn pride. The Lions were being real badasses until the cavalry showed up, as you shall see. Nature, man. Never gets old.

Here’s Battle at Kruger Part 1. Wait for it.

Amazing. Click, scroll and enjoy.

Yep, that’s a big Sea Turtle alright. She’s a Leatherback and she’s humongous. Thank God she made it safely back into the sea before some jackass tried to ride her like a horse or something. God bless her.

PS- Sweet Mother that’s a big, beautiful turtle.

SCMP- In a farm deep in the southern region of China lives a very big pig that’s as heavy as a polar bear.

The 1,102 pound animal is part of a herd that’s being bred to become giant swine. At slaughter, some of the pigs can sell for more than 10,000 yuan ($1,399.00), over three times higher than the average monthly disposable income in Nanning, the capital of Guangxi province where Pang Cong, the farm’s owner, lives.

While Pang’s pigs may be an extreme example of the lengths farmers are going to fill China’s swelling pork shortage problem, the idea that bigger is better has been spreading across the country, home to the world’s most voracious consumers of the meat.

Aaaand here we go again, messing around with genetics and whatnot. Seriously, what is it with people, building robots that act like humans, breeding giant animals, and otherwise tempting fate? Do we really need 1/2 ton porkers? Can’t we just breed more regular sized pigs? I don’t get it, man. We’re just asking for trouble. These beasts tried to eat Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, people! Imagine if a bunch of those things turned on us, like they inevitably will. Horrifying thought, really.

PS- I came up with a pretty solid “swelling pork problem” line but I couldn’t pull the trigger.

PPS- Sparky would go for the throat and take one of those things down in a heartbeat. Bacon for years.

Man, that was an awkward headline. Sorry. Anywho . . .

(BBC) –  A man who was gored by a bison in June took a date back to the same place – only for her also to be attacked.

Kyler Bourgeous brought Kayleigh Davis to the same trail at a state park in Utah with plans to watch the sunset. But when Ms. Davis ran a little ahead, she ended up alone with a bison who charged and flipped her into the air.

“I looked over my shoulder, seeing it get closer – and I looked again and it was pretty much right behind me. Right as I saw it, I flew up in the air about 15-feet,” Ms. Davis says.

She landed on her back and lay completely still – remembering what happened to Mr. Bourgeous – as the bison sniffed at her until he eventually left her alone.

Whew. Where to start. First of all, what are the chances this guy is tired of his girlfriend and wanted to end things for good? He takes her for the exact same spot and says, “Hey honey, you go on ahead. I’ll be along shortly.” Then boom, the bison does his thing like Kyler Bourgeous knew he would and Kyler is free as a bird.

Secondly, if it wasn’t a diabolical plan how stupid is this moron? His girlfriend wants to go on a date to watch the sunset and he says, “Great! I know the perfect romantic location! Let’s go to that place where I was gored by a bison!” It’ll be great!”

Finally, what are the percentages this bison heard that couple talking and attacked them because their names were Kyler and Kayleigh? I say 89%.

Good God.

Man, I thought that Mallard was a goner. Little dude just did a deep dive evasive maneuver and popped up unscathed, swimmin’ around like he owned the joint, apex predator be damned. And that shark has to be the butt of jokes back at the shark bar, amirite? Even the Pygmy Sharks are cracking wise and making fun of him. Guy may want to get away for awhile until he has his pride back. Sad really.

Check it. Click and scroll too see whole photo.

GearPatrol.com: Living Vehicle, a California-based luxury mobile home manufacturer, has unveiled its new 2020 Series trailer. The model is designed for full-time living and spending substantial time off the grid. It’s a luxury apartment on wheels — one that will minimize your energy consumption and water waste.

The 28-foot-long trailer offers 220-square feet of living space. Its design maximizes that by offering a lofted queen-sized bed that stores in the ceiling and a fold-out patio deck. Reconfiguring the dining area and opting for an optional fold-out Euro loft bed can increase the sleeping capacity to six.

Want to go off-the-grid and off-the-road? Living Vehicle can outfit the 2020 trailer for overlanding. The trailer has a steel-reinforced aluminum frame, a rear incline for an improved departure angle, and 16-inches of ground clearance. The “Off-Road Option Package” adds off-road tires, additional ground clearance, and a matte black body liner.

The cooking setup is versatile. The “Chef’s Kitchen” package adds an oven, a propane grill, an instant hot-water system, a dishwasher and an ever-critical six-bottle wine cooler. The trailer features a movable kitchen island, permitting outdoor cooking and improved flow within the living space.

Even if you are technically off the grid, Living Vehicle still has you set with multiple “Netflix and chill” options. The trailer comes standard with a WiFi source and a 42-inch 4K TV, and there’s an optional 70-inch home theater setup with a 4K projector.

Living Vehicle plans to produce a “small batch” of 25-trailers for the 2020 Series. Pricing for one starts at $199,995. That is expensive for a trailer (though on par with other luxury trailer options). But if you’re ready to embrace that full-on mobile life, it’s less expensive, better designed, and far better equipped than most apartments.

Lofted Queen-Size Bed? Check. Fold-Out Patio Deck? Of course. Chef’s Kitchen? Why not? Wine Cooler? Sure. WiFi source, 42-inch 4K T, and an an optional 70-inch home theater setup with a 4K projector? Duh. But hey, where’s the hot tub? Do you expect me to live like a damn hot tubless savage? Come on, Living Vehicle. You’re better’n’at. On the positive side, at $199,995 they’re practically giving these things away. Only 25 left kids! Get in line!

PS- Who even considers this camping? Last time I camped I pulled my $17 K-Mart Pup Tent from the hatch of my ’78 Ford Pinto, built a fire with limbs and a wadded up newspaper, stuck some dogs on a sharpened stick, popped a cold Stroh’s and went to town. Those were the days, man.

PPS- Pretty sure my little 2017 Hyundai Veloster could tow that beast with no problems. Veloster is a combination of velocity and roadster after all.

 

So yeah, I ran across this site called The Loon Preservation Committee and now I can’t get enough of loons, man. I swear I watched their Loon Cam for 7 1/2 hours straight last night. Just went into a trance like you read about. Anywho, the site has awesome links like “Mortality and Nest Failure”, “Loons and Lead”, and “Banding and Tracking Loons”. They even have a Loon Census and a link that shows you how to build Nest Rafts for Loons:


Dude, that’s a man-made Nest Raft for Loons. Cool. I guess nesting loons face a variety of challenges during their 27-day incubation of eggs. Loon nests are vulnerable to natural or human-induced water level changes that can flood nests or leave them stranded out of reach of parents, which makes me sad. Floating nest rafts rise and fall with water levels and help loons cope with these water level changes. Nest rafts also provide alternate nest sites to help loons displaced from traditional sites by shoreline development or recreational use of lakes, and offer protection from raccoons, eagles and other scavengers whose populations have increased due to the availability of human refuse.

They even have Loon Cruises up in New Hampshire on Squam Lake. The route of the cruise (which lasts 90-minutes) is chosen to maximize loon observations, because hell yes it does. Tickets are $27, which seems a little steep but how often do you get a chance to observe a loon up close? The answer is never, man. Can you say Bucket List?

Did you know that loons have solid bones, making them less buoyant? Because of this they are extremely powerful swimmers. They can also dive to depths of up to 200-feet for durations of up to 5-minutes which is freaking incredible. And get this – loons can achieve a flying speed of up to 80-miles per hour! Finally, the amazing loon can stay in the air for hundreds of miles in one flight! That’s crazy, dude.

And because their legs are located towards the back part of their bodies, it is very difficult for loons to walk or to take flight from land. In fact, it is often difficult for them to take off from water; the loon will usually need the help of wind. To take off, loons will need to use a runway – first they will figure out which way the wind is blowing, and then run straight into it while flapping their wings like a boss. Once they have enough air rushing beneath their wings, they can become airborne. Because of the loons need for a runway, they must be careful only to land in areas where there will be enough surface water for them to take off again.

You can find this and much more on the website. Here’s a link, because I know you’re dying to find out more about loons:

https://www.loon.org/

Enjoy!

I’ve always been fascinated by abandoned places, whether they be houses, cars, or anything really. For instance, there’s something about looking at an old abandoned house and knowing that it was once someone’s dream, a place where maybe kids were running around, a home that somebody took great pride in but now it just sits there, overtaken by nature. Why did they leave? What happened? To me that’s very intriguing.

With that in mind, here are 12 photos of abandoned places that I particularly like. I hope you like them too.

[click on a photo to begin scrolling]

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the Shoal Tent, the inflatable tent that allows you to suffer a grisly death on a river, creek, pond, or lake while camping. Because really kids, isn’t it everyone’s dream to doze off whilst drifting lazily down a river, come upon a sharp-edged rock and awake in a wet blackness as your nylon tent engulfs and entombs you as you sink to your watery grave to be eaten by a Bullhead Catfish?

Seriously, do you just float away in this death-trap or are you anchored to a tree or something? And how do you go to the, you know, bathroom? Can you imagine trying to steer that thing? Imagine stepping from your Floating Tent o’ Death to your canoe or vice versa. What could go wrong? And dude, is this is a Door Dash for bears or what? Yeesh. I can see a couple grizzlies spotting this baby floating downstream and one of them saying, “Oh look. Lunch is here.”

PS- The Shoal Tent us currently on backorder, so if you want to go to sleep on a river and never wake up you’ll need to wait at least six weeks.

PPS- Waterfalls and/or rapids. 

PPPS- This was largely stolen from the website Deadspin.

Over the years I’ve told several stories that involved Jigger. Jigger was my brother-in-law and my principal, but most of all he was my friend. Whether it was going on vacations together, working together, or just hanging out, something interesting was always happening with him. If you don’t believe me, simply type “Jigger” into that search box on the left and hit enter. This site is full of Jigger stories.

For some reason this latest memory popped into my head the other day, and I’ve no idea why. It was the late 80s and Sis, Jigger, Twana and I had decided to take a camping trip through upstate New York.

Were we campers? We were not. Did we have camping gear? Nah. But hey, when Jigger got an idea in his head everyone sort of got swept up in the wave of his personality. It was that strong.

So, we went to K-Mart, bought some cheap gear and set out into the great unknown. The very first night we found a little campground somewhere south of Niagara Falls, parked our cars, set up or cheap little pup tents far away from anyone else, and built a fire. We were good to go.

Or so we thought.

It started around 10:00 that night as we were sitting around in our lawn chairs, having some adult beverages and cooking some hot dogs over the campfire. Somewhere, far in the distance, we heard a strange noise. It was sort of a faint wail, a cry of pain or distress from what sounded like an animal. We listened for a minute and dismissed it as being too far away to be a threat.

We chatted a few more minutes, then Jigger held up his hand to quiet everyone down, cocked his head, and said, “Is that thing getting closer?”

The answer was yes.

As we listened, the noise from the creature was indeed drawing closer and closer.

I guess we all stood up when the thing was maybe 100-yards out, wondering what the hell we were supposed to do. Find a weapon? Climb a tree? Run?

It turned out we didn’t have time for any of those, because before we could act it was upon us. There, bursting out of the woods, was an animal clearly possessed. It was a raccoon, and something was definitely wrong. Maybe it had rabies or something but that beast was crazed, man. It was running awkwardly, snapping its jaws and still screaming like a damn demented forest goblin.

The raccoon did a couple circles around the fire, sometimes on its hind legs, as we all darted around, high-stepping and screaming in panic, looking for somewhere to hide before the freak leaped up, ripped a vein out of one of our necks and killed us.

Then it turned, ran directly through the fire, and disappeared into the woods on the other side.

We all stood there in shock, staring at the smoke, sparks and flames the demon left in its wake as the wailing noises slowly faded into the night.

After a bit of time we started laughing, amazed at what had happened and how we’d reacted to it. And yes, we all decided it might be a good idea to sleep in the cars that night.

Those $12.99 K-Mart pup tents just didn’t seem like a good idea at the time.

PS- The next morning I woke up to the sounds of Jigger frying bacon over the campfire and singing “Rocky Raccoon” by The Beatles, because of course he was. 

Bonus raccoon gif because raccoons are cool.

I was hoping the squid would make a run at that woman and eat her. My ears, man.

Adorable. Possibly rabid, but adorable.

In photos that have never been seen before, a couple inadvertently caught the rarest leopard in the world on camera. The Strawberry Leopard was spotted on the Thaba Tholo Wilderness Reserve in South Africa by a motion triggered camera which was pinned to a tree. Gorgeous.

Very cool.

Capybaras are awesome creatures, man. Their calm and motherly nature attracts animals of all varieties to them, as is evidenced in the photos below. Some say they radiate peace, which is an amazing trait, but the truth is that in the wild Capybaras live in large groups so a female Capybaras take care of not only their own offspring but others as well. This helps them to be great mothers who will adopt just about any animal they encounter. In fact, animal rescue shelters will give young animals to a Capybara because they know it will do a great job of raising them. Capybaras, man. They’re cool.

Doesn’t look a day under 350. Seriously, that’s her though.

So I read an article the other day about a female Greenland Shark that was discovered in the Arctic Ocean and is estimated to be around 400-years old. 400-years! That shark was cruising the seas the same time the Mayflower was heading to America! Mind blown, man. They said Greenland sharks don’t even reach maturity until they’re 150. The lifespan also has something to do with the fact the sharks live in the Arctic Ocean at depths of 2000 meters, so this helps slow their metabolism and in turn the aging process.

Wild stuff.

Anyway, this led me to give orders to my crack staff here at Shoe: Untied to research the life spans of various animals. After a night of exhaustive research in our underground headquarters, here’s what they found. Keep in mind these are the known record life spans of these animals and the average lifespans are shorter.

Mayfly 

1-day

Live every day like it’s your last, Mayfly. Because it is.

Dragonfly

20-days

Housefly

35-days

Color me skeptical. I swear I tried to kill the same fly for 6-months a couple summers ago. Dude was taunting me. Fortunately he got too close and Sparky took him down.

Guinea Pig

4-years

Seriously? 4-years? Man, we’re sure setting kids up for disappointment, aren’t we? Just when they’ve really started to love little Boo Bear he kicks the bucket. Sad really.

Mouse

5-years

Rat

7-years

Say what? I thoughts rats lived much longer than that. I’m a tad disappointed.

Hummingbird

12-years

Rabbit

14-years

Sparrow

23-years

Tiger

26-years

Lion

26-years

So lions and tigers have basically the same lifespan. Not shocked.

Dog

29-years

Please, please let Sparky break this record. Please. Seriously though. Please.

The Spark.

Ant

30-years

The ant has the longest lifespan of any insect. Way to go, ants.

Eagle

32-years

‘Murica!

Cat

32-years

This is Nutmeg, who passed away quietly surrounded by family and friends last year. Rest in peace Nutmeg.

Boa Constrictor

40-years

Spider

43-years

This spider was a lab spider. It’s name was #16, which is unimaginative as hell. Why not Webster or Aragog or Hank or something? Anywho, #16 was killed by a wasp and that’s just an awful way to go.

This is #16. Seriously.

Grizzly Bear

44-years

Hippo

61-years

The hippopotamus is the world’s deadliest large land mammal, killing an estimated 500-people per year in Africa. Yikes.

Chimpanzee

66-years

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve taken students to the zoo and watched them jump up and down in front of the chimps, acting like chimps. And the chimp is usually looking back at them like this . . .

Andean Condor

79-years

Alligator

80-years

His name is Muja and he is still alive in Latvia. He was brought there in 1937 from America. You go Muja.

Actually Muja.

Cockatoo

83-years

Anybody remember Baretta’s cockatoo, Fred? Nobody? Never mind.

American Lobster

100-years

Olm

102-years

Killer Whale

110-years

Her name was Granny and she is feared dead after disappearing from her pod awhile back. I’m going to need a minute here.

Macaw

114-years

Her name is Charlie. She lives in England and is known for imitating Churchill’s rants about the Nazis. Charlie is awesome.

Meet Charlie!

Human

122-years

Her name was Jeanne Calment and she lived in France. And get this – when Jeanne was 12-years old she met Vincent Van Gogh. Sweet.

Box Turtle

138-years

I painted my name on probably 50 Box Turtles when I was a kid. Just a small “Dave Shoemaker” above the tail on the shell. Sooo, theoretically many of them are still out there roaming the Southern Ohio woods.

PS- Out of curiosity I looked up how far Box Turtles roam in their lifetime. Turns out they stay within 200-yards of their homes. Dang, some of those turtles could still be near me as we speak.

Crocodile

140-years

This guy lived in Australia and was named Mr. Freshie. Cool.

Geoduck Clam

160-years

No comment.

Sea Urchin

200-years

Bowhead Whale

221-years

Koi Fish

226-years

Tortoises

250-years

Greenland Shark

400-years

See my remarks above.

Ocean Clam

507-years

I know. Sort of anti-climactic that this guy is almost the oldest, no? Dude looks like a  . . . sorry, I can’t go there.

 

Again, I got nuthin’ here.

Turritopsis Nutricula Jellyfish

Immortal. Yep, you read that right. Since it’s capable of cycling from a mature adult stage to an immature polyp stage and back again, there may be no natural limit to its life span. That’s nuts.

So there ya go, kids. That’s all my crack staff could come up with. Have a great day.

Check out this bird bouncing a golf ball off a cart path, man. Just having fun like you read about. I wish we all could be as happy as this bird bouncing a golf ball off a cart path. Animals, man.

PS- You fun haters that are telling me the bird thinks the ball is an egg and is trying to break it open can go straight to hell. That’s a bird having fun. End of story.

 

KelownaNow – A Vancouver Island resident is thanking heavy metal titans Metallica for her narrow miss with a cougar on Tuesday evening. Dee Gallant and her husky Murphy, were out for their usual evening stroll on a logging road just outside of Duncan, BC in the Cowichan Valley, when she said she felt “like something was watching” them. It wasn’t until the predator was creeping toward them that she realized what it was – a mountain lion.

Thinking quickly, Gallant took to her phone’s music library to try and find something that sounded the most human and most threatening, it was then that she landed on the track “Don’t Tread On Me” by Metallica. The minute the heavy metal music began, the mountain lion ran away.

Good thing Dee Gallant had another idea after that hissing sound she was making didn’t work, huh? Chick sounded like a kitty with a hairball or something. Anyway, good thing she didn’t play one of those hipster bands like Death Cab For Cutie, Foster The People or Bright Eyes. That cougar would’ve attacked, ripped her throat out, dismembered her and eaten her iPod without blinking an eye.

PS- What kind of a Husky just sits there quietly like that with a deadly predator stalking their owner? Sparky would have made the charge and gone to war for me without hesitation. 

PPS- The tune in question . . .

So a guy was staying at the Mount Washington Resort in New Hampshire the other day and walked out of his room to go grab some breakfast. There, leaning against the railing, was a bear checking out the sunrise. Probably climbed up there to get a better view, ya know? Bears, man. Appreciating nature’s beauty.

PS- Also probably looking for some free chow or a random stray toddler.  

Sea Otters hold hands when they sleep so they won’t drift apart. Animals, man.

Check out this scientist who wanted to get up close and personal with a Polar Bear, albeit from the comfort of his Arctic Buggy thingy. And I’m sorry but I’m always rooting for the animals when I see this stuff. This bro is in the Polar Bear’s natural habitat, and that bear is hungry. Am I the only one who was hoping the bear would bust that glass and have himself a tasty snack? That’s what I thought.

Get it, little dude. Get it.

I’ve written about octopuses before because they’re fascinating as hell. Check out the blog Someday, Octopuses Are Going To Rule The World for some cool octopus facts. Anyway, this is a video I first ran a few years ago and it is absolutely astounding. I can’t watch it enough.

Coyotes are impossible to exterminate. The more coyotes get killed, the more they procreate. This occurs because the coyote howl acts as a roll call. A normal coyote litter size runs between 4 and 5 puppies. However, if the female does a roll call howl and the population is sparse based on these calls, the female will generate more pups. They’re effectively taking a census with the howling. A low census causes a chemical or metabolic change in breeding females and they’ll have as many as nine puppies in the litter to make up for the population loss. Coyotes are now in 49 states.