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It’s the time for candy and dress up. My favorite Holiday… Halloween. Thinking of pet costumes? Check out PETCO for some great costumes. Here are some great photos of animals all decked out for the Holiday. Make sure you vote in the poll about animal dress-up. Thanks!

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The extinction of animals is a very real but tragic topic. I have often researched many species that will never be seen again. I find myself getting emotional over the fatality of so many different species. One species in particular fascinates me, The Dodo. Not just because the name is quirky and seems to fit the bird perfectly, but because of the history behind the Dodo. The Dodo is a lesson in extinction. It was sighted on Mauritius around the 1600 on an island in the Indian Ocean. About sixty years later, it became extinct.

When most people think of a Dodo, they remember the Dodo depicted in the children’s story “Alice in Wonderland”. Much of the fascination with Dodo’s comes from this tale. Unfortunately, the tale is what it is… a story. The facts of a Dodo are very few and scientists are still trying to figure out the birds existence and how it ticked.

The Dodo is bigger than a turkey, approximately weighing 23 kilograms. They would wade in ponds to catch fish for food. They inhabited the forests on the island where they would lay one large egg on a mass of grass. Scientists have deduced from studying the DNA that the Dodo is a descendant of the pigeon. The written reports and illustration of sailors and ship’s naturalists, as well as the information gathered by scientists are all that we have to see a glimpse into the Dodo’s life on Earth.

Unfortunately, there are no complete Dodo specimens. Many theories as to why this is have arisen. Some say the birds may have been eaten by Dutch sailors who discovered them. Others believe the primary cause of their demise was from the destruction of the forest, which cut off their food supply. The animals the sailors brought with them also destroyed the Dodo nests.

From the history and remains collected we can tell the bird was a flightless one. The Dodo’s wings are stubby and heavy, and it’s body ungainly. The small breastbone is too small to support the pectoral muscles a bird this size would need to fly. Scientists believe that the Dodo evolved from a bird capable of flight to a flightless one. Once the Dodo landed on Mauritius, it found a habitat with plenty of food and no predators giving the bird no need to fly. It was more efficient, energy wise, for the bird to remain on the ground. This is how the flightless Dodo evolved.

What remains of the Dodo? Only odd skeleton and other body parts, such as head and feet, scattered around the world in museums. Scientists have discovered the evolution of the Dodo by using fragments of DNA that have been extracted from the bones. The search for information still continues to this day but much of the Dodo’s existence is still a mystery.

One of my favorite websites: www.snopes.com has an extensive collection of Urban Legends with a search-able database. I thought it would be fun to look up some animal related urban legends and share them here. I encourage everyone to check out the site, it has hours and hours of entertaining information.

Claim: Cats suck the breath from babies, sometimes killing them.

FALSE. There are many reasons why people might believe this. A cat is jealous of the newborn or the milk breath attracts the cat. Anyone knows that most household cats don’t actually like milk and would prefer water. As for the jealousy, any actual events on record show only accidental deaths. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) should also be taken into consideration, however very sad. It is a known fact that SIDS is extremely hard on the parents and makes it hard for them to accept the facts. Some turn to possible causes and thus the urban legend may be a way for them to cope with what has happened. Whatever the reason for people blaming the cat, we do know that cats would never intentionally harm us or babies for that matter. I am sure there have been accidental causes of cats sleeping across an infants face and suffocating them. This however, is not what the urban legend suggests. So, if you are worried about your cat having ill intentions toward your newborn infant, please know that this is not the case. What is important to know, for safety purposes, is to be careful not to let a cat crawl all over your infant or sleep in the same room.

Claim: Handling by a human will cause a baby bird to be rejected by its mother.

FALSE. The fact is that most birds have a limited sense of smell and cannot detect human scent. However, if you handle bird eggs while the mother is away from the nest, upon her return she may notice a disturbance in the nest and will take this as an indication that a dangerous presence is nearby. They may temporarily or even permanently abandon their nests as a result. Such behavior is relatively rare, however, and in these situations the mother birds are reacting to visual warnings, not olfactory ones. The best thing to do if you come upon a baby bird or egg is to first determine if the bird is a nestling or a fledgling. Nestlings are featherless or fuzzy and belong in the nest. Fledgelings have feathers and are old enough to leave the nest and be on the ground. Replace nestlings into the nest they have fallen from, but leave fledgelings where you find them. If the nest is damaged you can create a new one from a berry basket or margarine tub that has holes poked into the bottom for drainage. Line it with pine needles or paper towels and tack it up in a tree or shrub as close to the original nest as possible. The parents will return and take up feeding the babies as if they were still in the original nest.

Claim: Tourists who send their dog to a Chinese restaurant’s kitchen to be fed, end up being served their own pooch.

FALSE. This legend is mostly fueled by mistrust of foreigners and their foreign ways. Westerners see these critters as mainly companions. Asian society views these creatures as unproductive and thus as having little intrinsic value. This difference of viewpoints underpins stories playing on the theme of heathen foreigners regarding treasured Western pets as nothing more than foodstuffs. It’s this bit of xenophobia which fuels nasty rumors about Chinese restaurants’ rounding up local cats to turn into chop suey and Koreans being responsible for dog disappearances in any neighborhood they move to.

Looks like everyone is hurting from the economy, even animal rescue agencies. These agencies rely heavily on private donations and are struggling with an unprecedented increase in abandoned animals along with a drop in donations. Many shelters which spay and neuter feral cats, don’t have enough money to help out in the upcoming seasons.

“Donations are down at least 65 percent,” said Lisa Carter, director of the SPCA. “We’re having to think of drastic measures in order to stay afloat. It’s pretty grim. Because of the economy, we’re looking at having to rescue less. More and more people locally are being impacted by the economy.”

The rise in adandoned animals is not a shock. The mild autumn weather is extending the breeding in cats causing many second litters in a years time. Also, with families struggling financially, the cost of keeping a pet is too high causing less adoptions and an increase in animal abandonment.

If you would like to help out, please contact your local shelter and ask how. The Holidays are always the busiest time for them and help would be greatly appreciated.

To find a local shelter, please refer to www.Pets911.com and enter your zip code for a list.

I have decided to do a weekly posting about my life in general. As much as I love writing about animals, I sometimes feel like talking about other things (mostly what’s been happening in my life). Since I don’t feel like doing it all that often- Nor getting another blog for such matters, I have decided to post a weekly (don’t kill me if I skip a week or something) blog about my lifely matters.

So I shall start here and now. This past week was a busy one for me. Not only have I been having to deal with my poor cat and her leukemia but I have had an awful week of work. I worked much overtime and put a lot of my energy into it. I am feeling a bit tired but now am refreshed it is over and have some more down time with myself and my boyfriend. I started reading “Cell” by Stephen King (one of his new ones) and have almost finished it loving every word. It’s got a Zombie/End of the world feel to it (which I love in books/movies, basically any media). I highly recommend it. Also, I have been waiting to go snowboarding… it is finally been cold enough around here and we got a nice chunk of snow… alas this work week cut into my plans to go this past Sunday and I have to plan something this week/weekend hopefully (it was considerably warm today and I am afraid it will be like that tomorrow and melt all of the snow). So yeah, if it wasn’t for work… I may have more interesting things to tell but this is the way life goes… take it or leave it right? And since I am not suicidal… I shall take it. Enjoy the moments you have… I always try to at least. Have a great week everyone and take it easy… that IS something I plan to do this week for sure!

My boyfriend has started a blog… check him out since he is new and all alone in the wordpress community.

JetLagg’s Blog: Who is Dave Dunn

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