Hares Everywhere (almost)

Hare at a stand

Hare at a stand (Photo credit: birdsaspoetry)

Regarding Hares.

Hares are larger than rabbits and are not as colorful.  One of the characteristics of hares is the black markings on their heads and ears.  Their fur comes in earthy tones such as dark red, different shades of brown, and in the case of the snowshoe hares, white.  Now, you might ask, what is the difference between a rabbit and a hare?  Well, you came to the right place.  The most defining characteristics between rabbits and hares is the stage right after birth.  While rabbits are born in burrows, blind, hairless, and defenseless, hares are born fully furred and with their eyes wide open.  This is partly because hares do not make burrows, so hares must be born ready to take care of themselves.  Although hares are not domesticated like rabbits are, there is one type of rabbit called the “Belgian hare” that has been selectively bred to resemble a hare.   The hare’s natural habitat includes some of the Earasian islands and every continent except Antarctica,  Austalia, and the surrounding islands.  I say “natural” because in the 1900’s a number of hares were transported to an Australian ranch because the owner found joy in hunting them.  To make a long story short, the hares multiplied so fast that he was not able to control the population.  The imported hares overwhelmed the natural wildlife, took over,  none of the predators in the area ate hares, and the hares also carried diseases.  Ultimately the hares were brought under control as more people and predators started to hunt them.  But that just goes to show what can happen if you import just one animal into an Ecosystem.  Hares can also be very beneficial to their environment.  In North America and Europe where over half the hare and rabbit population resides.  Hares serve as replenishable food for humans and animals because of their rapid reproduction and abundance.  Normally a shy animal, the European brown hare changes its behavior in spring, when hares can be seen in broad daylight fighting and chasing one another around meadows; this appears to be competition between males.  But closer observation has revealed it is usually a female hitting a male to prevent copulation.  So in conclusion, hares are a most replenishable and beneficial food source and are part of most healthy ecosystems.

Toxocara Canines

Concerning dogs.

Cute Dog Puppy

Cute Dog Puppy (Photo credit: epSos.de)

Dogs inhabit part of every continent except Antarctica, although dogs were brought there.  Dogs are carnivores even though they can ingest some fruits and vegetables. Carnivores should be fed a diet consisting primarily of fatty meat (not lean meat).  They can eat a reasonable amount of fruits, vegetables, and grains.  Feeding dogs too many plants will make them sickly and too much grain could give them diabetes.  Undoubtedly, dogs come in almost every size and shape imaginable. Varying from the tiny Chihuahua, the hulking Bull Mastiff, to the towering Russian Wolfhound.  Every dog has at least a small amount of fur ranging in color from black to white, with a few exceptions of course.  Interestingly, dogs can either have single or double layered fur.  Dogs with single layer fur do not shed as much, some examples being the Poodle or Chinese crested.  Whereas dogs with double layer fur shed more but are also less susceptible to cold and water (with a water resistant top coat) like Labradors and Saint Bernards.  Some of the benefits of owning a dog are enhanced physical health and psychological wellbeing.  If you own a dog, you are more likely to go for walks, and dogs seem to have a calming effect on humans.

There are also some unbeneficiary acts that we have to take into consideration.  About 4.7 million people were bitten by dogs in the United States last year.  It is undeniable that stray and poorly trained dogs can be quite aggressive no matter what size or breed.  Another unbeneficiary act that a dog can commit is the spread of Toxocara Canis.  Toxocara Canis eggs in dog feces can lead to toxocariasis in humans.  Which, left untreated, can lead to retinal damage and decreased vision.  Around 10,000 cases of Toxocara infections were reported in humans last year and almost 14% of the United States population is infected.  In Great Britan, 24% of soil samples taken from public parks contained T. Canis eggs.  Although uncommon, stray dogs and dogs that are poorly cared for have a lot higher risk of having Toxocara Canis worms and any other parasite or disease.  So to sum up, with the right diet, training, care, and depending on the breed you could have a healthy, good loving friend for up to 20 years or more.

This is a video of a well trained dog (my dog, Osa), we raised her from a puppy and she has great manners and is also very healthy (she is naturally stocky).   http://youtu.be/mBFlmRLqCKw

Yewk! Yewk!

The Osprey.


Osprey (Photo credit: Seokhee Kim)

The Osprey is in the raptor family along with the hawk, eagle, and other birds of prey.  Their diet consists of 99% fish along with a variety of small mammals like rodents, other birds, and amphibians.  They inhabit tropical and mild climates on every continent, except Antarctica, where they can easily reach a body of water.  Being a migratory bird, Ospreys spend the summer months in colder climates like Alaska, Scandinavia, Newfoundland, and North America.  Flying to places like Mexico, North Africa, Malaisia, Southern America, and the Soloman islands in the winter, breeding on the way.  This impressive bird is brown on the upperparts and predominantly grayish on the head and underparts.  The Osprey, along with owls, are the only raptors whose outer toes are reversible, allowing them to grasp their prey with two toes in front and two behind. This is particularly helpful when they grab slippery fish.  Adult males can be distinguished from the females by their slimmer bodies and narrower wings. The breast band of the male is also weaker than that of the female, and the underwing coverts of the male are more uniformly pale.  Not the largest bird, Ospreys weigh 2-4.8 lbs and reach a length of 1-2.6 ft.  They also have a 4-5.7 ft wingspan.  Alternatively titled the fish hawk, sea hawk, and fish eagle.  Their call includes a series of sharp whistles, described as cheep, cheep or yewk, yewk.  If disturbed by activity near their nests, they emit frenzied screeching sounds.  Ultimately, these handsome birds are beneficial in that they help keep the rabbit population down.  Ospreys are not known to spread disease.

To better understand the Osprey, watch this video.  http://youtu.be/Blm8bbiMisA