Elephant Artist–Is This for Real?

This is one of the most extraordinary things I’ve ever seen–a young elephant creating honest-to-Pete representational art. Not just splashing colors around: no–real, recognizable pictures. No hands, of course.

How can this be? I’ve watched this several times and it baffles me, but good. Feel free to offer an explanation!

Weird! Colombia Has a… Hippo Problem

Here are some hippo/human interactions from Africa. Don’t run slowly!

Usually “invasive species” are insect pests, reptiles, or fish. But Colombia has a problem with invasive… hippos (https://www.newsweek.com/colombia-goes-war-pablo-escobar-hippos-1840818)!

A wealthy drug lord–who was shot to death by police in 1993–brought in four hippos from Africa to grace his estate. The hippos escaped and wound up in the wild; and today there are 160 of them.

The government would sterilize them, but that costs $10,000 a pop and the hippos don’t like it. Dealing with an angry hippo can be more than slightly dangerous.

Or they’ll ship ’em out to other countries–provided any other countries want them.

Meanwhile, the hippos are happily having babies and expanding their range. So far there haven’t been any perilous brushes with human beings. But that could change. In Africa, hippos kill more people a year than lions or crocodiles do.

We’re going to wind up with some very strange ecosystems if we don’t watch out.

God’s Stuff: Pet Mice

How to Train Your Mouse to Play with You

Mice can be found almost anywhere. Their high intelligence enables them to adapt to all sorts of unfamiliar conditions. And they make good pets, too. I’ve had many of them.

I used to take some of my mice downstairs, where I would lie down on the carpeted floor and release the mouse into the living room. I know, I know–what was I thinking? The mouse could have darted under the couch and somehow disappeared. But they never did.

Instead, the mouse would explore a little and then come scampering back to me. Always! Think about that. We humans never get to interact with living things that much bigger than ourselves. What must we look like, to a mouse? A blue whale with glasses?

Our creator also created mice–and for some reason, despite all our problems with wild mice, He created us to be compatible: pet mice can be very affectionate. For something that small to love and trust something that big–well, we never would have thought of it, would we?

I also had a mouse who used to groom my mustache. What that was like for her, I’ll never imagine.

A Different Kind of Bunny

I guess you’ve got to go out West to see these in the wild: the American pika likes rocky, rough terrain. They’re related to rabbits, but look more like a cross between a hamster and a teddy bear. I wonder if they’re good company.

Yes, You Can Ride a Rhino

10 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW: Today's guide to the obscure ...

See? Easy as pie!

Jean-Pierre Hallet, a one-time Belgian colonial official in Central Africa, believed that just about any animal could be won over with kindness and patience. To prove it, he tamed an adult rhinoceros. He named it Pierrot and used to ride on its back. There was also a ball game they could play together. We’ve seen several videos of baby rhinos playing with humans: maybe they don’t grow out of the urge to play.

Hallet wrote some best-selling books in the 1960s, and I had the pleasure of meeting him. He was a very big man. Maybe the rhino should’ve been riding him.

Nature: A Wolf Spider’s Babies

I have to confess to a touch of arachnophobia. But you have to admire the mother wolf spider’s care for her babies. Please honk if you have counted the babies. Imagine having to care for that many at once!

If a baby should fall off, the mother spider stops what she’d doing to look for it and get it back onto her back. You have to admire that.

This is Mr. Nature with a little bit of God’s stuff–a spider that parents like a mammal. Be kind: these spiders eat nothing but bugs that we’d just as soon be rid of.


Imagine you’re out in a rowboat at night, fishing under a full moon. And you’ve hooked into something hefty, you’re reeling it in, eager to see what you’ve caught–

And this is the face that comes up from the water!

The Asian sheepshead wrasse: I guess you could say it has personality.

Why Do Bees Sting?

30,000+ Flower With Bee Pictures | Download Free Images on Unsplash

It’s damp and overcast again today, but that hasn’t stopped the bees. Here the bumblebees are out in force, busy with our bumper crop of wildflowers. And I know one or two persons who think the bees are out to get them and it quite unsettles them. They’re afraid of getting stung.

But bees don’t sting out of mere cussedness, although I’ve known wasps to sting for no apparent reason. Bees, though, die when they sting; and that deprives the hive of a worker. So they only sting when they think they have to.

Naturally, bees will sting to defend their hive and their queen. They’ll also sting if you actively molest them, or if they get attracted to bright clothing and somehow get caught in your shirt: it’s self-defense.

I’ve got bees all around me when I sit outside to write. This time of year, we have a lot of flowers and thus a multitude of bees. But I’ve never been stung. Why should I be? Bumblebees, honeybees, and little native bees abound here. I like watching them.

Where I grew up, on the other side of town, the wasps and yellowjackets would sting you just for the halibut. But I’ve been here forty-plus years and never been stung.

For the most part, it’s simple: don’t bother the bees, and they won’t bother you.

Finally… Sunshine!

Macro of a bumblebee sucking pollen from wild white flowers Stock Photo - Alamy

Yesterday it felt like it was just going to keep on raining forever, here in New Jersey–buckets and buckets of it, starting last Friday. Or was it Thursday? Anyway, it was an awful lot of rain, under dark and dreary skies. It had to have been at least ten inches of rain.

But today it’s finally sunny, I got to write outside. Stands of white wildflowers have sprung up all around the yard and the bees were out in force today–bumblebees, honeybees, and the little native bees–collecting nectar and spreading pollen.

We often take these things for granted; but it’d be wiser and happier to appreciate their beauty. We have so many wildflowers here! In all different colors.

Remember to thank God for his handiwork. He didn’t have to create beauty. But He did… and that should tell us something.

‘Mr. Nature: A Scorpion Friend You Didn’t Know You Had’ (2018)

Here you can see how small they are; and a lot of them are smaller still.

Although they can be found in many, if not most, houses, you’ve probably never seen one of these pseudo-scorpions. They’re very small and they stay out of the way.

Mr. Nature: A Scorpion Friend You Didn’t Know You Had

But they eat bedbugs and moth larvae! Doing without the pseudo-scorpions may be a lot more trouble than it’s worth. Probably the only time you’ll see one is if it falls into your sink or bathtub and can’t get out because the porcelain’s too slippery.

If that happens, it would be the deed of a kind and generous heart to scoop the little fellow out on a sheet of toilet paper and let him someplace where he can go back to being practically invisible.