Animal Wisdom: Connecting People and Animals

A blog encouraging deeper relations between people and animals.

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Virginia Carper

Virginia Carper

Virginia Carper, a Roman Polytheist, lives in the Washington D.C. area with her family. She navigates life with a traumatic brain injury which gives her a different view on life. An avid naturalist since childhood, she has a blog called “Nature’s Observations.” Having experienced the animals directly, she teaches on-line classes about the spiritual and natural aspect of animals. She has published articles on her brain injury, Roman polytheism, and working with extinct animals. In addition her writings on animals (including dragons and other mythic creatures) can be purchased her book site, Animal Teachers.  

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
THE DOMESTIC CAT: Equanimity

Bred from the more social African wildcat, the domestic cat has been a part of people’s lives since before the time of the ancient Egyptians. Remains of the domestic cats were found, on the island of Cyprus, dating from 8000 B.C.E. Unlike her elusive cat cousins, African Wildcat liked living close to towns and villages. The domestic cat, like her ancestor, is tamer and less secretive than most wildcats. She socializes with people, however like a true cat, only on her terms.

Living in a social hierarchy, the domestic cat forms close friendships. In her family group (kindle), the domestic cat sits with and nose-bumps her friends. By rubbing her body against other cats, She reinforces the bonds of her Kindle. (A cat that is rubbed the most is the highest-ranking cat.) 

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Cold-Blooded Ones: Sensitivity to One’s Environment

The Cold-Blooded Ones are called that because they lack the ability to keep warm by using their bodies. Since these animals need to regulate their body temperatures, the Cold-Blooded Ones use their environment to help them do this. A turtle will find a sunny spot to bask in. A salamander will move under a rock for warmth. Toads will bury themselves in the dirt. Snakes prefer living in rocky dens for warmth and under leafy bushes for coolness.

Reptiles are one of the most ancient forms of life, and also one of the most adaptable. Both the turtles and crocodiles have survived the dinosaurs, while remaining the nearly same today as they were in the past. In addition, crocodiles are distant relatives to birds and dinosaurs. Snakes and lizards have expanded the ways that reptiles adapt to their environment. Snakes lost their legs, while lizards adapted to life in the ocean. Meanwhile, worm-lizards (ringed lizards) have evolved to burrow underground by using their heads.

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  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert says #
    Lovely and informative, thank you.
Firefly (Lightning Bug) Family: Recapture the Wonder

World-wide, people have marveled at the flashing lights of fireflies on warm nights. These beetles are called many names: blinkies, glowworms, moon bugs, and lightning bugs. All these names reflect the quality of fireflies’ bioluminescence to communicate.

These remarkable insects have the most efficient light in the world. Their “cold light” consists of the luciferase enzyme which acts on the luciferin in the presence of magnesium, ATP, and oxygen. The adults flash to speak with each other and to find mates. Even firefly eggs and larvae glow, as a warning to predators. They tell predators that they taste lousy.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Chipmunk: Wise Use of Resources

The Chipmunk, a small striped-rodent, is a member of the Squirrel Family. Scientists usually divide the twenty five species of chipmunks into three groups – the Western Chipmunks (the largest group): Nectamias, the Eastern Chipmunk: Tamias, and the Siberian Chipmunk: Eutamias. The root “tamis” is Greek for steward, which reflects this species’ role in plant dispersal.

Chipmunk is named for her call – “chip-chip,” which sounds like a shrill bird-like chirp. Besides the chip-chip, She also employs a deep chuck, a trill, and a high-pitched startle call. Upon hearing her faint high chip, a dog’s ears will perk up. By the time the dog reacts, Chipmunk will be safe underground.

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Winged-Ones: Living in the Moment

Birds fascinate people. Many people set out feeders to attract birds to their gardens. Others travel long distances to spot a particular bird. People watch birds fly, perch in trees, and sing to each other. What is it about birds that draw humans to them? Many will tell you they love birds for the joy they bring.

Birds teach living in the moment. A flash of brightly colored feathers, then they are gone. The sight of a condor soaring in the sky makes people pause and watch. Crows amuse on-lookers with their antics. A lonely call of the loon fills those who hear with longing. Constantly in motion, birds teach humans to live in the moment.

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The Loch Ness Monster: The “Unknown Unknowables”

Stories about monsters lurking in deep lakes abound worldwide. Noted cryptozoologists (Note 1) Loren Coleman and Patrick Huyghe have collected these stories and analyzed them. They believe that the 1933 sighting of the Loch Ness Monster (Note 2) ignited the public’s interest in Lake Monsters. Now sightings of these beasts are reported regularly worldwide. Meanwhile, “Nessie,” as the Loch Ness Monster is now known as, has entered popular culture as an endearing character.

Loch Ness is a tectonic lake that lies on the Great Glen Fault Line. Long and narrow, it was gouged deep by receding glaciers. This area is seismically active, which makes searching for any Lake Monster difficult. Add to this difficulty is the deepness of the lake that hinders extensive searches.

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Slow Loris: Experiencing the World of Smell

The Slow Loris (Nycticebus coucang) moves at a leisurely pace through the forests of Southeast Asia. With her slow and steady hand-over-hand movements, Slow Loris deliberately goes from tree top to tree top. Since She often hangs upside down as well, naturalists first believed that Slow Loris was a relative of the sloth of the Americas. Instead, She is a prosimian, a forerunner of monkeys.

As an omnivore, Slow Loris feeds on leaves, insects and small lizards. Using her keen sense of smell, She hunts at night for insects that are poisonous to many animals. Following the scent trail, Slow Loris tracks the insect. Moving unhurriedly, She sneaks up on her victim unnoticed. Then holding onto one branch with her hind foot, Slow Loris quietly reaches out and grabs her prey with her fingers.

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