Animal Wisdom: Connecting People and Animals

A blog encouraging deeper relations between people and animals.

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Login
    Login Login form

Mammals and Elements: Air and Water

Without air, there would be no life. Air is the essence of life. On Venus, the gasses are too inhospitable for life as we know it. The gas giants of Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus have liquid nitrogen for an atmosphere, and are considered to be lifeless. Only Earth and Mars which have atmospheres seem to be capable of sustaining life. As an atmosphere, air keeps the heat in, and converts water gasses into liquid. This enables life to flourish. As the wind blows the seeds to the ready earth, so it also brings rain clouds to dry areas.

 Grey Squirrel
Agile and alert, the grey squirrel remains active throughout the year. Chattering on tree branches, she amuses people who watch her antics. What people do not know is that the grey squirrel was a creature of the virgin forests of North America. She is one of the few mammals who adapted to cities. In winter, the grey squirrel eats tree bark and nuts that she stored in the fall. She locates these stored nuts by smell. Any acorns that the grey squirrel does not find will grow into trees for future squirrel homes. She is at home in the trees.

 Tree Hyrax (Tree Dassie)
One of the dominant arboreal mammals in Africa is the tree hyrax. Living high in the tree canopy, the tree hyrax has a small area of the forest that is his, usually a single tree. Contorting his body, he navigates the “branch ways” of the rain forests with great agility. In the upper levels of the African jungles, he lives quite comfortably.

What people notice the most about the tree hyrax is his screaming match with other tree hyraxes at night. Starting at dusk, he calls from his tree, using a low ringing sound. Repeating this sound, the tree hyrax’s calls become louder and harsher. Finally, he screams out unearthly sounds, which resembles metal scraping against metal. Then silence falls in the jungle. After a while, other tree dassies answer Him. As the night deepens, silence once again covers the forest. Air for the tree hyrax means communication.

When you think of Australia, you think of the koala. Living in eucalyptus trees, this marsupial reminded arriving Europeans of a small bear. However, the koala is not a relative of the bear; in fact her closest relative is the wombat. She lives almost exclusively in the top branches of an eucalyptus tree. Her strong legs and sharp claws help the koala grip the tree trunk. When she is tired, the koala sleeps in a fork of a tree, and later feeds at night on the tree’s leaves. Koala leads people into the land of dreams.

Without water, people plants, and animals could not live for very long. Because our bodies are made mostly of water, we need it to sustain us. Places without water are dry and lifeless for only water provides life for the barren land to become fertile.

It is hard to believe that sailors once mistook the manatee and her cousin the dugong for mermaids. These sole remaining members of the Sirenia family are more like small blimps than beautiful women. The manatee keeps vital waterways such as the Amazon River basin free of vegetation by consuming large amounts of food. With her front flippers, she grasps the vegetation and munches to her heart's content. When the manatee is done munching, she walks on her flippers to find more food at the bottom. Through her actions, she keeps the water flowing.

Denning in trees, the raccoon feeds along the waterways, hunting as she swims. What people think is the raccoon washing her food is actually a form of hunting. All she needs is water to help her find her food by touch. Called “arakumen,” by the Algonquin Indians, the raccoon, “the little hand scratcher,” picks up things in her hands to examine them by feeling. The Aztecs called the female raccoon, cioatlamacasque (“She who talks with the Gods”). Because raccoons handle everything, they referred to the male raccoon as mapachitli (“One who takes everything in his hands”). The raccoon knows the many ways of water magic.

Living in the boreal forest, the moose has a strict feeding schedule that he follows. For the maintenance of his huge antlers, the moose makes energy efficient choices. A boreal forest specialist, the moose feeds on berries, twigs, and bark. He regulates his nutritional intake to take advantage of the marshy and aquatic plants in his territory. To get to the tasty plants, the moose dives down in the lakes. He can often be seen in boggy areas munching on plants. For the moose, “Water is Life.”

(Known as “moose” in North America, he is called “elk” in Europe and Asia. (North American elk (Wapiti) in Europe is “red deer.”))

Last modified on
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.  


Additional information