Thursday, April 29, 2010

End of Blog (For Now)

I've been a bit busy lately, so haven't kept up with blog postings (or cryptozoology news list postings) in the last month.

Because Google is shutting down their FTP service this week, I'll have to end this blog for now; I may add a different blogging platform in the future, but I'll keep the past postings up. For now, if you want to keep up with announcements, join the StrangeArk news list linked above.

I'm trying to finish up Varmints, which will be the next book in the series surveying North American mystery animals. This one focuses on North American mystery carnivores. It should end up between 650 and 700 pages, and is a larger book size than my typical 6x9 formats.

I'm also discussing the possibility of putting together a cryptozoology conference here in the Mid-Atlantic region, possibly this Fall. I still have to work out details, but I'd like to see a conference where researchers can present their work.

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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Japanese Kangaroo Sightings

That about says it all.

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Just a Little Odd

Just some interesting news recently:

A Goliath beetle specimen in a museum had strange round holes, recently recognized as shotgun pellets. The original collector must have caught it on the wing. (News source.)

Interesting article on unconfirmed Knysna (South Africa) elephants here.

More Homo floresiensis news here, and here.

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RIP Wolverine

The sole wolverine in Michigan died, and is undergoing necropsy. (News source.)

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Extinct Birds

Haven't had much time recently to note recent news, so I'm playing catch-up here.

First, a new biological modeling system is being tested to determine whether it is economically feasible to try and save a species after it hasn't been seen in a while. Recent test subjects include the ivorybill and the dodo. (News source.)

California condors have made a nest in Pinnacles National Monument for the first time in 100 years. (News source.)

Scientists have extracted DNA from the eggshells of several extinct birds (moas, elephant birds, etc.). (Abstract)

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Tuesday, March 09, 2010

That Maine Gaboon Viper

A dead Gaboon viper was found stretched across a trail in Saco, Maine. The F&W warden said it was probably released the day before and froze overnight. (News source.)

Since this has now hit the crypto websites, let me add a few points to suggest that not all may be what it seems.

a) "But this one was dead, after succumbing to the cold of even a mild Maine winter night."

So, point one, nobody ever saw the snake alive in the wild.

b) "... the colorful viper stretched almost 5 feet and lay in the trail, much as the snakes do in their native sub-Saharan Africa as they lie in wait for prey."

So, the viper was supposed to be stretched out waiting for prey in March in Maine? With daytime times in the 40-degree range? Seriously? Snakes require heat to digest prey, and Gaboon vipers require far more heat than native snakes in Maine. With cooler temperatures, a Gaboon viper would have crawled off into the woods and disappeared inside a tree, probably to freeze to death and never be found again. Instead, this snake was found dead, stretched in a hiking trail where it was most likely to be spotted?

c) Gaboon vipers of this size and coloration are worth a few hundred bucks. Why release it when it wouldn't be hard to find a hobbyist (in another state, sure, to be legal) to take it off your hands? This isn't a 15-foot Burmese python, which is a bit more difficult to find appropriate-sized caging for.

A far more likely scenario: someone in Maine (illegally) owned a Gaboon viper that died on them. So, to create a prank, they stretched it out on a walking path.

And, while we're at it, let's note the idiotic statement of the Maine F&W warden:

"'They're not legal in Maine. You could not get a permit for that,' Spahr said. 'I don't even know if they would be legal in the U.S.'
"He said such a snake would probably have to be purchased on the black market or on the Internet."

No, Gaboon vipers are not "illegal in the U.S." A simple internet search (and some common sense) would show that. No, the snake would not "probably have to be purchased on the black market." They are perfectly legal to purchase in many states, including here in Pennsylvania. Gaboons are often available at the venomous-included reptile shows. Venomous snakes are not good pets for everyone, but neither are many other animals that can still be kept safely and humanely by responsible pet owners.

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Sunday, March 07, 2010

Ebu Gogo Tourist Scam

Some Indonesians are cashing in on the Homo floresiensis interest by offering to take visitors to look at "Ebu Gogo" -- in reality just some really short local people. (News source.)

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New Orangutan Population in Sumatra

A new population of orangutans has been discovered in the Batan Toru forest in northern Sumatra. (News source.)

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Octopus Mimicry

An Atlantic longarmed octopus has been videotaped mimicking a flounder.

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More Florida Monkey Capers

It's been tranqued twice, but still escaped capture... (News source, and here.)

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NY Cougar Research

Some information in the news about cougar sightings in Allegany County, NY.

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Rediscovered Frog

An Australian frog thought extinct for 30 years has been rediscovered. (News source.)

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Monday, March 01, 2010

Mangy Raccoon

Here are pics of what is apparently a raccoon with a bad case of mange, caught in Oklahoma.

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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Future Changes

Just a note, I may have to make some changes about blogging due to Google (who owns Blogger) deciding they were not going to continue supporting FTP service for self-hosted blogs. As I have no intention of moving to Blogger's hosting, this means that a) I will have to migrate to something like WordPress, which I'm not sure I want to fool around with, or b) drop the blogging and just continue to send the news bits to the StrangeArk email list, while focusing on building up the StrangeArk site. (Though, at present, don't really have time to do much more article creation -- too many irons in the fire. Actually, I was working on an article for BioFortean Review today on an overlooked mystery animal, then realized how long it was going to be, so decided to save it for a chapter in a book. Guess I'll have to start coming up with more lesser-known cryptids for a general mystery animal collection.)

Ticks & Disease

An interesting article on tick-borne diseases here.

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Javan Leopards

A new population of Javan leopards has been discovered in one of the island's parks. (News source.)

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Komodo Dragon Attack

A Komodo Island park ranger somehow got involved when a Komodo dragon chased a monkey, and ended up getting bit himself. (News source.)

[Additional: A bit more info here.]

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New Maskray

A new species of ray has been discovered in Ningaloo Marine Park. (News source.)

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