Category Archives: Animal Encounters

They Are Armored For A Reason… Stay Away!

A new study done on a possible link between (oddly enough) Armadillos and Leprosy, or Hansen’s Disease, came back with some sad news for Armadillo lovers…

Apparently people who have either handled or consumed Armadillo may be at risk for leprosy. The following is a snippet from the New York Times:

Armadillos have never been among the cuddly creatures routinely included in petting zoos, but on Wednesday federal researchers offered a compelling reason to avoid contact with the armored animals altogether: They are a source of leprosy infections in humans. Using genetic sequencing machines, researchers were able to confirm that about a third of the leprosy cases that arise each year in the United States almost certainly result from contact with infected armadillos. The cases are concentrated in Louisiana and Texas, where some people hunt, skin and eat armadillos. Leprosy, also known as Hansen’s disease, is an ancient scourge that has largely disappeared, but each year about 150 to 250 people in the United States and 250,000 in the world contract the illness. As long as the disease is identified relatively quickly, treatment with antibiotics — a one- to two-year regimen with three different drugs — offers an effective cure. But every year dozens of people in the United States do not recognize their skin lesions for what they are early enough and suffer lifelong nerve damage as a result.- New York Times


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It's Groundhog Day!!

“Groundhog Day, February 2nd, is a popular tradition in the United States. It is also a legend that traverses centuries, its origins clouded in the mists of time with ethnic cultures and animals awakening on specific dates. Myths such as this tie our present to the distant past when nature did, indeed, influence our lives. It is the day that the Groundhog comes out of his hole after a long winter sleep to look for his shadow.

1. If he sees his shadow, he regards it as an omen of six more weeks of bad weather and returns to his hole.

2. If the day is cloudy and, hence, shadowless, he takes it as a sign of spring and stays above ground.

The groundhog tradition stems from similar beliefs associated with Candlemas Day and the days of early Christians in Europe, and for centuries the custom was to have the clergy bless candles and distribute them to the people. Even then, it marked a milestone in the winter and the weather that day was important.

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Protect Your Best Friend From A Potentially Fatal Situation

We love our pets, no doubt about it. We take care of them and do our best to protect them when at all possible. But what happens if your dog or cat is bitten by a Rattlesnake? If you live or frequent areas that have these slithering savages, then a vaccine may be in order.

My family owns a ranch in the hills an hour and a half from a veterinary hospital. As the owner of a boarder collie that herds cattle at our ranch and is VERY active and curious, I knew this vaccine was necessary. The Rattlesnake Vaccine gives my pup a fighting chance should she come in contact with a rattlesnake.

In 2003 Red Rock Biologics created a Rattlesnake vaccine to help dogs and cats build up the antibodies that will ultimately help them to fight off the infection that occurs when bitten. It is not a lifesaver, but it does give them a fighting chance especially in instances like mine where I may not be able to get my dog to a vet immediately.

So if you are in a rattlesnake area where you live, where you hike or walk your dog, where you like to go camping or where you hunt with your dog, then consider this inexpensive vaccine. To learn more about this great vaccine visit Rattlesnake Vaccines For Dogs and talk to your Vet. Shots run about $20 per shot and after the intial shot a booster shot is given within 30 days of the first shot and a booster is given 1-2 times a year depending on how often your pet is exposed. $40 a year can help save your pet from a lot of pain and save you from a very expensive vet bill.


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The Sweetest Little Deer

This amazing little deer was delivered by C-section at a local wildlife hospital after his mother was killed by a car and they were unable to save her. This little guy whom the hospital calls Rupert is a mere 6-inches tall and weighs just over 1-pound. He spends his days in an incubator and is fed through a tube but is lucky to be alive. At five days old staff members at the Buckinghamshire wildlife hospital predict that Rupert will make a full recovery and lead a happy healthy life.  It’s such a great thing when though we can’t save them all we can save some. Wildlife hospitals do their best to help save the lives of millions of animals that suffer injuries due to humans and natural disasters alike.


Posted by on January 6, 2011 in Animal Encounters


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Piebald Deer- What are they?

A piebald is an animal, usually a horse, that has a spotting pattern of large white and black patches. The color of the horse’s skin underneath the coat may vary between black (under the black patches of hair) and pink (under the white patches).  Many animals also exhibit discoloration of the irises that match the surrounding skin. This condition also occurs in white-tailed deer. Not to be confused with Albino deer.

A genetic variation, or defect,  produces the piebald condition in white-tailed deer. Piebald deer have white and brown patches similar to a pinto pony. Many of them appear to be almost all white. In addition to this strange coloration, many carry some of these defects: bowing of the nose, short legs, arching spine, and short lower jaws. It is very rare to see a whitetail deer with this syndrome, less than 1% have it. Humans get a similar condition commonly known as Vitiligo.


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Wildlife commission poised to approve Nevada’s first bear hunting season

Nevada wildlife commissioners are poised to approve the first bear hunting season in state history Saturday following an impassioned hearing Friday in Reno.

Dozens of people testified to the Nevada Board of Wildlife Commissioners, with supporters insisting the state’s black bear population can safely support a hunting season. Nevada is the only western state that prohibits bear hunting.

But the idea has many detractors, some of whom begged commissioners not to proceed with a plan they call cruel and unnecessary.

With game wardens standing to enforce order, shouts of “murderers” and “killers” were issued by some audience members after comments made by commissioners at the close of Friday’s meeting made it apparent the idea will probably be approved when the panel reconvenes Saturday.

No details about seasons or quotas have yet been determined, but early proposals called for seasonal hunting of about 20 bears, said Carl Lackey, a biologist with the Nevada Department of Wildlife.

Nevada has a core bear population of between 200 and 300, mostly clustered at Lake Tahoe and adjoining areas of the Carson Range, Lackey said. The number could be higher counting bears living in other areas such as the Wassuk and Sweetwater ranges to the south, Lackey said.

Too read more please visit the Reno Gazette Journal website


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An Interesting Tidbit about Black Snakes

Some of you may have heard from an elder “Don’t kill Black Snakes”. You may have thought, oh it’s an old wives tale or that’s just one of those strange sayings that only make sense to people over 70. Well no matter where it originated or what the purpose is…. this may answer your questions and concerns.

The fact is that Black Snakes kill poisonous snakes. Don’t believe it? Check out these photos that Bill captured last summer. He says the rattlesnake was still rattling his tail all the way down. This snake is a Texas Indigo Snake and among the many things it consumes, rattlesnakes are one.

Guess granny knew what she was talkin bout!

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Posted by on December 1, 2010 in Animal Encounters


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A Rare Sight Indeed…

These are images of a rare Albino Moose taken near the Wisconsin Minnesota boarder. The rarest sight to be seen is that there are two seen together. A one in a million shot! We just thought we’d share it with you.

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Posted by on November 24, 2010 in Animal Encounters


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Chronic Wasting Disease- A Cervid Nightmare

Chronic wasting disease, or CWD, is a member of the transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) family of brain diseases that affects deer and elk in North America. Even scientists on the front lines of research don’t fully understand TSE diseases. The biggest theory to date is that an abnormal type of protein called a prion, which acts upon normal proteins in the brain and causes them to form toxic aggregates that destroy brain cells and tissue, causes this disease. The brain tissue becomes riddled with sponge-like holes, hence the term spongiform. These diseases can be transmitted from animal to animal, although in most cases, scientists are not certain how it occurs. It is similar to the widely know “Mad Cow Disease” or Bovine spongiform encephalopathy, that was all over the news not so long ago. The disease causes animals to look as if they are wasting away, appearing to be skin and bones.

It was first discovered in captive cervids at a wildlife research facility near Fort Collins, Colorado, in 1977 by a group of scientists. Shortly thereafter, it appeared in mule deer at a sister research station near Wheatland, Wyoming. It is unknown if CWD existed in the wild before, but it has now been found in a 14,600-square-mile area of Wyoming, Colorado, and a small part of Nebraska. In this area the disease affects about 15 percent of mule deer and 1-2 percent of elk. To the south of this area, which is the heart of the infection,  it is said that infection rates have been seen as high as 30 percent which is the highest rate of infection of any other TSE.

Most of the outbreaks are believed to be related to game farms and the spread of the disease is quite slow. Starting in 2002 random testing has been occurring in harvested (hunted) deer and elk. Though it’s spread has reached several states including Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, Mississippi, Michigan, New York, Oklahoma, Illinois, West Virginia, Montana, Nebraska, Kansas and two Canadian Provinces, it is unclear that harvested meat has had any affect on human consumption. There is still a lot to learn about this terrible disease. To learn more about CWD here are some more articles from Field & Stream Magazine click here.


Posted by on October 28, 2010 in Animal Encounters


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An Old Bear Gets A Second Chance

A bear was walking across Rainbow Bridge ( Old Hwy 40 at Donner Summit , Truckee ) on Saturday when two cars, also crossing the bridge, scared the bear into jumping over the edge of the bridge.  Somehow the bear caught the ledge and was able to pull itself to safety. Authorities decided that nothing could be done to help Saturday night so they returned Sunday morning to find the bear sound asleep on the ledge.

After securing a net under the bridge the bear was tranquilized, fell into the net, lowered, then woke up and walked out of the net. There is a moral to this story you know; this old bear made a wrong move and found he was hanging by his nails. Somehow he was able to pull himself up onto the ledge where he saw he was in a very bad, impossible situation and what did he do? Yep, he took a nap and sure enough when he woke up life was good again.


Posted by on October 22, 2010 in Animal Encounters


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