The Wasp Tragedy: How Can We Help?

A short article about the value of wasps, how you can discourage their supposed ‘nuisance’ behaviours and how you can help encourage them, other invertebrates and pollinators, and the species that interact with them, in your daily life.

Hated (But Misunderstood) Animals: Final Thoughts

A short summary of the work I did on learning about, and writing about the top ten hated species who really don’t deserve to be.

I reflect on my thoughts and feelings of what I’ve learned about different species, how I felt about it, what it has given me moving forward and give a little personal perspective.

It’s been a genuine project! I can’t even say I put this much effort in when I was an undergrad. And I am changed because of it.

Top Ten Hated (But Misunderstood) Animals – 1 – Wasps

It’s about wasps!

Caturday Special: The Cougar (Puma concolor)

We look at the cougar, or puma, or mountain lion – it’s a cat of many names mainly caused by its wide distribution. It is a big cat, but it is more closely related to small cats, it is absolutely beautiful, it loves the mountains and it rarely attacks people. We also discuss the hybridisation with texan cougar of the Florida Panther, in order to save that sub-population from inbreeding problems.

Top Ten Hated (But Misunderstood) Animals – 2 – The Brown Rat (Rattus norvegicus)

The brown rat (rattus norvegicus) is a beautiful, cute and highly successful creature that has not only become a companion of humans across the world but helps us dispose of our rubbish by eating it, helps maintain our sewers by keeping them clean and clear for their own purposes and has sacrificed uncountable members of its species to further our scientific curiosity.

Yet they are universally hated as a disease-spreading pest, a destroyer of crops, a horrid and beastly home invader and – it’s bollocks. It’s mostly lies, unfounded myth.

This is my rat redemption. It’s time we change the way we think about rats and learn to live alongside them. If for nothing else than the noble sacrifices they have become in our medical services industry.

Top Ten Hated (But Misunderstood) Animals – 3 – The European Herring Gull (Larus argentatus)

Or your native ‘nuisance’ gull species. Where I come from it is mostly the herring gull (Larus argentatus), possibly also the yellow-legged gull (Larus michahellis). In the US they have the American herring gull (Larus smithsonianus). In Australia, the silver gull (Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae). There are lots of gull species and almost every inhabited area hasContinue reading “Top Ten Hated (But Misunderstood) Animals – 3 – The European Herring Gull (Larus argentatus)”

Top Ten Hated (But Misunderstood) Animals – 4 – Vultures

A lengthy essay about the vulture, what it means to us, its historical reputation and the omens and portents it used to bring, it’s modern reputation and what it means to us now. I also look at the conservation and ecological crises of the Indian vulture crisis and the California condor and discuss how the scientific community came together to make a huge difference in terms of discovery and helping numbers.

Top Ten Hated (But Misunderstood) Animals – 5- The Plateau Pika (Ochotona curzoniae) and the European Mole (Talpa europaea)

A lengthy article talking about the similarities in treatment between the European mole (Tapa europaea) and the Plateau Pika (Ochotona curzoniae). They are both a species vital to earth and soil health that benefit and enrich their environments that are considered a pest and a nuisance and are often killed for little or no reason. We explore the animals themselves, their lives and habitats, how our opinions of them were formed and similarities to our behaviours with other species too, like prairie dogs and badgers. We also focus on the ability of humans to form opinions, ideas or myths about animals and also how they can change over time. In the case of these species, changing for the negative, but it also means the reverse is true.

Top Ten Hated (But Misunderstood) Animals – 6- The Aye-Aye (Daubentonia madagascarensis)

Nearly half-way through this list and I want to come clean. This started as a conversation about my love for certain ‘undesirables’ – They’re coming up later, but if I asked you to guess the top few hated but misunderstood animals they’d be on your mind. What I didn’t expect was for my research toContinue reading “Top Ten Hated (But Misunderstood) Animals – 6- The Aye-Aye (Daubentonia madagascarensis)”

Top Ten Hated (But Misunderstood) Animals – 7- The Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes)

A defence of the fox in a PR war that the anti-fox lobby is definitely losing. The UK’s largest predator, a beautiful canid, the red fox, Vulpes vulpes, is a shining example of adaptive success. They are wonderful animals, a true blessing to see in our countryside and our urban environments, a great control of over-abundant rabbits and a consumer of our waste food saving us untold amounts of money on waste disposal. The fox still has a reputation, mainly due to a lobby determined to see it held up as a villain to justify their own bloodsport. Fox hunting is an abhorrent and unjustifiable practice that should be totally banned.