Did you know . . . Anteaters prefer termites

Its food consists mainly of termites, which it obtains by opening nests with its powerful sharp front claws. As the insects swarm to the damaged part of their dwelling, it draws them into its mouth by means of its long, flexible, rapidly moving tongue covered with sticky saliva.

  • Their tongue can be flicked up to 150-160 times or more per minute.
  • Giant anteaters have a two-foot-long tongue and huge salivary glands that produce copious amounts of sticky saliva when they feed.
  • They have small spikes on their tongue that help keep the ants and other insects on the tongue while they are swept into the anteater’s mouth, where they are crushed against the hard palate.
  • What we call an anteater’s nose is actually an elongated jaw with a small, black, moist nose, like a dog’s nose
  • A full-grown giant Anteater eats upwards of 30,000 ants and termites a day and also eat ripe fruit if they find it on the ground.
  • The Giant Anteater and regular anteaters have no teeth. Their physical digestion is aided by the pebbles and debris that they consume when they ingest insects.
  • The giant Anteater lives above ground. The anteater finds a place to sleep, curls up, and covers itself with its bushy tail. 

The female produces one offspring per birth. During much of its first year of life, a young Anteater will ride on its mother’s back. It is generally acknowledged that giant Anteaters have a poor sense of sight but a keen sense of smell. Their sense of smell has been estimated to be some 40 times stronger than that of humans.

Doggone Good Butterflies

When monarch butterflies wing their way south to central Mexico each fall, they use the sun to ensure that they stay on course. But how they head in the right direction on cloudy days has been a mystery.

 

It’s not unusual for animals engaged in long-distance migrations, including sea turtles and birds, to use an internal magnetic compass to get to where they’re going. But whether monarch butterflies have a similar ability had previously been unclear: Some studies had found weak evidence for a magnetic compass, while others found none at all.

It turns out the butterflies do use Earth’s magnetic field as a type of backup navigational system.

A paper published in the journal Nature Communications finally puts the issue to rest: The famous black-and-orange butterflies do, in fact, use a magnetic compass.

Researchers also found the reason for past conflicting evidence: The insects need ultraviolet [UV] light, which can penetrate cloud cover to power their magnetic compass—some of the previous studies didn’t provide the requisite illumination.

Butterflies may look fragile but evidence suggests otherwise:

  • North American painted ladies lay their eggs in the deserts near the Mexican border.
  • The orange butterflies, called painted ladies travel annually from the deserts of Southern California to the Pacific Northwest.
  • The butterfly, which is frequently mistaken for the monarch because of the similar colors, can move as fast a 25 mph and can go for days without stopping,

  • It can migrate up to 2,500 miles over mountains, seas and deserts and can travel at a much higher altitude than other insects.

  • The painted lady is one of the most pervasive butterfly species in the world and is found on every continent except Antarctica and South America, according to National Geographic.
  • Scientists estimate the migrating  painted ladies number in the millions.

 

Freddie’s Friday’s Fantastic Finds

NOT Freddie, Male ModelDear all my dearest fans,

SInce retiring Peggy & Judy (hereby referred to as P & J) have not been able to keep me in the style in which I prefer to be kept.  Gourmet doggie treats, doggie day care and trips to the salon are not, so they say,  in their Social-Security-check budget (Social Security, it seems, is neither very social nor secure . ..  for canines).

I thought about crowd-funding but have settled on T-shirts.  They require no ironing and are user-friendly (the T-shirts as well as P & J).

Please buy my T-shirts. click here zazzle.com/store/curioustothemax.  They make wonderful Canine Companion Clothing for all  dog and human-walking.  I promise to use all the proceeds for MY DOGGONE GOOD.

Frankly,

Freddie Parker Westerfield, CCE

Certified Canine Entrepreneur

https://www.zazzle.com/store/curioustothemax

Fur Fun: Life Lessons from Noah’s Ark

  1. Don’t miss the boat.

  2. Remember that we are all in the SAME boat.

  3. Plan ahead.  It wasn’t raining when Noah built the Ark.

  4. Stay fit.  When you’re 600 years old, someone may ask you to do something REALLY big.

  5. Don’t listen to critics; just get on with the job that needs to be done.

  6. Build your future on high ground.

  7. For safety sake, travel in pairs.

  8. Speed isn’t always an advantage.  The snails were on board with the cheetahs.

  9. When you’re stressed, float a while

  10. Remember, the Ark was built by amateurs; the Titanic by professionals.

  11. No matter the storm, when you are with God, there’s always a rainbow waiting.

However,

The woodpecker might have to go!

Happiness Hack: Maui Had a Ball-You Can, Too

“Happiness Hacks”  are quick and easy ways, based on scientific research, to lift your mood. We are compiling them into a book, but want to share them here with you.

“Maui’s Mini Tail”

Maui had a yellow ball.

Maui loved to chase a small yellow ball around the house. He would grab it with his paws and throw it up in the air, or bat it across the floor!  He loved  playing with the yellow ball, constantly chasing it around the house and batting it across the room.

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I should have learned a thing about feeling good from Maui but it took a book to teach me what Maui knew.

Peggy had a beach ball

When I was working with patients with major mental health problems (Schizophrenia, severe depression, manic depression), I read The Biopsychology of Mood & Arousal by Richard Thayer. I was surprised to learn that if you do a brisk activity for only 10 min, your mood goes up and stays up for 4 hours. It sounded almost too easy.  I found  a beach ball to put it to the test.

At the beginning of the next patient’s group therapy session I  asked everyone to rate their current mood on a scale of 1 to 10. One = horrible/awful/terrible/bad. Ten = wonderful/elated/ joyful/good.

I tossed the beach ball in the air and everyone joined in batting the ball to each other.  Sometimes we missed, sometimes we got hit in the head, but everyone swung at the ball, waved their hands around and had a little exercise.   AFTER 10 MINUTES we stopped and rated mood again.

Take a look at the chart below showing how each patient rated their mood at the beginning of the session, in blue, and where each patient rated their mood after tossing the ball for 10 minutes,  in green.

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Would the mood elevation last? After 3 1/2 hours, everyone rated their mood again.  All moods were still up with one exception. It had worked making my own mood elevated.

The chart below shows each patients mood before the ball toss started,  in blue, and where each patient rated their mood after 3 1/2 hours, in purple.

hourslaterchartThe average improvement in mood was 30%! In TEN MINUTES.

Of course, negative events can bring mood down again. (as happened to the one patient – letter i – in the group) but this is one of my favorite “tricks” to stay happy.

Maui always knew . . .  playing ball is good for you.

THE SCIENCE 

In his 1989 book The Biopsychology of Mood and Arousal, Robert E. Thayer discusses how 10 minutes of brisk exercise improves mood for four hours.  He describes how each of us has a daily biorhythm of ups and downs in energy (There’s a chart in the book on how to  figure out your own biorhythm).

Exercise is shown to boost endorphins and the neurotransmitter norepinephrine both of which improve mood.

Not only does exercise grow your muscles, it also grows neurons in your brain. Such neuron growth is associated with improved mood.  Research shows:

Regular exercise can relieve depression just as well as medication over a 4 month period, and even better after 6 months.

I personally use this concept to get and keep my own  mood up.  Ten minutes of activity is a cheap price for creating 4 hours of feeling good (or at the very least, feeling ok).

(Peggy)

How do you elevate your mood?  Let us know in the comments.

Click here for Time article It’s All in the Nerves: How to Really Treat Depression 

 

Our Inspiration – Maui and the Healing Power of the Brain

Anyone who has ever had a pet or watched wild critters knows animals are inspirational (I’m told there are even people who find reptiles, insects and other vermin fascinating – myself . . . I prefer mammals . . . but who’s to say . . .).

I’ve had a horse, Misty, dogs and cats.  My last kitty Maui, long after his passing, has been particularly inspirational:

  • Maui inspired me to write his story as a book to help children know that they too can flourish with patience and persistence.
  • Maui’s story is proof the brain, YOURS and mine, is capable of “rewiring” and “repatterning”. 

To read Maui’s story click here

  • Maui inspired Judy and I to create MAXyourMIND (formerly Catnipblog) to share neuroscience research and how we can all live better, healthier lives harnessing the power of our own minds.

Maui was part Siamese and lived up to the breed’s reputation of being intelligent, playful, social and quite mischievous.  

Maui

I named him for the jokester god of the Hawaiian islands. What happened to him was no joke.

When Maui was 11 years old, he had a  blocked ureter.  The treating vet told me Maui would not live.  I brought him home and helplessly watched Maui do nothing but lay on the floor with his chin on his favorite water bowl.  He didn’t eat for days and his back legs were weak.
One day Maui couldn’t move his back legs at all. The vet had neglected to tell me that cats not eating for 3 days or more can lead to heart problems which can result in a clot that blocks the femoral artery. The blockage causes the back legs to not function.  A permanent condition.

 The vet repeated Maui could die at any time and suggested putting him down. I was distraught.

Hope against hope, I took Maui home and helplessly watched him drag around with his two front legs.  It took him one human year or 7 cat years to rewire his brain and regain use of his back legs.

Maui taught me first hand about persistence, resiliency and how with patience the brain can be retrained  . . .  and the paws will follow.

For Maui and His Back Legs book, click here

Our human brains, too, have incredible plasticity.  Maximize aspects of your life by focusing on what you want and minimize what doesn’t support your wants and needs.

The old sayings “Practice Makes Perfect” and “The Power of Positive Thinking” have been proven accurate through scientific research . . . and Maui.

Peggy

 

 

 

You’ve got a Microbiome!

 They call us “home”

our microbiome.

Our body spews 

a cloud no one can see

Bacteria, viruses, fungi

intermingling you and me

Releasing microbes in the air

from head to toe where ever we go

Because they’re here to stay

Don’t waste your money

on bug spray

If you don’t believe me read: wherever-you-go-your-personal-cloud-of-microbes-follows

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An excerpt:

“Each of us carries around millions of microorganisms – including bacteria, fungi and viruses — on the inner and outer surfaces of our bodies. Most of them aren’t dangerous. In fact, growing evidence indicates that they help us in lots of ways. Scientists call this collection of organisms our microbiome.”

‘”A lot of the recent work on the human microbiome has revealed that we’re kind of spilling our microbial companions all over our houses and our offices and the people around us,” Meadow says.”

“Meadow says the findings raise a number of possibilities, including, maybe, one day being able to identify a criminal by analyzing the microbial cloud he or she leaves behind at the scene.”

We know that if you live with people, and even if you just work with people, your microbial communities come to resemble theirs over time, Knight says. “And in the past we used to think that was due to touch. It may be just that you’re releasing microbes into the air and some of those microbes are colonizing the people you’re with.”