A New Year Visitor

Went outside this morning and found this delightful little serpent in a tree. Neighbours say it isn’t dangerous. I think it’s an Asian vine snake (Ahaetulla prasina). Mildly venomous but not considered a threat to humans.









Looked out the windows and everything’s pale glowing yellow, TV tuned to a channel with a beautifully wonky colour balance — one of those weird and magical tropical evenings.


Open air gym for small woodland creatures

Concerned that the use of running wheels by caged animals was a neurotic behaviour indicative of unhappiness, animal scientists Johanna H. Meijer and Yuri Robbers from the Leiden University Medical Centre in the Netherlands placed two running wheels outdoors, one in Professor Meijer’s backyard and one in a sandy dune area.

Turns out the wheels were popular with local small critters, not only mice, but also “a few rats, shrews, frogs, birds, snails and slugs”.

“Some animals seem to use the wheel unintentionally, but mice and some shrews, rats and frogs were seen to leave the wheel and then enter it again within minutes in order to continue wheel running”, the scientists report.

One point I find interesting, from theĀ paper published by the Royal Society (with videos in the figures & data section) is how greatly slugs outnumbered snails in their wheel-slithering. Were there simply more slugs around, or are slugs less sluggish than we thought? Having no shells to hide in, do slugs need a greater fitness edge?


The Leaf Sheep Nudibranch

Apparently the adorableometer goes up to 11.

Via The Featured Creature:


The little wonder of nature above is the sea slug Costasiella kuroshimae, appropriately dubbed the “leaf sheep” by Featured Creature’s owner Carly Brooke. A few millimetres long, it grazes on algae. It was first discovered at Kuro Island in the Yaeyama islands in the Ryukyu Archipelago between Japan and Taiwan. The photo above was taken by Lynn Wu in Puri Jati, Bali, Indonesia. It was a finalist entry in the 2014 Scuba Diving Magazine Photo Contest.

Photo copyright Lynn Wu.
(Available as wallpaper here.)




I wish I could have got a photo of this: two young fairywrens sitting on fence wire in cold weather, one with its wing around the other. Their father was hopping around, looking anxious — you could hear him saying “Get off that bloody fence and come inside where it’s warm!” — and indeed they all flew back to the nest.


Then you wander

“Man went forth to his labor until the evening, and now it is evening; and the prayer of thanksgiving sends a happy murmur up to the evening sky. Such are the sounds at the home end of the garden.

Then you wander towards the wild end of the garden, and the light seems to grow spectral, and the air haunted. Here are no warm windows or friendly human behavior, only whispering gleams and beckonings and half-frightened sounds calling you out, calling you away, calling you beyond.”

From “The Joy of Gardens” by Richard le Gallienne, in Corners of Grey Old Gardens (ed. Margaret Waterfield, 1917).

I shall seek to wander to the wild end of my patio…


Pink and green moths

This one spotted on Tumblr. Originally from here, I think. It looks like a relative of the luna moth, but I couldn’t find any identifing info. When searching for pink-green moth I found the one below it, the adorable Rosy Maple Moth from North America, via Synapse Science Magazine. On the same page there’s an amazing technicolour tree.