Sunday, April 19, 2015

April is National Frog Month! Who Knew?

No, really!  There is a national frog month and it's now!  That must be why I can hear what Mom calls "peepers" every night.  There must be a lot of them because they sure are loud!  But they are also kind of soothing and peaceful.  You know everything is alright as long as the peepers keep peeping.

Why is there a month to celebrate frogs?  Frogs are pretty cool!  Frogs can live on both land and water.  That is why they are called amphibians.  They can also see in three directions at once - forward, sideways, and upwards.  Even I can't do that!  And frogs can throw up!  They discovered that on a space mission.  I don't think I want to know how, though.

Frogs shed their skin completely about once per week.  I bet Mom would love that.  She sometimes complains about the fact that Lady and the cats shed so much.  But a frog usually eats its skin after it sheds, so maybe that would be better than the cats.

Frogs have teeth! And a group of frogs is called an army.  How's that for a scary thought?  An army of frogs with teeth.  Where's Mom?  I think I need to get up in her lap?

Frogs don’t actually drink water with their mouths; they drink it through their skin. A frog’s skin absorbs water when it is in the water so its body gets all of the hydration that it needs that way and the frog doesn’t need to drink with its mouth.

Frogs are cold blooded. That means that the body temperature of a frog is the same on the inside as it is on the outside. That is why frogs need to be near water so that they can jump in and cool off on hot days

Besides being very cool animals, frogs are important.  They eat lots of insects, which makes them pretty valuable to those of us who don't like bugs!  And they provide food to lots of other animals - even humans.  Dad loves frog legs, although he only gets them when we go out.  Mom won't make them at home.

Because they are so valuable and fun, you would think that people would take care of frogs.  But that is not happening.  Frogs are in trouble. There aren’t as many of certain species as there once were, and a few kinds have even gone extinct.  But you can help!  April 25 is Save the Frogs Day!  There are lots of ways you can work to save frogs.  Save the Frogs is a non-profit organization dedicated to saving frog and they have all the information you need on their website.  Imagine a spring night without the sound of peepers.  Now - won't you please help?

Friday, April 17, 2015

Go Batty!

Just in case you haven't heard by now, it's Bat Appreciation Day!.  Mom likes bats.  She even has bat houses on our property.  I'm not so sure about them.  They seem kind of creepy to me.  But Mom says they do lots of good things for us.

They eat bugs - especially mosquitoes.  A bat can eat 600 mosquitoes in an hour.  That's a lot of bugs!  I don't like mosquitoes so I agree with Mom.  That is a good thing!

Bats make chocolate!  Okay, not really.  But they do pollinate plants.  Over 500 species of plants rely on bats for pollination.  And one of those plants is the cocoa plant.  So in a way, bats do make chocolate.  So thank you, bats.  Mom gets cranky if she doesn't have her chocolate regularly!

Bat poop makes good fertilizer.  Bat poop is actually called guano.  And it is frequently used for fertilizer because it works fast and doesn't smell bad.  It helps keep plant healthy an d green.

Bat saliva can help stroke victims.   A rare protein in the saliva of vampire bats appears promising in the treatment of acute ischemic stroke — the kind of stroke caused by a blood clot that blocks blood supply to the brain.  I'm not sure if I would want a vampire bat to bite me!  Isn't that how you wind up with a stake through your heart?

Lessons learned from bats’ echolocation have produced navigational aids for the blind.

Bats give us a reason to party!  There are Bat Festivals all over the country.  The Austin BatFest, the  Wisconsin Bat Festival, the Great Lakes Bat Festival, the Florida Bat Festival, and the Midwest Bat Festival are just a few of the events you can attend to celebrate the bat.

There are lots of bad stories about bats that make people think they are scary.  But most of them aren't true.  Bats will not try to get in your hair.  They aren't dirty.  They won't attack you and suck your blood - even if they are vampire bats.  They don't spread rabies any more than any other animal.  Bats are gentle and shy and very smart. 

Bat populations are declining all over the world.  A disease called White Nose Syndrome is affecting large numbers of them.  Half the bats in the United States are listed as rare, threatened or endangered. Won't you help?  There are bat sanctuaries and rescue programs worldwide that could use your time, money - or both!

Now that I know how cool bats really are, I am going to celebrate Bat Appreciation Day!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Mean Mr. Dog Catcher

Mom keeps us inside a nice, fenced yard.  We are not allowed to run free around the neighborhood.  It's a big yard so we have lots of room to run and when it's hot, or cold, or raining, we have a pet door that leads into the heated and air-conditioned garage so we are out of the weather.

Unfortunately, that is not the case for many of the dogs in our neighborhood.  We watch them run up and down the road.  And we hope that the mean dog catcher doesn't get them.

Except, maybe the mean dog catcher isn't so mean.  Mom told me that next week (April 12-18) is National Animal Control Appreciation Week.  Why would you have a whole week to celebrate mean dog catchers?  That's just not right!  So Mom and I did some research.

The dog catcher that cruises the neighborhood rounding up all the stray dogs and hauling them off to the dog pound to be locked in cages until they are put to sleep pretty much only exists in cartoons.  Today's animal control officers work hard to ensure that animals in general, not just dogs, are safe.  Yes, they do still pick up strays that are roaming the neighborhood.  But when they do, they work hard to reunite them with their owners.  Sometimes these strays are injured and sick and the animal control officers will rescue them so they can receive the medical attention they need.  They also investigate cases of animal neglect and cruelty, and help educate the public about laws concerning pets.  They must really love us to do all this for us.  Especially when they can be bitten, or clawed, or scratched by the animals they are trying to help.  I hope they know we don't mean it.  We are just scared and maybe hurt.

So this week, instead of running from Mean Mr. Dog Catcher, ask your Mom and Dad to say thank you for helping to take care of us.  Mean Mr. Dog Catcher isn't so mean.  He's actually very nice!