My lack of entries

Hi again. I haven’t been posting for a year as I’ve been really busy working. Developing a disease free, sweet temperament Syrian hamster (teddy bears and fancies) was taking all my time. But now that part of the job is finished and I’ve cut back hours somewhat. Working on my mother’s house with preparations to sell it sometime early 2020. I’ve taken on being medical moderator for the ExoticDVM forum, and some miscellaneous writing and publishing assignments. At the moment in Arizona helping a friend recover from surgery. 110 degrees F outside so am enjoying the relative coolness of the house, her wonderful feathered friends, and getting caught up on computer stuff. I’ve had this laptop for a few months and not really ever gotten it set up and organized. Good time for me to relax and do this now! This is Fabio, an atomic blonde satin teddy bear. I just lost him at age 22 months. He was my own personal hammie. R.I.P. fabio

Cockatoos outwit chimps, babies on intelligence tests

Cockatoos perform better than monkeys, chimpanzees and 1-year-old humans on a shape-matching test, and a few figured out a way to game the test and get a treat directly, researchers reported in PLOS ONE. Nonetheless — or, perhaps, consequently — the birds do not make good pets and are “very, very exhausting in a home environment,” said researcher Cornelia Habl.

The New York Times (free-article access for SmartBrief readers) (11/21)

Protein helps some rodents withstand prolonged exposure to the cold

Syrian hamsters and thirteen-lined ground squirrels can withstand prolonged cold thanks to a cold-sensing protein called TRPM8 in their peripheral nervous systems, according to a study published in Cell Reports. The finding not only gives researchers a new understanding of hibernation, it might lead to new therapies for the nerve disorder allodynia.

The New York Times (free-article access for SmartBrief readers) (12/27)

Firefighters in Washington State help rescue endangered rabbits from wildfire threat

A team of Bureau of Land Management firefighters helped a Washington state wildlife biologist rescue endangered pygmy rabbits from a state-managed breeding ground endangered by the Sutherland Canyon wildfire. The firefighters laid on the ground and reached into the rabbit burrows to pull out survivors, ultimately rescuing and relocating 32 of the tiny rabbits.KTVB-TV (Boise, Idaho) (7/13),  The Idaho Statesman (Boise) (7/12)

Study: Dogs react to distress in human, canine vocalizations

I think cats do too. And I know my cockatiel always picked up on my moods. Actually I think most of our companion animals pick up on moods. Even my turtle!

A study from the University of Vienna shows dogs are susceptible to “emotional contagion,” meaning they pick up on and respond to noises that convey emotion, such as humans laughing or crying and dogs whining. Animals in the study showed a stronger emotional response to negative auditory cues, and there was nearly no difference in response to negative human sounds and negative dog sounds.Discover magazine (6/2017)

Cigarette butts help drive parasites from bird’s nests

House finches use cigarette butts to fight parasites trying to invade their nests, but the practice may have some negative side effects for the birds, according to findings published in the Journal of Avian Biology. Researchers found that when they introduced live ticks into nests, the finches brought butts in to drive them away, but the scientists later found genetic damage in the birds from exposure to the butts after examining their red blood cells.New Scientist (free content) (6/26)