Monthly Archives: February 2013

It is really hard to understand why someone would want a pet obtained as a baby that grows up to 18 feet long and can weigh up to 200 pounds. A pet with fangs that dig into flesh while its massive powerful body crushes and suffocates its prey…sometimes human prey. I am talking about Burmese Pythons(Python molurus bivittatus.) They were fancied in the mid part of the 1900’s and now they are running amok, so to speak, and are considered an invasive species in Florida and certain parts of the southern United States.

Since I live in the desert of Arizona, not much of a worry for pythons but more consideration given for rattlesnakes, scorpions and gila monsters. But I saw an article last week from CNN describing a recent python roundup in Florida where the aim was to pay hunters for the pythons they caught and killed. The preferred dispatch method is a bullet to the head of the python, the head twice as large as a man’s hand, or by decapitation. The aim was to thin out the danger and the population in the southern part of Florida, particularly the Everglades and the suburb homes surrounding the Everglades.

That really is a futile attempt, the cat, or rather the snake, is really out of the bag. Estimates are that there are over 100,000 pythons in southern Florida. But there are also about 1.3 million alligators  living in Florida. You might be thinking… “No Problem Fred, the alligators have the edge” (see photo below.) However, alligators are prey for pythons and pythons are prey for alligators. Also, prey for pythons include cats, dogs, and disappearing populations of raccoon, opossum, and bobcats. And don’t forget that an adult python, up to 18 or even 20 feet long, can easily take down human children and have taken down adults.

In February of 2008, the USGS published a future range map for pythons that included all three coasts of the United States; Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf of Mexico. However, it is also true that this native species of southern and southwest Asia do not tolerate cold very well…so you’re safe in Montana.

Moral of the story, well, I guess think about a cat or a dog or even a chicken, I’ve had all, before you select a cute pet. Because your adorable baby Burmese Python one day will grow and instead of feeding them mice your now growing python will be eyeing your pet cat or your pet dog or your youngest child…or even you.

                                           Gator eating Python

                                    Python looking at you, as dinner

Frederick Fichman

On this date, February 15th and at this time, 10:45am, I would like to report current temperatures in the U.S. from several select locations. In Minneapolis, North Carolina it is 45 degrees F. In Minneapolis, Kansas it is 33 degrees F. In Minneapolis, MN it is 14 degrees F with a wind chill index of -3 degrees F. And finally in International Falls, MN, invariably the coldest spot in the lower 48, the current temperature is 6 degrees F, with a wind chill of -8 degrees F. In International Falls they are expecting tonight a low of minus 15 degrees F.

My point? It’s still Winter, no way of getting around it. I would suspect that the folks who live in the northeastern U.S. could not be more ready for Spring. After Connecticut saw some areas getting around four FEET of snow a couple of weeks ago, the people in those areas of snow deluge have to look out over towering snow berms just to see the sky. They probably are ready with a passion for summer.

All I can say is hang in there everyone, Spring is coming and then the fun days of summer. And for us, here in the Phoenix area near the edge of the Sonoran Desert, it will be time for torture, although some may love it. Here are the averages for our area during the summer months: May-98, June-107, July-108, August-106, and September-102. Last August on one particularly hot day we recorded a temperature of 118 degrees F at our home location…but it’s a dry heat, right?

Wherever you chose to live or wherever you have to live, try to make the best of the worst and enjoy the best of the best. Sometimes you experience those rare perfect days where the air is cool, the sun is warm and the flowers smell sweet. But whatever the weather, enjoy and revel in each beautiful day here on Planet Earth.

The Most Feared Animal at the Grand Canyon

 
In this weeks’ Blog, I shall describe a very unsettling scene I witnessed one hot August day at the Grand Canyon, northern Arizona, USA. I was photographing and researching for a book about the Grand Canyon when I saw the startling events described below.
 
First, a description of the three pictures above. The first wide shot is of a lady, from Europe, speaking in German, to a cute little squirrel as she calmly ate her sweet roll, her danish, probably a cinnamon roll.
 
The second picture is a close-up look of the danish.
 
The third picture, a close-up of the daring squirrel, not looking at me, looking at the danish.
 
I had just stepped out of the Bright Angel Lodge and saw this lady sitting on a rock wall at the very edge of the South Rim Trail, the Grand Canyon stretching out, beyond and below.
 
After taking this picture I watched for a few seconds more as the lady began speaking softly again to the squirrel. Then suddenly, without warning, the squirrel squared away, facing the lady directly. And in one quick leap it jumped at the danish and tore away a huge chunk of that delicacy. The woman shrieked. Then she screamed. Everyone, including myself, froze. And in one fluid motion, with her free right hand she swatted the squirrel so hard that it soared into the air (still holding onto that precious chunk of danish), up and over the clinging bushes at the very edge of Grand Canyon. I could see the squirrel arcing over the foliage and then sailing down into the abyss of the Grand Canyon…the bottom some 2,000 feet below.
 
I remember earlier on the day a Shuttle Bus driver telling me that of all the animals from mountain lions or black bears on down, the most dangerous animal at the Grand Canyon were the squirrels. There are signs all over the South Rim Trail, the heaviest concentration of visitors use this paved trail, warning visitors not to feed, touch or tease these cute but aggressive creatures. What I witnessed confirmed those warnings.
 
I was so shocked by what I saw I wrote a book about these squirrels, “Squirrels, Vicious and Desperate”. You can get your copy of this book and my 12-volume “Visit the Zoo” book series for your Kindle, Nook, Tablet, iPad, smartphone, by going to the links below and in the Search Bar, typing in “Frederick Fichman”.
 
Well, that’s it for this week. Thank you for reading this TRUE story. Have a great weekend and marvelous week ahead.
 
Frederick Fichman
 


Hello Everyone and welcome to our first full content blog for the visit-the-zoo.com website.

Fingers were at the ready to start typing this blog when we just stumbled onto this Bing video that we thought was very relevant:

http://www.bing.com/videos/watch/video/worlds-weirdest-dogs/ufnh7ylo?q=viral+animals&from=en-us_msnhp&rel=msn&cpkey=f4af92c8-b14f-4b54-af78-89deb09aaaf5%257cviral%2banimals%257cmsn%257c%257c

Ya better look at it quick, these vids tend to eventually get dropped off servers from these large content providers.

Anyway, the subject of the video was, “10 Animals Humans Have Saved from Extinction.” As a short-cut to the video content let me give you the list with a note or two.

  • Siberian Tiger-was near extinction at 40 remaining, now 450.
  • Gray Whale-nearly extinct, now 25,000 estimated.
  • Bermuda Petrel-a bird thought to be extinct, now 250.
  • Mountain Gorilla-on a steep slope to extinction, now 750 estimated.
  • North American Bison-40 million once roamed the North American continent, now 500,000 but only 20,000 in the wild.
  • Tahki-wild horse, now 600 remaining.
  • Golden Lion Tamarin-now 1,000 remaining.
  • Southern White Rhino-now a respectable 16,000 remaining.
  • Tu Long Alligator-now 200 remaining.
  • Bald Eagle-was down to 417 now 1000 breeding pairs remaining.

So, it’s not all doom and gloom with extinction, there is hope.

By now, we really hope you have had the opportunity to purchase and download one or two or the entire “Visit the Zoo” series of books available on Nook and Kindle. You can use the quick links on the Home Page at our website www.visit-the-zoo.com to get transferred over to Amazon or BarnesandNoble. And don’t forget that if  you don’t have ebook readers from those two companies you can get their free ebook reader apps to download onto your tablets, iPads, computers or smartphones.

One more quick thought…can you believe it, February is already here and we are well into the New Year. We hope that all of your dreams and hopes and plans come through and that you have a wonderful and healthy year ahead. Take care and keep in touch.

Guanaco
Their domestic descendants: the Llama. Guanacos live in South America. They are fast runners, can sprint up to 35 miles per hour.
 
Frederick Fichman