Category Archives: Nature and Wildlife

Florida’s Invaders–The African Killer Bee

Florida is the land of invasive species. Because of our status as a center for the importing of exotic pets and houseplants from overseas, and our neo-tropical climate, we have been invaded by everything from kudzu plants to Burmese pythons. One of Florida’s most famous invaders is actually a hybridized version of an earlier immigrant, one that has already been here for centuries.


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Wild Florida–Coral Snake

It has the most potent venom of any animal in North America. It is spectacularly colored, with bright red, yellow and black bands. It is lots more common than many people think. Yet few people in Florida have ever actually seen a Coral Snake.


Eastern Coral Snake, Micrurus fulvius.

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Martha: The Last Passenger Pigeon

In the times before the Europeans reached North America, the entire eastern half of what is now the United States was covered with unbroken forest. It was said that a squirrel could run from Maine to Texas without ever touching the ground. And one of the myriad of species that lived in this forest was the Passenger Pigeon. One hundred years ago, the last Passenger Pigeon died in a cage.


Passenger Pigeon.                                    Illustration from Wiki Commons

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Chicken Politics: Life in the Flock

In evolutionary terms, the humble domestic chicken is one of the most successful species on Earth. There are an estimated 20 billion chickens alive right now–almost three times as many as there are humans. Apparently, “tasting good to people so they’ll protect you” is a pretty effective evolutionary strategy–well, aside from that whole “they eat you” thingie. Statistically, every human on the planet eats the equivalent of 27 individual chickens every year. The only other terrestrial vertebrate that may rival the chicken in sheer numbers is the Norway Rat.

And even the lowly chicken has important things to teach us. It was through the careful observation of a backyard chicken flock that one of the most important principles of social biology was uncovered–one that applies equally well to humans.


Not such a dumb cluck after all….

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Forgotten mysteries, oddities and unknown stories from history, nature and science.