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Freddie the frog was hopping past a pond when he heard a loud sigh.
He stopped and saw a sad looking frog named Frank sitting on a lily pad.
“What’s wrong?” Freddie asked.
“Life is so hard here on this pond,” said Frank, “there used to be more insects to eat, now I’m starving.”
“I live in the pond down the road, we have plenty of insects to share,” explained Freddie.
“I wish that there were more insects here, then I wouldn’t have to move.”
Piranhas have a fearsome reputation.
With their razor sharp interlocking teeth and strong jaws, in large numbers they have the ability to strip a large animal down to its skeleton in a matter of minutes.
However, in reality piranhas are timid little fish.
They school in large numbers as protection from predators and only attack large animals in a frenzy under certain circumstances.
When they are hungry.
And when they are defending themselves.
Are we really that different?
The first one, Jenny the jaguar loved hunting.
She enjoyed every aspect of it.
She loved the thrill of the hunt and the drama of the kill.
She looked forward to hunting, constantly looked for opportunities to develop her skills and became highly proficient.
The second one, Johnny the jaguar didn’t like hunting at all.
In fact, he dreaded it.
A penguin was standing on the water’s edge when he looked up at an eagle soaring high above his head.
He watched him with great admiration for a few moments and then looked down at his own flippers with frustration.
The penguin shuffled up to the tallest rock on the beach and flapped his wings vigorously.
“That looks so cool, I wish I could fly in the air like an eagle,” he thought to himself before accepting reality; sliding into the sea and swimming away.
The eagle looked down and saw the penguin swimming gracefully in the water.
In the remote Galapagos Islands there is an unusual species of bird called the flightless cormorant.
Like other cormorants, it feeds on fish and is able to dive for food. Due to their remote location, they have no natural predators, so they don’t need to fly.
And so, over the generations, they have lost the keel on their sternum where the flight muscles are usually attached, rendering them flightless. They have wings, but they are useless.
In recent years, introduced species of feral dogs and cats have been able to easily kill them because of their inability to fly, bringing this marvellous and unique species to the brink of extinction.
I’m not sure that we are too different from the poor old flightless cormorant.
This past week, I had one of those unpleasant dentist trips that resulted in having one of my back teeth removed.
Of course, the offending tooth will never grow back. It’s gone for good.
Great white sharks however, have between 5 and 7 rows of teeth and when one breaks off, another one grows in its place.
They have an inexhaustible supply of teeth and don’t really care if one is used up.
Some people treat life as if ideas are human teeth.
Highland cattle have to be my favourite breed of cattle, partly due to their Scottish heritage (like my wife’s) and partly due to their rugged looks.
However, there’s more than meets the eye with these iconic animals.
I was researching them with Hayden for his animal blog and as I read about how well suited they are for thriving in difficult situations, I realised how much we can learn from these magnificent beasts, especially when we are going through bad times.
So, what can we learn from highland cattle? Read the rest of this entry »
In the 1780’s, a boat shipwrecked off the coast of Hadawax Island off the coast of Alaska, and a few stowaway Norway rats made their way onto the island, resulting in a mass infestation so great that the island was re-named Rat Island.
After their arrival, the rats decimated the local bird population, eating eggs, chicks and even adult birds.
In September 2008, a group called Island Conservation, intervened and successfully removed all the rats from the island. Don’t ask me how they did it, I just have images in my head of a lot of mousetraps and some dude running around with a big net.
Anyway, they achieved their goal and as a result, much of the local bird life has recovered, with many species returning to the island that haven’t been seen there for many years.
It’s an extraordinary recovery and a great result for wildlife conservation.
We all have rats in our lives.
It’s easy to develop bad habits that start small and slowly get bigger until they take over our lives and we become defined by them.
Tasmanian devils are truly remarkable creatures.
An endangered carnivorous marsupial that is endemic to the Australian island of Tasmania, they have developed a fearsome reputation, despite their small stature.
One of the devil’s most impressive features is its extremely powerful jaws and that leads me to an important lesson.
My dad grew up on a farm in Tasmania and he told me of devils who had been caught in traps that had chewed their own legs off to escape.
I’ve always found that to be an extraordinary trait.
They get caught in a trap and they are desperate enough to do anything to get out.
As a life and career coach, I meet a lot of people who say that they feel trapped in their current work situation.
Entrepreneur and prominent environmentalist, Sir Richard Branson, recently shared a story on his site about Gumption, a local businessman and turtle advocate from the British Virgin Islands.
One day, when he was coming in from a tour, Gumption noticed that a fisherman had caught a beautiful hawksbill sea turtle.
Without hesitating, Gumption purchased the turtle (which was otherwise destined for someone’s soup bowl) for $50 and released it back into the sea.
It may only be one turtle that he was saving, but Gumption had reckoned that this one turtle has the opportunity to lay hundreds of eggs over the course of its life, possibly making it a key contributor to the saving of this critically endangered and remarkable species.