Photos Spare Cycles MythBusters

Category: Animals

February 8, 2006

Ryukyu inu, Ryukyu tora

I was searching for "Ryukyu tora" on the Internet and was dismayed to find very little information. Ryukyu tora (tora = "tiger"), or sometimes Ryukyu Inu or Ryukyu turaa, is the breed of my last dog, Courtney, and I figure her memory deserves a lot more respect from the Internet. Courtney was a street mutt that we picked up as a puppy. I began to suspect she might an actual breed when I ran into another street dog that looked exactly like her with different coloring. After seeing photos of Ryukyu toras in a local paper, there were enough physical similarities that I decided I could call her a Ryukyu tora if I wanted to. A ryukyu inu page I found has even more photos, including a poster that has Courtney's tawny coloring labelled as the 'Aka turaa' (red tiger) breed.

All Ryukyu inu are all mutts, as World War II was not particularly kind to Okinawan dogs and the American occupation afterwards brought many non-native dogs to the island. In the early 1980s they discovered a pack of dogs in the nothern rainforests that was genetically distinct and designated it a breed. Since then, the preservation society has 'stabilized' the breed and there are now two official lineages, Yanbaru and Yaeyama, based on where they were found. There are probably less than a thousand of the Ryukyu inu around, though there might be a lot more if more stray dogs were rounded up.

According to some pages I found in Japanese Dogs: Akita, Shiba, and Other Breeds :

Ryukyu inu are medium sized dogs... [and] look very much like wild dogs, which gives the impression of extreme ferocity, but, quite to the contrary, their disposition is mild and amiable and they make loving pets. Nevertheless, they have a strong territorial instinct, and they are not necessarily good with other animals. At one time they were used to hunt wild boar, and one should bear in mind that their hunting instinct is alive and well. [I've included the Ryukyu Inu pages from the book below if you'd like to sample the book]

This description pretty much matches my experience with Courtney, except that she looked very sweet and not the least bit ferocious. She was a very loving dog who enjoyed being pet or sitting out in the yard with you staring out at the ocean. She was also a thirty pound dog that commanded respect from larger dogs.

When we were staying at a friend's house, she wouldn't let their dog enter the same room, so he would just sit there in the adjacent room sadly staring in. She also required eight Marines to hold her down for a shot and she destroyed a dog toy with a three month guarantee in a single night. We bought her three stuffed animal toys, figuring that they might last her awhile. The first lasted a week, the second a day, the third had a hole in the heart within minutes. She definitely enjoyed the hunting of wild stuffed animals.

Ryukyu Inu.1.gif Ryukyu Inu.2b.gif

November 7, 2005

Epic battles, with hornets and bees

parakkum has noted that historic battles with swords and such never really occurred like they did in films. IIRC, they usually just had some mild skirmishing, followed by one side getting scared, retreating, and getting slaughtered as they ran away.

Bees and hornets, on the other hand, do full, thrash-'em-out, give-no-quarter, gore-fest battles. This video of hornets attacking a beehive would certainly get an R rating and use up plenty of the special effects budget. WARNING: do not watch the film if you find bees gore disturbing.

September 11, 2005

Photos: Oakland Zoo

My, what big teeth you have

As you can tell from my previous entries, we went to the Oakland Zoo today. It's not the biggest zoo, nor does it have the most exotic animals, but it's fun, accessible, and easy to get around. I took photos of camels, bears, bats, tigers, meerkats, tamarins, gibbons, siamangs, elephants, giraffes, and more. As always there is a photoset on Flickr, with some highlights are below. The bat photo has a neat shadow of the bat's claw, and a two-headed camel must be a rarity.

Oakland Zoo photoset

Oakland Zoo-01 Two-headed Camel Siamang Gibbon Tiger Camel Shadow of the claw Meerkat

Photos: Trunky the Elephant


We spent a lot of time by the elephants because the art students were busy drawing them for one of their assignments. Trunky the Elephant was the most cooperative of the bunch. He wasn't as entertaining as Spitty the Giraffe, but he's goofy in his own way. Actually, there's two elephants pictured here, but all look same to me.

Elephant-2 Elephant-1 Elephant-3 Elephant-5

Photos: Spitty the Giraffe

Giraffe-06 Giraffe-05 Giraffe-07

There are some animals at the zoo that just perform. You point your camera, click, you gotta shot that's a keeper. I had a giraffe at the Oakland Zoo that was one of those animals. It was difficult to choose just 11 photos to upload because all of them in some way or another made me laugh, especially the drool shots above. Enjoy.

Giraffe Photoset (11 photos)

Giraffe-02 Giraffe-04 Giraffe-11 Giraffe-08

May 31, 2005

Animals, real and imagined

The Seal Look

I love the look on this seal's face. The sleepy, annoyed look approximates many of my photos with human subjects.

Monterey/Asilomar was full of wildlife: seals, sea anenomes, hermit crabs, sea gulls, and gophers all within a small radius of each other. The shot of the gopher below surprised me when I finally saw it full-size; we had no idea when we saw it just how scary it's mouth was. The shot of the sea anenome below is obviously fake, though it took only a tiny bit of photomanipulation -- the color was all there, it just needed a bit of 'heightening' to achieve its trippy state.

More photos to bombard you with later, but that's all the photoshopping for today.

The Gopher Look Technicolor Anenome

May 14, 2005

Bunnies on Stairs

Stormy tends to get more of the photo-love because of her Evil (Dead) Tendencies, but just to show you that the rest of the bunny troupe are all equally cute (even when they're not being evil cute):

Bunny stairs Bunny stairs

more bunnies in the extended

Continue reading "Bunnies on Stairs" »

May 2, 2005

Bird stare-down


April 17, 2005

Pinnacles and California Condors

California Condorota had the great idea of taking a trip down to Pinnacles National Monument (southeast of Monterey). Driving there is deceiving -- up until you reach the park you are in the typical Northern California rolling green hills, but once you reach the remains of the former volcano, you are suddenly surrounded by large rock towers jutting straight up out of the ground. The main high peak is a haven for large birds, which are constantly circling above and around.

If you enjoy hiking, birding (condors, vultures, sparrows, hummingbirds), chapparel flora, rock climbing, or small caves, there's plenty to do and be entertained by. We hiked up to the High Peak, where we spotted one of the few remaining California Condors -- it became an instant tourist attraction. At one point we saw what looked like a kid squirting the condor with a squirt gun and throwing small rocks -- we shouted for the kid to stop and leave it alone. Turns out it wasn't a kid; it was a park ranger trying to get the condor to leave the company of people.

I've have been reading the condor field notes from Pinnacles, and the acclimation to people is a big problem the condor reintroduction program is frequently dealing with. Periodically they have to capture some of the more human-friendly condors and bring them in for "aversive conditioning."

As usual, there are hundreds of photos to process and rank, but in the meantime I've uploaded some of the condor photos. It appears to be a young one, as my reading tells me that adults have pink heads, but if it weren't for the tag on the shoulder I wouldn't have known it from the turkey vultures that were also circling above. I believe the condor is number 306, described in the field notes as a "young female" that was recently introduced to the park. She appears to have been one of the last of the recently introduced condors (November 2004) to venture from the flight pens and around the park, and my camera was lucky that she has become more adventurous.


Related entries * Pinnacles Photos * Pinnacles Panorama California Condor Photo Album

March 10, 2005

Evil Dead Bunnies

In a followup to my Evil Bunnies photo posting, I now present my dead-as-in-possum bunny photos, featuring histrionic Stormy. Rabbits don't appear to be capable of "slackness," so, when you turn them upside-down, their bodies have a rather rigor-mortis-like rigidity.

2005-03-05-001 057 2005-03-05-001 058

January 24, 2005


honeyfields bunnies are evil! EVIL!


more evil bunnies in the extended entry

Continue reading "Bunnicula" »

June 29, 2004

Store cats


I am fascinated by Ripley, Borderland's bookstore cat (About Ripley). I would have a better picture, but Ripley is rather camera shy, and I would like to stay on Ripley's good side.

I am also fascinated by Borderland's, an all-SciFi bookstore not to far from meta's apartment. Though fascinated isn't the proper term in the latter case. Indebted, financially, perhaps is more descriptive. In my last three trips I've managed to pick up Red Mars, Confusion, The Stand, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Chronicles of Narnia (beautiful illustrated version), 3/4 of the Hyperion/Endymion series, Dark Tower III and IV, and Starship Troopers. Of course, I've read almost none of these yet, and I'm sure my next visit will cause me to increase this list even more.

September 3, 2003

The 12 Monkeys are Upon Us

Yahoo! News - Scores of Freed Mink Feed on Farm Animals

(via Dave Barry's Blog)

June 3, 2003

Bovine Bedding

I received this awhile back from DJ Q. Felt like reposting it as the link is still valid.

BBC News | AMERICAS | Creature comforts for US cows

May 26, 2003


Went to Monterey - saw some seals, sea otters, sea gulls, sea urchins, sea anenome's, humans, etc... I've posted some of my photos (the otters were too far away to get a good photograph).

this entry contains a photo, click to view this entry contains a photo, click to view

More photos in the extended entry...

Continue reading "Monterey!" »