Archive for December, 2009


Side-striped jackals (Canis adustus):


I think that it is very likely that some of the reports of “dog/fox hybrids” in Britain from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries are actually these animals.

When the sun never set upon the British Empire, it was commonplace for creatures native to the far reaches of the realm to be imported as pets for menageries. If any of these animals escaped or were released into the countryside, it is very likely that they would be misidentified as dog/fox hybrids.

Side-striped jackals are in the genus Canis, which makes them close relatives of domestic dogs (although certainly not as closely related as dogs to wolves, coyotes, and golden jackals).

They have some fox-like features, especially that long tail, which is covered in thick fur and is tipped with white. They sometimes have a reddish tinge to their coat, which is somewhat reminiscent of that of a red fox.

Of course, red foxes (genus Vulpes) cannot hybridize with domestic dogs.  I’ve seen dogs that look like foxes, and one breed of toy spitz is actually called a Volpino because of its similarity to the fox.


I might be in the minority here, but I think we should move black-backed and side-striped jackals out of the genus Canis and back into Thous, the archaic genus for jackals and coyotes.

I say this because golden and Simien jackals (Ethiopian wolves) have both been found to be very close relatives of wolves and coyotes and are far more closely related to those animals than they are to black-backed and side-striped jackals.

I think it makes sense to put these two “Africa only” jackals into their own genus.


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Blog Updates will be delayed

Although many people in my area were without power during the big snow storm, we were spared.

Well, we were spared until it started snowing last night. That added another inch or so to our totals.

Unfortunately, that extra two inches were a little too much for a tree near the power lines that are in some way connected to our grid.

So we have been without power since around 11 last night.  The power company’s automated answering system says we’ll have power Tuesday afternoon.

I’ll believe it when I see it.

Well, at least I got the photos uploaded!

I’m going to be in the dark (quite literally) for a few days.

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Miley has snowballs in her feathering!

More white pines.

Miley is that little yellow dot running up the driveway.

A red cedar tree surrounded by white pines.

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Dark-eyed juncos, the notorious "snowbirds."

I took this photo of these dark-eyed juncos yesterday.

These birds tend to show up in large flocks whenever it snows. They tend to be more common at higher elevations and farther north.

However, at least a pair or two of these birds are residents, and I’ve seen them at the feeders even during the warm days of Indian summer.

Because they tend to be very common at feeders when it snows, they have been named “snowbirds.” In fact, if I said the words “dark-eyed junco” around these parts, no one would know what I’m talking about.  These are snowbirds.

These birds are standing on about 14 inches of snow. Most this snow fell Friday night and early Saturday morning, but it was still coming down at 4 o’clock yesterday evening. (In December, 4 o’clock is evening, not afternoon.)

And how could I conclude that post without this song?


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With fourteen inches of snow, we have a winter wonderland, especially for a 23 month-old golden retriever. Here are three photos from yesterday. I’ll have some more posted later today or tomorrow.

She's having too much fun. Look at that tongue!

Miley is having too much fun. Look at that tongue!

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Snowstorm hits

10 inches of snow at 7 A.M. Probably a foot by mid-morning.

Update: I just measured 14 inches of snow before dark, and now it’s starting to snow again.

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Holiday Safety Tip

Don’t let the cats mess with the lights, or this could happen:


“Fried pussy cat.”

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