🦇 Bat Eschner's spooky newsletter about animal-human relationships Vol. 3 Iss. 11 🦇
|Oct 11 at 10:11 am||Public post|
This week’s issue of CREATURE FEATURE is brought to you by the fact I have a buuunch of expenses coming up. If anyone has been thinking about upgrading to a paying subscriber buying me a coffee, this would be a great time.
Thank you *so much* to those who already subscribe or tip me via Ko-Fi. It helps me keep bringing you all the best in animal-human relationships news.
What does “send cute pet photos” actually mean?
When someone on social media asks for others to send cute animal pictures to help cushion a hard day, are they just looking for attention? Samantha Cole dug into the question for Vice. TL;DR: social psychologists say we’re all just craving connection. Pictures of loving relationships, sent by someone who care enough to answer a cry for assistance, they help sate that craving.
Extra credit: I know people get some of the same high off following pet influencer accounts. This is a *deep* rabbithole, but for the moment, enjoy this December 2018 look at a burgeoning industry from Vogue’s Elise Taylor.
Capitalism happens to a *bunch* more animals than we thought
A sweeping new study published recently in Science finds that about one in five species of animal is either smuggled or legally bought and sold, writes Giorgia Guglielmi for Nature. That’s a much larger chunk of the animal kingdom than researchers previously believed.
The analysis revealed that traded species are more likely to be threatened or vulnerable to extinction than those that aren’t bought or sold. Although it is difficult to assess whether trade is responsible for making species rare or whether already-rare species are more likely to be traded, this finding is “alarming”, [University of Florida, Gainesville conservation biologist Brett] Scheffers says, because it suggests that the commercialization of wildlife is threatening species that are already on the cusp of extinction.
Do octopusses dream of aquatic sheep?
A new documentary on PBS shows a scientist speculating that his pet octopus, Heidi, who lives in his living room, can dream, writes Elizabeth Preston for The New York Times. You might have seen the below GIF of her dormant colour changes somewhere in the last few days. Other scientists say it’s possible—but also that Heidi’s owner might be the one dreaming.
Bonus round: CREATURE FEATURE has a policy against sharing images of animals in irresponsible pet ownership situations (scroll down to the footer on this email for the full policy.) I was concerned about Heidi’s life and comfort, so I did a bit of reading, and it seems like the scientist involved and others took some care to make sure she had appropriate accommodations and such, which is good to hear.
If you, like me, are not in the United States with PBS access, you can view the dream sequence on Youtube.
GIF: Heidi the octopus changes from white through yellow and dark violet as she appears to dream. (Credit: PBS)
"Hah," said Simon. "Funny. Ghosts usually make a place colder."
"What is it?" said Alec. "The haunted thing, I mean."
"Cabinet," said Coco. There was a groan from the troupe.
"I hate haunted cabinets," said Tiong Han. "Worse than haunted beds."
"Yah, those doors," said Simon. He winced at some unpleasant memory. "Cabinet door almost took off the lion's horn once. And Alec's hand," he added as an afterthought.
"Worse than chairs," said Tiong Han.
"No, chairs can be even worse," said Coco. "This was before your time, but once a sofa bed almost killed our lion. We had to bring in the Buddha."
"Oh, sofas are different from chairs," Tiong Han. "Sofas are super bad."
—Excerpt from “起狮，行礼 (Rising Lion — The Lion Bows)”, Strange Horizons, Zen Cho
More things I read this week.
Conservation science casts a pall over fat bear week (The New Republic, Melody Schreiber)
Don’t mothball the owls (Marco Eagle, Omar Rodriguez Ortiz)
They (meaning early humans) also made animal-shaped baby bottles (National Geographic, Meg Gannon)
Animal cruelty might become a felony in Ohio (Mental Floss, Hannah McDonald)
One seafood company isn’t treating fish as friends *or* food (The Guardian, Maanvi Singh)
Please read me
My most recent work.
CREATURE FEATURE is edited by Tracey Lindeman.
All images in CREATURE FEATURE are used under Creative Commons licensing. Efforts have been made to ensure that photographs of living animals or natural scenes have been taken ethically, in responsible pet ownership conditions, at AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums or under safe, non-damaging conditions in the wild. If you see an issue with any image we share, please notify me.