Duh-duh, duh-duh, duh-duh duh-duh-duh-duh

Kat Eschner's newsletter about animal-human relationships Vol. 3 Iss. 6

This issue of CREATURE FEATURE is brought to you by the IPCC’s special report on climate change and land, which I know I promised last week I would have read by now, but which I have not read. I have, however, been intrigued by all the pieces on whether animal-eating is incompatible with halting climate change, summed up nicely by Natalie Sauer of Climate Home News.

In other news, I pulled a piece on bears in objection to the Observer and the Guardian UK’s transphobia. Anyone need a piece on bear-human interaction in Canada?

GIF: Someone dances in an anime-style bear costume.


Sharks don’t probably want to eat you, BUT MAYBE THEY DO

I love this story from the BBC’s Richard Gray. It look at shark attacks, why there aren’t more of them, and how people are affected by shark bites. Sharks are cool! I love swimming in the ocean! I am afraid of being bitten by a shark! All of these things are true AT THE SAME TIME, and Gray’s piece addresses a lot of my fears and questions about sharks.

Extra credit: Jaws (1975) was the movie that arguably created the summer blockbuster and fundamentally shaped the North American view of sharks. I love Jaws enough to have all kinds of beefs with it, which are STORIES FOR ANOTHER DAY. But here, I did want to share some stuff I’ve read about the Jaws theme, that two-note melody that’s become, for me at least, the soundtrack of all sharks.

Head over to Boston.com for a longer music-nerdy take (it is consistent with my experience of Boston that a publication there just drops terms like “ostinato,” which BTW is what the duh-duh-duh-duh-duh-duh of Jaws is.) If you want some lighter (satirical) fare, try Clickhole.

Must be the season of the roach

Truly, you have not lived until you’ve had a close encounter with a cockroach. I’ve had many, but the only roaches we have here in chilly Toronto are non-flying. That’s not the case in Georgia, which is having a bumper roach season—another Gray Chapman gem here for Atlanta Magazine.

I don’t like cockroaches and I hate when they show up in my apartment (recently some moved into my printer and I had to have a reckoning). But one of the things I appreciated about this piece is its resigned, humorous approach to the problem of the roach. After all, they’re just another species trying to live.

This summer has felt like The Purge, except the villains have six legs and a thorax. Attempting to get from my car to my front door in Grant Park involves a series of maneuvers I can only describe as “speed tap dancing.” I have walked into my bathroom in the morning only to feel one scuttling over the top of my unshod foot before I even have a chance to flick the lights on. I have attempted to clean up a belly-up roach corpse, only to have it reanimate, escape the wad of toilet paper in my hand, and fly away. I’ve lived in Georgia my entire life, I spend lots of time outdoors, I’ve almost exclusively lived in very old houses, and I’ve never seen anything quite like it.

Gluay Hom the elephant gets a new home!

Good news! Gluay Hom, a Thai elephant who we’ve written about before, has been purchased from the wildlife tourism operator who owned him and kept him in harsh conditions, and now lives at an elephant sanctuary, writes Natasha Daly for National Geographic. This story is not as simple as it sounds—give it a read to learn more.

Fun fact: In the wild, the footprints of Asian elephants like Gluay Hom can serve as frog nurseries. Elsewhere in captivity, elephants aren’t doing great.


GIF: An Asian elephant (I think) in a forested environment swings their trunk back and forth. (Credit: National Geographic)


She was crouching, still wearing her nightclothes, her disheveled, tangled hair a shapeless mass around her face.

Around her, the kitchen floor was covered with plastic bags and airtight containers, scattered all over so that there was nowhere I could put my feet without treading on them. Beef for shabu-shabu, belly pork, two sides of black beef shin, some squid in a vacuum-packed bag, sliced eel that my mother-in-law had sent us from the countryside ages ago, dried croaker tied with yellow string, unopened packs of frozen dumplings and endless bundles of unidentified stuff dragged from the depths of the fridge. There was a rustling sound; my wife was busy putting the things around her one-by-one into black rubbish bags. Eventually I lost control.

“What the hell are you up to now?” I shouted.

Excerpt from The Vegetarian, by Han Kang, translated from Korean by Deborah Smith


Extra credit

More things I read this week.

  1. Forget sharks, you should really be afraid of mosquitoes (The New Yorker, Brooke Jarvis)

  2. Two words: fish turducken (Bloomberg, Kate Krader)

  3. Ratvasion on Saint Paul Island (Hakai Magazine, Sarah Gilman)

  4. How one government planned ahead to save the little blue penguin (Besha Rodell, The New York Times)

  5. The EPA is hooped, read about it here (Mother Jones, Nicole Javorsky)


Please read me

My work from this week.

  1. Fishing nets leave precious marine habitats broken and scarred—but some are coming back to life

  2. A new species of superbug is evolving—and it loves when you eat sugar

  3. You might be withholding life-threatening information from your doctor without knowing about it


Questions? Comments? Complaints? Contact me at my email or on Twitter. If you enjoy this newsletter and would like to tip me, I am on Ko-fi.

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.