Just after nightfall, at the edge of the old city in Harar, Ethiopia, a small group of tourists gather in an area near an ancient shrine to wait for Africa’s second largest carnivore – the Spotted Hyena – to appear from the darkness. The tourists are not waiting behind any type of protective barrier. The […]
The sound is like nothing else on earth.
I was sound asleep, breathing in the fresh, clean air of the Berkshire countryside that drifted into my room through an open window near the bed, when I was jerked into consciousness by what I at first thought was a woman screaming. As I lay there in the dark, asking myself just what it was that I heard, another scream burst through the midnight silence, followed quickly by two more. By that time it was clear to me that it wasn’t a human scream, but for the life of me I couldn’t find anything in my brain to which it might be connected. More mammalian than avian, I finally drifted back off to sleep after some time, puzzling over the just what it might have been.
It was a fox – a Red Fox, Vulpes vulpes to be precise.
It was with no small amount of wholly unintentional irony that I began reading Mark Essig’s Lesser Beasts; A Snout-to-Tail History of the Humble Pig while eating a ham sandwich. Such is the ubiquity of pigs. Yet for all the many ways the lives of modern humans have and to this day continue to intersect […]
It is one of history’s great ironies that the same source that gave mankind its proverbial best friend also gave it one of its greatest nightmares. Yet while the domestic dog has long-since become a trusted companion and protector in most human societies throughout the world, the still wild descendants of their ancestors – even though most of us have long-since developed a lifestyle to which they are not even remotely a threat to our health or well-being – continue to haunt the minds of far more of us than will ever (much as we may wish to) actually see one.