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Mammal Olympiad: Diving: Sperm Whale (Physeter catodon)
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Number 0415 Good evening, mammals, and welcome back to the Mammal Olympiad! While the humans are deciding who the best human athletes are, we’re looking at some other mammals that are even better athletes than we humans. Today’s event is diving. While human divers are judged on the technical perfection of the dive itself, we’re picking our mammalian champ on depth and and time,...

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Mammal Olympiad: Marathon: Pronghorn (Antilocapra americana)
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The human Olympics start tonight on NBC, and the mammal Olympics start tonight here on the Daily Mammal! We’ll be looking at a few of the best mammalian athletes in the world. The first event is the marathon. Now, humans are pretty good at marathons. In fact, long-distance running is humans’ best sport. Slate had an article a couple of months ago whose subtitle...

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Random Week: Red-handed Howler Monkey (Alouatta belzebul)
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Number 0414 Here’s our last randomly picked mammal for now: tomorrow the Mammal Olympiad starts! Let’s let this red-handed howler monkey see us out of Random Week. The red-handed howler lives in Brazil. Among howler monkeys, it isn’t very well studied, by which I mean that humans haven’t studied it very well, not that it isn’t learned or educated. It eats leaves (because it’s...

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Random Week: African Sheath-tailed Bat (Coleura afra)
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Number 0413 Here is a bat, randomly chosen by random.org from all the mammals I haven’t drawn, that lives in Africa, mostly in the eastern part of the continent, but in some parts of the western side, too. A few years ago, a population of these bats was found in Madagascar, but they may turn out to be a different species. Like many bat...

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Random Week: Rakali (Hydromys chrysogaster)
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Number 0412 Today’s lottery winner, picked by random.org, is the water rat or rakali, an interesting rodent from Australia. The rakali is one of Australia’s two amphibious mammals, the other being the platypus, and in fact, people often think they’re watching a platypus when they’re really looking at a rakali. Both animals live in burrows dug into the banks of rivers, lakes, irrigation ditches,...

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Random Week: Mongoose Lemur (Eulemur mongoz)
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Number 0411 This week, random.org is picking our mammals, and the random-number generator made me very happy this morning. Instead of the statistically likely rodent, we get a lemur! Hello, mongoose lemur. We can tell that this one is a male because his cheeks and beard are red; females are plain gray and white. The mongoose lemur is a little unusual among lemurs for...

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Indochinese Flying Squirrel (Hylopetes phayrei)
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Number 0410 I let random.org pick the mammal today, and a little flying squirrel turned up (a rodent, of course!). This guy lives in China, Vietnam, Thailand, and Myanmar (Burma). I can’t find much information about it, in my books or online, and to find most of my reference photos, I had to search for the Thai name, which seems to be กระรอกบินเล็กแก้มขาว. The...

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Murines Five Ways
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Murines Five Ways

Jul 20, 2012 by

Numbers 405, 406, 407, 408, and 409 Here are three rats and two mice from the Old World rats and mice subfamily of the rodent order. Clockwise from the top right, may I introduce Tokudaia muenninki, Muennink’s spiny rat or the Okinawan spiny rat; Apodemus sylvaticus, the wood mouse or long-tailed field mouse; Arvicanthis niloticus, the African grass rat; Apomys datae, the Luzon montane...

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Corsac Fox (Vulpes corsac)
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Number 0404 The corsac fox is a nomadic, nocturnal, social resident of the steppes and semi-deserts of central Asia, from Russia and other former Soviet states to Mongolia and China and down to Afghanistan and Iran. It lives in the abandoned burrows of other animals, and it eats rodents, pikas, birds, insects, and plants. Walker’s Mammal’s of the World says that “it runs with...

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Agile Antechinus (Antechinus agilis)
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Number 0403 This fellow is one of a group of species called broad-footed marsupial mice. They’re small, carnivorous marsupials native to Australia. I drew this sometime last year, I think, and I don’t know where I found this guy because the species is not in any of my books or in my mammal species database. It was first described in 1998, having previously been...

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Two Indian Bats (Megaderma lyra and Pteropus giganteus)
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Numbers 401 and 402 Here are two bats, the last mammals we’ll visit in our mini-trip to India. On the left is the Indian false vampire bat, Megaderma lyra, also known as the greater false vampire bat, and on the right is his friend (only not really) the Indian flying fox, Pteropus giganteus. False vampire bats have that name because in the past, people...

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Indian Pangolin (Manis crassicaudata)
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Number 0400 The Indian pangolin, which is also called the thick-tailed pangolin, is native to India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh. It is myrmecophagous, which means it eats ants and termites. Remember the secret word feature on Pee-wee’s Playhouse? Let’s all scream real loud today whenever someone says “myrmecophagous”! The pangolin needs a long tongue to root around in anthills and termite mounds, and...

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Indian Grey Mongoose (Herpestes edwardsii)
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Number 0399 Mammals, my mammals, it has been so very long since I have seen you, or at least since you have seen me. Life is hard, and also this website was hacked. Many months (or perhaps more than a year: I don’t dare actually look) have passed, and now I have a new web host (Brownrice Internet, highly recommended), a website that will...

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What I’ve Been Doing
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I’ve been wanting to write a post about the animals killed near Zanesville, Ohio, last week, but I’m not sure how to say everything I want to say. I did have the idea, though, to draw a tribute to the 49 unfortunate mammals who died, and I’ve been working on it the past several days, which is one reason why there hasn’t been a...

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Golden-rumped Elephant Shrew (Rhynchocyon chrysopygus)
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Number 0398 Here is the golden-rumped elephant shrew, which is also known as a golden-rumped sengi, or a yellow-rumped either one of those. It’s not actually related to the shrews, although it is related to the elephants, distantly. Some things I’ve learned about this fellow: 1. Translating its scientific name at the website of a zoology course at the University of Alberta, I see...

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Random Rodent: Acacia Rat (Thallomys paedulcus)
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Number 0397 I know you’ve heard it before, but the rodents are a problem. They account for some 40 percent of the mammals, and nearly all of them are small beige lumps. Many of them have evaded photographers up to now, so I often have to base my drawing on a related rodent but make changes based on the descriptions I can find. It’s...

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Becoming a Naturalist: Owl Eyes (Athene cunicularia)
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A few years ago, I bought a copy of Mammal Tracks and Sign, which includes a sidebar about the importance of having a basic comfort with and knowledge of the natural world before you can start to track. The book recommended a program called Kamana, an at-your-own-pace naturalist training program. I asked my husband Ted for the program for Christmas and got it, and...

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Short-eared Brushtail Possum (Trichosurus caninus)
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Number 0396 I drew this fellow last week, and just now, sitting down to research him, I ended up tumbling about in my books and online, finding not a lot about the possum—he’s a marsupial who lives in a little-bitty sliver of eastern Australia—but several other bits and pieces somewhat related to the species, which is also known as the bobuck. For instance, as...

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Mexican Free-tailed Bat (Tadarida brasiliensis)
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    Number 0395 The kids and I are reading a book called Hanging with Bats, which starts with a chapter about the Mexican free-tailed bats at Carlsbad Caverns here in New Mexico. We decided to draw the bats, and then my son Theo wrote a poem to post on the Daily Mammal. I think I may have mentioned, on this site, Thomas Nagel’s...

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Primorye Week: Amur Tiger (Panthera tigris)
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Before we leave Primorye at the end of our weekish-long visit, we must pay tribute to the tiger, the animal that inspired the book that inspired this week’s theme. Early in The Tiger, John Vaillant says, “If Russia is what we think it is, then tigers should not be possible there. After all, how could a creature so closely associated with stealth and grace...

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Primorye Week: Leopard (Panthera pardus)
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Number 0394 Today, we visit the smallest of the big cats at home in Primorye, a fascinatingly diverse region of far eastern Russia that you can read a bit more about in last Monday’s post on the musk deer. In that post, I quoted John Valliant’s The Tiger in saying that only in Primorye, and nowhere else in the world, “can a wolverine, brown...

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Primorye Week: Long-tailed Goral (Naemorhedus caudatus)
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  Number 0393 Here is a long-tailed goral, another mammal of Primorye, the region in the far east of Russia that we’re visiting this week. If you’d like a brief introduction to the place and why we’re there, check out Monday’s musk deer. The long-tailed goral is a goat that lives in China, Russia, and north and south Korea. It’s rare for a goat...

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Primorye Week: Siberian Flying Squirrel (Pteromys volans)
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Number 0392 This week, we’re looking at a few mammals from Primorye, a region in the far east of Russia that you can learn a bit more about in my post for Monday’s musk deer. For today, Coco and I drew Siberian flying squirrels. They are quite common throughout the forests of northern Europe and Asia, where they glide through the treetops by night,...

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Primorye Week: Sable (Martes zibellina)
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Number 0391 Welcome back to Primorye, an ecologically diverse region in the far east of Russia that we’re visiting this week. (Read Monday’s musk deer post for more about the area.) Today’s mammal is the sable, he of the beautiful coat, prized by rich ladies the world over. Sables are carnivores, related to weasels, skunks, ferrets, and so on, and they live in Finland,...

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Primorye Week: Two Rodents (Myodes rutilus and Apodemus peninsulae)
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Numbers 0389 and 0390 This week, we’re meeting the mammals of Primorye, a region in far eastern Russia. (See yesterday’s musk deer for a little more about that fascinating area of the planet.) Well, it’s late and I’ve had a rough day, so…I don’t have much to say about these two rodents, other than that the one on the left is the northern red-backed...

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Primorye Week: Siberian Musk Deer (Moschus moschiferus)
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Number 0388 I’m reading a book called The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival, by John Vaillant. It’s about Siberian tigers and tiger trackers in the far east of Russia, a region called Primorsky Krai, the Maritime Province, or Primorye. It’s a fascinating place, closer geographically to Beijing and even to Australia than to Moscow, and amazingly biologically diverse. Vaillant says that...

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Colorado Chipmunk (Tamias quadrivittatus)
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Number 0387 The day after the kids and I drew this chipmunk (I haven’t scanned their drawings—sorry!), we rode the tram to the top of Sandia Peak here in Albuquerque. At the top, we stood on a deck overlooking the mountainside and the city below, and who should we spy skittering on the rocks in front of us but a handful of Colorado chipmunks!...

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Banded Linsang (Prionodon linsang)
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Number 0386 The banded linsang is a viverrid, a carnivore in the style of civets and genets: slender, long, cat-like hunters, graceful of movement and beautiful of coat. Banded linsangs live in Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Thailand. They make nests out of sticks and leaves between tree roots or in burrows, and they eat small mammals, such as squirrels and spiny rats; birds...

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Coyote (Canis latrans)
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Here’s an idea! Why don’t I point you to two embarrassingly bad old drawings in a row? I drew the coyote as mammal number 65, way back in 2007 (oh God, it’s been four years and I have barely a year’s worth of mammals…). Look how my drawing style has changed: very much for the better, yes? Looking over that post is bittersweet because...

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Pretty-faced Wallaby (Macropus parryi)
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Number 0385 Coco did the write-up for today’s mammal, the pretty-faced or whip-tail wallaby. Take it away, Coco! Pretty-faced wallabies are found in Australia. There are many different kinds of wallabies. They have very strong back legs that are great for traveling long distances. They use their tail for balance as they hop around. Some marsupials have back-opening pouches so the dirt doesn’t get...

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Common Marmoset (Callithrix jacchus)
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  Number 0384 Like many people, some of us Kinyaks are addicted to Angry Birds. The last edition we played, Angry Birds Rio, is a tie-in with the animated movie Rio, which I haven’t seen and don’t plan to, but I assume the characters in the game come from the movie. While the original Angry Birds game has pigs as the birds’ enemies, in...

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