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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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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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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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Random Week: Gregarious Short-tailed Rat (Brachyuromys ramirohitra)
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Number 0383 This week, I’m drawing mammals selected randomly by random.org. Each day, it’s a surprise to me, and this should be a good way to get through some of the mammals that I would be unlikely to choose on my own…like this one, the gregarious short-tailed rat. Nothing against him, but there’s very little information available about him and very few photographs for...

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Random Week: Inland Forest Bat (Vespadelus baverstocki)
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Number 0382 I had fun with the random rodents I drew the other day, so I’ve decided on a new theme week: Random Week! I put all the mammals I haven’t yet drawn in random.org’s list randomizer and for the next week-ish, I’ll be as surprised as you by what mammal I draw each day. (I only put in their genus and species names,...

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Mating Week: Saddleback Tamarin (Saguinus fuscicollis)
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Number 0356 I’ve decided to go ahead and call this an official theme week. This is the fifth and last entry in our Daily Mammal Mating Week. The saddleback tamarin, which lives in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru, practices polyandry, which means that a single female mates with more than one male. (Polygamy technically refers to a marriage or partnership with more than...

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Mating Week: Brown Antechinus (Antechinus stuartii)
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Number 0355 Every female wants a good father for her babies. Every male wants a good mother for his babies. That’s what life is all about. The more I study other animals, the more I think the meaning of life is: have sex and have babies, and have sex and babies with a mate or mates of good quality. Is there any other reason...

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Mating Week: Gambian Epauletted Bat (Epomophorus gambianus)
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Number 0354 Last June, I drew the hammer-headed fruit bat, which is known for its lek mating system. The Gambian epauletted bat, today’s mammal, uses a similar lek system. In Courtship in the Animal Kingdom, Mark Jerome Walters explains leks: In some animals, however, males offer neither defense of the females nor any particular resource. There is no trade-off of riches, nor any guarantee...

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Mating Week: Northern Elephant Seal (Mirounga angustirostris)
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Number 0353 There’s so much to say about elephant seals, and yet it’s so distasteful. These guys are rapists and baby-killers. Their necks are discolored by scars incurred during mating or fighting for mates, and one of my books, Wonders of Animal Life from 1928, lists “Sea elephants, frightfulness” in its index. In Living Mammals of the World, Ivan T. Sanderson says that they...

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Mating Week: Klipspringer (Oreotragus oreotragus)
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Number 0352 The klipspringer is a little-bitty antelope that lives in eastern and southern Africa on rocky cliffs. I originally picked it for my planned Mammal Mating theme week because it is a rare example of a monogamous mammal. (Most birds are monogamous; most mammals are not.) And what’s interesting is why it’s monogamous. And I also find it interesting that we humans—just apes,...

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Wrinkle-faced Bat (Centurio senex)
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Number 0351 When I drew this guy, I was working on a Mammal Mating theme week, but that was several months ago, and now I can’t figure out what’s interesting about the wrinkle-faced bat’s mating habits, except that scientists speculate that the wrinkled face may be related to sexual selection. Only the males have big neck flaps, and they emit a musky odor from...

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World Cup: The Mammalian Tournament Bracket
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Today is the final match in the real World Cup, between Spain and the Netherlands. Both of those countries are still in the mammalian World Cup,too. Let’s see how they fare! I’ve made a bracket of the tournament, with results and commentary for all but the final match. Who do you think would win that one? Check out the tournament bracket and share your...

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World Cup: Four Swiss Voles
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Numbers 0343, 0344, 0345, and 0346 Our last competitors in the mammalian World Cup are these four fellows from Switzerland. Clockwise from the top right, we have the European water vole (Arvicola aquatica), the European snow vole (Chionomys nivalis), the European pine vole (Microtus subterraneus), and the bank vole (Myodes glareolus). Some good news about these guys: they are all widespread throughout their ranges...

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World Cup: Spanish Ibex (Capra pyrenaica)
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Number 0342 The Spanish ibex is our penultimate mammalian World Cup competitor! Representing Spain, natch, it’s a nimble goat that lives in rocky places, once throughout the Iberian Peninsula, but now only in Spain and where it’s been reintroduced to Portugal. Of the four subspecies that once existed, only two remain. The last Pyrenean ibex, Capra pyrenaica pyrenaica, died in 2000 after being hit...

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World Cup: Chilean Pudú (Pudu puda)
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Number 0341 The Mammals of the World Cup series is almost finished! Just two more countries after today’s representative from Chile, the Chilean or southern pudú, which is the second smallest deer in the world, the first being the northern pudú, this guy’s cousin. The Chilean pudú is less than a foot and a half tall and is vulnerable to becoming endangered because of...

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World Cup: Honduras’ Tayra (Eira barbara)
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Number 0340 We’re now in the last group of competitors in the World Cup. Just four more countries, including this one, and we’re all done with our look at the soccer tournament. Today’s mammal is the tayra, representing Honduras. It’s a mustelid, or a member of the weasel family, that is quite common in Central and South America. Tayras are not picky eaters. They...

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World Cup: Brazil and North Korea
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Number 0338 I’m posting two mammals tonight, both to get a day ahead of the actual World Cup and because I really hate my second drawing and want to bury it beneath the one above, which I actually like. So first, here’s the silky anteater, also called the pygmy anteater (Cyclopes didactylus), representing Brazil. Brazil was one of the two favorites to win the...

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World Cup: Portugal’s Common Genet (Genetta genetta)
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Number 0337 This crazy-looking drawing is of a common genet, also called a small-spotted genet (I think the hyphen is important, but not everyone uses it) or a European genet. It’s representing Portugal in Group G of the Mammals of the World Cup series. It’s a carnivore in the Viverridae family, with the civets and linsangs. It lives in Europe, Africa, and the Middle...

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World Cup: Côte d’Ivoire’s Tree Pangolin (Manis tricuspis)
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Number 0336 Representing the Ivory Coast in the mammalian World Cup is this scaly, piny fellow, the tree pangolin. Like the anteaters of South America, the pangolin has evolved to have a long tongue and no teeth, adaptations that let it concentrate on eating ants. And like the armadillo, it has evolved a protective armor, in this case sharp scales that stick out of...

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World Cup: Slovakia’s Tatra Chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra tatrica)
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Number 0335 I don’t usually highlight a particular subspecies, but when it comes to picking a representative for Slovakia, my father-in-law’s ancestral home and the source of the yak in my name, I wanted to do it up right. Meet the Tatra chamois, a subspecies of the regular chamois, which lives only in the Tatra mountains of Slovakia and Poland and numbers fewer than...

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World Cup: New Zealand Lesser Short-Tailed Bat (Mystacina tuberculata)
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Number 0334 We are continuing our look at the World Cup, and with this particular entry, we have some officiating errors, just as they have in the soccer tournament. You see, I usually draw my bats the way they are usually photographed: maybe hanging upside down, probably crouched on a tree or something. I like drawing portraits, and besides, there aren’t that many great...

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World Cup: Paraguay’s Black-and-Gold Howler Monkey (Alouatta caraya)
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Number 0333 We are approximately one-third of the way to 1,000 mammals today, which would be in turn one-fifth of the way to all the mammals there are. Let’s celebrate that, as well as the World Cup, with this sad-looking black-and-gold howler monkey from Paraguay! The black-and-gold howler is also called the black howler, but so is at least one other howler monkey species...

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World Cup: Italy’s Alpine Ibex (Capra ibex)
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Number 0332 Here we go with our World Cup celebration, meeting one mammal from each of the 32 countries that were in the World Cup! Were is a key word in this case, as reigning champ Italy, today’s country, didn’t make it out of the group stage. But that’s not the alpine ibex’s fault! Alpine ibexes were once pretty common in the Swiss, French,...

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World Cup: Group E
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World Cup: Group E

Jun 29, 2010 by

Number 0328 Hi, mammals! I think I’ll be on track to finish the Mammals of the World Cup on schedule with the actual World Cup if I post all of Group E today and then get back to once-a-day tomorrow. (Whether I will succeed is still unknown, as life has been pretty stressful around here. But I’m trying!) Also, I’m really not doing my...

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World Cup: The Rest of Group D
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Number 0325 Because I missed a few days and because if I don’t step on the gas the World Cup will end before the World Cup of Mammals does, tonight I’m posting the final three mammals of Group D (the other being Serbia’s marbled polecat from the other day). This first one is the topi (Damaliscus korrigum), an antelope representing Ghana. Ghana was the...

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World Cup: Serbia’s Marbled Polecat (Vormela peregusna)
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Number 0324 Today marked the end of the first stage of play in the World Cup, and the Round of 16 is set. Unfortunately, today’s country, Serbia, did not make it through, but no matter. The marbled polecat (our second mustelid in a row, by the way) still has a chance in the World Cup of Mammals! Marbled polecats (who make me hungry with...

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