A colugo is an arboreal gliding mammal native to Southeast Asia and they are more closely related to humans and other primates than they are bats, squirrels, or sugar gliders. If you’re hearing about this interesting animal for the first time count them as one more reason on a list of many to protect the forests, preserve biodiversity, and save the planet.
Some species of rove beetle have a potent toxin called pederin in their hemolymph, which is like insect blood, and although these ant-like beetles don’t bite or sting if you squeeze one or even wipe one off of your face or neck, perhaps while you’re asleep, you could end up with an extremely itchy and painful rash. These insects are common in Penang especially in high rise buildings. The best thing you can do is place screens on your windows because if you don’t they will be attracted to the light and fly into your home. On the bright side pederin is being researched for its potential to slow the growth of cancerous tumors which just goes to show you how much we still have to learn from all the insects, plants, and other life we are causing to go extinct before we have a chance to research it. Let’s all do a better job at wasting less and conserving more in hopes of slowing down this sixth mass extinction that we are causing.
A few days ago was the first time I’ve ever seen an iguana in the wild and what a handsome one. The strange thing is that it was in Thailand so I’m guessing it must have escaped from the nearby animal detention center aka zoo. It looked quite healthy but hopefully it won’t have a chance to breed as iguanas aren’t native to this part of the world and can cause problems for local species of plants and animals some of which, unlike iguanas, might not exist in other places. The picture below the iguana is a lizard native to this area, a banded bent-toed forest gecko, which I was able to photograph as it clung to my front door last month.
Although I finished my quarantine last month I’m still pretty much staying put at home and avoiding any trips to the town or city where most of the local covid cases have been recorded. As of today I’ve been out of Penang for 42 days after being there for around 420 days straight and this is about the longest I’ve been off of the island since 2017. Ever since I left the covid situation there has been getting worse and they are now in day 2 of a full lockdown which will last for at least 2 weeks.
On April 12th the Malaysian immigration department made a short notice announcement telling all of us who had been permitted to stay with expired social visit passes that we had to leave the country within 9 days. At the time I wasn’t too happy about it especially since it forced me to go on a plane for the first time in five and a half years since all the land borders were closed however their announcement and my subsequent departure coincided with a record breaking spike in cases so if they were going to kick me out on short notice it looks like they did so at a good time.
Things have been going well here around 400km north of Penang and now that I’m free to move about I’ve been going to the river every morning for my cold bath/rebirth and although it’s not yet fruit season here I’ve still been able to find good local fruits some of which you can see featured on my wildly popular YouTube channel: (EatPlantsMoveMore). In addition to the fruits I’ve also had a few snake sightings. I had to remove one from underneath my house last week and just yesterday another one lowered itself down from my roof right in front of me. Fortunately neither snake was poisonous. Yesterday’s snake was a Red-tailed Racer.
Here are a few other beautiful snakes that have also visited me at home. These three snakes were venomous but fortunately they are not very dangerous to humans because their venom is weak and they are all rear-fanged snakes which makes it much more difficult for them to inject their venom into large animals like humans even if you did get them angry enough to strike and close enough for them to actually bite you. Fortunately I haven’t seen any Monocled Cobras at my house but I have had three King Cobra sightings. Hopefully the Cobras, Kraits, Vipers, and Coral Snakes will stay away and only snakes that can’t kill you with one bite will visit my house.
Stray cats and any house cats that are allowed outdoors unsupervised are a big problem. They kill billions of birds and small animals every year and have already contributed to the extinction of several species. Whether due to their predation or the diseases they carry the effect they have on native species and ecosystems is incredibly harmful.
If you have a cat the least you can do is have it spayed or neutered and vaccinated. Also be sure to keep an eye on your cat while it’s outside so you can prevent it from pouncing on any innocent native, and perhaps even endemic, birds or other environmentally beneficial animals like this poor Zebra Dove that was killed by a cat which was already over-fed but was just looking for something to play with/torture and kill.
I’m back in Thailand and since I’ve returned I’ve had two interesting animal finds, unfortunately they were both dead. I don’t have a picture of the dead reticulated python I removed from the road but I do have some photos of a dead draco aka flying lizard that I took this morning. Just after I took a couple photos of the dead one I was able to get a photo of a live one on a tree as they usually are. In addition I’ve included a few other photos I took this morning along with last night’s beautiful lunar halo.
I returned to Thailand earlier this month and have been here catching up on some thoughts and things that I put on hold while in Malaysia however as promised I will be going back to visit the kids in Penang next week. Before I do I decided to do the 40 hour water fast that I wanted to do around New Years but put off until I was back in Thailand. As I write this 30 hours in I thought it’d be a good opportunity to challenge you to not eat for a full day and to follow up with an improved plant based diet and healthier eating habits. In the meantime here’s a challenge you can do right now.
Enjoy the full moon and I’ll chime in again a month from now,
P.S. Here’s a slow loris photo I managed to get a couple weeks ago with a camera in one hand and a flashlight in the other along with a few recent photos of the kind of habitat you’re likely to find a slow loris or me living in. I also saw a colugo aka kubong a couple weeks ago but I was unable to get a photo. Speaking of forest gliders I had a paradise tree snake on my porch earlier this month and although I haven’t seen any flying dragon lizards this year I did have a couple fly past me while I was in the forest a few months ago.
Last night I was out walking around enjoying the sights and sounds of some of the local frogs and toads. Then today at the market I saw some more frogs but they weren’t making any sounds and I didn’t enjoy seeing them. As far as the locals are concerned there’s nothing wrong with ripping the skin off of a living frog and letting it slowly die over a period of what I guess could be hours. As is generally the case when I see something that is just plain wrong I spoke up in hopes that it will help raise awareness and influence future behavior. If you’re going to eat an animal or its parts and excretions then you should know how it was caught or raised and how it was killed and be alright with that otherwise you shouldn’t eat it.
P.S. If you want to see seven terrible seconds of what I was talking about click here, if not enjoy the happy toad photo below.
Bullfighting is another instance where culture and tradition overrides empathy and humanity and anyone participating in these events and/or opposing an outright ban of them should be ashamed of themselves. It’s great to see the good people of Spain take to the streets to oppose this barbarism that is still taking place in their country.
Earlier this week as I walked home in the 35C/95F tropical midday heat in a sleeveless shirt, shorts, and sandals with my umbrella to protect me from the fury of the sun I passed by a little dog that was wearing a very dirty and probably very smelly shirt. I had passed by the same dog before but the owner wasn’t around however this time they were so I gave them my standard dog-clothes-tropics speech which is basically just “The weather here is hot everyday year-round. I’ve got a shaved head and I’m still hot. Could you imagine how hot that furry dog is with clothes on? Do dogs really even need to wear clothes?”.
I walked by the same place this morning and the little dog was naked! A small victory which was the result of laying out the logic, encouraging people to think, and letting them arrive at the proper conclusion on their own. I never said dogs shouldn’t wear clothes nor did I say they were idiots/wrong for putting clothes on a dog in the tropics for their own sick amusement but after I explained the situation whatever conclusion they came to led them to remove the shirt. Lets just hope they didn’t remove it only to replace it with a hoodie tomorrow or perhaps in order to shave the dog in order to make it easier to cook now that it doesn’t remind them of a human.
Rest assured the little dog won’t be shaved and eaten as they don’t eat dogs in this area however the pigs, chickens, fish and many other living breathing pain and fear sensing animals sure do have it rough. Maybe I should start putting clothes on them to see if it gets people to start treating animals in more ethical ways. If you have a dog please make sure it stays in a private enclosed area or on a leash and that it’s been spayed or neutered.
A good article on an important topic except although it told readers what zoonotic diseases are it didn’t tell us how to stop them. Disease surveillance in other animals in addition to humans is great but what we really need to focus on is keeping humans away from animals. This could be done by working harder to protect the world’s remaining forests and ending the trade in wild animals. Finally if we really want to stop or at least slow the emergence of new and potentially devastating diseases from making the leap from animals to humans we can stop eating animals with an emphasis on those that have been raised, handled, and slaughtered in conditions that make the emergence of another zoonotic disease far more likely.
I’m strongly against the kidnapping, imprisonment, and exploitation of dolphins, orcas, or any other animals for human amusement because in addition to being immoral in itself it’s also what makes brutal dolphin hunts so profitable. If people want these hunts to stop they need to stop supporting/visiting the establishments which fund them, e.g., zoos and aquariums.
Also before going all anti-Japan please scroll back a few posts and watch the video on the factory farming and realize just because you pay someone else to do the mistreating and butchering doesn’t mean you’re any less a part of it. More or all plants less or no animals and if you do eat animal derived food please make sure it comes from responsible sources.
Warning this video contains graphic images which should be mandatory viewing for anyone who eats factory farmed eggs, dairy, or meat.
Current food production is sufficient to feed the over 7 billion of us here now and it will even be sufficient to feed the over 9 billion who will be here in the near future… provided the arable land we use and the food we grow is used to feed people rather than livestock and provided we stop wasting so much of the food that is produced. The reason why so many people on this planet are without access to adequate food isn’t because there isn’t enough to go around it’s because they don’t have the money to buy it. Therefore in addition to making better use of the food that’s already being grown and the land that has already been cleared to grow it eliminating extreme poverty should be the primary goal of anyone serious about feeding the world. Not cutting down more forests and using more toxic chemicals to produce more food that the people who need it most can’t afford to buy all while continuing to waste so much of it by feeding it to livestock and placing much of the food that is produced into plastic bags and sending it off to landfills.
I stopped using straws years ago and this is one of the reasons why. Do you still use straws? Maybe you should stop using them too or start using your own reusable one.
I don’t know how long we’ll live but I do know the straws we’ve used thus far in our lives will be around long after we’ve died and decomposed. To me at least it’s disturbing to know that the environmentally harmful waste I’ve unnecessarily created as a result of my own ignorance will outlast me. I don’t know where all our old straws will eventually end up however I imagine some will end up in leaky landfills, others buried in the soil future generations will use to grow their food, and some of them in the bellies of birds, fish, and other poor creatures.
Let this post and these images be a reminder to bring your own reusable food boxes, water bottles, and shopping bags and to say NO to unnecessary and environmentally harmful disposable items because in today’s overpopulated and over-consuming world it’s critical that we all work to reduce the negative social and environmental impacts of our consumption.
Dog loving animal abusers are people who treat dogs like humans while at the same time support the treating of pigs, cows, and other livestock like inanimate objects via their consumption of factory farmed milk, eggs, and, flesh. If you have a dog please make sure it’s spaded or neutered and always on a leash in public. If you want a dog please don’t support dog breeders and pet shops and instead adopt one from your local animal shelter. Also please clean up after your dog each time it makes a mess in public and as you do ask yourself if you really need another dog after the current one dies especially if you live in a densely populated area.
One of many people who is sick of being chased by dogs, dodging their excrement, hearing them bark, and feels that humanities resources would be much better spent on people rather than on pets.