“Today we’re talking about a bird with a knack to crack snacks and packs snacks to prep for when Jack frost comes back. But more on that later.”
You may know that a lot of nature’s most amazing animal adaptations are developed in the bitter fight against winter. When earth tilts away from the warmth of the sun towards the chill of space, animals have to be prepared. When there’s no food to be found for months at a time, you’ve got to stock up. But one bird braves the cold with a 100 acre pantry. But preparation may be a matter of life, death, and taxonomy.
Continue reading Episode 53 – Clark’s Nutcracker: The Squirrelly Bird Gets the Worm
“And today we’re talking about a moody snek with a bejeweled back and baby toy for a butt!”
Sometimes, all you need in a shootout is a keen eye and your trusty gun. But nature’s tricky, and you can’t always see your target with just your eyes. The Western Diamondback Rattlesnake can see through the fog, dust, and darkness that covers this here frontier, and it’s mighty glad it can. From stem to stern, this veritable killin’ machine is built for catchin’ varmints of all shapes and sizes, which makes it the perfect specimen of the wild west where the law is Life, Death, and Taxonomy.
Continue reading Episode 52 – Western Diamondback Rattlesnake: A Heat Visionary
“…and today we’re talking about a creature whose binomial name means defenseless water drinker in latin. But more on that later.”
As the deer pants by the water, it must keep a sharp eye out for predators. Once they turn their heads down to take a few sips of that life-giving elixir, they’re vulnerable to everything the forest hides in its depths. One deer that walks the banks of the great Yangtze River, may seem like its forsaken the traditional cervid adaptations, which has left it totally defenseless. But upon closer inspection, you can see that it’s taken the anatomical road less traveled. But revolutionary evolution is our favorite topic here on Life, Death, and Taxonomy.
Continue reading Episode 51 – Water Deer: The Fanged Forrest Fawn
“…and today we’re talking about the Bullseye snakehead, which is a classic Floridian story in that it’s from somewhere else and it’s really just making the place worse.”
Fish live and breathe water, right? Of course they do! Fish are in the water and we’re on land, that’s what prevents sharing the planet with sharks from being an omnipresent nightmare. But what if these carnivorous carps could carpe the diem and take a spin on land? The Bullseye snakehead stops at nothing to do the two things it loves to do the most: eating and reproducing. The question is: how do we stop this voracious predator from taking over the world? It might just spell the end of the first part of Life, Death and Taxonomy.
Continue reading Episode 50 – Bullseye Snakehead: A Fishy 50th Extravaganza
“And today we’re talking about a weird-looking dinosauresque bird that looks like it may have been drawn by a fourth grader.”
Every so often, a creature comes along that defies the conventions of adaptation and reform. Such creatures cling to the tried and true and, subsequently, resemble relics of a bygone age. One prehysterical looking bird resembles something more akin to it’s dinosaur ancestors than it’s crane cousins. Some call it stagnation, but this frightening feathered behemoth calls it sticking to proven methods. But nature is all about function over form and when you find a look that works, you stick to it in Life, Death, and Taxonomy.
Continue reading Episode 49 – Shoebill: The Prehysterical Pescatarian
“And today we are talking about a creature that could be a schnoz seismologist. But more on that later…”
Deep in the forests of Appalachia, a friendly earthworm makes its way to who knows where. When suddenly, a dark form approaches. If it had eyes, the earthworm would see a large furry creature coming toward it, pounding the soft earth with its nose. At the end of its snout sits a wriggling mass of writhing tentacles, as though the creature had abducted the earthworm’s brethren, and assimilated them into its nostrils. The worm desperately tries to flop away, but its face/butt accidentally brushes up against the amalgamation of pink tendrils. In an instant, your already dark world is consumed by…more darkness. Hmmm… shouldn’t have picked a worm. Should have gone with crickets. Everybody likes crickets…
Continue reading Episode 48 – Star-Nosed Mole: The Anemone-Faced Horror
“…And today we’re talking about a fish that sick of the taste of fish! But more on that later.”
It’s a fish eat fish world, but some aquatic animals aren’t strict pescatarians. Some favor the fruit of the forest. But what can you do if you have terrestrial tastes? Well, you’ve got to bring the meal to you, and it’s not delivery. Sometimes, a little variety in your diet means that you’ve got to get creative with the way you hunt in Life, Death, and Taxonomy.
Continue reading Episode 47 – Archer Fish: The Pond Sniper
“And today we are talking about the magellan with dark blue flagellum. But more on that later.”
Continue reading Episode 46 – Blue Sea Slug: The Cnidarian Nightmare Dragon
“And today we are talking about the monarch butterfly, an insect that tastes so bad other bugs are trying to be her! But more on that later…”
She prepares for a journey she may never complete,
And from which she will never return.
No insect migration could ever compete
But it’s not the glory she seeks to earn.
Madam butterfly is a southbound bug,
In search of a kinder season.
Her children will sleep safe and snug,
In temperatures that are well within reason.
A haven she will never know,
Will save them from winter snow.
But a bittersweet journey is what she’ll need,
To make it in Life, Death, and Taxonomy.
Continue reading Episode 45: Monarch Butterfly: The 3,000 Mile Flutter
“And today we are talking about a dark and mysterious creature that’s the subject of frightening folklore and spooky stories. But more on the later.”
Creeping quietly through the night
A vampire finds its hearts delight
Breathing softly in its sleep
The prey knows not what’s in the deep
With slash and prick, the wound is cut
The sanguine morsel in its gut
Is not enough to satisfy
This parasite, the rat that flies
But those who trade in scarlet know
That darkness causes fear to grow
And rest extracts a heavy fee
In Life, Death, and Taxonomy
Fast Talkin by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
Continue reading Episode 44 – Vampire Bat: The Spooky Sky Rat