Exotic pet – Sugar Bears

AR-160819574.jpg&MaxW=650Chad DeFrain of Springfield said he was a little surprised when he went to the Illinois State Fair and saw a vendor selling small marsupials called sugar gliders.

The 5- to 7-inch-long, furry animals with big black eyes enthralled his daughters, but DeFrain wondered if the state fair was the best place to buy a new pet. The vendor was offering a sugar glider, a cage and a starter kit for about $590.

“I’ve never seen them peddling animals there. It struck a funny chord. Maybe this is not the best idea for the fair,” DeFrain said.

Fair officials said they haven’t received any complaints about the vendor, which goes by the name Pocket Pets. A breeder in Chicago and a Springfield veterinarian, however, expressed concern that people might be overwhelmed by the animals’ cuteness and make an impulse buy they might later regret.

Sugar gliders are arboreal and are native to Australia and Indonesia. They are a marsupial, which means they have a pouch like a possum or kangaroo. They are not rodents.

According to the Pocket Pets website, they’re called sugar gliders because they like to eat almost anything that is sweet, especially fresh fruit and vegetables, and they have a gliding membrane (similar to a flying squirrel) that stretches from their wrist to their ankles, allowing them to glide – not fly – from tree to tree

In the wild, they primarily live in trees in “colonies” of 10 to 15 other sugar gliders.

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Take Your Dog to Work … every day


Over the last six years, my dog Pip has accompanied me on many job-related outings: working at the office, guarding my record bag at (low-volume-level) DJ gigs, panting in the background while I record my radio show in the studio, and on planes, trains, and automobiles.

This year is the 20th anniversary of Take Your Dog To Work Day, which began in 1996 in the U.K. and 1998 in the U.S. Before I started working as a full-time freelancer, I was lucky to have worked in offices where dogs were allowed. I live in Berlin, Germany, a city that is extremely dog-friendly. Not only are dogs welcome virtually everywhere here, but they’re considered official co-workers in many offices. Dogs are allowed to accompany their owners on trains and buses (with a ticket and muzzle), and there are plentiful green spaces with dog runs. Many of the cafés and restaurants even supply water bowls for their furry patrons. Because of these freedoms, dogs here are very well-trained. There are plenty of dog-training schools (hundeschule) in the city to ensure that meals and meetings alike go uninterrupted by barks or bites.

Now that my work office is at home, my dog has become even more important—she keeps me company and doesn’t let me forget about taking breaks (an easy rut to fall into when there aren’t co-workers around suggesting coffee or lunch). Those walking breaks often help to clear my head and fuel inspiration. Plus, bringing your dog to work can actually have beneficial effects on your mind. A 2008 study showed that stress levels declined by the end of the day for employees who had brought their dogs to work. Conversely, rising stress levels were indicated for the same people when their dogs were not brought into work.  read more…

Traffic Jam – but for the right reasons


James Cudmore, a police officer, halted traffic as a cat transported five kittens, one by one, across Lafayette Street in Manhattan in 1925. Credit Harry Warnecke/NY Daily News Archive, via Getty Images

There was a time when the life of a New York City cat was filled with adventure. The archives of The New York Times reveal a golden era for feline exploits in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when cats were apparently as essential to newspapers as they now are to the internet. Tales (some of them seemingly tall) of the city’s cat population — domesticated, stray and in between — ranged from drama to comedy to tragedy. Here is a small selection. read more…

Minimize heat stress when working cattle

heat stress graphic

Heat and humidity are two deadly environmental cards Mother Nature deals during the dog days of summer, making it crucial for producers to be aware of the impacts heat stress can have on their cattle.

Here are some tips from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for handling cattle in the summer heat:

Only handle cattle in early mornings.

Two hours after the environmental temperature hits a daily high, cattle’s core temperatures peak—and it takes four to six hours for their core temperature to return to normal. Because of this, it is recommended to do any cattle handling in the early morning hours, before 8 a.m., and never after 10 a.m.

Make it short.

Don’t move cattle great distances. Since movement of cattle during processing will increase their core temperatures, take things slow with low-stress handling techniques. Strategic pen placements are recommended to keep heavier cattle closer to loading facilities.

Work cattle in smaller groups.

Avoid overcrowding holding pens, alleys and working facilities so cattle receive adequate air flow, water and shade. Keep groups of cattle small enough so they aren’t standing too close together. Don’t leave cattle in the holding area much longer than 30 minutes.

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Plant-Based Treatment for Equine Melanoma


A new, plant-based anti-cancer treatment is showing promising signs in horses with melanoma, German researchers have learned.

Betulinic acid, already used for treating human melanomas, could become an effective and safer alternative for treating equine melanoma compared to traditional chemotherapies, said Reinhard Paschke, PhD, Prof. Dr. habil., of Martin Luther University, in Halle, Germany.

Betulinic acid comes from the bark of white birch and similar trees. It attacks cancer cells by breaking down the membranes of the mitochondria—the cell’s “energy factory.” If a cancer cell’s mitochondria malfunctions, it lacks energy and, therefore, will die.

Paschke said he decided to test betulinic acid on equine melanomas when the owner of a gray horse contacted him after reading his research on melanoma treatment in dogs two years ago. read more…