Bobcats: Nature’s Savants

You may have read about (or met) people with savant syndrome. Formerly called “idiot savants,” people with savant syndrome have significant learning disabilities but also display exceptional intelligence at times, often to the shock of those who underestimate them. Opossums are the natural world’s own example of savant syndrome! If you were to look atContinue reading “Bobcats: Nature’s Savants”

The Chuck-Will’s-Widow

Look at this bizarre-looking cutie pie! This is a chuck-will’s-widow. It looks like a weird new Pokemon, and— just like a Pokémon— it says its name! Like its close cousin the whippoorwill, the chuck-will’s-widow is rarely seen because it’s nocturnal and well-camouflaged. If you’re lucky, though, you may hear its characteristic high-pitched call at night.Continue reading “The Chuck-Will’s-Widow”

Trees Don’t Litter

If you’d ever seen how quickly our raccoon patients can devour twenty pounds of acorns or forage through six inches of fallen leaves for bugs, you’d understand exactly why there’s no need to “clean up” the gifts trees leave us in autumn! Many native animals in our area cannot survive winter without the bounty ofContinue reading “Trees Don’t Litter”

Cross Fox or Red Fox? How to Tell

Cross foxes and grey foxes are easily confused! The description of “grey with a red outline” applies to both, but they’re actually completely different species (both of which occur naturally here in Southeast Tennessee). The cross fox is actually a red fox, the species most people are familiar with. When a red fox carries genesContinue reading “Cross Fox or Red Fox? How to Tell”

Canine Distemper in Raccoons: What You Need to Know

Yikes, the zombie apocalypse is upon us! Humans aren’t the only animals who experience pandemics. In recent decades, racccoons and many other wild animals have been massively afflicted with canine distemper, an extremely contagious virus that passed to wildlife through unvaccinated dogs. We saw lower-than-average rates of canine distemper in wild raccoons this year, butContinue reading “Canine Distemper in Raccoons: What You Need to Know”

That Friendly Animal May Not Be Your Reincarnated Loved One

Ok here’s what I wrote and it will go live tomorrow. Thank you guys! The world works in mysterious ways, and people can find messages hidden in anything. Grief is painful, and it’s only human nature to look for signs that our loved ones are still with us. Sometimes we come across animals in ourContinue reading “That Friendly Animal May Not Be Your Reincarnated Loved One”

How to Tell A Bobcat from a House Cat

Mistaken identity seems to be a recurrent theme in our phone calls and messages. Many of you likely recall the viral story about our bobcat patient Arwen, whose finder mistook her for a stray domestic kitten and made an unintentionally hilarious post attempting to rehome her. In much more frustrating cases, we’ve had people cussContinue reading “How to Tell A Bobcat from a House Cat”

Do Raccoons Hibernate?

Raccoons right now are going through many changes to prepare for winter. They’re becoming much more crepuscular (active at dawn and dusk) rather than strictly nocturnal and are developing a strong instinct to forage on high-fat foods and seek shelters. All these changes prepare them “Diet Hibernation,” known more scientifically as torpor. Torpor differs fromContinue reading “Do Raccoons Hibernate?”

Let Livestock Guardians Do Their Jobs!

One of our most important goals as an organization is to promote peaceful coexistence with wild animals. We strive to make sure that owners of livestock seek effective, nonlethal methods of protecting their herds. Instead of killing native predators— a futile, cruel, ineffective approach— many ranchers make the excellent decision to employ livestock guardian dogs.Continue reading “Let Livestock Guardians Do Their Jobs!”