Animal Friends

Large animals in the wild

Beaked and gray whales, dilemma of local mountain lions, wild horses in Coyote Creek, coyotes thrive in San Diego canyons

Mystery of the Beaked Whales By the time they arrived the tide had gone out and the animal lay dead on the sand. “There was a guy from the Navy already there. He was asking ...

Birds on the brain, in the sky, and, thirdly, up close

Where to see your fine-feathered friends

My ten-year-old has birds on the brain ever since she got a pet parakeet, and she’s eager to see some that don’t live in cages. Natalie at Free Flight Exotic Bird Sanctuary in Del Mar ...

Unusual pet fanciers

Pig, horses and women, dachshunds, pet cemeteries, pigeons

If I Had a Sledgehammer for a Nose, What Havoc Would I Wreak? I bought a pig because I wasn't ready for children. I wanted something small and helpless but something that wouldn't require college ...

The food chain

Fish farms, San Diego perfect for termites, feeding grease to cows, ostriches north of Escondido, duck hunt near Chocolate Mountains

And on This Farm They Had Some Fish It can get wet out there in the desert, especially when you're raising tons of fish. Like most people involved in aquaculture, Engler’s interest in the biological ...

Animal friends, domesticated

The cost of dogs, life with cats, poodles are not dogs, what chickens teach, D., the duck, secretive cockfighting in North County

Love Bites Sam and I drive back to the dog room in El Cajon. By now, Sam has racked up a total bill (vets, food, clothes, general destruction, trainer, vaccination shots, equipment) in excess of ...

Poodles Aren't Dogs

Don't try to paint a poodle's toenails

"Once someone wanted her dog green for St. Patrick’s Day, and I did it. We used to get a lot of people who asked for toenail painting, but lately the styles have changed away from that."

You Might Not Think a Cat Could Hog a Whole Bed

San Diegans on what pets do for us

Recently Missy had to pry the lizard's mouth open with a butter knife after he clamped down on Ruben's hand. While his teeth are small, the creature was able to break skin and draw blood.

Camera One Canine Actors, on 30th Street in North Park

The dog’s cute, but the owner needs work .o

Turn the knob, open the screen door… Wham! A roiling ball of shelties hurtles against it and slams it shut. Yipyipyipyipyipyip! Jumpjumpjump. Yip. Yip. Jumpjumpjump. Yip! “Scat, Jazz, Riff. Hey, guys. Quiet down.” Yip. Yurp. ...

Author David Sedaris visits San Diego Zoo primates.

Comedian in the mist

Sedaris was smoking a Kool near the entrance to the La Jolla Marriott when I explained that the zoo was probably touchy because the feds had recently nailed the zoo's reptile curator for dealing snakes on the side.

San Diego Metro Pigeon Club taught me so much

We join the club of fanciers

I had no love for pigeons. I had unhappy associations from childhood, and I shared the popular perception of them as rats with wings. On the Great Chain of Being, birds are rather low; they ...

San Diego Zoo's strange struggle for pandas

Sex and politics and cuteness

The World Wildlife Fund argued that only captive-born animals should be loaned in order to minimize the incentive to capture more wild pandas. It criticized the zoo for charging ahead in its pursuit of a loan.

Endangered Quino checkerspot butterfly chased on Otay Mountain

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Carlsbad in charge of him

Thirty seconds after we get out of the car Chris screams, "Quino! Quino!" Gordon is also excited, and I'm caught up too. I see a flash of orange and black, and then...I see another and another and another.

Tarantulas – the Clara Barton of arachnids

Love on eight legs

Six days later, another tarantula crawled into a friend’s house across town. His kitten stalked it and his wife screamed. By then we had learned that tarantulas are “beneficials” who kill insects in the grove.

UCSD's Dr. Phillip Groves cuts up rats

Needles, drugs, and thin slices of brain

“My work consists primarily of brain research,” says Dr. Phillip Groves, neuroscientist at UCSD. “The animals that I use mostly are experimental rats, laboratory rats, although I’ve done a number of experiments on different animals ...

17,000 deaths at San Diego County Animal Shelter

Overpopulation solutions among the animals

“Last year, we dealt with over 31,000 animals in our department alone,” says Lieutenant Jim Wright from behind his desk at the Central County Animal Shelter. “But we don’t have 31,000 people knocking at our ...