The Cutest Community Science Project

Did you know that there are islands all over Los Angeles County? In fact, Debs Park is one of them. (So are Verdugo Hills, Baldwin Hills, and Griffith Park, just to name a few.) “Debs Park is an island within the sea of urbanization that is Los Angeles,” says wildlife biologist Tom Ryan. This hidden…

Pics or It Didn’t Happen?

Around 4 a.m., Jeff and I crept out of our open-air bungalow. Our little stray jungle cat with the crooked tail and orange fur—we called her Naranjica (small orange)—scuttled around our feet along the gravel path to our rented Montero. The phrase “It’s always darkest before the dawn” seemed so true  as we jounced over…

Not So Supernatural: Why Do Spiderwebs Disappear in the Morning?

A while back, I almost walked straight into this trap a spider spun right at my backdoor. It was about three feet in diameter, one of the most impressive webs I’d ever seen up close. Of course, I couldn’t possibly destroy something so intricately beautiful, so I left it. The next morning, it was gone…

Road to the Grand Canyon (Part 3): The Grand Finale

Around mid-morning I make my way to the Grand Canyon, about an hour-and-a-half west on the 40 and north via 64.  I reach civilization in the form of some very generic restaurants and chain hotels that threaten to lead me into a tourist trap. There’s no hint at all that I’m actually approaching a gargantuan…

The Spirit of the Sea Turtle

I dipped into a hidden lagoon on the leeward side of Oahu, and right there, one of my dreams came true. Snorkeling in the coral, I felt something graze my leg. I looked over and found a sea turtle the size of Smart Car gliding by and saying “hey.” He had a much smaller friend…

Endangered Baby: Pangolin

It looks like a Pokémon. That’s cause it totally inspired one (Sandshrew). The pangolin is like some kind of freakish armadillo-dragon hybrid. But it’s no fearsome, fire-breathing reptile. It doesn’t even have teeth. It’s just a gentle, solitary mammal quietly roving its habitats across Africa and Asia in search of a tasty meal of ants….

10 Things I Didn’t Know About Being an Omnivore

When I was 18 I started listening to Morrissey and Strike Anywhere—starkly different in their musical styles but similar in their stances on animal welfare—and went vegetarian. I wasn’t really thinking hard about politics or even the environment; I just didn’t want to eat animals because I didn’t support ending their adorable lives in the…

An Ode to Crows—the Ultimate Birdbrains

When George RR Martin nicknamed the men of the Night’s Watch (I’m talking about Game of Thrones—if you don’t know, you better ask somebody!) “crows,” I bet it wasn’t merely because they’re cloaked in black. I like to think it’s because, like the birds themselves, they get a bad rap, but most people don’t know…

Endangered Baby: Northern White Rhino

In Vietnam, if you have a rhino horn, you’re (supposedly) a big deal. They’re worth up to $60,000 per kilo on the black market—more valuable than diamonds or cocaine. Sometimes they’re even ground up and snorted as a party drug. And some proponents of Asian medicine actually believe they can cure hangovers … and cancer….

Living La Pura Vida

  BOOM! I wake in the middle of the night to roaring thunder and a vehement downpour through the trees, crashing against the roof of my bungalow. In the pitch-blackest darkness, my eyes never adjust, with minimal city lights permeating the atmosphere in this little coastal town called Tamarindo in the Guanacaste province of Costa…