Friday, September 26, 2014

Rerun Article: We're All Nuts For Nuts!

Once a shy creature, Cronopios are rapidly spreading across the North American continent, and they are nut-crazed!

The little mammal from the movie Ice Age is called a Scrat, or Saber-toothed Squirrel. Now when the movie-makers made this movie, they completely made up Scrat. He was supposed to be a fictional creation. Well, recently, it turns out God really did make such a creature! It was first discovered as fossils until a living population was discovered in September 2012. Before 2012, these squirrels were hiding in the remote forests of the Taiga in northern Alaska until they realized how many acorns could be collected when living in close quarters with humans. The “Scrat”, called Cronopio by the scientists, is roughly a foot and a half in length, including that bushy tail. “Scrat” are squirrels from the Ice Age that have a complete hanker for nuts. As a matter of fact, fossil skeletons of these guys have been found still in the position of “chasing” after their treasured nuts. The “Scrat” uses its long incisor teeth to break open the shell of a nut after grasping it in their paws (if they can hold onto the nut, that is). The brain of this little mammal is only about the size of a walnut, often resulting in bad decision making. “Scrats” will also clean their nuts before either eating or burying it so it can find the nut later. These squirrels are not very social. The only time they seek other squirrels is during mating season. Autumn precaution: NEVER GO OUTSIDE AND EAT NUTS. “Scrats” have been known to steal nuts from humans and will even go to the extent of ganging up in packs to tackle humans with nuts. Despite them not being so bright, they know how to open unlocked kitchen and car and can open refrigerators. So don’t leave nuts exposed, especially during the fall. Fortunately, these nut-loving rodents were easy for my photographer, Daniel P. Smithwater to take a photo of one. We simply put an acorn on the ground and waited about two minutes before one showed up (you may have noticed the teeth on the individual in the photo aren't all that long and the tail isn't all that fluffy, this is because it's a sub-adult). These animals are definitely nuts for . . . well, nuts!

Written by: Mr. Smiley
Photographer: Daniel P. Smithwater
Edited by: Christian Ryan

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Next Issue: Agent X - Operation Eden pt. 1

Friday, September 19, 2014

Lizzy's Ice Cream Cake Recipe

I absolutely LOVE ice cream cakes! Continue reading to learn how to make one from Lizzy the lizard and her little sister, Lily.
“Hey Lizzy here, again!” I announce happily. “I'm here about to make a delicious ice cream cake to celebrate my birthday! This recipe came from the Taste&See LCA cookbook. It's recipe was given by Sarah Anderson ”
“It's actually not her birthday yet,” grumbled the lizard next to her. “I'm Lily, by the way. Lizzy is always forgetting about me.”
“Okay so in order to do this I need, 1 package of Oreo cookies (crushed), 2/4 c. Margarine, 1/2 gal. vanilla ice cream, ½ gal. chocolate ice cream, and 1. lg. ctn. Cool Whip.”
WE need!” Lily corrects. “Anyway, first WE need to mix the cookie crumbs and margarine together and pat it firmly into the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch pan.”
Lizzy grabbed the bag of crushed Oreos and dumped it into the pan.
“Uh Lizzy, what are you doing?”
“I'm patting down the crumbs.”
“Ugh, don't do it with your tail . . . that's like . . . so unsanitary or something.”
Lizzy looks at the cook book.
“Cut the ice cream into slices and place them on top. You could also add some cookie crumbs in between the layers if you want,” she read.
“Yeah well, unfortunately, you dumped all the cookie crumbs onto the bottom,” Lily pointed out.
“The last step: freeze the cake until firm. Then top it with Cool Whip and refreeze.”
“You can eat the leftover ice cream!” Lizzy exclaimed, happily diving into the cartons.
Lily shakes her head and then puts the pan in the freezer.
“So how long do we have to wait?”
“I don't know.”
“Let's sing a song!”
“Uh . . . no.”
“Oh come on, you're no fun,” Lizzy pouted.
Finally the cake is good and ready to eat.
“OOOOH! BRAIN FREEZE!!!!!” Lizzy yells, running around the kitchen.
Lily just laughs.

Written by: Lizzy the Lizard
Photographer: Daniel P. Smithwater
Edited by: Christian Ryan, Joy Hammond and Mr. Smiley

Special Announcement!
Let's all be sure to wish Lizzy a very happy birthday!

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Next Issue: Rerun Article - We're All Nuts For Nuts

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Dodo's New Groove

(Image will be uploaded as soon as possible)

Let me tell you a little bit about the dodo. The dodo is a large flightless ground bird that lived on an island in the Indian Ocean called Mauritius. These fruit-eating animals had no predators and peaceful lives all to themselves until the arrival of European settlers in the late 17th century. The settlers found the birds to be unafraid of them, so they took advantage of the birds; many were killed for food. The settlers also brought other animals to the island, including pigs, cats, dogs and rats, who ate the eggs of the dodoes. All this, plus the destruction of their habitat, brought the dodo bird to extinction until the 21st century when Dr. Steve Stevenson of Animal Adventures Institute genetically engineered the first living dodo bird to be seen in the past 340 years or so, and to say the least, he's back with a punch!

Dr. Dodo now resides at Animal Adventures Inc. and now holds a degree in psychology (don't ask how he got it, him not being a human and all) and has mastered the martial arts of judo and Tae Kwon Dodo. “You see,” Dr. Dodo says, “ever since the dodo bird went extinct, myths have been popping up about my species. It took less than 200 years to get rid of us, and another 300 to mess up our reputation.” He went on to explain that the main consensus was that dodo birds are fat, lousy and dumb animals. “None of this is actually true,” Dr. Dodo says. “The myths that we are fat and lazy creatures comes from when some dodo birds were brought to captivity before we went extinct; they got practically no exercise (zoo exhibits were cramped and miserable places for animals before environment enrichment came along) and were overfed. So no wonder those birds were fat. However, this doesn't really reflect our true natures. In reality, we are pretty fast and relatively slim birds, only weighing 22-47 pounds in the wild.” Then Dr. Dodo explained the myth about dodo intelligence. “We're actually very intelligent as animals go, in fact, birds are generally very smart creatures. The reason why people today often associate us with the word 'dumb' is because when settlers first reached Mauritius, they saw we weren't scared of them when they approached us and figured we were too dumb to run away. It wasn't that we were dumb, but we hadn't experienced predators in hundreds, possibly thousands of years. So why would we need to run?”

It is because of these stereotypes that Dr. Dodo feels one of his life's missions is to change the way people view the dodo, which is why my trusty, junior photographer, Daniel P. Smithwater and I were at his apartment room to ask him about his plans. He is quoted for saying, “This is why I've decided to start hosting martial arts classes in the Animal Adventures Inc. cafeteria. This is where a devoted group of people and animals who want to master the martial arts can come to learn not only martial arts, but about the true side of the dodo.”

I then asked Dr. Dodo how martial arts were supposed to help change the view of the dodo bird. “Well, dodo birds are depicted as lazy and dumb, right?” he says. “If I can bring awareness to my group, people will see a dodo bird conducting energetic martial arts, I'm hoping they can see just how fit and agile we actually are. Many martial arts maneuvers are quite complex; one must have a very complex brain in order to make quick and necessary adjustments of the body in midair while staying aware of your surroundings.”

To start off, Dr. Dodo will be having his first class October 18th, 2014. If you'd like to join, be sure to stop by the Animal Adventures Inc. front desk for more information. Also be sure to tell all your friends and family about the plight of these poorly misunderstood birds.

“It's time to change the view of Raphus cuculattus around for the better,” Dr. Dodo said.

Written by: Mr. Smiley
Photographer: Daniel P. Smithwater
Edited by: Christian Ryan

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Next Issue: Lizzy's Ice Cream Cake Recipe

Friday, September 5, 2014

The Great Dolphin Rescue

(Photo will be uploaded as soon as possible)
You ever have those times when two related yet seemingly unlinked things seem to happen at the same time? Well, it just happened here at Animal Adventures Inc. You may or may not be aware of the upcoming film, Dolphin Tale 2, that is being released in theaters September 12, a movie I am really looking forward to seeing. So I was watching the music video for the film, Brave Souls, by Cozi Zuehlsdorff, two days ago, when Lizzy alerted me that a number of AAI.'s animal caretakers are heading to the coast to help in the rescue of a breached dolphin!

I couldn't resist missing the opportunity to report on this interesting story, so my trusty, junior photographer, Daniel P. Smithwater, and I headed to the coast to catch up with the rescue team. AAI. workers, Dr. Elizabeth Sorkin, a veterinarian, Kelsey and Kelly Martin, animal welfare experts, Dr. Arizona Stevenson, a zoologist joined up with marine life specialists from the local Riverville Marine Aquarium. The moment Daniel and I rushed out of the car, we found ourselves in a big hullabaloo! Commotion was everywhere. Daniel struggled to take non-blurry pictures. The marine specialists, Kelsy and Kelly were all hustling to get a special carrier to transport the dolphin from the beach to the transportation truck. Of course, I still couldn't see the dolphin through the crowd. To make matters worse, crowds of nosy people were looking on from the sidelines, adding to the noise.

Finally, Elizabeth helped Daniel and I break through the crowd to see the dolphin. Kelsey and a marine specialist named Darlene Margaret were already applying fluids onto the poor animals skin. This dolphin was much smaller than I expected – a baby! I asked Kelsey how old she thought the dolphin was. “Based on its size,” she said, “I believe this baby dolphin is 2-3 months old. She's not nearly old enough to live in the wild without her mother.” Kelsey revealed that both the baby dolphin and her mother had been found on the beach by a local fisherman; unfortunately, the mother died shortly after becoming breached.

Then Darlene explained why it was important to keep pouring water over the dolphin's skin. She's quoted for saying, “We have to keep pouring water on this dolphin because her skin is so sensitive. If we didn't do this, she'd dry out in no time because their skin isn't as good as keeping its water as our is. This is to be expected of course, as dolphins aren't supposed to be on land like this.” With the carrier ready, the scientists and specialists carried the little dolphin from the beach and back to the truck. Then it was time for her to be taken to the Riverville Marine Aquarium. This is kind of interesting, because up until today, I had no idea Riverville had an aquarium.

Daniel and I got back in the truck to follow the truck carrying the poor, little dolphin to the aquarium. Then they unloaded her and placed her into a special pool where she would be in the water but held up by some marine specialists, such as Darlene. “Unfortunately,” she said, “it doesn't seem that this little dolphin will be able to be released back into the wild because she was orphaned before she'd learned all the necessary survival skills needed for life in the wild.” Then I asked what would become of her. Dr. Elizabeth said, “Of course we'll keep her here at the aquarium. There's no need to transport her anywhere else. The poor thing's probably traumatized enough as it is.”

Although this dolphin's been through a lot during the time she was breached and rescued, but she's alright now. Once she's feeling normal, they'll release the baby into the pool with other rescued dolphins. In the meantime though, she's safe in the hands of her caretakers, who have just given her a new name: Faith.

Written by: Mr. Smiley
Photographer: Daniel P. Smithwater
Edited by: Christian Ryan

Disclaimer: We here at Smiley's News claim no ownership to Dolphin Tale 2.

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Next Issue: The Dodo's New Groove