Saturday, February 21, 2009

Camera Critters

Photobucket

This is a Naked-Soled Gerbil, Tatera indica, also known as Indian Gerbil or Antelope Rat. They are related to Mongolian gerbils, the most common pet gerbil, but not closely (the gerbil family is huge).

I've got mine from a friend who in turn rescued them when someone abandoned all her pets. Apart from the Naked-Soled gerbils, there were all kinds of mice, gerbils, hamsters and other exotic mammals, all severely neglected (cages not cleaned for week or months, dead animals everywhere, no food and water). The person just left and told no-one until three weeks later. I wasn't there, but what I heard was enough to make me want to strangle that person.

The gerbils are very shy, I can't handle them at all. But they are interesting to watch and I think they are quite cute with their big eyes - and they are extremely curious, always watching me to see what I'm doing.
Photobucket
That's Rygel (although it's actually a female) - she's probably almost blind due to a wrong diet, fruits and sugary treats can cause diabetes and other problems like cataracts with many rodents (dwarf hamsters for example). It doesn't bother her, though.

And this is Baron Harkonnen
Photobucket
He's so bald because they groom each other so much that their hair falls out. It's called barbering, fancy mice and rats sometimes do it, too. I think that it may have been caused by being kept in a tiny cage, just out of boredom, and now they can't get rid of it. They live in a 6ft long cage in my kitchen, Naked-Soled gerbils have about the size of a small rat and really need that much room.

See more critters over at the Camera Critters meme

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Today's Flowers

Photobucket

I don't know what it is, but I like the colour.
See more flowers over at the Today's Flowers meme

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Today's Flowers

I'm sick of winter right now and I'm glad about everything that's growing. Here's the first flower I saw this year:
Photobucket
Photobucket

It's witch hazel and around here, always among the first plants to bloom. And another sign of spring:
Photobucket
Willow catkins. In German, they are called Kaetzchen (kittens) or Pusekaetzchen by children, meaning something like fluffy kitten.

See more flowers at the Today's Flowers meme

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Camera Critters

Photobucket
This is a whip spider aka tailless whip scorpion, the species is Damon variegatus. It's neither scorpion nor spider, though, whip spiders form their own order in the arachnid class, the Amblypygi.

They have powerful pinchers (pedipalps) and the first pair of legs is modified into very long feelers, the namegiving whips. D. variegatus has whips that are about 12" long, the body of the animal is about 2" long. Those are used to search for prey (the one in the pictures is feeding on a crickets). Whip spiders are extremely fast, but very shy and to me, they are among the most alien looking creatures on earth. They can pinch, but otherwise they are totally harmless to humans and other mammals, they have no venom and prefer to run away when disturbed.

Photobucket

See more (and probably cuter) critters over at the Camera Critters meme

Monday, February 2, 2009

MyWorld Tuesday

Photobucket

My boyfriend worked in England for three months last year and when I came to visit, London was of course a must. I've been to London many times and it's my favourite city, I just love it. This time it was especially awesome because we went to see the Doctor Who exhibition. I started watching the show with Christopher Ecclestone as the ninth Doctor (the classic series was shown only once in German TV and then I was too young to watch it - thank God for the internet or I would have to suffer through the dubbed version now!) and I had a blast at the exhibition. The above photo shows a clockwork android, those are really creepy, but one of my favourite Whomonsters.

Photobucket
An Ood. How can you not love a face like this?

Photobucket
Cassandra - moisturize me *g*

Photobucket
Cybermen

Photobucket
a Dalek - I knew them even before I knew Doctor Who and I've always liked that design. Especially the plumber's helper and the egg whisk (I'm quite sure that's what they used, at least in the original show). But they are frightening somehow!

Photobucket
and of course the Weeping Angels, positioned right behind a corner. Don't blink!

If you're a Whovian and have the chance to visit the exhibition, then by all means do so, it's really worth it and absolutely not crowded, since you have to buy tickets in advance and only a certain number is sold for each timeslot. The one in London is now closed, but there are others http://www.doctorwhoexhibition.com/

Travel around the world over at MyWorld Tuesday

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Today's Flowers

Photobucket

This is a post for flowers people often overlook because they grow close to the ground, don't smell and are small. The above photo shows some kind of Veronica, maybe Veronica persica, the Common Field-speedwell. I've always loved these flowers, they spread out all over the lawn and turn it in into a light blue field in the spring.

Photobucket
This is Cardamine pratensis, Cockoo flower. It attracts bees, bumblebees and butterflies and it's also a host plant for the larvae of the spittlebug. They build a nest made from foam that is called cockoo spit. Very icky when you put your hand in it while picking flowers. The Cockoo flower is edible whe young and tastes a bit like watercress.

Photobucket
Here's another flower popular with bumblebees: Ground Ivy (Glechoma hederacea). The young shoots of this plant can be eaten, too, and taste like mint or licorice. It was also used as a medicinal plant because it acts as a diuretic and diaphoretic agent when eaten in larger quantities or when the older plants are eaten.

Don't go and make a salad from these plants unless you are really sure you know what you are doing!! Better just enjoy their colours ;)

See more beautiful flowers over at Today's Flowers