EppsNet Archive: Animals

Field Hours

22 May 2011 /

It has come to my attention that Northwood High kids can get “field hours” for Environmental Science by visiting zoos and watching movies at the Spectrum.

How lame is that? Shouldn’t they have to rescue a seagull or something?


Irvine Loves Bunnies

10 May 2011 /

Bunny crossing


Hawk Cam

9 Apr 2011 /

I’m mesmerized by the Hawk Cam. It’s amazing to me that hawks and other critters have all this knowledge programmed into them . . . when, where and how to build a nest, laying the eggs, sitting on them for a month, raising the hatchlings.

Red-tailed hawks are monogamous, so the male stops by several times a day. Sometimes he brings a delicious rat.

The nest is on the 12th floor ledge of a library at NYU. More info at the New York Times City Room blog.


R.I.P. Knut

22 Mar 2011 /
Knut the Polar Bear

It breaks my spirit to see a magnificent animal die in pain in front of all those people.

Folks, if you want to see a polar bear, go to the Arctic Circle. Animals aren’t happy in zoos.

I know you’re thinking, “But Lightning, you live in captivity and you’re happy.”

Even as a house pet, I have more freedom than a zoo animal. My owner takes me on frequent trips to the dog park, where I’m able to exercise my innate dominance of the canine kingdom.

I couldn’t live in an enclosure because I wouldn’t be able to be who I am.

— Lightning paw


A Marmot Eating a Cracker

16 Jul 2010 /

Filmed in some part of the world where crackers are called “biscuits.”


Dogs Are Smart

8 Jun 2010 /

Dogs are now so dependent upon people that they fail certain basic intelligence tests that wolves and wild dogs ace, according to new research.

The findings provide evidence that humans, through domestication of canines, have caused dogs to lose their non-social problem-solving skills. The loss in skills appears to be “hardwired” genetically into dogs, helping to explain why homeless dogs struggle to survive.

Lightning Epps

That is not right to say “dumbed down.” Try teaching a wolf to shake or roll over, bright boy.

Dogs and wolves are smart in different ways. Wolves are smarter about survival skills but dogs are a LOT smarter about living with people because that’s what we do. We’re very tuned in to human behavior and language and ambitions.

We are also a lot better than a wolf at unconditional love, which I know is not what we’re talking about, but we are. We’re not man’s best friend for no reason.

My owner told me about some researchers who tied a piece of meat to a rope and passed the free end of the rope under a gate. Wolves would try to get the meat by tugging on the rope until they dropped over from exhaustion, EVEN THOUGH THERE WAS A HUMAN STANDING RIGHT THERE!

Dogs would tug the rope for a while, then stop and look at the human like “Can you get it for me?” or “Can you give me a hint?”

So who is smarter I ask you — the wolf or the dog ?

Also, I don’t know any wolf who has his own blog like I do.

— Lightning paw


If It’s Them or Me, It’s Me

2 Mar 2010 /
Calabasas driver careens off cliff

Authorities say a motorist has driven off a cliff, plunging about 200 feet down a steep canyon near Calabasas, after swerving to avoid an animal on the road.

Ouch — was he a PETA member?

I like animals. I ran over a squirrel once and I felt terrible about it but the little critter just dashed right out in front of my car.

However — in the event of having to make a split-second decision between clobbering an animal and driving off a cliff, well, the animal is going to get it.

On a side note, kudos to the headline writer for the alliteration: “Careens Off Calabasas Cliff.” Who says a liberal arts education isn’t good for anything?


My New Favorite Writer is Named Camille Paglia

12 Aug 2009 /

Hi Everybody! It’s me, Lightning! I wanted to tell you that my new favorite writer is named Camille Paglia!

Lightning at the Dog Park

A lot of people say that dogs and other animals can’t think because thought requires language and animals don’t know any language.

Well, here is what Camille Paglia says about that:

I disagree that language is or should be our primary medium for understanding the world. . . .

Words are very important in human development, but they can never adequately explain the awesome mysteries of the universe. Dante dramatized this when Virgil, the Roman poet who is his guide through hell and purgatory, cannot accompany him to paradise. Virgil stands for reason and language, but sacred vision requires a leap into another dimension. . . .

Exactly! I wish she said what kind of dog Dante is — maybe a pug!

Expanded perception is closer to how animals are instinctively attuned to their environment. Words can record our observations, but they are merely a tool, subordinate to nature’s stubborn physicality.

I know some words like “sit” and “walk” but I don’t know “stubborn physicality.” My owner says I have it though — especially the stubborn part!

— Lightning paw


Is That a Primate in Your Pocket? Etc.

21 Nov 2008 /

Scientists rediscover pocket-sized primate