Critter for the Day

You know, a person cannot live by politics alone. Therefore, in an effort to rest my brain, sorely taxed by last night’s presidential debate, and further taxed by the ignorant blogs on my hometown newspaper, the Tallahassee Democrat, I turn to the comfort of my other obsession: animals. Behold the cassowary:

This amazing photograph comes to you courtesy of

This is a southern Cassowary, which is native to the tropical forests of New Guinea and northern Australia, where it is considered endangered.  Here’s a quote about them from the Smithsonian article:

“The ornery cassowary is not an easy creature to love. In fact, it ranks as the world’s most dangerous bird, at least according to Guinness World Records. A cassowary can charge up to 30 miles an hour and leap more than 3 feet in the air. On each foot are three claws—one slightly curved like a scimitar, the other two straight as daggers—that are so sharp New Guinea tribesmen slide them over spear points. The last person known to have been killed by a cassowary was 16-year-old Phillip McLean, whose throat was punctured on his Queensland ranch in 1926. There have been plenty of close calls since: people have had ribs broken, legs cracked and flesh gashed.”

Once a female cassowary lays her eggs, the male incubates them for about two months; then the young follow him around for six to nine months while he protects them from predators and teaches them to find food.  I like that in a man. 

Smithsonian magazine is, in my view, the best magazine in publication.  Like National Geographic, it has spectacular photography, but its content is not limited to nature.  The October issue, which contains the article about the cassowary, also contains articles about the history of Iran, the demise of chinook salmon fishing off the coast of California, and the Italian sculptor Bernini.   

There now.  I feel better already.


4 responses to “Critter for the Day

  1. I used to subscribe to Smithsonian, National Geographic, HG Traveler and a number of other magazines. Nwo, so much of this is online that I only subscribe to Newsweek and I think that’ll end too. See what the Internet has done to!

  2. I wonder if it tastes like chicken? Just kidding fakename.

  3. National Geographic is a wonderful magazine. Yes Anarchist the net is great. But I will never tire of getting my SI or Time or Economist or Foreign Affairs in the mail and scanning them on the walk from the mailbox to the kitchen.

    FN you scare me sometimes. I don’t think I would want to run into you and your animals in a dark alley.

  4. Unfortunately, I don’t have a pet cassowary. I do have a Doberman with a very loud bark, who looks real scary but has never been tested in the protection department. At 5’2″ and 114 pounds (me, not the Doberman) I don’t go into dark alleys–Doberman or not.

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