It’s a warm, spring day. You’re sitting under a tree snacking on a bag of potato chips, when a breeze tickles your nose. You sneeze, sending a soggy crumb into the grass where it bonks an unsuspecting ant on the head. Unfazed, she nibbles the chip, then heaves it over her shoulder and carries it back to the colony. Little does she know that, during its brief flight from your mouth, this sticky glob picked up a fungal spore that is deadly to ants. Within a day she’ll be sick, within two she’ll be dead.
Research out of UC Berkeley shows that animals around the world are becoming more nocturnal in response to human populations.
The study, published in the journal Science in June, found that mammals have, on average, become 1.36 times more active at night. In other words, a creature that normally would have split its activities equally between day and night, now carries out 68 percent of its activities at night, presumably in avoidance of humans.
As the sun set on Berkeley one evening in 2015, a fruit fly, whom we’ll call Bill, crawled his way up the tender green skin of a watermelon. Moving slowly, as if hypnotized, he reached the top of the melon, extended his proboscis and released a gluey gunk that gently adhered his tiny limbs to the fruit. His body tensed as his wings pulled up and back behind him; he was still as a statue—poised, elegant.
Posted on August 14, 2018 - 2:10pm
It was a Friday morning and I was feeling distressed, unsettled. Maybe because I sensed the stress of Cal students as finals week approached… or maybe it was the bad lamb I had the night before. Regardless of cause, there was one thing for certain: I needed a reason to smile (and to get a paycheck). So I grabbed my notebook and headed to Llamapalooza, UC Berkeley’s first llama festival, in the hopes of lightening my emotional load.
Posted on May 1, 2018 - 2:54pm
Whether you’re a witch in need of a new familiar or a suburban family looking for a fluffy friend, one of the best ways to get a cat is to adopt, either from your local shelter or a rescue organization. But unfortunately, as UC Berkeley animal behaviorist Mikel Delgado says, a lot of people find the shelter environment depressing and don’t like to go there.
Rescue groups provide an alternative but often have difficulty bringing cats and people together in a way that doesn’t smack of animal speed-dating.
Posted on October 31, 2014 - 11:31am