Kleptoparasitism; an octopus named Fred; moose chasers

Mishaps and mayhem from around the region.

 

WASHINGTON

Nature photographer Kevin Ebi has captured bald eagles snatching food from crows, great blue herons and even other eagles, but he’s never seen anything quite like what played out in the blue sky above San Juan Island National Historical Park. Ebi spent the afternoon watching eight young foxes romp on the prairie. One kit managed to snag a rabbit by the foot, though the rabbit pulled free and scurried to the safety of its burrow. Another got luckier, and Ebi photographed it prancing off proudly with a rabbit dangling from its mouth. Then the scream of a bald eagle cut through the air, and sure enough, a huge raptor swooped down and “lifted the young fox and rabbit into the sky.” Eagles are strong — they can lift about half their body weight of five or six pounds — but Ebi says the double burden of a fox with a rabbit in its mouth must have been excessive, especially since the airborne fox kept fighting to hold on to its prey. Finally, the eagle transferred the rabbit to its right talon and released the fox, which dropped some 20 feet, setting off “a small dust cloud when it hit the ground.” The fox trotted off unhurt, though another photographer on the scene, Zachary Hartje, thought it “looked scared” as it ducked into its den afterward. The air battle lasted less than 8 seconds. You can watch all this on Ebi’s blog, Living Wilderness. For the record, reports the Seattle Times, when a predator steals another animal’s prey, it’s called “kleptoparasitism.”

Food fight!
Kevin Ebi

 

CALIFORNIA

Giovanni DeGarimore, the owner of Giovanni’s Fish Market in Morro Bay, sells pink shrimp, local sole and crab, but you won’t find octopus for sale at his place. DeGarimore, an avid scuba diver, once played hide-and-seek with an octopus in Fiji — “an experience I’ll never forget,” he said, he told Morro Bay Tourism — and he says the animals are among the most intelligent and feeling creatures on the planet. So when a local fisherman caught a giant 70-pound octopus in his crab net, DeGarimore spent a few hundred dollars to buy the animal. Naming it “Fred,” he boarded the octopus at his fish market for a few days before releasing it back to the ocean — in a secure spot away from risks like sea lions. “It might not change the world,” he said of Fred’s release, “but if it makes me happy, and makes Fred happy, then it was worth it.”

 

UTAH

The headline in The Salt Lake Tribune was “man bites police dog,” but the kicker was even better: “Who got the rabies shot?” A man — who was clearly high on illegal substances — was arrested after he rammed his car head-on into a police vehicle and then refused to get out of the car. An officer shot him with a stun gun, but when that failed to move him, a police dog was brought onto the scene, whereupon the man bit the dog “as it was biting him.” An officer and the dog were injured in the confrontation, but both will recover, said Detective Matt Roper. No word on those rabies shots, but it sounds like they were needed.

 

THE WEST

You could almost hear the Montana Democrat’s frustration: Sen. John Tester could not believe it when Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, once Montana’s sole congressman, proposed a paltry $8.1 million budget for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which is entitled by law to some $900 million from off-shore oil leases. “Public lands is a Western thing,” said Tester. “We’ve got to have an advocate in the administration — that’s you. … Whoa, come on, $8.1 million? … Are there no projects nationwide? Because these ecosystems are not going to be around in 20 years.”

 

ARIZONA

Pet fish can be hazardous to your health. Six people from the Tucson area were hospitalized recently after their fish tank made them sick. The cause? Zoanthid corals on the bottom of the tank were releasing a toxin called palytoxin, reports Tucson News Now. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the toxins are dangerous to humans, though apparently not to fish.

 

COLORADO

A man chased a moose onto the median of a busy highway in Frisco, Colorado, and then loitered dangerously close to the huge animal, which was clearly agitated, its ears back. A motorist stopped to take a photo and posted it on social media. The same day, a woman posted a video on Facebook of herself feeding a moose through her car window. This behavior is wildlife harassment and anything but safe for the people involved, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife. But on the bright side, says Summit County wildlife manager Elissa Slezak, thanks to social media, wildlife harassers can be warned and ticketed, and perhaps, at the very least, educated.

 

Tips and photos of Western oddities are appreciated and often shared in this column. Write [email protected] or tag photos #heardaroundthewest on Instagram.

High Country News Classifieds
  • NEWS DIRECTOR
    Based in the state capitol, Boise State Public Radio is the premier NPR affiliate in Idaho. With 18 transmitters and translators, it reaches 2/3rds of...
  • INTERNET-BASED BUSINESS FOR SALE
    Dream of owning your own business, being your own boss, working from home ... this is the one.
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FOR MOJAVE DESERT LAND TRUST
    Organization Background: The Mojave Desert Land Trust (MDLT) is a non-profit 501(3)(c) organization, founded in 2006. Our mission is to protect the ecosystems of the...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    If you are deeply committed to public service and would like to become part of our high performing, passionate and diverse team, NCAT is looking...
  • TRIPLEX .8 ACRE KANAB, UT
    Create a base in the center of Southern Utah's Grand Circle of National Parks. Multiple residential property with three established rental units and zoning latitude...
  • FORGE & FAB SHOP
    with home on one beautiful acre in Pocatello, ID. Blackrock Forge - retiring after 43 years! Fully equipped 5,500 sf shop including office, gallery and...
  • SMALL FARM AT THE BASE OF MOUNT SHASTA
    Certified organic fruit/berry/veggie/flower farm. Home, barns, garage, separate apt, more. Just under 2 ac, edge of town. Famously pure air and water. Skiing, mountaineering, bike,...
  • FOREST STEWARDSHIP PROJECT DIRECTOR
    Become a force for nature and a healthy planet by joining the Arizona Chapter as Forest Stewardship Project Director. You will play a key role...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Ranchers Stewardship Alliance is accepting applications for an Executive Director. This position will provide leadership to RSA, develop a fund raising plan, and effectively communicate...
  • WRITING PLACE: THE ANIMAS RIVER REGION WRITING WORKSHOP
    REGISTER ONLINE BY: Friday, June 15 WHERE: Durango, CO (location TBD) WHEN: Monday, July 16 Youth workshop: 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. (18 and under,...
  • EQUITY IN THE OUTDOORS COORDINATOR
    The Equity in the Outdoors Coordinator will lead community engagement, program implementation and development, and data collection for the Eagle Valley Outdoor Movement (EVOM). EVOM...
  • COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT ASSISTANT
    The Idaho Conservation League is seeking a personable individual who is passionate about conservation to join our Sandpoint Field Office. The Community Engagement Assistant will...
  • LIGHTWEIGHT FLY ROD CASES
    4 standard or custom lengths. Rugged protection for backpacking. Affordable pricing.
  • EXPERIENTIAL EDUCATION INTERN/ASSISTANT
    Actively introduce students to Experiential Education, Outdoor Recreation, and Sustainability while engaging and challenging them to learn and participate in these diverse opportunities. Room, board,...
  • ENVIRONMENTAL INVESTIGATIVE MEDIA SERVICES
    In-depth investigations of polluters, lobbyists, regulators, elected officials and others focused on environmentally damaging projects in the U.S. and internationally. We specialize in mining projects,...
  • UNDEVELOPED 40 ACRES - SOUTHWEST COLORADO
    in beautiful Montezuma County.
  • TRUCK DRIVER
    Class A & B drivers, pass all DOT requirements and clean driving record
  • MARIA'S BOOKSHOP FOR SALE
    - Thriving Indie bookstore in the heart of Durango, Colorado. General bookstore with 34-year history as a community hub for Southwest region of CO. 1800...
  • ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT
    HawkWatch International seeks an experienced fundraiser to join our awesome team! This position will provide support in all aspects of the department. We are looking...
  • DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT
    will develop and execute Wild Utah Projects fundraising plan. Call, email or check full description of job online for more details: