a cute newt

Okay, truth be told, this is probably not a newt. Dr. Google informs me that while all newts are salamanders, not all salamanders are newts. It is, though, definitely an amphibian, and I’d say quite a cute one.

We found this little character while on a trip to my mother-in-law’s a couple of years ago. To give a sense of scale, the maple seeds shown were probably about 2 to 2 and a half inches long.

tadpoles and teeny tiny toads

Among the other various and sundry candidates for yesterday’s photo theme of “cute,” I considered some other baby animals. In particular, these teeny tiny toads came to mind.

The nearby zoo includes, in addition to the various animal enclosures holding non-native animals, large open areas that are home to native flora and fauna. There is a deer park that stretches over many acres of woods that includes a pond. From late May through maybe early July, visiting the deer enclosure also gives you the chance to see these little guys.

Sometimes the pond edges are positively teeming with tadpoles, lining it with dark blotches that can be many feet across.

They are a constantly moving mass.

I find it fun to look for tadpoles that are transitioning. Zooming in, you can see that many of these guys have legs as well as tails. Some just the back legs, some back and front.

And apparently once they are finished growing their legs and losing their tails, they feel compelled hop on out of the pond.

The path alongside the pond is sometimes hopping with them, carelessly crossing paths with oblivious humans with their big stompy feet. (Or others perhaps less oblivious, with their giant hands and their cameras.)


This picture of an adolescent lion cub yawning cracks me up. And given how tired I am right now, and how cranky I realized the tiredness had made me, it seemed to fit the mood.

(Actually, I am generally quite happy tonight, bursts of crankiness aside. My mother has come out for a visit from California, and I am looking forward to her company. I am also very appreciative of the help she is planning to give me with some of the overwhelming home projects that are leading to my cranky tiredness.)

a scurry of squirrels

Following up on yesterday’s joy in learning a few new terms for collective nouns in English, I found myself wondering whether there were any interesting names for a group of squirrels. Indeed, squirrels did not disappoint: one say “a scurry of squirrels.” I find this especially pleasing, given that squirrels do tend to scurry.

This member of a scurry appears not to be in a hurry.

A furry member of a scurry, showing off the fluff of its tail in the sunlight.

A blurry flurry of a departing scurry.

In fact, at least 2 of these photos are of the same squirrel, so perhaps this is an insufficient quantity of squirrels to form a scurry. (Does anyone know the requisite number of squirrels for a scurry?)

keeping my head above water

Okay, this really isn’t about me. I just wanted to use that line for a title to go along with this photo of this cute little alligator baby.

Though things have been quite hectic the last few weeks, and I seem to have been able to mostly keep my head above water. (My kids, though, have actually been taking swimming lessons, so they have been learning to keep their heads below water.) (Really that doesn’t have much to do with anything, aside from being one more thing in our only super-packed schedule, at a time when there are big things going on in our lives. Thus making it harder for me to keep my own head above water. Metaphorically speaking. Happily, the swimming lessons don’t involve dunking me. Wait, did I saw that this wasn’t about me? It totally is.)

But I also do really like this photo of this cute little alligator baby.

3 photos of animals stuck in cages

Whenever I’m feeling stuck in my life, I like to go to the zoo to remind myself that I am not actually trapped in a cage like those poor suckers.

This monkey has lost count of the number of days it’s been stuck in the cage.

A family of lemurs are plotting their escape, if only they can get their paws on the right tools.

A porcupine struggles to smell the sweet scent of freedom outside the cage.

3 photos of animals…not looking at me.

Last week I posted photos of 3 animals looking at me sideways. This week, in deference to my feeling that I am hopelessly behind, I will share some photos of animals from behind.

Zebra butt.

Giraffe hindquarters.

Tapir, backside.

I wonder how many among you can say that, today, you expected to be mooned by a tapir. Anyone? I thought not.

(You’re welcome.)

Prairie dog pair (friday foto finder: animal)

For this week’s friday foto finder, we’re on the hunt for animals. My photo library is full of all sorts of animals: furry, feathery, scaly, slimy or otherwise. But here’s one animal photo I’ve been looking for an excuse to share. These two prairie dogs live in our local zoo.

This photo cracks me up, and it seems like it’s screaming for some sort of caption. Any suggestions?

To see what other animals people have captured, please pay a visit to the friday foto finder blog.