Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Mustelidae Spotlight: Least Weasel

I'd like to take a moment to warn everyone that I will be bringing the Mustelidae Spotlight to an end within the next month or so. I am simply running out of musties to write about. There are still several that I wish to bring to the spotlight, so don't run away just yet!

This week, I want to bring you a very cute little fellow: the least weasel. I almost didn't see this guy as he is very tiny. The males range from 8 to 10 inches, and the females can only be as big as 4.5 to 8 inches. How very tiny! And I think that their minuscule size is really their most noticeable quality IF you actually are able to notice them.

Least weasels are natives of Eurasia, North America, and North Africa. They commonly have a brown coat with a white belly. They also have a white winter coat which is similar to the stoats. I think either looks pretty good on them. It's safe to say that the least weasel is cute. How could something so small be ferocious?

Well, in a way, he kind of is. As tiny as this mustie is in size, he is actually very good at killing. Yes, most of what he kills are mice and other rodents, but they also--very professionally--go after larger prey such as hares and medium sized birds. That is very unusual if you consider that a hare is one of the larger, bulkier class of rabbits. Pretty good for a itty bitty weasel who hops around wherever he goes. Yep, he really does that!

The least weasel has its place in fiction. In Ancient Macedon, if a women got a head ache after washing her face, she might assume that a least weasel had been using the water as a mirror beforehand; however, she would not dare mention the weasel's name for fear that he will become vindictive and destroy all her clothing! Goodness! In Greece, there was a similar story about a bride who's bitterness turned her into a least weasel who would go about destroying the clothing of other brides-to-be.

In a story by a Roman author called Pliny the Elder, a least weasel managed to destroy a basilisk (basically a large reptilian monster) by his odor alone. Even weirder, the Chippewa believed that a least weasel could slay a half-beast creature called a wendigo by scurrying up his anus! Lastly, in the English Civil War, least weasels were believed to be the familiar of witches.

I have actually read a novel that had a least weasel as a prominent main character. In the "Welkin Weasels" series by Garry Kilworth, there was a very tiny weasel named Miniver who was very cute and still a very capable and resourceful animal in the team. In the book, they commonly referred to her as a "finger weasel" which was likely a more adorable way to explain what she was.

So what about me? I find it very amusing that something so small can be so brave and capable. I can see how these little creatures can be a strong force of either good or evil. They have a way to get things done despite their size, and that is what makes them so much fun. Least weasels may be small, but they can still be taken seriously. And they have proven it!

Thank you for reading this blog! If you enjoyed it, you can comment below, or you can email me at tooie@tooiekangaroo.com.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Mustelidae Spotlight: Hog Badger

So, let's have a chinwag about the hog badger. First off, we shall go over what this fella looks like. Size-wise, he can be as long as 28 inches from head to tail. The tail can be as long as 6.7 inches. He has a long, narrow snout--sometimes giving him something of an aardvark look. They are a bit stocky, plus the nose tends to turn up in a rather porcine way. This is likely one of the reasons that they get the name "hog."

The hog badger can be found widespread in Central and Southeast Asia. They are struggling just a bit because of hunters who generally use dogs, but otherwise, they are doing well enough. Also, remember how the Fishers were omnivores? So are hog badgers! They eat just about anything which--once again--aligns then with piggies. They even use their snout and incisors to dig into the earth looking for anything eatable--even earthworms. So it should be pretty clear by now where they got their name from.

Research on the hog badger is slim. They don't show themselves very often, but what I do know is that they are rather indifferent to human beings. They tend to just ignore people or just walk away if they think things might go badly for them. Although, I do not know for absolute certain, it seems to me that these guys would be easy to domesticate as long as you could provide them with a constant source of food. They don't seem too interested in anything else.

Pigs are not musties, but hog badgers seems to fill their rolls fairly well on the world of mustelidae. In fiction, they likely would be the indifferent gluttons of society. They would spend much time spending their money on food and being rude to people who get in their way. Yes, I do see them as wealthy. I've made characters in my stories like that, and they have their own appeal.

Mustelidae is most often seen as something more nefarious in nature. Gluttony is one of the seven deadly sins, and it seems like the hog badger indulges in this sin quite frequently. As an animal, this mustie can demonstrate the problems we sometimes have as human beings--a creature that can overcome such urges.

Thank you for reading my blog! If you enjoyed it, you can comment below, or you can email me at tooie@tooiekangaroo.com! Oink!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Mustelidae Spotlight: Fisher

When I came across the Fisher in my research, I went back to my blogs to find out if I had written about them. I said to myself, "Surely, I could not have forgotten the fishers." The truth was that I had actually forgotten these fine specimens of mustelidae. Oops. I really felt bad about this, because I did actually know about them. I passed over them several times because I had thought I had done a blog for them already. Once again: oops.

The fisher is a slightly chubby mustie living mostly in Canada. They have a body length of 47 inches and weigh about 6 pounds. Because of their natural habitat, they end up in a lot of snowy areas. I found it interesting that their feet are disproportionately larger than their legs which helps them walk on the snow. It's a lot like having snowshoes if you think about it.

I personally think fishers are adorable. They look like they would make a fine, cuddly plush animal. Their fur is pretty thick, which makes me want to hug them; although, I do not recommend doing that if you spot one. They might take a hug as some sort of local insult and try to bite your face off.

So, I'll give you one guess on what fishers like to eat. What could it possibly be? What do you think a fisher might want to chow down on? That's right! Chickens and mushrooms! Fishers do not eat fish, but hold on a moment! Did I say mushrooms? What is a mustie doing eating mushrooms?! Although it is very rare, fishers are actually omnivores. They are mostly known for hunting hares and porcupines, but they also go for various plants to add to the meals. The chickens they kill are often stolen from farms and are not really their natural prey.

Fishers prefer to be on their own and only group up for mating purposes. If you run into one, he'll probably watch you carefully. This creature does not really like trouble. If you approach him, he will probably run away, but if you corner a fisher, he will go on the offensive. They are not social animals at all. There has been a number of attacks on curious children who were probably trying to hug the cute things. Some animals just want to be left alone.

The fisher has been mentioned in several works of fiction. Unfortunately, I have not read most of them. In a book entitled, "Winter of the Fisher" by Cameron Langford, a recluse living in the forest frees a fisher from a trap and forms a not so perfect bond with him. The fisher is an animal shaman in the story "The Blood Jaguar" and a porcupine hunter in "Ereth's Birthday." My only personal fictional encounter with the fisher was in the comic book series "Mouse Guard." They are very dangerous solitary hunters who wear the carcasses of their victims as clothing, armor, and jewelry.

Between you and me, I tend to lean towards the way "Mouse Guard" explains things. The books really do a good job with their mustie and rodent lore. I like the idea of them being solitary savages. They hunt and kill for themselves only and greatly dislike any social interactions. I really like that! Still, it is a shame that I am not allowed to hug them.

Thank you for reading my blog! If you enjoyed it, you can comment below, or you can email me at tooie@tooiekangaroo.com. Snarl!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Mustelidae Spotlight: Marbled Polecat

Here is a very small member of the polecat family. The marbled polecat is only 13 inches from head to tail. I haven't really been seeing a lot of tiny polecats in the recent weeks, so that makes this little guy special.

The marbled polecat is also a visual spectacle. He has a fairly wide array of different designs on his body. There are lines on his face, stripes on his tail... polka-dots. Yeah, he must have lost a bet or something, but I have to give him credit for really pimping himself out for the world to see. I don't think you'd have much trouble identifying him in a group of other polecats.

Their behavior is aggressive--a very common polecat personality trait. You may wonder why such a tiny fellow should sport such an ire. Well, what does every polecat have in common? That's right! Anal scent glands! Polecats must be extra smart because they sure do have a lot of scents!

Marbled polecats are not so aggressive that they fire blindly. Don't worry, they'll keep the safety on for just enough time for you to run away. These musties put on a little display of warning to people or other animals that come their way. They raise up on their legs, arch their back, curl up their tail, and make all sorts of silly noises. These noises translate into, "I may be small, but I'm still dangerous!"

The marbled polecat likes to eat just about any kind of rodent or small bird he can get his paws on. Mustelidae is well-known for having a good set of teeth for tearing flesh, and they are wonderful hunters. Humans often employ the marbled polecat as "mousers" similar to cats. I do think, however, that a mustie with colors like the marbled polecat should be easier to see. But then again, they tend to favor desert areas, so it may work out for them after all. This species of polecat can be found in the drier areas and grasslands of southeastern Europe to western China.

Fiction-wise, let me just be blunt. This polecat is a pimp. I mean... if you just look at him in the pictures below. the guy really knows how to make an appearance. I imagine these guys do have a mean streak, but otherwise, they make up for any flaws by simply flaunting it! Hey, when you are that short, you might as well make the best of it.

Thank you for reading my blog! If you enjoyed it, you can comment below, or you can email me at tooie@tooiekangaroo.com. See ya next time!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Mustelidae Spotlight: Black-Footed Ferret

T.K. Wade was not available today, but he asked me (the awesome black-footed ferret) to write this up. Besides, I know how awesome I am. I should be able to do an awesome job without his help!

My species goes by a few different names. Other than the entirely classy title of black-footed ferret, we are also sometimes called American polecats, or the very apt title of prairie dog hunter. But no matter what you call us, we are awesome, and also, we are awesome. Did I mention that we are awesome?!

So, T.K. Wade usually gives measurements about now. I took a measuring tape and wrapped myself in it. It sure was fun, but I didn't learn anything. Us ferrets don't have much use for numbers anyways. Let's just say that I have the perfect length because I am awesome!

As the latter name suggests, I really dig those prairie dogs for my vittles. The only problem is that sometimes when I chase them, they run away. This is annoying. How am I supposed to have a yummy prairie dog meal if it runs away from me? That is not awesome. Many of us black-footed ferrets--as well as other musties--were going hungry cause of this. We got all our ferret scientists together and formed a think tank in an effort to solve the perplexing issue.

We finally came up with a solution. If as first you don't succeed, just go crazy! That's right! When we have trouble catching our food, we perform something known as the "Weasel War Dance!" It is a fairly complicated procedure, but in layman's terms, we jump, roll, skip, run into things, fall over, shake our butts, and do about twenty other top secret maneuvers which all coalesce into attracting the attention of our prey and making them say, "What the heck am I looking at?" And that, my friends, is when we strike.

It really works. Remember, all those many musties came together to create the "Weasel War Dance," and it is a very top secret affair. I have seen some human's try to perform a similar dance--one they apparently call "Break Dancing," but it has yet to get them anything more than money. Not that money is a bad thing. I love money myself. It's all very shiny, but it won't feed you as well as a good, fat prairie dog will.

There is no fiction about my species, but there should be. I think we are very awesome animals. We could be spell casters who cast spells by dancing. It could be a whole tribe of dancers, if you think about it. We could have an entire community who all sleep together at night while wrapped in measuring tape. Sounds like paradise to me!

Thank you for reading this awesome blog written by an awesome ferret. If you enjoyed this awesome blog, you can comment about how awesome it was in the awesome section below, or you can send an awesome email to T.K. Wade at tooie@tooiekangaroo.com. Awesome!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

I Have Read Every Baum Book!

I just want to say that as of about 10 minutes ago, I have read everything Lyman Frank Baum has ever written that is still available to this day. It took me nearly 2 and a half years.

That is:
65 books.
29 short stories.
6 stage plays.
1 completely collected newspaper column. (1890-1891)

It is done. There is no more to do. I regret nothing. I feel like I am a far better person than before I began. Thank you, Mister Baum, for being such an inspiration in my life.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Mustelidae Spotlight: Striped Polecat

The striped polecat is probably one of the main reasons why we tend to use the word for skunks fairly often. These musties look like skunks--only with a particular variation in stripe pattern. The pictures should make this clear. I did not find a bounty of information on these guys, but I'll tell you what I know.

The striped polecat can be found in many areas of central and southern Africa. They like the more dry and arid climates such as savannahs and open countries. As far as size, they are 28 inches in length with a nearly 6 inch tail. As with all polecats, they have a defensive anal scent gland which we will talk more about in a bit.

I was shocked at how many names this musty has. Depending on who you ask, the striped polecat can be known as an African polecat, a zoril, zorilla, the Cape polecat, or the African skunk. The name zorilla apparently comes from the word zorro which means "fox." Bur really! Zorro?! Why isn't he in California?!

The striped polecat doesn't make friends easily. The only time two striped polecats get together is likely for mating purposes. They really just like to be left alone. They roam about almost entirely at night hunting small animals like rodents, snakes, and birds. In the daytime, they sleep in burrows NOT made by them. This is similar to the steppe polecat. This guy is known for invading the burrow uninvited, and if anyone gets in his way, they get acquainted with his 34 sharp teeth.

Now, skunks are actually known for being fairly indifferent with other animals. If you get in their way, they just spray you and walk off. The striped polecat, however, is just mean. If he sees someone who he doesn't expect, its a prelude to war. This is what will happen: First, the striped polecat will growl in a nasty way. He'll turn around dramatically with his tail in the air. (Here comes the bad part.) He'll spray you with a nasty concoction that will not only smell terrible, it will also blind you. This is a new kind of bad. Imagine being in the middle of Africa blind and smelly. That will probably be the end of you.

I really was impressed with how aggressive these guys are. Skunks spray out of defense; the striped polecat sprays anything that moves. Sometimes, nature just works out that way. They say that a good offense is the best defense. Well, that's true. If I ever saw one of these guys, I'd just run away without saying, "goodbye." It is for this reason that I see these guys more suitable as villains in fiction. I just see one of these musties sitting in a "mastermind's swivel chair" railing to the world that nobody understands him, so everyone must pay! He's going to make the world stink! All his henchmen have to wear hazmat suits because he doesn't get along with anybody. See how this would be fun? I sure do!

The striped polecat is a cute, little meanie and yet ANOTHER reason not to go to Africa. They may look like skunks, but believe me: they are a lot worse!

Thank you for reading this blog! If you enjoyed it, you can comment below, or you can email me at tooie@tooiekangaroo.com. I'm blind!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Mustelidae Spotlight: Steppe Polecat

You know, there have been many times where I have heard skunks referred to as polecats. This likely comes from the fact that many breeds of polecats have similar anal scent glands and the ability to spray as a manner of defense. However, not all polecats look like skunks. The steppe polecat is one example.

The steppe polecat can be found in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia. They have a body length of about 22 inches and sport a coat of light and dark brown. I think they look really cool, to be honest. Their eyes, in particular, are very dark and seem empty in a scary way. Often, there is a light outline around these eyes creating a contrast. It is very peculiar to look at indeed.

So! What makes a steppe polecat so fascinating? These musties tend to live underground, but they almost never dig their own burrows. It is FAR more common for them to take over the home of another animal fellow. It's usually the unfortunate fate of some random ground squirrel who is promptly killed before the steppe polecat moves in. I know what you are thinking: He's lazy. However, this particular mustie does keep quite busy.

The reason he likely ends up stealing burrows is because he is just so busy going about killing rodents and other small mammals. This aspect of the steppe polecat is a major duty for him. They are constantly running about killing many, many squirrels, hamsters, marmots, moles, and many others. I know it sounds cruel, but many of these little animals can cause trouble for humans living nearby. People generally like the steppe polecat for dispensing of these little trouble makers with such precision. He is actually a force for good. Bet you didn't expect that!

In fiction, I really do see the steppe polecat as the professional assassin working for the side of good. He doesn't necessarily have to be going after little guys like rodents. In fiction, all you really need to concern yourself with is the characters persona and inherent skills. Who you put him against very well could be anything under the sun. As an example, he could be sent out to take care of an army of mischievous ferrets. I'd only pit him against a large group of baddies. Really, this mustie could very well be the Audie Murphy of the mustelidae family. I like the idea of a lone fighter who takes on an army as a force of good.

The nature of the steppe polecat is to spend his days cleaning the world of little nuisances. If he happens to rid a burrow of one of these nuisances, he invites himself in the for the night. I don't blame him for doing so. After all, when you consider all the killing he has planned for the next day, he's gonna need all the napping he can get.

Thanks for reading this blog! If you enjoyed it, you can comment below, or you can email me at tooie@tooiekangaroo.com. Growl!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Mustelidae Spotlight: Honey Badger

Well, it seems we will be remaining in Africa this week. I hope to leave soon, because it is about to get rather dangerous for me. Oh dear! It's a honey badger, and he's out to eat anything that moves! Let's begin with his measurements.

The honey badger is actually very large. From head to tail, he measures a whopping 30 inches with a tail that can be as long as 11.8 inches. In addition to this already large number, he has an impressive shoulder height of 11 inches. Chances are, you will see this musty coming. The honey badger is actually the largest terrestrial mustie in Africa. I'd pin a ribbon on him, but it would never stick. I'll tell you why shortly.

Honey badgers have a reputation for being large and dangerous. They have an amazing offense and defense--rather than just one or the other. Offense-wise, they have very sharp claws, but I was particularly fascinated with their teeth. If there is one thing that nearly every mustie has, it is a fine set of teeth. But really, the honey badger has got to have the most disorderly dental problems of all time. Their teeth regularly grow in weird uneven patterns, and this really does seem to be a defect of the species. Still, you would not want to be bit by one. If only they could afford an orthodontist!

Defense-wise, it all comes down to having a coat that is so thick and coarse that not even dogs can tear into it. This coat nearly makes the creature invincible, and it comes especially handy when trying to get to its favorite food: honey. The bees can sting and sting all they want, but it won't bother the honey badger one bit. A secondary defense comes in the form of a bizarre anal pouch which produces one of the most terrible smells that has ever existed in nature. It is positively suffocating. Apparently, this special brand of stink also assists with the bees. Half of them pass out before they even get a chance to sting him. Yep, that rear of his is a real scent-sation! Okay, moving on...

Although honey badgers prefer honey, they actually don't care what they eat. Just put it in front of them, and they'll try it. Just think of him as nature's vacuum cleaner. If you won't, I certainly will. It is amazing how many musties have specialized diets. The honey badger simply does not care what it eats, and that makes it very versatile in the wilds of Africa.

Honey Badgers are also very clever. Like some species of otter, these musties are known to use tools for various tasks. They can use sticks, mud, or just about anything to make something happen. It is almost impossible to trap a honey badger for this reason. They tend to figure out how to use its surroundings to find a way out, and then it will try to bite of your face as punishment!

The honey badger in fiction is somewhat intermixed with its personality. In most fiction, the honey badger is portrayed as an unfeeling and dangerous beast that kills for no other reason than it's Tuesday. There are a couple reasons for this. The mustie is actually very aggressive but also seems to never really have the optics of aggression. He looked rather bored when he chased off a pack of lions and made off with their food. (Yes, that really happened.) So, they have a reputation for acting this way.

The second reason actually came in the form of a viral video called "Crazy Nastyass Honey Badgers" from 2011. This was actually a comical dubbing of a National Geographic video where a narrator going by the name Randall showed us images of a honey badger invading beehives, being bitten by cobras, and doing all other manner of crazy things while living through all of it. The tagline of the whole thing was that "Honey Badgers Don't Care" which was also the title of a book he released that same year.

After this video captured both the hearts and disgust of the public, everyone had to have their own honey badger moment in their movie or video game. There was even a comic book series called "Honey Badger" about how the indifferent mustie takes on the world without having any feelings for anything at all ever. I actually own one of the issues. Also, Disney's new TV show "The Lion Guard" has a honey badger character named Bunga. Face it, this musty is too cool to disappear.

This blog has already gone a bit too long, so let me end it with my own take. It is clear that if anyone likes the honey badger, he likes him for being an uncaring, invincible jerk that just does whatever he wants without suffering the consequences. He has all the power in the world, but doesn't care one way or another. In the end, he is just a highly skilled nobody that is fun to watch, and that is why we keep talking about him. I suppose we have Randall to thank for popularizing this mustie, but that's okay. Sometimes, it takes a little imagination mixed with humor to make the obscure things in the world interesting. Thank you, Randall!

You are awesome for reading my blog! If you want, you can leave a comment below, or you can email me at tooie@tooiekangaroo.com. Whatever!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Fool and the Ferret

"The Fool and the Ferret" A fable by T.K. Wade.

Once there was a fool who knew not the value of money. He tossed any coin away that possessed an imperfection–such as a scratch. A ferret came by and snatched the coins away to place in his treasure trove. To himself, he stated, “I should never spend any of this, for if I do, I shall not be as wealthy!” But really, who would sell to a ferret but another fool!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Mustelidae Spotlight: African Striped Weasel

Believe it or not, I have actually covered all the big names of mustelidae, so it now my honor to look a little deeper into the family and find out if there is anything more interesting to see. In this case, I have carefully chosen the African striped weasel which I was rather fond of looking at when I found him.

If you see an African striped weasel, the very first word that may come to mind is "skunk." If I saw one of these guys walking around in the woods, I would have naturally assumed it was a skunk, and this is due to its very distinct black-and-white coloring scheme. However, they are not skunks, nor will they ever be skunks. Now, does that mean if you realize that you have found an African striped weasel that it is an acceptable thing to run over and give it a cuddle? No. Please do not do this. You will smell terrible for a week. Also, what are you doing in Africa anyways?

The African striped weasel--in fact--comes from southernmost Africa, and is almost entirely nocturnal. Their size is remarkably smaller than the skunk being only 13 inches from head to tail (contrasted with the skunk's 37 inches). This actually makes them one of the smallest mammalian carnivores in Africa. So, yes, they are very tiny, but as I said earlier, they are not meant for petting. Their tails work exactly like the skunk's do, and likely even a bit worse. The stink spray is really only a defensive measure, and I say this because these little musties are very good hunters in the wild.

They almost entirely eat rodents--mice, rats, it doesn't matter. They go after the big and small ones about equally. They hunt by sneaking up on them--a very weaselly thing to do--and then pouncing upon their prey with their long canine teeth. After they get a good strong hold on the rodent, they swing up their back feet and tear into them with their hind claws. This is similar to how cats kill, and it is very effective.

The African striped weasels are almost always solitary, but you may find it interesting that they will team up to make burrows for each other. Isn't that friendly? I'm unsure if it really is. In some ways, I feel like the helping weasel runs off saying, "Well, I've helped you out. Please, don't ever call me again." It's a miracle that they help each other at all, if you think about it.

Males really dislike other males. They are very territorial, and two males running into each other almost always means a fight. Once again, they act very cat like when they fluff up their fur and screech at the offending party for a few minutes. They make fake dashes towards them only to fall back--something akin to a warning shot. Eventually, there will be a fight, and the winner gets to keep the territory. A prompt respraying will then be in order--another reason you should not be in Africa right now.

Guess what?! I found fiction for this guy! No, I am serious! There is African folklore about a family that cut off the nose of this musty--which we all can agree is a really mean thing to do. By some form of magic, the nose on him grew back two shades lighter in color. The family who perpetrated the cruel act was cursed with misfortunes for all their days, and what's more, this story seems to have coined an expression: "A weasel's nose is not to be trifled with."

Personally, I like how these guys are so small, yet so aggressive. Skunks always seemed so lazy and indifferent. The African striped weasel goes out and seeks its own fortune! I actually see them as swashbuckling heroes--only really short ones. They are little fellows that are surprisingly clever and bold, but they just never get along with others. They really are an anti-social bunch; although, as we saw with the burrow, they likely could make temporary deals with their own kind. What do you think?

Weasels will always be weasels--no matter where they come from. They are sneaky and cruel, but they don't always have to be the bad guy. If we open our minds and let our imaginations loose, we'll find that there are many ways to interpret the world around us, and if you think about it, that is where we get all our our great works of fiction.

Thank you for reading this blog. If you enjoyed it, you can comment below, or you can email me at tooie@tooiekangaroo.com. That's all folks!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

"An Otter Failure" has been published on Smashwords!

My newest story "An Otter Failure" has been published on Smashwords! I am very happy to share this one with the world. It is one of the most adorable ideas I have ever had. It was even based on a dream I had back in 2011. The cover was entirely the work of Coy Fields II, and I really love it. You can download a copy for yourself FREE OF CHARGE at the following link:


Here is a synopsis:

What happens when an otter falls in love with a human being? Chaos! Suki was a cute, little female otter living in a Japanese aquarium. One day, Hotaka came to see the famous otter, and in mere moments, she knew that she was in love. Little did this man know that this particular otter was in the possession of a magical clamshell that could grant her every wish. Will she be able to use it to show him how she feels? In this adorable story by T.K. Wade, find out how love can bloom in the oddest of places.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Mustelidae Spotlight: Lesser Grison

So now we have the lesser grison. The name really does fit. He is much smaller than his greater cousin. This musty only has a body length of 20 inches and weighs a mere 5.3 pounds. They are almost entirely found in the southernmost parts of South America.

In form, they really do resemble the greater grison with their long necks, webbed feet, claws, and anal scent glands. Other than being much smaller in size, you may also recognize a distinct change in color scheme. Remember the habit-looking design from the last blog? Well, the colors are not quite as well-formed with the lesser grison, but there are other things about him to find interesting,

The lesser grison is almost entirely a land animal. He enjoys hunting down little animals like rodents, lizard, and birds. What's that? Were you expecting fish? Any reason why? Might it have to do with the mentioning of their webbed feet? Good point! It is entirely natural that you would assume that they would hunt for fish, but in reality, they don't much like the water. The fact that he has webbed toes is likely because he is related to the greater grison. Indeed, the lesser is quite capable of swimming thanks to the webbing, but he certainly wouldn't be caught doing it when there are at least thirty good reasons to stay dry.

Clearly, the most striking aspect of the lesser grison is their hunting methods. They stalk their prey relentlessly and with a fierceness that is not as indicative of his greater cousin. Their favorite food are cavis such as guinea pigs, but they also enjoy a chinchilla or two. But here is where things become very weird. Lesser grisons are known to play with their prey for up to 45 minutes before finally killing and eating them up. Can you imagine this creatures chasing you around only to let you run off for a bit before ultimately finishing you off? Talk about cruel!

This playfulness actually allows the lesser grison to be easily domesticated and re-purposed into hunting companions. Their eagerness to hunt and kill come in handy especially in obtaining those very valuable chinchilla pelts. You can imagine how they might work in groups at the command of a human.

The latter statements have a great effect on the fiction side of these musties. I see the lesser grison as a cocky and cruel bandit who picks on the small and helpless. He enjoys making his victims experience a nightmare before finally following through with it. Only the most adept fighters can stop him from completing the act. I like this idea. I am always fond of villains that are interesting like this. What do you think?

The difference from greater to lesser is large enough to make both grisons worthy of a spotlight. It is interesting how the lesser seems far more cruel than his greater counterpart. In a way it reminds me of the terrible youth who strikes out at the world for no better reason than to sate his own fevered lusts, while the adult shakes his head at him with severe concern. From animals, we can often see into the nature of humans themselves, and that is why we like them.

Thank you for reading this blog. If you enjoyed it, you can leave a comment below, or you can email me at tooie@tooiekangaroo.com. So long!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Fox and the Snake

"The Fox and the Snake" A fable by T.K. Wade.

A fox had heard word that snakes were known for their abilities in killing prey. Thinking snakes to be very slow and stupid creatures, the fox challenged the snake to a killing contest. The snake agreed to this and allowed the fox to have the first go. The fox hunted all day and killed every little animal he could find–eating them up. Indeed, he became quite fat. To the snake, he said, “As you can see, I have had no troubles in the hunt. My belly is full. Now, I would like to see a slithering snake do likewise. I do not believe you can do it.” And the fox was correct. The snake found it impossible to kill so many as his opponent, and this caused him to lose the contest. After all, he only managed to kill and eat one fat fox.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Mustelidae Spotlight: Greater Grison

Every once in a while, we'll run into a mustie who isn't quite as well-known or really as interesting as the other more popular ones. At this point, we really have covered many of the greats, but there are still others. Today, let us have a brief look at a mustie known as the greater grison. There are two species of Grison, and you may imagine that the other one would be called the lesser. This is correct. He is an entire different conversation. The greater grison has his own particulars that got my attention, but first, let's look at what he is all about.

Greater grisons have a somewhat "badgery" look to them mainly in color scheme. They are about 24 inches long from head to tail about about 8 pounds in weight. They are slender, have short legs, a short bushy tail, but a surprisingly long neck. Their feet are webbed with five toes on each foot which have long claws on them. They come in a stunning variety of two color schemes: black and grey... and also grey and black. They can be located mainly in South and Central America.

The greater grisons are also known for being good swimmers as well as adept tree climbers. This is very good since they like a little variety in what they eat. It seemed to me that they really do prefer land--unlike the otters who can't get enough of the water. This mustie prefers solid ground and will only go swimming as a means of hunting up fish. Another interesting tidbit about the greater grison is their anal scent glands--this being similar to what the skunks have. They can even spray as a self-defense mechanism or as a means of marking territory. Personality wise, they don't seem like bad fellows. There is a sort of quiet loneliness about them, but they don't seem like the hostile sort at all.

The one thing that stands out to me about these musties is how their coat colors are arranged. Generally, they have a black undercoat, and a light grey "top," which wraps about the top of the head and drapes along the back as if it was some sort of habit. The line from grey to black is sometimes blurred, but other times, it can be heavily defined. Those are the ones I particularly fancy, and I will explain why.

The greater grison is unheard-of in fiction, but I expected that. This mustie is one of the many unappreciated in the animal kingdom. Because of their "habit" look, I like to see them as little holy people who live on their own taking care of themselves. I think the look works for them in this way. Their out-of-the-way aspect assist with this image and makes people wonder at who they really are. But you must understand that there could be a number of ways to interpret them. This was just the first thing that my imagination gave me. I'd love to hear what other people might see in them. It could be the exact opposite. Look at the pictures and try to figure an idea out for yourself.

One thing I do want to mention before I end this is just how wonderful they look when they are hunting. They appear to me very focused and calm. There is a look in their eyes that I find fascinating--very expressive. Let me know what you think.

Next week, we will discuss his cousin: the lesser grison. You may find him equally as interesting despite what his name suggests!

Thank you for reading this blog. If you enjoyed it, please comment below, or you can email me at tooie@tooiekangaroo.com. Bless.

Friday, October 16, 2015

"The Death of Olympus" has been published on Smashwords!

My new story "The Death of Olympus" is available at Smashwords for $0.99! This is possibly the most eloquent story I have ever written! You don't want to miss this one! And also check out the awesome cover drawn by Chris Buffaloe! Check it out here:


Here is a synopsis: 

In the future, the population of the earth is reduced to a mere five hundred million. A small group of transhumans called the Immortals rule the entire world from their great city Olympus. Enter Kaitlyn Little, a young mortal woman who enjoys writing stories. The only problem is that mortals are not allowed to create fiction; however, John Smith, an eminent Immortal, becomes interested in her gift. In this dramatic new vision by T.K. Wade, find out how this simple girl challenges all that the Immortals have come to cherish.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Mule Who Put On Airs

"The Mule Who Put On Airs" A fable by T.K. Wade.

Once, there was a mule who thought he was not respected. He saw how the horses were fed the best hay and were shod in the finest metal. Thinking he deserved such things, he marched inside and partook of the feast as if he belonged there. “What are you doing?” asked a horse. Said the mule, “Am I not a living beast as you? I shall take what I want.” “But what have you done to deserve such things?” asked another horse. The mule replied, “I slave for the farmer who beats me in an unjustified way when I stop to rest. I am a mistreated animal, and therefore, I shall eat the best hay as recompense.” The horses saw that this mule was deserving of no special treatment, so they all struck him with their hooves until he was run off. As the mule limped away, he said to himself, “I did not ask to be born into such responsibility. Woe is me!”

Birth accompanies no entitlements.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Mustelidae Spotlight: Giant Otter

Welcome to South America where the otters grow to a whopping 5.6 feet in length! Goodness! The giant otter--a name well deserved--is actually the longest member of the mustelidae family. Best of all, you know these guys are sweet because they look like they're made of chocolate. That's right! I said it! All those "otter" guys aren't made of chocolate!

The giant otter is so big that to see one is a little imposing. They come in large groups too. Like many other species of otter--dismissing the European variety--these musties love the fellowship of others. They also like to play. Imagine how much noise these big guys would make splashing about all day long. Actually, it might be nosier than you'd think.

Giant otters talk! Well, sort of. They have a complex lexicon of sounds that they make which all mean something particular. Little "hah hah" sounding barks are used to express interest in something. It is a little like saying, "Oh, look! There's a friendly fish I can eat!" It can also mean something spooky like: "Oh, look! That fish is staring at me funny. Maybe, I should eat it." The latter sound was also described--in my research--as an explosive snort. I am still trying to figure out what that would sound like. Giant otters also employ a sort of screaming sound which is akin to yelling out, "I found the fish! Attack!" They also sometimes coo and make cute noises which means to say, "I love you. Please, let me eat your fish." Unfortunately, newborn pups can only squeak which is too bad since only mice could understand anything they are saying. Really, I researched this!

As you may have figured out by now, giant otters feed mainly on fish. Oddly, however, they tend to be independent hunters. This contrasts from their usual group mentality. They will almost always hunt as individuals. They tend to find their own spot and stick to it. Nobody else is allowed there. That's there fishing spot. No one else is allowed to go to... "otter space!" Still, I don't see why the extra fish can't be shared.

Groups of giant otters generally have a pecking order. A colony is usually ruled by a mated pair. It almost feels like a monarchy in this respect. Behold! His Majesty, King Otto, and his wife, Queen Fishface! Trust me, she has earned that name.

In fiction, the giant otter is mostly in legends. But I warn you: a lot of it is really weird. In an Achurar folk story, giant otters are water spirits who assisted a man who had wasted his sexual energy. Now, just bear with me for a moment. The story says that the otters helped create the anacondas of the world from the man's--and I quote--"distressed and extended genitals." The Asian otter tales are sounding pretty good right now. The Bororo believe that people who swallowed a tobacco leaf instead of smoking it would turn into a giant otter. Seems reasonable. In a more fairy-like tale, the Kichwa people believed in someone named Yaku who ruled over the water and fish. Cutely, the giant otters served as her own personal canoes. I like this story better than the genital-snake one.

Comically, I see these particular otters as happy fish enthusiasts. They have these events where they sit around a table and sample different types of fish and discuss in intricate detailed about which fish is better than others. Sound "fishy" to me, but I suppose such events are "prawn" to such behavior. But with these guys, any"fin" is possible.

Okay. I am so sorry I did that.

Anyways, the giant otter is definitely deserving of the musty hall-of-fame for being the largest of them all. And for being made of chocolate. Okay, in the future, I really need to relax before I write these things. I hope you enjoyed all the otter blogs! You "otter" come back next week! There might be fish!

Thank you for reading this incredibly silly blog. If you enjoyed it, you can comment below, or you can email me at tooie@tooiekangaroo.com. EXPLOSIVE SNORT!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Godspeed To an Old Bed

"Godspeed To an Old Bed" by T.K. Wade

There is something to be said of a bed that one has traveled the endless Dreamscape with for the better part of one's life. This, indeed, was the case for me. Without stating the claim that the nightly cradle had really any choice in the matter, I could not go through the inevitable transition without a certain level of sentimentality. A dimittere of the highest order with respect to my perceptions.

Oh! But I was in a dire need of a replacement, to be sure. This ship which had voyaged the endless seas of dreams and nightmares had grown old, and its boards were splitting in dangerous ways. More than once a storm came about and pummeled her hull like so many waves. I encumbered her. Velut vincti caedebantur, we were destined to sink into an abyss of carpet if action were lacking.

Veritably, the constant creaking of the vessel would prove a constant reminder of her mortality. I was, at once, plagued with knowledge of impending consequences. Inevitable! She would need be scuttled! But how does one ratify such notions of desuetude when half a life's accomplishments have been sonorously placed on record?! Should we deny it?! Sadly, it cannot be denied.

The Olympians cast aside their gaze, and I was forced to quit the seas for the moment. A substitute of no greater resplendence was in order, and inevitably came the day when I acquired new bedding. It rained the entire occasion and failed to cease until the transaction was one hour past. Even so, the clouds remained, and the wind bellowed through the trees expressing sorrow for something most considered trivial. My intentions were immediate, but my actions were lacking.

Upon arriving home, I took my place upon the failing galley. There was magic in the moment, for she gave little complaint of my presence. "Ultimo momento," she said to me. The breaking waves did not break this time. Queerly, I found an unfamiliar comfort. It was as if she drew from waning strength to achieve a perfect cruise. Goodbyes are not always so sweet, but in these final moments, I saw peace beyond the collected voyages through dreamland. And I slept in fifteen minutes a journey of a thousand years. Godspeed ye child of oak. Godspeed.

-Author Notes-

This little story was intentionally written in a style very similar to that of Kenneth Grahame. He has a nasty habit of injecting Latin into his works. Here are the translations:

dimittere: release

velut vincti caedebantur: as prisoners of fate

ultimo momento: the last moment

Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Poor Mouse Who Sought Mersis

"The Poor Mouse Who Sought Mersis" A fable by T.K. Wade

A poor mouse pleaded to the goddess Mersis, “Please bestow upon me some gold that I may give unto others in need!” So touched by the mouse’s selflessness, Mersis did bestow upon him the gold he requested. The mouse then did indeed hand out the money to those in need; however, once his task was done, he bragged about his deed to increase his status among his rodent brethren. Mersis, presently disgusted by the mouse, took what little he had left and bestowed upon him a disease, which would quickly have him banished from civilization.

-Author Notes-

This story is set in what I call my "Tooth and Tail" universe where all the characters are rodents. This story references one of the goddesses known as Mersis. This is the goddess of mercy. I am unsure if she would actually do what she does in the second half of the fable; however, the story is intended to make a point which should be clear to the reader. Charity should always be given by one with a sincere heart; otherwise, it means nothing at all.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

"A New Friend" has been published on Smashwords!

Great news! "Adventures in Cottontail Pines: A New Friend" is available FREE OF CHARGE on Smashwords! It can be downloaded in multiple formats at:


Here is a synopsis:

Welcome to the magical town of Cottontail Pines, where animals talk, and there is always a friend around the corner. In this story entitled “A New Friend,” a new bunny named Koy moves into town, and as usual, Flopsy wants to be the welcome-wagon. She soon finds out that this Koy is very shy and cannot seem to enjoy himself around other animals. Never daunted, she tries her best to show him just how wonderful Cottontail Pines really is. Can Flopsy do it? Find out what happens in this cute new story by T.K. Wade!