Beyond the Bars: Ethical Enclosures for Captive Animals

A series of articles on what science can tell us about the welfare of our captive animals.

  1. A Background on Captivity
  2. Stress and Space
  3. Climate
  4. Substrate and Shelter (coming soon!)
  5. Companions and Rotation (coming soon!)
  6. Access to the Animals (coming soon!)

Spider Behavior Month!

Creepy Creatures for October!

A series of articles on Halloween-themed critters and phenomena.

  1. Ghost Bats!
  2. Rodent Plagues
  3. Blow Your Nose, Toad
  4. The Real Ghost Shark

Family and Species Overviews

Introduction to Canidae

Dogs, dogs, and more dogs. The origin and radiation of all canids, from the bat-eared fox to the maned wolf.

The Raccoon Dog

All about this fat, fluffy character- including why all tanuki are raccoon dogs but not all raccoon dogs are tanuki.

The Aardwolf

It’s a hyena! That eats termites! And smears anal secretions on things!

Introduction to Chiroptera

Showcasing the incredible diversity within a massive family of mammals: the bats.

The Pekapeka-tou-poto

It’s a bat that walks! Sort of.

Animal Behavior

Terror-Forming: How Stress and Fear Reshape the Earth

All about the ecology of fear, which is a real, scientific thing.

Cool Costume Ideas Straight From Nature

Animals that play dress-up!

Kleptoparasitism: Defense Against the Big Bullies

A: you gotta make a living and b: lions are certified jerks. How can the little guy fight back?

The Frivolous Function of Play

Why do animals play? This question has had scientists wringing their hands for decades.

Eat My Friends, Not Me: Why Animals Don’t Behave For the Greater Good

Time to debunk the idea that prey animals group together so they can look out for one another. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Also, group selection is a stupid theory.

Canid Scent-Marking (or, Why Dogs Pee on Things)

Why DO dogs pee on things? What do they know that we don’t?? I answer these questions and more.

Dominance Behavior in Canids

“Alpha wolf”? What’s that? I don’t think that exists.

Animals Masturbate Too- And Why That Matters

Uncomfortable about the fact that Fluffy Lumpkins has a sex drive? Then maybe you shouldn’t get a pet.

Mental Disorders in Animals

While some people still struggle with the idea that animals have minds, scientists have known about animal mental sickness for decades. Knowing about theirs helps us treat our own.

Polyandrous Chimeric Monkeys

Some marmosets have three parents. Not three adoptive parents- three biological parents. Take my hand and I will show you how.

The Cowbird’s Guide to Practical Brood Parasitism

Why raise your own kids when you can bully someone else into doing it for you?

Coot Parenting Tips

Actually, why even raise your kids when you can arbitrarily murder them?

Can Animals Have Pets?

A look at several fascinating cases of trans-species adoption.

Bird Yaoi Which Is For Birds (And Bird Yuri Which Is Also For Birds)

Homosexual behavior? In my birds? It’s more common than you might think.

Eusociality and Other Sex-Free Lifestyles

Sex isn’t always necessary for success in the animal kingdom. Just ask a termite.


The Confusing Evolution of Bat Echolocation

Could somebody tell bats to just stop coming up with new ways to scream into the darkness? Thanks.

What’s the Fuction of the Prostate?

Like it says on the tin.

Bat Flight Versus Bird Flight

Bats are better than birds in every respect, case closed. I’m definitely not biased.

The Marine Reptile Timeline

A journey exploring the evolution of ancient marine reptiles, from the Permian all the way to the Cretaceous.

Fanged Deer Can’t Make Up Their Minds

Why some deer have fangs, and some deer have horns, and some deer have fangs AND horns.

Heterochrony: When Development Speeds Up or Slows Down

Evolution tends to use what it already has, and sometimes that means tinkering with the developmental clock. Arguably, a bird is just a baby dinosaur.

The Functions of Different Pupil Shapes

Round pupils! Slit pupils! Horizontal pupils! Wavy pupils! U-shaped pupils! We talk about ’em all.

The Amazing History of the Boob

Putting the “mammary” back in “mammal” with this evolutionary history.

Can Traits Evolve More Than Once in the Same Species?

Can an evolutionary line gain flight, lose it, and then get it back?

Chase-Away Sexual Selection

This is not an article about love-crazed animals chasing each other. I wish it were. But it is about why some animals have such over-the-top sexual displays.

Why do Small Dogs Live Longer than Big Dogs?

A ten-year-old Jack Russell terrier and a ten-year-old Saint Bernard are two very different beasts.


No, Bats Do Not Make Good Pets

They’re way too stinky and kinky for that.

The Casual Murders: When Do Animal Lives Matter?

If a mosquito and a chimpanzee experience death in the same way, is it really right to value one life over the other?

Three Considerations for Exotic Pets

We want them because they’re cute, weird, or just plain awesome. But when is that enough to justify buying them?

White-Tailed Deer Overpopulation in the United States

Think this isn’t a problem? Think again. How humans facilitated a deer population explosion- and how we (and the environment) are paying for it.

On Writing

The Background of Darkeye

The real-life phenomena and the long, meandering process that led to the creation of Darkeye.

On Research

A Few Tips for Understanding and Applying Scientific Research

Translating what research means for your everyday life can be maddening. That’s because it usually doesn’t even apply.

One Comment

  1. Hey I don’t know what you’re up to these days, but I used to really like reading your non fiction stuff. You gave me a whole new love of spiders and an appreciation for some of the less beloved animals in general. I hope if you have time you might consider writing a bit more about animals and wildlife management and ecology and stuff. Please let me know if you do!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *