Art and commentary by Kimberly Harris

Archive for the ‘Animals’ Category

Coyote sophisticates invade Manhattan

A coyote with sunglasses is enjoying a drink at an outdoor cafe

While rummaging through the trash in the dumpster behind a trendy café in Lower Manhattan, Bob the Coyote couldn’t believe his good fortune when he found a coupon for a free beverage of his choice stuck to a piece of smelly cheese.

Bob settled into a sunny sidewalk seat and being a coyote of some refinement, he ordered an icy cold Salty Dog to relax before retreating to the comfort of his den on the top floor of a nearby parking garage. After checking his ID and his rabies vaccination tag, the waiter graciously accepted the coupon and brought Bob his drink.

You see, in the wake of a recent incident in Norwood, N.J. where a man was bitten by a coyote thought to be rabid, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene began requiring that any canid frequenting an establishment serving food and beverage had to be vaccinated against rabies. This regulation came after a scientific determination that the herd immunity effect did not apply to packs of coyotes.

New York is a progressive city that takes pride in its diversity and Mayor Bill de Blasio has granted coyotes a special status as “citizen canids” with all of the accompanying rights and privileges. It has been reported that newly reelected Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is looking into a similar program for the Windy City’s estimated 2,000 resident coyotes.

The folks of the Big Apple can expect to be sharing more of their fair city’s fine dining establishments with their furred quadruped compatriots as the southward migration of coyotes from wooded areas of the Bronx continues to feed the exploding coyote populations in Brooklyn and Manhattan.

“Table for four adults and three pups. Seven o’clock? Got it.”

Illustration by Kim Harris
Story by Don Rudisuhle

Crocsquito apocalypse!

A swarm of mosquito-crocodile hybrids is descending upon Fort Lauderdale

Havoc reigns at Florida tourist resorts as swarms of genetically-engineered mosquito-crocodile hybrids descend upon beaches and golf courses to feed on hapless vacationers.

News Flash! Genetically engineered mosquitoes created by British scientists to combat viral diseases mutate into toothy flying killing machines.

Well, it seemed like a good idea in theory. A British biotech firm with ties to Oxford University developed a methodology to breed mosquitoes whose DNA had been altered using genes from coral and cabbage and proteins from E. Coli bacteria and herpes virus. The thinking was that this combination would suppress breeding because when the altered male mates with a normal female, the resulting larvae will die. This in turn would suppress the incidence of two serious mosquito borne diseases, dengue and chikungunya. To test the effectiveness of the plan, the mosquitoes were released in Key Haven, a secluded development of million-dollar homes near Key West in Florida.

What the scientists did not foresee was a sequence of events that would ultimately lead to calamity as they did not take into account the consequences of introducing a toxic cocktail of genes from animals, plants, bacteria and viruses into the environment. As fate would have it, a freak offshore storm blew in unexpectedly and propelled the GMO mosquitoes off towards the Everglades where they quickly settled in among the foliage. A few stray females that were inadvertently included in the brood began their quest for blood. With no humans in sight, the females proceeded to bite the resident crocodiles. So, what happens when a recombinant DNA experiment involving a mosquito, a crocodile and a cabbage goes awry?

Aedes aegypti + Crocodylus acutus + Brassica oleracea = Crocsquito Apocalypse!!!

It wasn’t long before crocodile hatchlings began to exhibit characteristics of all the genes that had been injected into the GMO altered mosquitoes. They grew long sharp proboscises and stout wings with veined structures similar to cabbage leaves. They soon took to the air seeking nourishment. Attracted by the dazzling display of brightly colored Hawaiian shirts combined with the aroma of thousands of backyard barbecues, the mutants headed straight for Fort Lauderdale to feast on the flesh of terrified tourists.

Even those fortunate enough to escape serious injury from the crocsquito’s sharp crushing jaws, there is still the likelihood of acquiring a nasty case of herpes from the beast’s infectious saliva.

Illustration by Kim Harris
Story by Don Rudisuhle

Happy Valentine’s Day

A pampered furry dog is sitting at an elegant dinner table with wine and roses

May your Valentine’s Day be embellished with wine and roses and a romantic dinner in the company of a dreamy stranger with mysterious eyes hiding behind fleecy golden locks.

Happy Valentine’s Day Everybody!

Photo by Don Rudisuhle

Abandoned hipster chickens struggle to make ends meet

A destitute chicken is playing a ukulele on a street corner hoping for tips

Cruelly abandoned by her hipster master who felt that taking care of her was too much of a burden, Hazel was forced to shed her dignity and was reduced to selling eggs and playing music on the street for strangers in hope of securing her next meal.

It all began several years ago with the troubling news that chickens and roosters were arriving in unprecedented numbers at animal shelters and sanctuaries throughout the United States and Canada. Recently, things reached a point where facility overcrowding is resulting in many of them being turned away due to lack of space. The authorities were puzzled at first as the phenomenon was widespread and largely precluded the possibility of a mass breakout at a local Perdue or Tyson facility. One local reporter even made a phone call to a well-placed retired colonel who is knowledgeable about the poultry industry. Unfortunately, this didn’t shed any further light on the mystery, as the polite southern gentleman pronounced that ”business was as finger-lickin’good as ever” with no reported shortages of raw materials.

A few clues eventually began to surface in the mainstream media. A recent Time Magazine article discussed the roots of the chicken abandonment problem and quoted the owner of The Chicken Run Rescue facility in Minneapolis as stating: “It’s the stupid foodies” and “We’re just sick to death of it.” Another animal rescue group in Seattle, Ducks and Clucks, told The Daily Caller that “hipster urban yuppie types who entertained romanticized notions of raising farm animals” were to blame for the crisis.

This led animal rights activists to proceed to conduct surveillance at several of the more prominent shelters to see if they could identify the method of transportation used to deliver the chickens. Soon, a pattern was revealed in the shadowy arrival of abandoned chickens. As had been suspected earlier by the reporters, they were being dropped off by people who appeared to fit the pattern of hipsterism, either by their garb, hair, demeanor or mode of conveyance. The chickens were seen to arrive transported in Kånken backpacks, in handlebar baskets on single-speed bicycles, in the trunks of flashy hybrids and in one instance, a dilapidated VW bus was observed to disgorge several dozen chickens before speeding down a dimly lit alley into the night.

It was now becoming clear that the unfortunate fowl were casualties of a dysfunctional locavore movement. The thought of stimulating production of healthy organic food in local communities was attractive to hipsters and it was a well-intentioned effort that initially enjoyed success as bumper crops of homegrown tomatoes, lettuce, zucchini, beans and other tasty summer staples flourished. Chicken coops soon followed as the hipsters moved on to focus on fresh egg production.

At first, everything went well for the chickens. During the course of their tenure in their comfortable urban settings, the chickens began to emulate their masters by dressing in ragged retro clothes, donning Kangol berets, wearing lenseless tortoiseshell glasses and surreptitiously learning how to play the hipsters’ musical instruments. They even went as far as sneaking sips from their owners’ unattended cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, all the while secretly cackling out old Pabst marketing slogans, such as “Pabst makes it perfect.” Oblivious to their eventual fate, the flocks reveled in tipple and song with only passing concern regarding what the future might hold for them.

Everything went splendidly for a while as hipsters, enthralled with pets that also produced breakfast, proceeded to purchase wholesale quantities of cute fuzzy little chicks. The fact that some might grow up to be roosters never crossed the hipsters’ minds. But as nature would have it, half of the hatchlings turned out to be roosters that were not only incapable of laying eggs, but also soon became an annoyance to entire neighborhoods with their early morning crowing. The hipster foodies were placed under increasing pressure by the communities to do something about the pre-dawn cacophony. This led some people to suggest that this was a major contributing factor to a spike in the downloading of Julia Child’s iconic recipe for Coq au Vin off the Internet.

Hazel was ultimately dumped on a street corner in a bad part of town and left to fend for herself. Later, she and a handful of surviving friends would recount harrowing tales about the fate of roosters who failed to live up to the foodies’ expectations regarding egg production. Husbands disappeared mysteriously in the middle of the night, and hipsters were said to have persuaded some of the recent arrivals to join a mysterious religious cult they referred to as the “The Order of Young Friars,” after which time they were never seen again.

Hazel was fortunate in that she was able to grab her master’s ukulele as she was about to be spirited away in a rusty Volvo station wagon with a bad muffler. Now, she performs on street corners hoping to entice passersby to toss a little chicken feed her way.

Illustration by Kim Harris
Story by Don Rudisuhle

Staying Warm on Earth Day on the High Plains

All the animals have put on special sweaters that were knitted just for them

The animals were fortunate to be well-prepared for the unanticipated cold snap

Earth Day activities are presently in full swing and people all around the globe are posting their images and stories about climate change and the impact of global warming. However, here in southeast Wyoming, this morning we awoke to freezing temperatures and a brutal snowstorm. Even the animals had to don sweaters to warm up. Fortunately, a prolific knitter had prepared for this eventuality even before the winter began.

Government study reveals why snails have sex

Two lusty snails are enjoying a martini before engaging in romantic banter

The handsome, suave Count d’Escargot has slyly seduced yet another glamorous gastropod

It was recently revealed that the National Science Foundation awarded a grant to the University of Iowa for the purpose of conducting research into why New Zealand mud snails go to the trouble of having sex when they are perfectly capable of reproduction by themselves without the need to engage the opposite sex.

The study cost just short of a million dollars, but it produced a startling revelation: The snails do it because it’s a whole lot of fun!

Everybody needs a little romance…

But will the Count call her back in the morning?

Illustration by Kim Harris
Story by Don Rudisuhle

Monster Goldfish Seen at Lake Tahoe

A giant goldfish is riding a snowboard down a ski slope at Lake Tahoe

A mutant giant goldfish is seen enjoying his favorite winter sport, snowboarding at a ski resort at Lake Tahoe in California.

Just recently it was reported that biologists from the University of Nevada at Reno have been routinely observing unusually large goldfish in the pristine waters of Lake Tahoe in Northern California. This phenomenon has caught the attention of the California State Fish and Game Department who have instituted routine patrols to seek out what they consider to be a dangerous invasive species.

The scientists speculate that the giant goldfish were introduced in the Lake Tahoe by so-called “aquarium dumpers,” well-meaning people who when they were no longer able to care for their pet fish, decided to abandon them in Lake Tahoe where they believed they would live out their lives in a safe and pleasant environment in the company of many other species of fish and crustaceans.

Some experts questioned whether a goldfish could survive the frigid winters that characterize this deep, high-mountain lake. However, reality proved to be stranger than fiction when the goldfish not only survived, but thrived in the harsh Alpine climate. Thanks to the nutrient-rich effluent making its way into Lake Tahoe, the goldfish not only thrived but were also genetically transformed as a consequence of the metabolites of psychotropic pharmaceuticals that were present in the sewage emanating from affluent neighborhoods along the lakeshore. They adapted splendidly and in no time at all they quickly blended into the local culture and adopted the habits and customs of the local residents. Now the goldfish are regularly seen enjoying the recreational facilities throughout the area, although they curiously prefer to avoid being seen at restaurants and tackle shops.

A famous carp fisherman is holding a giant goldfish

A giant goldfish caught by Raphaël Biagini, the renowned French “Carpiste” or “Catcher of Carp”

This is not by any means the first time giant goldfish have been seen in freshwater lakes. This trophy giant goldfish was caught by Raphaël Biagini, a legendary French “Carpiste,” who reeled in the monster “poisson rouge” from the waters of Lac de St. Cassien, a man-made reservoir in southern France. This is the same lake where a 75-pound world record carp was caught some 25 years ago. It is not clear how a tiny fish that normally graces home aquariums grew to such gargantuan size. Some locals familiar with the story attribute the fish’s extraordinary size with an incident that occurred a few years back when a barge laden with Camembert cheese capsized during a squall and sank with its cargo into the depths of Lake St. Cassien. The nutrient-rich cheese provided a source of food for several stray goldfish that, like Nemo, had been flushed down the toilet and somehow survived their transit through the sewage treatment plant. The discarded goldfish soon happened upon the sunken cache of cheese and began to feed on it. It appears that the Camembert rind that they devoured is coated with Penicillium candidum mold, which had the effect of strengthening their natural immunity and allowed them to grow to a colossal size that rendered them invulnerable to natural predators (except M. Biagini).

Illustration by Kim Harris
Story by Don Rudisuhle

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