Totem animals #124: underground creatures unite
As traffic rumbles overhead, two eyes glow inside a 3-foot-wide storm drain beneath one of Maryland’s busy highways. A raccoon is making his way from one side of the street to the other in the relative safety of an underground tunnel. He is one of close to 60 diverse species of animals statewide that use the culverts as their own personal transportation system, according to a recent study…
Researchers set up infrared motion-detecting cameras to find out who is using the tunnels under Maryland’s highways. The results could impact how culverts are built and where they are placed to help wildlife connect to habitats bisected by highways, as well as to improve highway safety by reducing collisions.
Storm drains, known as culverts, were created to channel streams under roadways, but they are also used by wildlife to pass under the roads, making them an ideal way to link wildlife habitats interrupted by roadways. They have been known to be used by animals around the world to get from one side of the street to the other, including grizzly bears and moose in Canada and panthers and alligators in Florida.
In Maryland, it turns out that raccoons use the subterranean highway tunnels the most, but they not alone on their commute. Canada geese hurry goslings through the tunnels. Barn swallows build nests in them. Does lead their young through the conduits. And even the five-lined skink likes to use the concrete entrance for basking and foraging.
Dog day 5.4 / Totem animal #91+
Some sort of ancient animal magic here: in the Pompeii ruins, brown-and-tan dog splitting into multiple selves before the eyes of Google. This dog is everywhere. A true totem animal.
More on the free-roaming dogs of Pompeii here. You can even adopt your own through the (C)ave Canem project (Italian/English). The project name is inspired by this famous mosaic, preserved for almost 2,000 years by the ashes of Mount Vesuvius:
Dog day 5.3: I found this dog in the Google Street View of the Pompeii ruins. This same dog appears in at least three other spots/moments of the street view sweep of the amphitheater - here s/he is trotting straight up to the camera truck.