Category Archives: Animals

Walle has a Fuzzy Navel!

About two months ago, poor Wall-e was feeling rather poorly.  His droppings were really watery, and he drank a lot… he was just like a water pipe.  He also started pulling his feather out. As we took him with us on a trip I thought it may be the stress of travelling, but one morning he looked really bad.  His eyes were half closed and he looked like about to topple over.  His movement was somewhat weird.  Then he started vomiting.  It was scary.  After a few minutes he looked fine, and by the time we brought him to the vet he was actually chirping.

Our vet took some blood sample, and determined that our bird is diabetic.  We couldn’t quite understand why as we are both, honestly, rather healthy human-beings.  (My friend asked me, what did you feed your bird?  McD?)

Anyway, our vet put him on Harrison’s bird diet.  I told him my bird never liked any pellet I feed him, but we really don’t have a choice.  Wall-e doesn’t like greens and other healthy veggies.  He would pick out the seeds, grains and fruits… and end up with way too much glucose and fat.

Surprisingly, Wall-e took to the pellets immediately.  I read the ingredient list and couldn’t figure it out.  I am positive there is some undisclosed stuff that makes it so addictive. Happy to say that he has improved a lot and has gained back his weight.  (He was at 25g, then dropped to 20 and now at 27g)  I was feeling guilty that all he ate is brown pellet, when I used to spend so much time cooking, chopping and mixing grains, pasta, beans, veggies, nuts and seeds for him, making sure each batch of food tastes different from the next.  So with approval from the vet I gave him a little broccoli, tofu, carrot and brussel sprout.  To my dismay he just flung them all out, apparently annoyed that such stuff has the audacity to appear in his food dish.  When I gave him back the pellet, he sang as he ate.  Oh well… so much for a meal made with TLC…

You can see his naked belly.  He does look very cute though standing on one leg.


“Hey take your camera away!”


After we changed the diet, his feather starts to regrow.  The feathers at the bottom grow out really soft and fuzzy.  It’s almost like a glow in this pic, ha ha!


Here is a clear view of the fuzzy navel!


And he’s the latest pic, taken two days ago.  Back to his handsome self, almost!



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Posted by on May 7, 2012 in Animals


Snow Bunting

Just chanced upon this blog post:

The Birds are Back in Town!

Honestly, I didn’t know what a bunting is. But looking at the bird, its cuteness is way off the chart. She looks as round as an Angry Bird, almost like a snowball. She looks all puffed up to brace for the coldness.

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Posted by on April 20, 2012 in Animals


Adopt A Turkey

I have been too busy to do it sooner, but finally I completed my yearly Thanksgiving ritual of… adopting a turkey at Farm Sanctuary!!

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Posted by on November 24, 2010 in Animals, Vegetarianism



As Bambu is on his own now, I decided that I need to get him some new companions. When the shipment arrived, I first brought it over to another HCA member’s house, and we happily opened the box and took the crabs out one by one.

First of, this is my friend’s new jumbo Indo, checking out his new home, and eyeing the pretty shell there:

jumbo indo

When I take my crabs out from the bags, one of the Strawberries decided to hold on to me REAL HARD. I’ve never got pinched before, and even when my crabs pinched me when I lifted them up, once I let them onto solid ground, they would release the grip. But not this little guy. He is a Rottweiler. We tried inserting pins, scrap papers, and he would just hold on. My friend was like, wow you are so amazing, you didn’t cry out or anything. Until I noticed that he was munching on me!! He held on to me with his big pincher, and was picking up my flesh with his little one! Suddenly it became very painful. Karma payback time for all the crab legs I ate at buffets…Didn’t even need to wait for reincarnation!

But I guess those poor guys must be really traumatized. Imagine enjoyng an ordinary day, then got snatched up and put into a potato sack… then a lot of bumping around and not knowing what’s going on. You would expect some mafia when the sack opens up, right?


This is the fesity little man eating monster. His pincher looks a little white.


He is not shy at all!!

I had originally thought of another name for him but when I looked at him in the tank, he looked very much like an empanada… so I decided to call him that.


For those who are not familiar with empanadas, they are South American fried dumplings that are usually filled with meat, cheese, or spinach.

This is my other Strawberry, who’s a bit shyer. As yet nameless as the original name, which comes as a pair to Empanada’s original name, no longer works.

jumbo indo

Here he is with the new E, Sesame, who’s probably looking for Bambu. Bambu, bambu where are thou? I hope he is well, it’s been over a week. I hope he won’t be traumatized when he digs himself out and see all the changes.

And here’s my Blueberry Namu!!


He won’t let go of the comfortable blanket… It was part of the bag he came in, and I cut a corner out as I got tired of waiting fo him to release his grip.

But once I put him into the tank, he was happy enough to let go of it immediately. He found a cashew nut in the food dish, and held it up in his pincher instead. It was kind of a neat picture, holding up a cashew half, although I didn’t get to snatch a picture as he was kind of hidden, and I know any movement from me would make him drop it.

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Posted by on September 21, 2010 in Animals, photos


Bambu Got a New Shell!

I have Bambu since hurricane Wilma, which was summer 2005. While he had molted a few times he had never changed his shell. All my other hermit crabs didn’t take that long to upgrade their houses. I was a bit concerned, but I had plenty of suitable shells for him and there wasn’t much I could do. I guess he just liked his shell too much.

But today when I looked into the tank, at first I couldn’t spot him. Then I spotted him in a new shell!!

This shell has been lying around for a while so it’s unexpected that he decided to move in after all. Bambu just had a molt about less than a month ago and he did emerge a little bigger, so I guess it’s finally time for a bigger living space.

Here’s some pics of Bambu in his old shell, the old shell he came in when I got him.

This photo was taken in April.

August 2009.

Bambu enjoys getting an upside down view of the world.

The new shell makes him look a lot bigger. And I suppose he likes strip patterns…

ETA: Well, turns out Bambu just want a mini getaway. He changed back to his old shell after a few hours. Sigh. I hope it’s not me picking him up that freaked him out of the shell… although if that’s the case, he’d have changed shells aplenty by now…

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Posted by on July 27, 2010 in Animals, photos


Turtle Hospital

Back in May, we went to Marathon down in the Keys for a dragon boat race. When our friends ask us about our plans for Sunday, we told them that we would be visiting the Turtle Hospital. My friends found the idea very funny. Do they only admit turtles? There really is a hospital for turtles?

So here you go, a report of my visit, to show that there really is a Turtle Hospital. They have a pretty nice website Lots of pics about rescued turtles (even a little oil-covered baby named Exxon…). There are also pictures taken this past winter, when it was unusually cold in Florida. The hospital was crawling with turtles…

Look, they even have a turtle ambulance!

Inside the visitor center, we signed up for the tour. There are some trivia and artifacts of sea turtles, as well as a gift shop. When the tour started, we first watched a slide show, a 101 intro about us about the different species of sea turtles found in Florida and the perilous life of a sea turtle.

Next we visited the emergency room. Using a stuffed toy our guide shows us the procedures when a turtle is delivered to the emergency room. We found out that turtles are conscious breathers? That means that while they are under anaesthesia an assistant has to stand by and pump oxygen into the turtle’s lung at regular intervals so it won’t suffocate.

They have equipment to take digital X Rays of the patients. Digital is useful because the doctors are volunteers so they are not at the hospital all the time. Now they can view the digital image from wherever they are and give diagnosis quickly. These x-rays show that the turtle has a fishing hook in the stomach! Fortunately it’s a round hook rather than a J hook, and can safely pass through the body without damage. (Please, if you read this and you fishes, get the round hooks! It’s safer for the birds and sea turtles who may swallow it.)

Next we walked over to visit the patients. First we went to the ICU where each patient has his own room, er, kiddy pool.

We met Kentucky. She had been biten by a shark but is lucky enough to live to tell the tale! (you can read more of her story at The shark bites are visible on her shell. She seems excited to see us and regale in her adventure!

This turtle suffers the bubble butt syndrome. This happens when a motor boat hits the turtle so hard that the shell is misshapened. An air bubble forms inside the shell. This is a problem as the turtle can no longer sink below water, meaning that he cannot find food and becomes a easy target for predators. The doctors have not found a cure yet, but they put a weight on the shell so the turtle can sink below the surface. However, as the turtle grow, the old plates on the shell fall off, so the weight is not a permanent solution. The turtles will thus have to spend the rest of their lives in the sanctuary.

This is Romeo. He’s a baby but sadly has lost a flipper already!!

This is Joe. He was born without one flipper then got another one bitten off by a predator. But we are told that Joe is a tough guy and seems to swim around pretty well with just two flippers so they may release him into the wild.

Isn’t he a beautiful turtle?

Besides the individual Intensive Care Units, there are two big pools.  They used to be swimming pools of a hotel but are now donated to the hospital.  The pool gets water from the sea outside.  Here lives the turtles who are soon to be released back to the wild as well as those permanent residents.

You can see the weight affixed to the rear on some of the turtle shells. It help turtles suffering from bubble butt syndrome to sink down.

At the end of the tour we were given some pellets to feed the turtles. 

What an interesting learning experience it was. Even though I’ve visited already, next time I come to the keys, I’d want to drop by to see the new patients and old regulars again!


Posted by on June 22, 2010 in Animals, Florida


Say No to Shark Fin Soup

The ecological disaster of shark killing for their fins is nothing new, but recently there is a reflamed discussion in Hong Kong, stirred up by a video and the subsequent news report.  ( and  A group of young divers from Hong Kong went to The Philippines for a vacation, and witnessed a young whale shark dying on the beach, its fins cut off and its body covered with knife wounds.   The young woman, still choked with tears as she recalled the scene, pleaded people not to eat shark fin soup.  While the fact that Chinese’s demand for shark fins is the reason for many shark species’ near-extinction and a very cruel practice (the equivalent of chopping all limbs off a person and leaving him to die), the highly emotional eye witness account generate much attention and discussions among the public.


A facebook group has started a pledge to Say No to Shark Fin Soup.  As a major consumption of the soup happens during banquets, there is a movement to ask people, especially newly weds, not to serve shark fin soup.  As a matter of fact, WWF has a list of organizations who have pledged not to serve shark fin at their company events, and the list includes The University of Hong Kong, Disney and  HSBC.

When I read the news, my reaction was, “Finally!”  Generally speaking, Hong Kong people do not have a strong sense of environmental protection, especially when it comes to what not to eat.  I can understand how, a long time ago, some fishermen caught a shark, and tried their very best to turn all body parts into edible food, a feat that Chinese is likely to have bragging rights to.  I don’t think there is any nation who consume a bigger variety of animal parts.  Anyway, for those who haven’t tried it, shark fin is basically a bland food that takes days and lots of work to make edible, and the flavor of the soup is derived from the chicken, ham, abalone and other ingredients stewed with the shark fin.  I can imagine how, with more primitive fishing boats and tools, it is a hard ingredient to come by and thus made it a  delicacy afordable only to the rich, giving the dish a prestiguous statue. 

Today shark fin is no longer a by product of a caught fish. As a  merchandise fetching up to 500 times more than the meat itself, the fishermen started to cut the fins off the fish and, not bothering with processing the meat or wasting cargo space, throw the dying fish back into the ocean.  As humans becoming a much more capable killer of sharks than the other way around, the shark population is being depleted faster than the slow growing fish can reproduce.  Add to that the increased affluence of China, and sharks are in serious trouble.  As the proven scientific fact shows that shark fin has little nutritional value and lots of mercury and heavy metal,  there is really no argument to continue eating shark fin.  (Well, actually on surfing the web, I came across an argument: if we stop eating shark fin, we will put those fishermen out of work.  To which I would reply, yeah, just so Afghan poppy growers can bring food to their kids, go get some opium.) 

Hong Kong is the epicenter of shark fin trade, importing close t 10,000 metric tons of shark fins a year.  Some comments claim that whatever decreased consumption this recent publicity may generate is hardly a drop in the bucket compares to the consumption in China.  Nonetheless, I feel very positive.  All great movements start with a very small group, but that small, seemingly insignificant effort is a pebble that can generate lots of waves.  In fact, my research has led me to another news article.  The Sakanaga kaitenzushi chain in Hong Kong recently won a bid for a tail of blue fin tuna, a fish which is near extinction.  As the news made headline in newspapers, environmental groups voiced their protests, and a boycott was started.  Granted, the number of people signing the boycott are likely less than what the chain’s customers number in one day, but it is an encouraging move nonetheless.  While a lot of news have portrayed China as a country with little environmental concern or consumer awareness, when I read blogs and forum posts online, I often find educated, forward-thinking posters who are eager to make their country and the world a better place.  I sincerely wish that everybody in the world will take a clearer look at his/her food and makes a more conscientious food choice.  I believe that one day eating shark fin soup will looked upon in the same way as wearing fur.    Our best effort to promote awareness is needed, however, before it’s too late.

Here are some more links about the topic.

You can also sign a Care2 petition at:

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Posted by on April 11, 2010 in Animals, Asia, Food, Vegetarianism