Animals | St. Louis Public Radio

Animals

Dogs and cats acting strangely? On Tuesday's St. Louis on the Air, an animal behaviorist stepped in to answer your questions about animal behavior.
tohu | Flickr

Dr. Debra Horwitz, DVM, a St. Louis-based veterinary behaviorist and veterinarian joined St. Louis on the Air again on Tuesday to share her pet wisdom and answer listeners’ questions about their dogs and cats. 

Here are some of the most pressing questions posed to Horwitz, of Veterinary Behavior Consultations, during the noon hour along with her answers.

Does tone matter when it comes to addressing dogs and cats?

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville biology professor Danielle Lee examines a deer mouse with undergraduate student Jacquelyn Isom.
Eli Chen | St. Louis Public Radio

On a humid, mid-April morning, nearly a dozen students were scattered around a small field across the street from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville. They planted pink flags, strung measuring tape up and down the field and used machetes to clear their way through tall, prickly prairie grasses.

“Did I tell you about the fox? A fox just ran past Danielle’s foot. Like, really!” exclaimed their professor, Danielle Lee, an animal biologist at SIUE.

The fox sighting is important, as Lee and her students are trying to find out what rodents and other animals live near the campus. Lee and other scientists who study urban ecology are just starting to discover the ways in which human development affects wildlife.

A three-week-old Mexican gray wolf pup is examined by scientists at the Endangered Wolf Center in Eureka. The pup was born from artificial insemination that used thawed semen.
Endangered Wolf Center

The future is looking brighter for the endangered Mexican gray wolf, as scientists have announced the birth of the first pup of the species to be born from artificial insemination that used frozen semen. 

There are 130 Mexican gray wolves that remain in the wild, largely in Arizona and New Mexico. Some live at the Endangered Wolf Center in Eureka, where the new pup was born. In collaboration with the Saint Louis Zoo, scientists at the center have been collecting and freezing semen from endangered wolves for more than 20 years.

An adult female bluebird caught by a Southeast Missouri State University researcher.
Kathy Hixson

It’s been nearly 300 years since lead was first discovered in Missouri.

But the element's important role in the state's economy may come at a price to another natural resources. Scientists are planning to study the health effects of lead on local songbird populations.

The research, conducted by biologists at Southeast Missouri State University and the University of Missouri-Columbia, will take place in the Southeast Missouri Lead District, which contains the world’s largest deposits of galena, an important source of lead.

Ray Meibaum

Anyone who has watched a lot of Saturday morning television likely has seen Taz, the voracious Tasmanian devil of Looney Tunes fame, a loud and voracious presence.

While Taz thrives in the cartoon, in the wild the species isn’t doing so well. About 20 years ago, a mysterious illness caused its population to dive.

Conservationists are scrambling to save the animals and educate the public about them. As part of that effort, Yindi and Jannali, two female Tasmanian devils, recently arrived at the St. Louis Zoo, where researchers are studying how they adjust to life in captivity.

Stephanie Arne, host of 'Wild Kingdom.'
Wild Kingdom

Stephanie Arne is the host of Mutual of Omaha’s “Wild Kingdom,” a nature adventure television show that came on the air in 1963. It is a show that holds a dear place in many St. Louisans’ hearts because it was originally hosted by St. Louis zoologist Marlin Perkins, who worked many jobs at the St. Louis Zoo and eventually served as its director.

You can now find it on a web series that is updated regularly.

John Garghan | Flickr | http://bit.ly/1pMyvM2

Here at St. Louis on the Air, we love our pets, we really do. Yet sometimes, oh yes, sometimes, their behavior is absolutely confounding. Why do you hate the mailman so, Fido? Why won’t you go to the bathroom in the litter box, Jingles? Why won’t you let me hug my boyfriend, Buck? There are so many questions.

Luckily, Dr. Debra Horwitz, DVM, sees these kinds of issues all the time. A veterinary behaviorist with Veterinary Behavior Consultations, she assures us there are ways you can get to the bottom and help pets get over their peccadillos.

The number of island foxes living on the northern Channel Islands in California were crashing before ecological efforts to save them began in the 1990s.
Tim Hauf | Flickr

A Saint Louis Zoo scientist is partly to thank for the recovery of three subspecies of foxes native to the Channel Islands off the coast of California.

The official "Puppy Bowl" portrait of Ellie aka Puddin' Pop. You can see her play fpr Team Ruff at 2 p.m. Sunday.
Stray Rescue

There’s a doggone good reason to watch TV on Super Bowl Sunday, even if you’re not a football fan — or still bitter about the Rams.

St. Louis may not have a home team anymore, but we do have a dog in this fight -- an actual dog, from Wentzville, who’ll take the field in the Animal Planet channel’s annual “Puppy Bowl” on Sunday afternoon.

Matt the Cat's human mom, Maire Murphy, said Matt's brother Oliver is doing okay, but he's a little needy since his best buddy has gone missing. Matt looks a lot like Oliver but he was heavier last time Murphy saw him.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

When St. Louisans think about the biggest news so far in 2016, what probably comes to mind is the New Year’s flooding or the Rams leaving town.

But for many people in one city neighborhood, the focus isn’t on football but a feline — a certain orange one, who has his own Facebook page and Twitter account. So how has this cat become the talk of Tower Grove South?

Author shares tales of four-legged heroes

Mar 10, 2015

What makes a hero? Author Jennifer Holland has tracked down the stories of 37 animals “doing something special that’s helping someone or another animal” for her book “Unlikely Heroes.”

In the book, Holland, a contributing writer for National Geographic, shares true stories of animals that saved lives, from dogs to dolphins to llamas. Some of those lives are humans. Some are the animal’s young. Some are of an entirely different species.

Numerous adoption agencies said there is no evidence that black cats are more at risk than other animals around Halloween.
Kaitlin Davis/Instagram

Many people have heard the stories about black cats disappearing around Halloween and that adoption agencies don't allow adoptions of all-black or all-white pets in October. But for cat owners in the St. Louis area is this danger real or an urban myth?

Dr. Kelly Ryan of the Animal Medical Center of Mid-America in St. Louis said she has seen no evidence locally that black cats are more at risk than other animals.

You may have stayed away from the Zoo over the Fourth of July weekend, because of the festivities in  Forest Park. But you have plenty of time to get there this summer. As you make your plans, here are a few things about our Zoo that might surprise you.

For example, did you know the Zoo studied camels in Kenya this year to evaluate their milk as a human beverage? Or that it documented the number of endangered Humboldt penguins in Punta San Juan, Peru?

Missouri Humane Society

The Humane Society of Missouri seized more than 250 domestic and farm animals from a property in Franklin County Tuesday for "deplorable" living conditions. In 2010, the organization removed 158 animals from the same property for being mistreated.

Animal Cruelty Task Force Director Mike Perkins says the rescued animals included 192 rabbits, as well as goats, cats, chickens, dogs and one duck.