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How Crows Eat Poisonous Cane Toads

Naturalists in Australia have spent decades battling to contain the explosive spread of cane toads, an invasive species of hardy – and poisonous – amphibian that eats just about anything.

Native to the Americas, cane toads were purposefully introduced into the state of Queensland in 1935 to control the beetles that were eating valuable sugar cane crops. The plan quickly backfired, however, when the toads began multiplying exponentially in their new environment. From the original 3,000 immigrants, an estimated 1.5 billion toad descendants now live across northeastern Australia and are inexorably marching southward.

The large terrestrial toads have no natural predators in Australia thanks to a potent toxin, known as bufotoxin, secreted from glands across their backs. Though many species in South and Central America have evolved to eat cane toads anyway, bufotoxin is deadly to nearly all Australia wildlife – even 8-foot-long (2.4-meter-long) freshwater crocodiles. The warty invaders have proved especially dangerous for curious cats and dogs (and ill-advised people) that make contact with them.

Image result for crow eation poisonIn an attempt to prevent future casualties, researchers are training wildlife to avoid the cane toads using a “taste aversion” strategy, wherein sausages containing a small proportion of toad meat are distributed to carnivore populations in regions where the toads have not yet established. After experiencing what is, essentially, unpleasant food poisoning, the predators learn that it’s a bad idea to eat the toads.

Australian Geographic photographer Steve Wilson has captured photographic proof that clever corvids north of Brisbane have figured out how to make a meal of the toads without ingesting any toxin.

“Crows avoid contact with the ooze by grasping them by the limbs or even the bony brow above the eye, avoiding the body itself,” wrote Wilson in Australian Geographic.

“These clever birds have learnt to roll the toads onto their backs, sometimes doing so repeatedly if the luckless toad tries to hop away. Crows know which bits to eat – fleshy thighs, tongues, intestines – and how to get at these from below without contacting the lethal parts.”

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Anecdotal reports suggesting crows in other regions have mastered this crafty technique have circulated since at least 2007, but confirmed sightings have been limited.

Wilson writes that the crow he spotted spent about 40 minutes carefully picking out the safe parts of the toad while other crows stood and watched.

The presence of attentive witnesses may explain how crows living over 3,000 miles away from Brisbane have exhibited similar behaviors. Crows are well known for their ability to learn from one another. It’s equally possible, however, that multiple populations have figured it out independently, given their propensity for problem-solving.

A Nambour resident reported seeing a crow thoroughly washing a captured cane toad in his bird bath before flipping it over and chowing down.

Regardless of how they get the job done, Australians are in full support of the crows’ new talent.

Source: IFLScience

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Hooked for life: Son’s first fish an unforgettable experience

The 30-inch “Spider-Man” rod buckled and bounced as a flash of iridescent chrome brought the still water’s surface to life. My 2-year-old son, Foster, watched nearby as I securely set the hook and handed him the reigns, springing his little body into action.

He hustled to my side, grabbed hold of the rod and instantly began cranking the reel, just like we had practiced on our living room floor earlier that very morning.

As my wife and I offered enthusiastic words of encouragement, the 16-inch rainbow put up a fight and splashed water. This mesmerized our little man, making him pause and say, “Whoa,” just like his daddy when a large brown runs fly-line on a cold-water limestone stream.

With one hand firmly gripping the butt of Foster’s rod, I retrieved my net with the other and scooped the wriggling trout from the pond grass. My son chuckled with delight as I brought his very first fish to shore.

As the trout thrashed in the net, Foster had a moment of hesitation, causing him to back away and stumble onto his bottom, followed by an attempt to drag his “big fishy” even farther up the bank.

But a little prompting and praise was all it took for my son’s inquisitive nature to conquer his uncertainties, and he willfully approached to admire his prize. My wife, who had captured the whole event on video, stopped recording to snap some photos of this special family memory.

While Foster clung tightly to his rod and gazed cheerfully at his first catch, the look of pride on my face was unmistakable. For I knew in this moment, not only had my son just landed his first fish, but also that I had simultaneously hooked a little fishing buddy for life. There’s no greater feeling.

Source: Outdoor News

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Things You Must Bring When Camping

Camping can truly be a wonderful experience as long as you’re well prepared and have all the required gear. Otherwise, you’re going to be in for a hell of an unpleasant surprise. If you’re new at camping, it’s especially important that you prepare yourself adequately, or else your trip can quickly turn into a nightmare. The good news is that it’s really not rocket science, and as long as you remember to bring these eight things, you’re pretty much covered.

Map & Compass
The most common cause of a ruined camping trip is someone getting lost in the woods – trust me on that. Always have a map and compass on you no matter where you go, because it’s more than easy to get lost wandering through a forest. Don’t solely rely on a GPS unit as the battery doesn’t last forever, and even if it did you aren’t always in range of a GPS satellite that can tell you where you’re located.

There are some wonderful compass apps out there for your phone. But I would have an actual compass and map just in case your phone gets lost or goes dead.

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Get one here:

Military Compass

A long, tough Paracord has many different uses when camping; you can use it to hold up a tent, to string a clothesline on which you can dry your clothes after a surprise shower, and much more. You can even use it to stop the bleeding of a more serious injury. I’d say you need about 50 ft to be absolutely safe, but you can make do with as much as 30.

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Get one here:

100FT Paracord

Multi-Purpose Knife
One of the most useful tools in the wild is a good multi-purpose knife. Besides the obvious uses like gutting or skinning a small animal, you can also use it to spark a fire if you’re out of matches, or to hammer in a tent with the butt end of the knife. An absolutely essential tool if you’re serious about camping, and no camper should be found in the wilderness without one. Spending about $60 can get you a knife that will last you an absolute lifetime, and will probably stay sharp forever (well, not forever, but pretty darn long).

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Get one here:

Jungle Knife

Spare Clothes
One thing that you’re going to have to accept before you go camping is that it is going to rain. Even if you haven’t seen a cloud in days. The weather can turn on you in minutes, and showers can come out of nowhere, completely ruining your trip unless you have something to change into and a means to dry your wet clothes. I strongly suggest that you avoid cotton altogether as it can cause chafing when wet, and it takes a really long time to dry.

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Sufficient Food & Water
The number one rule of going into the wilderness is to not go hungry or thirsty. Make sure you have enough food, and also make sure that the food you bring along is not going to spoil before you have a chance to finish it.

Consider purchasing an emergency survival food kit and bringing it along with you – the best ones have shelf lives of more than 20 years, so even if you don’t get a chance to finish it on the first trip, you can save it for your next one – better than risking hunger out there where you’re not sure if you can catch something to eat.

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Good Boots
This is perhaps one of the most important things on this list. Without a good, sturdy, water-resistant pair of boots, you run the risk of quick fatigue, blisters on your feet and even potential joint injury due to your legs lacking proper support. Of course, this depends on the type of terrain, and if you’re camping somewhere where it’s relatively flat and open it’s a different story. You still need something a bit more serious than your casual footwear though, so it’s definitely something to think about.

Get one here:

Infantry Tactical Boots

7. Flashlight & Extra Batteries
A good thing to remember is that there aren’t any street lights when you’re out camping, and when the sun goes down (unless it happens to be a full moon) your only source of light is going to be your fire and a flashlight, so it’s good to have both of those things on hand – as well as a couple of extra batteries just in case.

Get one here:

LED Wrist Flashlight

Bug Spray & Sunscreen
One of the most annoying things that can completely ruin your trip are bug bites and getting sunburned, so if you’re out camping in the summer (like most of us are) make sure that you’re prepared for this scenario. A can or two of bug spray is a must, as well as a bottle of sunscreen to protect your exposed face and arms.


If you have other camping gear tips or comments, please leave them in the comments section below

Source: planandprepared


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Cool camping games for kids

Ensure the words “I’m bored” are never uttered during your camping trip with non-tech activities that take up little to no space in the backpack or trunk.
Full disclosure: I’m not saying we’ve never camped with a portable DVD player or mumbled, “Just play Angry Birds on mommy’s phone” on those too-early mornings when watching the sun rise isn’t on the to-do list. But having the courage to ban items like video games, cell phones (except for emergencies), and anything with ear buds will make it more likely that you reconnect with nature, and each other. And isn’t that the point of camping?

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Scavenger hunt
Kids love scavenger hunts, and the great outdoors is the perfect place to hold one. Have players collect items like pine cones, maple leaves, oak leaves, snail shells, pine needles and rocks of certain colours, or give everyone a camera and conduct a photo scavenger hunt. Each player should stick with an assigned buddy or small group. Compasses and watches are useful, plus cloth bags rather than plastic to store the findings, and small clipboards with pens or pencils attached by string to keep track of checklists. Have the unsuccessful team roast and serve the marshmallows at the fire that night.

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Camping Olympics
This could turn into one of the most fun days you’ve ever had as a family. Long jump can be done on a sandy beach, relay races in an open area and swimming competitions in the water. Grab a rope and organize a team tug of war. Keep the tone light and organize games that younger kids or not-so-athletic types can enjoy, too, like skipping stones or balancing in tree pose the longest.

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Campfire story contest
Kids are natural story-tellers, and will also get a serious kick out of hearing you or your spouse make up tales. If you can’t think of anything, just dig up family folklore or share anecdotes about your kid s when they were babies or toddlers. You can also play story games where one person says a sentence and the next person continues it, or bring Mad Libs along for some campfire fun.

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Cloud watching
An especially good idea midday when you’re wishing your child still napped, all you have to do is spread out a blanket in a shady spot and stare up at the sky. Use the alphabet and try to find an apple, bear, cat and so on. Or play cloud “I Spy.” (“I spy with my little eye something that is crunchy and grows on trees.”)

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Pack a micro-kit of glue, scissors, markers and paper, and a pad of paper for each child. Sketch pictures of nature, keep an art journal of your trip or create unique pieces of art with found objects like pine cones, leaves, shells and sand.

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Rainy day explorers
You may have envisioned endless sunny days for your camping trip and ended up with clouds, drizzle or all-out rain. If conditions aren’t too severe, stay put and embrace the rain! Pack extra socks and a change of footwear for everyone, as well as splash suits and rubber boots. Splash in puddles and walk through the woods (as long as it’s not storming.). Come back to the site and change into the dry clothes you have waiting. You may be surprised at how much fun can be had outside on a rainy day, as long as you have the right gear.

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Get a nature guidebook
“When you’re in nature, be curious about nature,” says Tovah Paglaro, the David Suzuki Foundation’s Queen of Green. “The kids will love to learn the names and properties of the plants and animals around you. You could even keep a log book and compare the different natural finds in different places you visit.”

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Source: todaysparent

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Getting Started In Fishing

So I’m talking to someone I just met at social function recently and the subject of Fishing comes up. This guy says, “oh I don’t like fishing” and I say “why not?”. He then says “well it’s so boring and I never catch anything – isn’t’ it all luck anyway?” I have had this same conversation with many people many times and it always makes me laugh. I don’t think he ever really got started.

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Fishing for Bass has changed so much in the last 20 years and I am always trying to learn about the latest new things. Rods, reels, line, tackle, swim baits, structure scan, and all the different fish catching techniques available today are enough to intimidate anyone that’s “new” to Bass fishing. So if you don’t embrace what is current and learn about it you may have the same experience as the guy I met. I started with 1 rod, a small box, and no boat. I walked the bank at Otay and Hodges with my friends and fished a purple 6in Mann’s Jelly worm. I caught a ton of fish. I would go to the tackle shop and talk to the guys that worked there. I read magazines. I watched fishing shows. Then I got another rod and learned how to fish a shad rap crank bait. I caught more fish. Then I got a boat and eventually joined a Bass club. The rest is history. So if you’re “new” where do you start?

Rod, Reel, and Line – get yourself 1 spinning rod/reel and 1 casting rod/reel. 7ft. Medium action. You can use 6 or 8 lb test line on the spinning rod and 8-12 lb test line on the casting. You can use just about every Bass fishing lure made (except for giant swimbaits) with these 2 setups. The important thing is to match the lure size and method of fishing with the right rod and size line.

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Plastic Worms – will catch fish ALL year round. You MUST learn drop shotting, texas rig, and carolina rig plastic worm fishing techniques. If you do you won’t ever say “I never catch anything”. Just ask my 4 year old daughter.

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Seasons – Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter. Understand what a Bass does in these times of the year. This is very important. Learn this and when you get to the lake you will know to fish shallow or deep, what structure to fish, and what baits to use. It will become automatic and so will your success.

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Structure – If you’re going to catch Bass you need to fish the structure they live in. Grass, rocks, brush, and tulles. People often simply fish in the wrong place. There is a lot of “dead water”. Fish in and around the right structure and you’ll find productive water. You’ll get snagged and break off but it’s ok….that’s where the Bass live and that’s where you’ll catch em.

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A Favorite Lake – Pick a lake and fish it often. When you go to the same lake time after time you’ll learn quickly about the bass that live there. You’ll fish better and gain confidence as you “figure out the bite”. This will help you be successful at other lakes.

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Today I fish with really good fishermen. We fish against each other in tournaments and I learn something new every time. I also Guide on our local lakes. I still read magazines. I still talk to the guys at the tackle shop and watch fishing on TV. I had a Guide trip the other day and the client said “wow this sure does take a lot of skill”…and I said, “nah it’s all luck”. We had a good laugh. Now is a really good time to get out and fish for Bass. March and April are the best so get out there and get STARTED!

Source: Tom Lowery, SD FISH

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Tips for food safety during camping season

The first camping trip of the year is usually the most work. Restocking the camper/RV after taking everything out last fall makes for extra work. There are many things to do, including cleaning, shopping, packing and making beds, but it’s also important to keep food safety in mind as you work down your to do list.

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For your own safety, it is critical that you sanitize your water system before using it. If the water system was winterized with RV antifreeze, rinse the system first. Follow the instructions in your unit’s manual for proper sanitizing.

Check your refrigerator/freezer to make sure it is working properly. Use a refrigerator thermometer in the fridge and in the freezer. The temperature in the refrigerator should be 41 degrees Fahrenheit or below for safe storage of perishable foods.

For campers without electric or gas refrigeration, use plenty of ice in coolers. Pack raw meat, poultry and fish in a separate cooler from produce. Restock your ice every day to keep foods cold. Keep coolers out of the sun. Bring along bottled water for drinking. It is not safe to drink water out of streams, rivers and lakes unless you have a water purification tablets or equipment.

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Michigan State University Extension recommends that you do not use any canned foods that may have been left in your camper over the winter. Canned goods that have been frozen, should always be discarded. Clean surfaces in the food preparation area, sinks and refrigerator. Clean your grill if it was stored away without cleaning it first.

Part of the enjoyment of camping is the tasty food prepared outside on the wood fire or on the grill. Use a food thermometer to make sure meat, poultry and fish is cooked to the correct minimum temperature. Ground meat should be cooked to 160 F, poultry should be cooked to 165 F and steaks, ribs or chops should be at least 145 F.

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Remember to use a clean plate when taking cooked foods off the grill or fire. Never reuse the plate or container that held the raw meat, fish or poultry to hold the cooked foods unless you washed it first with hot soapy water and rinsed.

A little time and effort before your camping trip can make sure you have a fun and food safe adventure.

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What all you need in order to survive in the Wild!

Three liters of water.


Small Tent. Good for rain, snow and bugs.


Cooking pot, folding stove, matches and fuel.


Down vest, nylon poncho and a hoodie.



Paper map and liquid compass. Don’t trust electronic versions.


Big knife for kindling, small one for everything else.

Small roll of duct tape and a sewing lit. Sometimes things break.

Finally, your mental and physical preparedness will decide your survival in wild.