Creature Feature

Rude Ranch Animal Rescue steps into the spotlight

With a nickname like The Best Little Cat House in Maryland, you might imagine that Rude Ranch earned its screen time on HBO. But Harwood’s unique no-kill shelter has won a prime spot on Animal Planet’s show Must Love Cats. The popular show features profiles of fascinating cats and the people who love them.     How did Rude Ranch get a feature? Through happenstance and the power of the Internet.

Fido has a TV channel

It’s tough being a dog. As we rush out the door for work, they get a quick pat on the head. Then you’re gone and Fido is home alone.     Fido now has his own TV channel to watch while you’re away.     That’s right. A television station, broadcast 24/7, just for the dogs.

Patuxent Wildlife Art Show screens movies with a message

For 23 years, the Friends of the Patuxent have raised funds for their beloved natural refuge by holding a weekend-long art show and sale. For 20 years, The Environmental Film Festival has raised awareness for the decline of the planet by screening green-themed films in the D.C. area. Three years ago the groups joined forces.

Sharpen your ears: They’re out There quacking, snoring, ­growling and peeping

It’s loud out there in frog land.         Wood frogs, one of the season’s earliest risers, already have a new generation of tadpoles swimming in vernal pools. That’s the March 11 report of Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary volunteer Mark Priest posted on the Sanctuary’s webpage sightings link, jugbay.org/wildlife_sightings. Follow the link to see Priest’s short video of half-inch-long wrigglers.

Tundra swans prepare for their annual flight north

Chesapeake Country waterways are swan lakes from November to March, as migratory tundra swans weighing as much as 20 pounds move in.     Some 18,000 of the big birds make Maryland their home. Dabblers, they tip bottom-up to feed on Bay grasses and small clams. They like winter wheat, barley and rye, too, and some of the swans will feed in fields.     These are their last days with us, as the elegant birds fatten and gather to begin their flight back north.

Get to know local amphibians

This year’s elongated February marked a different sort of Leap Year. FrogWatch USA joined with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums for an amphibious census.     With nearly one-third of known amphibious species thought to be in danger of extinction, FrogWatch USA is hopping mad.     You can help combat species endangerment and extinction in several ways.

There’s a dark side to surgically implanted medical devices

“Watchdogs Want More Oversight of Artificial Knees and Hips.”     So read the February 21 headline from Maryland News Connection, a startup statewide news service, leading us to wonder what kind of watchdogs they were talking about.     We should have taken the story seriously, but we couldn’t get beyond the headline.

On Valentine’s Day, Dogs Shove Cupid off Center Stage

Dogs had a big day on Valentine’s.      At Madison Square Garden in New York, 2,000 dogs strutted their stuff in the 136th annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, won by a silky haired Pekingese as nearly 7.5 million people watched on television over two days.

Bring on some homeless Mutts and Mousers

A handsome array of dogs — plus a cat or two, running as Monday Mouser — have joined our weekly Facebook posting. As for other creatures, “we’re always hopeful,” says Bay Weekly’s Facebook mod Diana Beechener. “But we haven’t gotten any yet.”     Monday Mutts have ranged from Nipper the Jack Russell through Martini the Great Dane; Olive the golden retriever; and Lola the Lab-Spinone mix.

In 2011, the terrier was king of the box office

If you want to stand out in movies, never work with dogs or children. This Oscar season, however, films featuring terriers are racking up the nominations.     First popular in screwball films of the 1930s, such as The Thin Man and Bringing Up Baby, terriers dropped back to the relative obscurity of television shows such as Fraiser and Wishbone.