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So far Roar has created 32 blog entries.

Recluse or Not? Citizen science with SPIDERS!

Though many of us believe brown recluse spiders lurk in every crevice and unoccupied shoe, ready to chomp down at a moment’s notice, most evidence suggests it doesn’t happen that often. But who could blame us for feeling concerned? We may even be genetically predisposed to fear spiders. Our fear doesn’t bode well for spiders, who–regardless of whether they’re helpful or harmful–often find themselves at the wrong end of our shoe.

Fortunately, there’s a new citizen science project, Recluse or Not, that aims to help reveal what’s actually lurking in our crevices while at the same time clear the brown recluse’s bad rap.

If you think you see a brown recluse spider, snap a pic and tweet it to @RecluseOrNot. There, one of three entomological experts: Matt Bertone (@bertonemyia), Catherine Scott (@Cataranea), and Eleanor Spicer Rice (@VerdantEleanor) will take a look and let you know if you’ve got a brown recluse. If you do, let them know your location and they’ll record it to improve scientists’ understanding of where brown recluses are hanging out these days. There will be quizzes with prizes! There will be useful and interesting spider information! Something for everyone!

To celebrate, enjoy this handy how-to on safely catching and releasing spiders by Jamie Van Wart.

Please visit Catherine Scott’s awesome blog to learn more about the project.

By Roar.

Art by Jaime Van Wart who is a graphic designer and illustrator based in Los Angeles. Previously a User Experience Designer at IBM, Jaime recently graduated from CalArts with an MFA in Graphic Design and is currently working as an Art Director at Blind. See her work here and follow her on Twitter @meatballshorti.

Elephants ATTACK!

Asian elephants kill, on average, nearly 400 people across India each year.1, 2

Migrating around Asia, they scarf down and stomp on people’s crops, smash their homes, and drink their liquor.


In all, elephants snarfle down the crops of at least 500,000 families in India each year (each elephant eats about 440 pounds of vegetation per day).1


The big meanies.

Except . . .

People kill elephants right on back. In addition to the more than 100 Asian elephant retaliatory killings each year, at least




are electrocuted on fences,






die from diseases like anthrax and trypanosomiasis they contract from human-owned cattle, and at least






are killed by trains (over 100 total elephants have died from trains). 2


Nobody knows how many more elephants die from getting trapped in human-dug drainage ditches, poaching, direct habitat loss, and more, so let’s not count those.

So . . .

Taking the largest estimate of total Asian elephant population today3 and the CIA’s estimate of the total population of Bhutan4 and India5, let’s compare the damage.

Elephants are 12,422 times more likely to die at the hands of humans than humans are to die from elephant-related causes.


And while humans have encroached on 80 percent of elephant-inhabited forests, elephants have damaged less than one millionth of one percent of Indian farmland. bHR_15


Maybe we’re the jerks.


Or maybe it’s a complicated problem. One that we can help fix.

How Many Does It Take?

Here at Buzz Hoot Roar, we love how humans measure everything and hand out superlatives. Today, we see how many of the biggest, longest, or tallest animals in their class (or order or family!) it would take stacked end-to-end to reach the top of some of our favorite landmarks. (It’s probably pretty important to know how many of the largest known bacteria it would take to reach the top of the Eiffel Tower.)

How many of the tallest dinosaur versus the biggest bacteria does it take to reach the top of the Eiffel Tower?



…and how many of the longest jellyfish versus the longest tapeworm does it take to stretch to the top of the Grand Canyon?



…and how many of the biggest mammal versus the tallest bird does it take to reach the top of the Statue of Liberty?



…and how many of the tallest marsupial and biggest ant does it take to reach the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa?



…and how many of the tallest land mammal and longest snake does it take to stretch to the tip of the Great Sphinx?



Meet our Contenders!

BHR-how-many-1-dinosaur-v2 BHR-how-many-1-giraffe-v2 BHR-how-many-1-ostrich-v2 BHR-how-many-1-snake-v2 BHR-how-many-1-tapeworm-v2 BHR-how-many-1-ant

Summer Reruns: Vocabulary Quiz

Buzz, Hoot, and Roar are taking a little summer break for the next couple of weeks. When we come back, we’ll have lots of cool things and more top-of-the-line art from our world’s best science artists to share with you. We wish we were back already so we could show you all the things we have to show you. Until then, it’s summer reruns! This week, brush up on your vocabulary to impress your friends. Quiz yourself! Then be a know-it-all!

Petrichor. Is it:

  1. the official scientific descriptive for the Elephant Man’s bones?

  2. a Petri dish that’s become a little “off color”?

  3. the word for the way it smells after it rains?

Get the answer here!


Polyphyodont. Is it:

  1. an animal that continuously replaces its teeth?

  2. a space-age binding compound used for waterproofing decks?

  3. a multi-colored avian species?

Get the answer here!


Actinopterygii. Is it:

  1. a not-so-great consolation prize on “The Price is Right”?

  2. the class of animals known as bony fish?

  3. neither of these things. Buzz Hoot Roar made that word up to sound smart.

Get the answer here!


Omphaloskepsis. Is it:

  1. the act of contemplating one’s belly button?

  2. a school of thought in which people are skeptical about the relevance of elephants?

  3. a group of individuals who, through a series of research-oriented expeditions, have scientifically proven the existence of Oompa Loompas?

Hoot’s Adventures with Emu Poop

Speaking of poop, while wandering the Australian Kwongan sandplains, Hoot and his companion noticed not all emu poop was created equal1. It turns out that emus are pretty good at helping seeds spread around by scarfing down fruits and plant material and plopping out fertilized seed cakes all over the land2. Check out Hoot’s emu poop glamour shots and marvel at those long-legged seed dispersing machines, emus.



Check our facts!

1) Mccoy, N. (2009) The Geographical Mosaic of Myrmecochory in a Global Biodiversity Hotspot and the Fate of Myrmecochorous Seeds Dispersed by a Keystone Seed Disperser. (Master’s Thesis) Department of Biology, North Carolina State University.

2) Calviño-Cancela, M., R. Dunn, R., Van Etten, E. J. B. and B. Lamont, B. (2006), Emus as non-standard seed dispersers and their potential for long-distance dispersal. Ecography, 29: 632–640. doi: 10.1111/j.0906-7590.2006.04677.x

Animals in Spaaaaaaace


Editor’s note:

While we commend these brave creatures on their orbital journeys and appreciate the valuable job they do for us humans, we’d like to point out that many other animals went into space before and after them. Animals like monkeys, apes, dogs, mice, cats, goldfish, and chimpanzees. Some returned fine, and others suffered extreme conditions. Outer space is littered with the corpses of more than half a century of our investigations. Here’s a brief summary of some of our unfortunate animals: http://science.howstuffworks.com/dead-animals-in-space.htm, and you can read more about them online.

View/download Animals in Spaaaaaaace in poster form (PDF) 

Drawn by Hoot, written by Roar.

Check our facts!

1 http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/xmlui/handle/123456789/9288

2 http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/news/fruit_fly/#.UyMX1oVPJS4

3 http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/ast.2005.5.690

4 http://jeb.biologists.org/content/209/16/3209.short

5 http://www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/9-12/features/F_Animals_in_Space_9-12.html

6 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12528722?dopt=Abstract

7 http://www.nsbri.org/EDUCATION-and-TRAINING/Teaching-Resources/Middle-School/Butterflies-in-Space/

8 http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/expeditions/expedition22/butterflies.html

9 http://jeb.biologists.org/content/212/24/4033.full

10 http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0064793

11 http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/786.html

12 http://newsdesk.si.edu/releases/world-s-first-spidernaut-lands-smithsonian

13 http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/news/space_spiders_live.html


Squirrel Chat: No Longer an Elitist Pastime

Eastern gray squirrels can live up to 12 years in the wild, so why not befriend your favorite little nut stasher? Yes, it may be intimidating at first. With their luxurious tails and constant incoherent chatter, hanging out with squirrels can seem like hanging out with a bunch of drunk debutantes. Lucky for us, in 1959 a guy named Arnold Bakken decoded their language1 so we can finally have a meaningful conversation with them (or at least get the treetop gossip).


Check our facts!

Bakken, A (1959) Behaviour of gray squirrels. Proceedings of the South Eastern Association of Game and Fish Commissioners 13, 393-406.


Heather Copley is a Clinical Social Worker whose hobbies happen to include: science, storing up food for the winter like our squirrel friends, and writing hilarious llama jokes.

Dr. Eleanor’s Book of Common Ants of New York City

The FREE iBook “Dr. Eleanor’s Book of Common Ants of New York City” (written by Roar, edited by Buzz, and designed by Hoot) is out and available for download. While we know a bunch about who’s crawling underfoot in exotic lands like rainforests, we often overlook who’s sneaking around our own backyards and across our kitchen counters.

Here are three common New York City (and United States) ants we’d like you to meet:



The books feature amazing photography by Alex Wild, the World’s Best Ant Photographer. It was written for the Your Wild Life team with the support of the Burroughs Wellcome Fund (that’s how it’s free!). Download your free copy of “Dr. Eleanor’s Book of Common Ants of New York City”  or “Dr. Eleanor’s Book of Common Ants” to read more here.


Our Valentine to You

Too shy to tell your crush you’re into her? Want a way to wow your sweetie? Let your bestie know he’s . . . um . . . the best? Let these awesome BHR-approved Valentines do the talking for you! Just e-share, or print and clip! And happy heart day!

BHR_Millette_COCKROACHES_valentine BHR_Millette_CRICKETS_valentine BHR_Millette_MOTHS_valentine BHR_Millette_SCORPIONFLIES_valentine BHR_Millette_WATERBUGS_valentine

Download high-res versions for printing here.


Emily Millette is a designer living in North Carolina.  Follow her on Twitter @emilymillette.


Creative Commons License
Insect Valentines by Emily Millette is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

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