Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Toxoplasmosis in the Red Fox

From the National Fox Welfare Society. Please be aware and contact them if you know of a fox that might be affected. These foxes are NOT dangerous.

Toxoplasmosis in the Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes)

These oocysts often occur in parts of the brain. Studies in rats have shown that rats infected with Toxoplasmosis do not fear cat pheromones even though Rodents instinctively shy away from the smells of a cat. So it would seem that for the parasite to complete its life cycle the infected rat would have to be caught by a cat. What better way than to infect the part of the brain that would normally shy away from this and make life harder for the cat to catch the rat! So the cat catches and kills the rat and eats it and the life cycle is complete and ready to start again when the cat goes toilet. 

But what happens if it is a fox that catches the rat. It would seem that the Toxoplasmosis goes through the same stages and infects the part of the brain that is usually associated with fear and the fight or flight instinct. Whilst the fox can't pass on this disease, it is left with the condition none the less. However some foxes in good health and with a good immune system can fight this successfully.

Symptoms we have noticed in Toxo positive foxes are as follows: No fear and no real signs of aggression, circling, head pressing, food dangling from the foxes mouth whilst the fox seems completely unaware of this. Walking up to an object and then just standing there, seemingly unaware of the fact that if it moved to the left or right it could pass the object in the way. Following feet but unaware of things going on above knee level, teeth grinding and in extreme cases fitting. With all the Toxo infected foxes we have dealt with over the years however none were suitable for release back to the wild as the condition left them almost like a domestic dog. 
Toxoplasmosis: Is a Parasitic Disease caused by the Protozoan Toxoplasmosis gondi. Protozoan being a single-celled microscopic animal. The disease can be found in almost all warm blooded birds and animals, but the only animal that Toxoplasmosis oocysts (A cyst containing a cell) can reproduce is the domestic cat. The oocysts are released in the cat's faeces. 

Determining Toxoplasmosis: Whilst signs and behaviour traits may give an insight as to whether a fox is suffering from this condition, to be sure, blood tests need to be done specifically for Toxoplasmosis, as even normal bloods will show up no real abnormalities. The blood test is done and if a toxo count is present another test needs to be done two weeks later. The reason for this is to see as to whether the count has gone down, stabilised or is rising. If the count has gone down or stabilised it means the condition has been successfully treated. If it has risen obviously the opposite is true, the infection is active.

Treatment: Along with a good diet, Antirobe is used to treat Toxoplasmosis and whilst the treatment is often successful, obviously any brain damage can't be reversed

Locations: For whatever reasons we have found that more Toxoplasmosis positive foxes come from the South of the Country, and Essex, at least this year 2015, seems to be a hot spot. 

We are learning almost by the day with regards to foxes with this condition as initially we thought it would be impossible to pair up two foxes for companionship, if one or both was suffering from the effects. Our reasons for this was in the fact we didn't think a fox suffering Toxoplasmosis would be able to communicate with other foxes, so could therefore be attacked. We also noted a fox after successful treatment would always be very sleepy and you could often move the sleeping fox to another sleeping area without the fox even waking. Although a Toxoplasmosis fox could never be released back into the wild we wondered as to whether we could give a good home to them. They were ideal for this as they were so friendly and seemed to love companionship, and would sit for hours being groomed, never attempting to bite. In an attempt to make their lives better we thought we should really try to see how a toxo fox would get on with another resident fox. Our first attempts with this was with a fox called Pellow, he went in with a healthy adult but deaf dog fox. The results were that they seemed to get on fine, as they almost seemed to ignore each other. Our second Toxo fox Lewie went in with a vixen that couldn't be released back to the wild as she was too friendly. Again the pairing seemed to work, although at first, the vixen was a little frightened of her new companion. Lewie was also able to jump up on boxes and became quite agile. Sadly Lewie died of Kidney failure may be as a result of the Toxoplasmosis.

Our third pairing was quite by chance as Aphrodite (Pictured and her story can be read in her album) was exercised each day in one of our enclosures and once she had a walk around she would be taken back to the hospital unit and Dotty, another Toxo positive fox, would then be given a run in the enclosure. Quite by chance I tried both together so they could both have more exercise time whilst I was at hand to step in if needed.
The results were amazing. For the two hours that followed, the two vixens played chase, with tails up and displaying usual fox behaviour. First Aphrodite chased Dotty, then the tables would turn and Dotty would chase Aphrodite. After two hours they were exhausted and both curled up next to each other and slept. In the weeks and months that have followed, they have been observed grooming each other and have got really close. They eat together and there is never any aggression and both will cache food. Dotty who had a lower count than Aphrodite walks up a blank to the next level in the enclosure and will sometimes sleep in the higher box. Both have hunting instincts and will chase an object or investigate an object if it is moving. Over the course of the months both Aphrodite and Dotty will hide from me at the start but will come out but no longer like me grooming them, preferring it seems, their own company and this is brilliant to see. 

Our fourth pairing was with Rupert from North London, who had the highest count of all the one's we tested. He was placed in with Ruby from Coventry and instantly they bonded and have become inseparable, laying together in their bedding area and following each other around.

What this proves to us is a fox with Toxoplasmosis that will often be put to sleep by other organisations, can be given a new lease of life in captivity and will often go from a sleeping almost dazed fox to a near normal fox when placed in an enclosure with a companion. 
Aphrodite and Dotty, five minutes after meeting each other for the first time

Several Bigfoot Spotted In California Orchard

50th Anniversary of the Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot film blows up

Books Will Be Deleted ~It Makes Sense

I had to make some decisions on the books available via the online store.  The Red Paper: Canids has sold one copies since it was published in 2014.  Pursuing The Strange and Weird ~zero copies sold.  Some Things Strange and Sinister and Some More Things Strange and Sinister have now sold ~altogether~ five copies since 2010 and 2012.

With From Beyond Time & Space I am not expecting anything great.  However, I am cutting back the available choices.

With those type of sales (or non sale) figures it is no big deal to remove them from the online store. Friends have their copies and I have a few copies for my own archive.  Books don't sell so why clutter up an online store?

My copies, incidentally, will not be for sale.

With From Beyond Time & Space I have taken some advice. I am not getting any younger so if the book doesn't sell after a year it, too, will be deleted.  Again, I will have my copies, friends will get their copies and that will be it.

No big loss to anyone since, if after all these years and the thousands of people who have seen the book posts and news no one has shown interest.  Cut dead weight.

Friday, 27 October 2017

What happened at the 50th Anniversary for the Patterson Gimlin film?

From Beyond Time & Space

The new  book is now fully illustrated.  I am just tightening up some text and then it is done. I have been cautioned that I will be crucified by both debunkers and Ufologists.  However, I have left the book as it is.

There are many ~many~ lessons that Ufology needs to learn but I think it has already gone down a slippery slope and cannot reclaim any real kudos. It has gone down the Grey Alien hole but what can be done and just what is there in the way of evidence of possibly real alien visitations?

Yeah, like I'm going to reveal what the book concludes!

Possibly available online in November, 2017

The book may appear in two formats: standard book format and the large A4 format.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

A Spider The Size Of My Hand...And I have The Photo..

The garden spider outside my front door is getting bigger as there are so many tiny flies this year ~I counted 14 in its web one morning and two house flies ....which it took somewhere. Its webbing is tough as sewing cotton and I have to clear from across the front door (I leave it on the other side of the doorway) every day and, yes, I do apologize to her.

Big as my hand! Seriously, only about 1.5cms but I needed to focus the camera (HAH!!) and this shows an old trick you'll see in hunting and fishing photos to make the catch bigger. 
Spider to fore and my hand 15cms )6") behind it.
The fuzzy photo I left as you can see the 'face' on its body.

 This is why I need money because other than food a good camera comes in handy!

What the photo SHOULD show!

Araneus diadematus

Garden spiders vary in colour from pale yellowy-brown to very dark brown, but they all have a characteristic white cross-shaped group of spots on their abdomen. They are widespread and common throughout the UK, except in some areas of northern Scotland.
These spiders spin orb webs to catch their prey – flying insects. Orb webs are the most advanced spider webs, built by laying spirals of silk around radial threads. They sit in the centre of their web rushing out and wrapping any caught insect in sticky silk.

Read more at https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/bird-and-wildlife-guides/a-z-of-a-wildlife-garden/atoz/g/gardenspider.aspx#MUpZbU1fbzbH1M5z.99

Nature: You NEVER Stop Learning

The cat food left by the cats was going down but no cats or birds.....?

I stand there and....hover~flies...two at a time coming and taking lumps of meat almost as large as their heads. two hours later still going at it.

The wasp/bee pattern is camouflage and having watched wasps kill flies in the same dish a few months back I know why!

Called "mock bees" and "mock wasps" they have NO stinger but morons still kill them.they are also sometimes called "flower flies", or "syrphid flies" and they make up the insect family Syrphidae. They are often seen hovering or nectaring at flowers; the adults of many species feed mainly on nectar and pollen, while the larvae (maggots) eat a wide range of foods.

Best photo is not mine but gives a better view. Love watching these in sunny weather.

Never seen them grabbing cat food before

Same plate 30 minutes later....

Sunday, 15 October 2017

New Book Almost Complete

 It has taken three months of solid 12 to 15 hour long days (and a lot of pain!) but the new book is almost ready.

Two months ahead of schedule and just just the final photo editing to complete.

People who have had sneak peeks have said it will "be a bomb blast to Ufology" and most agree that debunkers and ufologists are going to hate me.  Job done then!

Thursday, 5 October 2017

National Fox Welfare Society

Thousands of foxes that would have died of illness or injury have been helped by the NFWS over the years and they do not charge a penny and all animals are treated from NFWS funds.

Please, if you can donate toward their continuing work think about doing so.


NB: this blog is not associated with the NFWS nor its work but I am all too aware of the great work done by the volunteers.  

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

A Bigfoot Book?

Just in case...a quick note.  I got a rather angry email yesterday asking what right I have as "an Englishman" to write a Bigfoot book.

Please, I am British with a dose of German.

Also as a naturalist and researcher I have every right.

Thing is I have NEVER written a book on Bigfoot. Chapters in books and blogs but not a whole book.

"Budd545" read one of my books with the wildmen and sasquatch chapters.  You'll have to BUY a copy though.

Monday, 2 October 2017

Was 1973 The Year of the Humanoids for the UK?

Antonio asked via email "was 1973 a big year for Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind in England?"

Okay, I assume he meant UK ~England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland~  rather than just England?  The answer, looking at my files, is no.  There were a few unusual cases that year but the best may have been hypnagogic percipients so if you rule those cases as well as known hoaxes,etc out...it was a dull year.

The problem is that statistics for that year, as with other years, may have given an incorrect overview. There are hoaxes, psycholog ical cases, misidentifications and even natural phenomena all mixed up and that gives an impression of a massive UFO wave.  In some cases investigators spent days or weeks looking into LITS (Lights In The Sky) yet ignored (I am not joking: I have the files) a multiple witness landing of a "UFO" on a US highway that also involved an entity.

For the UK 1977~1980 was the highest period of reports.  Below is the file for that period.

Again, a lot of these can be explained but the odd gem pops through that you can only explain if you prefer to adopt the "let's ignore the facts" ~the  Bob Taylor, Livingston, case is one such. Dismissing Forensic Science Services test results in that case shows how dim some investigators are...but let's call it "Venus", heh?

Some cases in this file will be going into my new book, by the way.  Some have never been published before and some are so obscure they featured in a news letter or info sheet and that was it.  Forgotten. But a little work and you can add some extra detail not available at the time.

Research is never over and I still find snippets top add to old cases.