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Features (Creature Feature)

Hang a gift on the National Zoo’s Enrichment Giving Tree

Grateful for the wild things that enrich your world? Choose a wild gift from the Animal Enrichment Wish List to hang on the Smithsonian National Zoo’s Enrichment Giving Tree.
    Speaking for the animals, zookeepers and researchers have asked for toenail clippers, bubble machines, natural-colored feather dusters and shower radios with CD players.
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What to call a giant octopus?

The National Zoo’s new giant Pacific octopus will pick its own name, but suggestions from local kids are welcome. The zoo asks invertebrate enthusiasts ages five to 15 to submit their favorite name for the rapidly growing cephalopod.
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Your gift makes room in the inn, warmth in the stable

The Christmas story tells us that animals made the only warmth in the stable where baby Jesus was born. If animals have also warmed your home and your heart, making a gift to the animals may be the right way for you to give back this season.
    Especially because so many animals nowadays lose their warm homes because their owners no longer have the means to afford their pets.
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As temperatures and food supplies drop, mammals hunker down to hibernate

Seen enough of the groundhog, which experts, admirers and detractors alike agree was the Mystery Creature who so fascinated Bay Weekly readers?
    Good thing. Because whatever you call him, her and them — groundhogs, woodchucks or whistle pigs — these omnipresent neighbors are ending their season above ground.
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The saga continues, but the jury is still out

You never know.    
    We never know, either, what’s going to catch your eye, invade your thoughts and, best of all, goad you to action.
    This week it’s the mystery critter.
    Which, you told us, may not be so mysterious after all.
    We have been chuckling at your responses all week.

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Neither nutria nor porcupine, it’s a stumper

Bill and Martha Sykora have a regular visitor to their yard on Broad Creek in Annapolis, but who it is they don’t know. New to the neighborhood — they moved in May — they aren’t familiar with local wildlife. Martha had never seen anything like this visitor, so she grabbed her camera.
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This invader transforms from trick to treat

Since 2002, when the northern snakehead made its Chesapeake debut in a Crofton pond, it has been nothing but trouble. The pond was poisoned and drained. The species set up housekeeping in the Potomac and its tidal tributaries, whence it could eventually migrate to the Bay.
    After all that trickery, who’d expect the snakehead to turn into a treat?
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Maryland Grazers hope to clean up the Bay getting cattle farmers to switch feed from corn to grass

Cows in the Bay watershed will live happier lives grazing at their whim in green pastures rather than confined in cells and fed a diet of corn.
    Their comfort is so good for the Bay and for farmers that it has earned the Chesapeake Bay Foundation a $200,000 grant to extend its three-year-old Maryland Grazers Network to more farmers in more places.
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You can run, but you can’t hide

Invading aquatic species will have to speed up their evolutionary development of evasive strategies to outsmart the newest addition to the University of Maryland Environmental Science research fleet. The 155-foot barge, known as the Mobile Test Platform, has the job of testing the array of new ballast-water treatment technologies developed in hopes of keeping invaders out of Chesapeake Bay.
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Catch one last glimpse of these orange beauties before they head south for the winter

Each year as the leaves turn orange in Maryland, orange-tinted butterflies turn south. Monarch butterflies, easily recognizable in bold orange and yellow hues, visit Maryland each spring and summer to enjoy nectar and liquids from fruit.
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