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Creature Feature

Baby warthogs, prairie dog pups, small-clawed otters and zebra foals

Yes, panda infertility is a problem. But while we’re waiting for the experts to solve it, plenty of other babies are looking adorable in our regional zoos.

Avenue Q’s puppet actors are ready to steal the show

The human actors who’ll bring Avenue Q to the stage of Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre from July 5 to 29 are already hard at work. They’ll invest over 100 hours in the production before the high intensity of tech week begins June 28, according to Theatre president Carolyn Kirby. But, she says, you’ll hardly have eyes for them.

Please drive considerately

This time of year, you don’t have to join a herptile hunt to see Eastern box turtles (see Sandra Lee Anderson’s story: ). But you do have to drive carefully lest you squash one you didn’t see. Box turtles are crossing our roads — very slowly.     Habitat destruction is the primary culprit for the species’ decline. As once-rural areas continue to be developed and subdivided, automobile traffic increases on roads once less traveled.

Cole Bros. Circus pays for ­elephant mistreatment

Elephants that traveled with Cole Bros. Circus — which visits the Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds this week — were so thin that the circus has been fined for bad care.     “The gravity of the violations herein is great and includes the repeated noncompliance with the regulations for veterinary care, handling and licensing,” a U.S. Department of Agriculture attorney wrote of the plight of Asian elephants Tina, Jewell and Boo.

Who’s who in the pecking order

The side porch of our home in northern Calvert County faces east. It’s a great place to have our morning coffee and feel the first warm rays of the sun. It’s also where my wife sets out the hummingbird feeders, so we get to watch the high-speed high jinks of these delicate little birds.

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.