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Creature Feature

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.

We’ll know by spring

Elk could once again roam the forests of western Maryland — unless citizens say no way in a survey beginning next month.     Elk are big. Females reach 500 pounds; males, which grow the towering antlers, get up to 700 pounds. They’re herbivores, but it takes a large range to feed the appetites of creatures so big. Thus farmers worry about their crops.

Grass beds survived storm to welcome waterfowl, Bay babies

Housing stock is on the rise for the young fish and crabs who’ll be sheltering at the top of the Bay come spring. The vast grass-filled Susquehanna Flats, the circular area where the Susquehanna River meets the Bay, appeared unexpectedly healthy in aerial survey images made late last year.     The valuable Bay habitats seem to have survived fall 2011’s deluge of runoff and sediment.

Bird artists flock to 2012 competition

Duck stamps have been preserving marsh and wetlands for waterfowl since the Great Depression, when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt created the federal Duck Stamp program to support the purchase of land for national wildlife refuges.

A Hound’s Jolly Humbug!

As I decked the halls with boughs of holly I put a Santa hat on this dog to be jolly. When down to the dog park we went to play, The strangest things my dog had to say! Santa Hat, for who? Not me!

Arsenic additive accumulates in poultry, soil and us

It’s not just chicken feed; it’s arsenic as well that fattens chickens in their short seven-week lifespan from egg to market. The chicken we love to eat fried, sautéed, roasted and broiled contains traces of the poisonous element. That’s one finding of a new study commissioned by the Maryland General Assembly and done by the University of Maryland’s Harry R. Hughes Center for Argo-Ecology in Queenstown.

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.