There are only 17 days left until our Nature Gardens and Nature Lab exhibits open! This makes me extremely excited and a little bit nauseous. To cope with the craziness, all I have to do is go and visit our new Nature Lab babies. Just in case you're feeling stressed out too, here's some baby love for you:
This is our new program opossum, Didelphis virginiana. She is a rescue animal that we were lucky enough to get from a local rehabber. She is blind in one eye (from a dog attack) which makes her unreleasable, and therefore our newest and cutest ambassador for L.A. wildlife.
In July 2011, our Curator of Entomology Dr. Brian Brown brought in some old cedar wood he had lying around his yard. He wasn't just trying to pawn off some lumber he didn't need anymore, we wanted it to make some bee hotels. Jerome Brown, one of amazing exhibit technicians, fabricated two hotels and Phil Bouchard personally drilled the over 200 deluxe suites bees could occupy.
They were installed on the lawn next to our Butterfly Pavilion and I waited to see what would happen. That first year nothing did! I was disappointed, but had not lost hope. Fast forward to Fall 2012, and part of our new Nature Gardens were open. Brian and I had seen a lot of bee activity and thought it would be good to try moving the hotels over there.
On a weekly walk through the gardens this Spring, Brian and I saw our first bees using the hotel! I was so excited. We watched as bees checked out the little holes and then I saw two fall to the ground....
What you are about to look at is gross! Also, this post is not about L.A. urban nature, it is about Orange County marine nature. But, I contend that some beaches are pretty dang urban and Orange County isn't that different from L.A.–right?
Plus, this is sort of sea monster-ish and therefore awesome, I couldn't resist!
This is not the rotting carcass of a sea monster!
*Note the ribs still covered with rotting flesh, and the exposed vertebrae. Jim said it smelled pretty awfull.
So, what is that mass of rotting flesh? According to Jim Dines, our excellent Mammalogy Collection's Manager, it is a beached beaked whale.
Here's the account Jim wrote up for our Research & Collections newsletter:
You better not! However, just in case you do I have a line of curative agents perfect for any and all afflicted with such exhibit ennui. The elixirs I speak of are our new L.A. nature exhibits, Nature Lab and Nature Gardens, and they're about to open on June 9!
I've written loads of posts about both exhibits, so I thought it might be interesting to have a guest writer this week (I swear it's not because I'm too busy)! Dean Pentcheff from our Research and Collections staff is going to answer the question that everyone will be asking when the Nature Gardens open, who's camping in that tent out there?
"Peek between the bushes in the Nature Garden and you’ll see what looks like someone’s overnight camping spot. We do host overnight sleepovers at NHM but we don’t do it in the garden (at least not yet). What’s going on here?
Ever seen a weird creature stranded in your bathtub, that could easily be mistaken for a discarded fake eyelash? Two of my friends, Matt and Kristi, have (p.s. they're Museum members too). In fact, they often find them in their bathroom. However, this week they had an unusual sighting. Matt was sleepily making breakfast and pulled out a package of oatmeal–lo and behold an eyelash bug darted out from the cupboard! Seriously, these bugs are FAST, so it's not surprising that it startled him. Quick to recover, he grabbed the nearest empty jar (only a bit of pickle juice was left), and captured the bug. Kristi kindly brought the bug to the Museum, so it could pose for a photo shoot and I could write this blog.
Captive Eyelash Bug
Love the gloves Kristi!
So what is it? This bug is a House Centipede...
On Monday night, I found a glowworm while I was up in Griffith Park! That's right people, glowworms really do exist, and they're right here in our city.
No it wasn't a discarded 80s toy, like these (though I might have been equally excited if it was):
It was like this:
Check out those sexy pectinate antennae!