Friday, October 31, 2008

Flying Lemurs

Listen to Your Inner Voice

Despite their name, Flying Lemurs neither fly nor are Lemurs. They have long, pointed snouts and large protruding eyes. Flying Lemurs do look like Lemurs but are more closely related to Bats. Master gliders, They are classified in their own order called Dermoptera, which means “skin wing”. Gliding from tree to tree, They scramble up trunks to gain height before launching off into another glide.

Found in Southeast Asia, Flying Lemurs are fond of fruit, young leaves, and flowers. Although Flying Lemurs are placental, They suckle their young in a “protective hammock” similar to a marsupial’s pouch. Like Sloths, Flying Lemurs spend much of their days upside down.

Known also as Colugos, Flying Lemurs are solitary nighttime feeders. Because They are solitary and shy, not much is known about these strange Animals. However, most scientists agree that Flying Lemurs are the best adapted to flight after Bats.

As an Animal of mystery, Flying Lemurs have their quirks. From hanging upside down to nursing their Babies in a skin hammock, Flying Lemurs listen to their inner voices. Superbly suited for gliding, They are a walking parachute. In a single leap, a Flying Lemur will sail 330 feet (100m) from tree to tree for They know their abilities. They listen to their inner voices, and you should too.

Flying Lemur (Colugo)’s Wisdom Includes:

Leap of Faith
Sailing Through Life’
“Going Your Own way”


Copyright: Virginia Carper, Animal Teachers, 2008

From Universal Class, fun self-paced classes taught by me:

Finding Your Animal Teachers

Animals For Everyone: Mammals

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Elephant Family: Reconnect With Your Past


Reconnect With Your Past

At one time, the earth was filled with trunked Mammals (Proboscidea), but now there are only two left – Asian Elephant and African Elephant (who are not close relatives). Although the Asian Elephant (Elephas maxims) and the African Elephant (Lexodonta African) are the only remaining Members of the Proboscidea Order, They are not close relatives of Each Other. The Asian Elephant, which is closer to Mammoths, evolved as a separate Asian species. African Elephants have larger ears and a sloped head, while Asian Elephants have a domed head.

Originally from Africa, Elephants spread across the earth. However, African Elephant remained close to his ancestral home. Now, only two Elephants remain along with their close relatives: Sea Cows and Dassies (Hyraxes).

Beings from the past, Elephants come to show us the way home. Once these ancient Beings covered the earth, now the One who survived retain the old memories of their home. Go back in time with Elephants and see the world when it was new. Reconnect with your past. Come home.

Wisdom of the Elephant Family:

Ancient Wisdom
Coming Home


Copyright: Virginia Carper, Animal Teachers, 2008

From Universal Class, fun self-paced classes taught by me:

Finding Your Animal Teachers

Animals For Everyone: Mammals

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sengi (Elephant Shrew): In A Class By Yourself

In A Class By Yourself

Neither Elephants nor Shrews, Elephant Shrews are now called Sengi, their Bantu name. Since They have large, powerful hind legs, Elephant Shrews were also called “jumping shrews”. Because they look like Shrews with long elephant trunks, scientists had problems placing them with other Animals. Eventually, biologists placed Sengi in their own order – Macroscelidea. However, they are believed to be distant relatives of Elephants.

With their long trunk-like snouts, Sengi probe the ground for Insects and roots. Finding a tasty Insect, Sengi digs it out with their long claws. Using their long tongue, Sengi flicks the small insect into their mouth. Even though Sengi have good eyesight and hearing, They prefer sniffing out food with their elephant-like noses.

One of the few Mammals who live in pairs, the two Sengi actually spends little time with each other. After mating, Mother Sengi raise their Youngsters alone. Meanwhile, Father Sengi continues to patrol their small territory. After the Youngsters are grown, Mother Sengi joins in fending off other Sengi from their territory.

Confusing at first to many people, Sengi are unique Mammals. These rodent-size Mammals are related to the larger Elephants and Sea Cows. Small but mighty, Sengi are in a class by themselves. Like Sengi, you can be in class by yourself. You can follow your own way to excellence.

Wisdom of Elephant Shrew / Sengi

Being Small But Mighty


Copyright: Virginia Carper, Animal Teachers, 2008

From Universal Class, fun self-paced classes taught by me:

Finding Your Animal Teachers

Animals For Everyone: Mammals

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Peccary / Javelina

Peccary / Javelina : Living in Close Knit Groups

Fierce and tenacious, Peccary was called by the Spanish: “Javelina” - the spear. This New World Relative of the Pig has tusks that grow downwards like daggers. Her canine teeth are normally used for cutting and slashing. However, when confronted, Peccary will click her teeth and charge.

Small and compact, Peccary has a grizzled brown body with a band of white hair. Mistaken for Pig by Europeans, She is a member of the Tayassuidae (Peccary) Family instead of the Suidae (Pig) Family. Unlike Pigs, Peccary has four hoofed toes on her front feet and three on her back ones.

What Peccary is known for is her musk smell. Also called “Musk Hog”, wherever She goes, She leaves a musk trail. Peccary also sniffs musk left behind to find out what her Friends are doing. Leaving musk everywhere is her form of “text messaging.” Even when They greet Each Other, Peccaries will sniff the Other’s rump.

Highly social, Peccary travels with her herd through the deserts and rainforests of the New World. The Tupi of Brazil called Her, “Pecary” meaning “many paths through the woods.” With her herd, Peccary ranges far and wide for food.

Living in a close knit group, Peccary safely roams her vast territory. Her Herd can even fends off Jaguar and Coyote. However, do not become so close knit that you drive off your own family members away as Peccary does.

Wisdom of the Peccary:
Keeping in Touch
Many Paths to Your Destination
Being Fierce and Tenacious

Science Notes:
Other names for Peccary: Musk Pig, Javelina. DO NOT Feed Peccaries or you will be attacked.

Razorbacks (Hogs) are feral pigs that escaped from the Spanish.


Copyright: Virginia Carper, Animal Teachers, 2008

From Universal Class, fun self-paced classes taught by me:

Finding Your Animal Teachers

Animals For Everyone: Mammals


Friday, October 24, 2008

The Pink Dolphins of the Amazon

Amazon River Dolphin / Boto : Living As One

Shocking pink with small grey eyes, Boto both surprises and enchants people. Unlike his Ocean-going Cousins, He navigates the world of the Amazon River Basin. With grace and ease, Boto swims over submerged logs and flooded tree tops. So flexible is his body, that He can touch his nose to his tail. Like the mysterious and strange world of the Amazon, Boto Himself is an enigma. For example, He sleeps upside down like a dead Goldfish.

“Encantado” is what the local people call Him. Since they share the Amazon with Boto, the local people are mystically tied to Him. Below the murky waters lies an enchanted world ruled by Boto. Because of his magic, they tell strangers: “Be Care with those Pink Dolphins!” (“Cuidado como boto”) for Boto can steal you away to his world.

This ancient River Whale uses his bendy body to swim over and under submerged trees. Through the murky depths, He steers with his long flippers . During the dry season, Boto walks on land with them from one water hole to another. Within the gristle of his flippers, you can still see the “fingers” of his former legs.

As the Amazon changes, so does Boto. His life is tied to this great river which in turn is tied to humanity. We live as a whole - Boto, the Amazon, and Humans. When the rainforest disappears, so will Boto and a piece of ourselves. We will lose the ability to be enchanted and surprised. We all live as one entity.

Amazon River Dolphin / Boto’s Teaching Include:

“The people here have a belief about the bufeo Colorado. They live in our world, but they also live beneath the water in a more beautiful world. We call it the Encante. The bufeo is boss of this magical world. And the bufeo has many magical powers.” - Juan Huanakiri of the Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo Community

Amazon River Dolphin / Boto’s Wisdom Includes:

Being enchanted
How to be Shocking and Endearing
At One with Nature

Science Notes: Boto is also called: Pink Dolphin, Bufeo Colorado, and Boutu Vermelho
Boto (Inia geoffrensis) is not the same as Tucuxi (Sotalia fluviatlis), the Grey Dolphin which also inhabits the river basin and the coast.


Copyright: Virginia Carper, Animal Teachers, 2008

From Universal Class, fun self-paced classes taught by me:

Finding Your Animal Teachers

Animals For Everyone: Mammals

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Giant Panda: Embrace Diversity

A survivor of the last Ice Age, Giant Panda belongs to the oldest family of the most primitive bears (Ailuropodinae). Although He has a digestive system of a meat eater, Giant Panda feeds exclusively on bamboo. Until DNA testing became available, scientists could not identify what Mammal Family Giant Panda belonged to.

Sitting on his rump, this ancient Bear grasps bamboo shoots and calmly munches away at them. His “thumb” makes Giant Panda unique among animals. This elongated wrist bone gives Him an extra opposable digit on his paw. Giant Panda uses this as a “hand” when He eats.

Because bamboo was so plentiful and widespread in South Asia, Giant Panda decided to become solely dependent on this plant. Now that the bamboo forests are fragmented, Giant Panda is severely endangered. Because of his specialization, He cannot go back to the omnivore habits of his fellow Bears.

Giant Panda asks people to embrace diversity. He is a Bear who eats exclusively plants. He has a “thumb” unlike any other Animal. However, do not become so unique that you endanger yourself.

Teachings of the Giant Panda:
“What is black and white and black and white and black and white? Pandas symbolize the diversity and tenacity of life.” Copyright: Lance Craighead, “Bears of the World”.

Wisdom of the Giant Panda:
Being Unique
Becoming a Vegetarian


Copyright: Virginia Carper, Animal Teachers, 2008

From Universal Class, fun self-paced classes taught by me:

Finding Your Animal Teachers

Animals For Everyone: Mammals


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Nest Boxes: Wrens

Wrens are creative nesters, who will nest in plant pots and empty coconut shells. What is important to a wren is the availability of insects. Lots of food and no nearby birds make for a happy wren. Intensely competitive for food, a wren will puncture holes in the eggs of other birds (including other wrens) nesting nearby.

Wrens are also choosy about the size of the nest box’s entrance hole. They require a hole large enough for them to get in and out of. However, the hole has to be small enough for no other bird to use. Because they bring in long twigs, wrens requite a wide hole, therefore the entrance should be wide but narrow.

For an enclosed nest box: Place hanging 5 to 10 feet (1.5 m to 3m) near trees.
Entrance hole size: 1 1/8 inches (30 mm).
Height to the hole from base: 7 inches (180 mm)
Base: 4 inches by 4 inches (100 x 100 mm)

Burton, Robert, “North American Birdfeeder Handbook”, Dorling Kindersly, New York, 1995.

Harrison, George and Kit, “America’s Favorite Backyard Birds”, Fireside, New York, 1983.

Bromley, Peter T. and Aelred D. Geis, Feeding Wild Birds, Publication Number 420-006, Virginia Cooperative Extension, April, 1998, 20 Sept. 2008

Evans, Keith, Wasatch Audubon Society: Birding 101: Nest Boxes, 20 Oct. 2008

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Anteater Family: Conservation

Anteater Family: Conservation

Solitary Mammals, Anteaters live in the grasslands, savannas, and tropical forests of Central and South America. The most well-known of Anteaters, Giant Anteater has a long, tubular snout and a long, thin tongue. Spending her day shuffling awkwardly along on her knuckles, She sniffs for Ants and Termites. Finding an ant hill, Giant Anteater catches them with her long tongue, rapidly flicking it in and out of an ant hill.

Cousins of Giant Anteater, Tamanduas partially live in trees. These smaller Anteaters move from tree limb to tree limb, capturing Ants with their tongues or with their sticky fingers. Unlike Giant Anteaters, Tamanduas are active at night.

The smallest of the Anteaters, Silky Anteater lives exclusively in the trees of the rainforest. Called “silky”, this Anteater resembles the seed pod of the silk-cotton tree. To hide from Jaguar and Harpy Eagle, He remains motionless on that tree.

Anteaters roam widely from termite nest to nest. Although one Anteater eats 35,000 insects a day, They eat lightly from each nest. Anteaters make sure that Insects on their feed route can replenish their numbers. This method provides a continual food source for Them. Learn how to conserve from these odd-looking Mammals.

Wisdom of the Anteater Family:
Being Strange and Wonderful
Getting Ride of Pests
The Wandering Life

Science Note: Many animals that are called “anteaters” are not related to the Anteater family. Banded Anteater (Numbat) is a marsupial. Spiny Anteater (Echidna) is an egg-laying mammal. Scaly Anteater (Pangolin) is in a mammal family of itself.


Copyright: Virginia Carper, Animal Teachers, 2008

From Universal Class, fun self-paced classes:
Finding Your Animal Teachers
Animals For Everyone: Mammals

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Teachings of the Giant Anteater: Enjoy the Scenery

Giant Anteater: Enjoy the Scenery

The largest of all the Anteaters, Giant Anteater is a comical looking Animal with her long nose and hairy tail. Rare among Mammals, Giant Anteater has no teeth. Sniffing out Ants with her spectacular nose, Giant Anteater vacuums Them up. (Her long nose is a bone tube fused by her upper and lower jaws.)

Shuffling along on her knuckles to protect her sharp claws, Giant Anteater roams the swamps and open forests of South America in search of tasty Insects. Smelling a Termite mound, She digs into it dislodging the hapless Insects. Discovering a log, Giant Anteater tears into it for Ants. Her acute hearing also allows Her to hear the Insects as They escape.

Because Giant Anteater has the lowest body temperature of any land Mammal, She has to sleep fifteen hours a day. Finding an abandoned burrow, She curls up and sleeps. Her long brushy tail acts as a sunshade and blanket.

Giant Anteater asks us to take the time to enjoy the scenery. Leisurely roaming from place to place, She finds new smells and sounds to delight in. Lingering long enough to savor them, Giant Anteater moves on to the next adventure.

Wisdom of the Giant Anteater:
Take the Slow Road
Make Time for Leisure
Sniffing Out Good Things


Copyright: Virginia Carper, Animal Teachers, 2008

From Universal Class, fun self-paced classes:
Finding Your Animal Teachers
Animals For Everyone: Mammals


UCIrvine has as their mascot the Anteater.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Wisdom of Beavers: Doing What is Effective

(From U.S. Forest Service)

Beaver: What is Effective

Before extensive trapping by humans, Beavers could be found in all parts of Europe, in Siberia, and as far south as the Euphrates River. An animal of the Northern forests, Beaver is rarely seen by people in the United States. However, this nocturnal and shy Animal intrudes in people’s lives by chewing down their trees.

A keystone species, Beaver creates rich habitats for animals and people. By building dams and designing waterways, Beavers provide flood control. The pond, created by the dam, is not only a place for Fish, Frogs, and Birds but also insurance in times of drought. When Beavers abandon their dam to build another one someplace else, the waters recede creating prime meadows for small Mammals.

Wildlife rehabilitators find Beavers to be affable characters. Beavers are gentle reasoning beings who enjoy playing practical jokes. Wildlife managers usually throw up their hands at preventing Beavers from eating prime trees. The average Beaver generally beats them at every trick the park managers use to save the trees. Let Beaver teach you through her gentle jokes what is effective.

Beaver’s Wisdom Includes:
Gentle Teaching
Purpose in What You Do
Creator of Heaven and Earth

Science Note:
Mountain Beavers (Aplodontiarufa) of North America are not related to Beavers. These animals are the sole surviving member of an ancient rodent family. One of the most primitive rodents in the world, Mountain Beavers can only be found in the temperate rainforests in the Northwest.


Copyright: Virginia Carper, Animal Teachers, 2008

From Universal Class, fun self-paced classes:
Finding Your Animal Teachers
Animals For Everyone: Mammals

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Big Brown Bat: Inadvertent Consequences

(“Radar” of Organization for Bat Conversation. Adopt him from “Sponsor A Bat Program”)

Originally a forest dweller, Big Brown Bat (Eptesicus fuscus) now roosts in attics. Moreover, He makes his home in the eaves of people’s houses. Seen around city traffic lights, Big Brown Bat hunts for Insects along the tree-lined streets. He has maternity roosts in bridges, and eats the bugs attracted there by the headlights of cars.

Found in the Americas, Big Brown Bat tolerates the cold by hibernating during the winter. He can be found sleeping in tunnels and abandoned mine shafts. Unlike other Bats, Big Brown Bat lives for as long as 18 years. Biologists believe that his hibernation is the major reason for his long life. Also, his relatively large size allows Him to remain active in cooler weather.

Beneficial to people, Big Brown Bat eats as many as 1,200 Insects in one hour. Flying in a stately, unwavering manner, He is an agile hunter, trapping Moths by throwing his wings around Them like a net. Although, He is still abundant, his numbers are decreasing yearly.

Although harmless to people, Big Brown Bat is often killed by chemical wood preservers that humans apply to their house rafters. Moreover, people view him as a pest. However, instead of killing this Bat, people should be happy that He is there combating insect pests.

 As a part of human-bat relations, put up bat-specific artificial roosts nearby your home. This will give Big Brown Bat a safe home and help to keep the insect populations down. Other ways of helping Him is to encourage farmers to have Maternity Colonies on their property or help in Bat conservation efforts. Encourage engineers to design bridges for Big Brown Bat to safely roost in with his Pups.

Big Brown Bat teaches knowing the inadvertent consequences of your actions. He only wants to eat harmful Insects, not die by unthinking people who use chemicals in their homes. Remember to measure and weigh your actions before doing anything. As for Big Brown Bat, construct bat houses for Him to live in.

Wisdom of Big Brown Bat:
Living in Harmony
Finding Your Niche in Life

Conservation Note: White Nose Syndrome has decimated bat colonies in North America. Governments and scientists are working on inoculating the remaining populations.

Copyright: Virginia Carper, Animal Teachers, 2008
From Universal Class, fun self-paced classes:
Finding Your Animal Teachers
Animals For Everyone: Mammals

Find out more about how to help bats:
Bat Conservation International

Monday, October 13, 2008

Fruit Bats (Flying Foxes): Know What is Important

Know What is Important

Flying Foxes (Pteropdidae) have large eyes, oval ears, and excellent memories. These large Bats differ greatly from their smaller insect-eating Cousins. Instead of using echolocation, Flying Foxes use their excellent sight and hearing to find fruit. They roost outside in the sun instead of in caves.

Once a suitable roosting area is found, Flying Foxes mass in the tens of thousands. These semi-permanent spots or camps may hold as many as one million Bats. At night, they leave their camps to search for flowers and tasty fruit.

What people notice the most about Flying Foxes is their screeching. Their mixture of screeches and cackles is their bat language. Flying Foxes “squabble” to establish roosting sites, ward off rivals, talk to their Pups, and warn others. (They, also, watch the body language of each other as well.)

Because They roost in orchards, Flying Foxes are coming into conflict with people. Australian farmers see Them as pests since They cause damage to the fruit trees. These Mammals are becoming endangered by human encroachment on their habitats. Since Flying Foxes are important pollinators like Bees, people must learn to protect and live with Them.

The peoples of Australia and Asia see Flying Foxes as being strong and good. These Bats feed on the fruit and flowers of the rainforests, making the land fertile. Samoans call Flying Fox, manu lagi, "Animal of the Heavens." Flying Foxes may be noisy and shrill but they pollinate the islands spreading goodness. Flying Fox Family teaches what is important.

Wisdom of the Fruit Bat (Flying Fox) Family:
 Living in Large Groups
Recognize Your Gifts
Know Your Importance

Science Notes:
Australian government authorities warn people not to handle fruit bats since they carry Australian Bat Lyssavirus. These bats are under protection in Australia.

Flying Foxes look like foxes but they are not. Scientists have placed these fruit bats in the Bat Family, but they are still deliberating the exact relationship between the ‘micro‘ or smaller bats and flying foxes.


Copyright: Virginia Carper, Animal Teachers, 2008
For insights into your animal teachers, contact me at animalteachers @

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Teachings of the Nine-banded Armadillo

Move Out of Your Comfort Zone

Digging with her strong front claws, Nine-banded Armadillo kicks away the excavated dirt with her hind legs. When digging for Ants and Grubs, She avoids getting dust up her nose by holding her breath. With her strong sense of smell, Nine-banded Armadillo searches for roots, fruits, dead animals, and bird’s eggs. Encountering a termite nest, She pokes her long sticky tongue into the nest and draws out the Insects.

Unlike other Armadillos, Nine-banded Armadillo is fond of water. She is the only Armadillo that can swim. She inflates her stomach and intestines with air to keep afloat, and then paddles across the pond. When encountering a small stream, Nine-banded Armadillo will walk on the bottom, holding her breath.

The other way that Nine-banded Armadillo differs from other Armadillos is that She has expanded her range to North America. Her territory now goes from Argentina to the Southeastern United States, and is still increasing. This is because Nine-banded Armadillo is highly adaptable. As long as Nine-banded Armadillo has Insects to eat and earth to dig in, She can thrive.

Because of her week immune system, Nine-banded Armadillo is a carrier of leprosy (Hansen’s disease). For that reason, it is illegal to sell live armadillos in Texas (US). Because She gives birth to four identical babies (pups), medical researchers are studying Nine-banded Armadillo in order to develop a vaccine for this horrible disease.

Because of her habit of jumping when startled, Nine-Banded Armadillo often becomes road kill. Undeterred She continues her expansion northward. Swimming streams and crossing highways, Nine-banded Armadillo goes forward, never backward. Learn from Her how to move beyond your comfort zone, just don‘t startle so easily.

Teachings of Nine-banded Armadillo:
“Many people feel drawn to Armadillo for its quiet reserve, its sense of invulnerability, and its attitude of comic detachment as it plods along, knowing that any animal with a grain of self-respect and good reasoning capacities will give it a wide berth. Armadillo lives in its own little shell.” Copyright, Hal Zina Bennett, “Zuni Fetishes”.

Wisdom from Nine-banded Armadillo:
Looks Can Be Deceiving
Variety in One’s Inner Life


Copyright: Virginia Carper, Animal Teachers, 2008
Find your animal teachers, contact me at animalteachers @

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Adventures in Feeding Birds (2)

Watching birds come and go at my feeder has been fascinating. More birds arrive in the mornings rather than in the afternoons. Alone and in pairs, chickadees, finches, jays, nuthatches, sparrows, titmice, and more feed daily. In the afternoon, a pair of squirrels (litter mates) come to the feeding table.

To attract the wrens and song sparrows, I set out dried grapes, millet, oatmeal, suet, and peanut butter. Although some wrens did visit to eat the fruit flies from the bananas, the song sparrows came more frequently. The suet also attracted Carolina chickadees, tufted titmice and nuthatches. I was surprised that they would leave their trees to come and eat at my table.

The most timid of birds, the titmice nervously check out my feeder. They hop on the balcony railing, then the chair, table, and finally the feeder. If one of us are moving about in the living room, they fly away. When another bird flies by, the titmice disappear. However, they do come back after scoping out the area.

In contrast, the English sparrows are cool customers. They do not care who else is there. Acting as if they own the place, these sparrows plunk themselves down wherever. As other birds come and go, they fluff themselves out and watch the parade.

A ladder-backed woodpecker comes to feed as well. Once she brought her fledgling and fed him on the railing. Wielding her beak as a dagger, this woodpecker battle the squirrels for food. Meanwhile, they twitch their tails and “chee” at her. Then the squirrels would move far away from the menacing woodpecker.

I enjoy the antics of the squirrels. Seemingly as if they flying in the air, the squirrels sail from tree to tree to the railing to the feeder. The one-eared squirrel will stare at me for more food. If I do not respond, she taps on the window at me to come and feed her.

Meanwhile, a young blue jay perches on the railing, squawking at me for more food. Daily he comes and he taps on the window when he cannot find the food he likes. I think it is funny that the young jay thinks he rules the feeder. Actually, the woodpecker with her stiletto beak is the true monarch.

Copyright: Virginia Carper, Animal Teachers, 2008

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Teachings of the Aardvark: Courage

In Afrikaans, Aardvark means “earth pig”, since She looks like a Pig and is a digger. However, Aardvark is in a Mammal Order by Herself (Tubulidentata) and has no living relatives. Although her muscular body is like a Pig’s, Aardvark’s short, powerful limbs are equipped with sharp claws.

After sunset, Aardvark leaves her burrow to search for her favorite food – Termites. With her long rabbit-like ears and long snout, She zigzags across the grasslands nosing about for Termites. When Aardvark finds a termite mound, She burrows through the concrete-like earth with her thick study claws. Pushing her blunt snout into the hole She just dug, Aardvark catches the termites with her long, worm-shaped tongue.

Although, Aardvark is timid, She will fend off her attackers such as Wild Dogs. She will lie on her back and lash out at them with all four of her feet. More often than not, Aardvark will try to escape from danger by running for cover or digging a hole and hiding in it. Aardvark has many ways to defend Herself. Digging and hiding or slashing, Aardvark uses what she can to save Herself.

Because of Aardvark’s ability to burrow through hard ground, Africans make charms from her claws to open barriers. Since she is resourceful, Africans in the Congo wear necklaces made from her teeth for good luck. Africans hold this timid but courageous Animal in high regard.

Learn daring from Aardvark. Gathering up her courage, She goes out nightly to search for a tasty meal of Termites. To live in such a dangerous world, Aardvark has many ways to keep Herself from harm. Remember to be alert is to be safe.

Aardvark’s Teachings Include:
“Reminder that what has been hidden will be unearthed if we continue to dig.” Copyright, Ted Andrews, “Animal-Wise.”

Aardvark’s Wisdom Includes:
“Sniffing out” What is Right
Discerning Truth from Lies
Opening Doors


Copyright: Virginia Carper, Animal Teachers, 2008. To know about your animal friends, contact me at animalteachers @

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Animal Divination: Signs of Warning

Divination is the magical skill that I am focused on improving. Currently, I am learning how to divine as the ancient Romans did. Lightening strikes and thunderstorms were signs from the various Gods, but usually from Jupiter, the Ruler of the Gods. But, birds such as eagles, hawks, and vultures were also Jupiter’s signs of good will. Meanwhile owls, crows, and ravens were warnings of doom.

In my daily life, I notice the animals, and what they are doing. For example, squirrels issue warnings when something is amiss. For me, chipmunks are a warning sign. When financial affairs need my attention, a chipmunk appears. Vultures are another sign to check my money. Both alert me to be wary of being cheated.

Certain animals have personal meanings for me. A sign from Mars, the God of War, woodpeckers tell me that I will be victorious. Meanwhile, crows mean magic is afoot. Hawks warn me of predators.

If you want a reading, contact Virginia Carper at animalteachers @

Monday, October 06, 2008

The Value of Myths

Myths are the spoken wisdom of the collective unconscious of humanity. They are a map to the inner wisdom of our ancestors. Myths tap into a dimension of the universe that is inaccessible by other means. They are a way to get in touch with archetypal wisdom of the collective unconscious. We can access this fundamental wisdom for our concerns and endeavors. Through myths, we become connected to our Inner Guide.

For example, the Hero’s journey is a coming of age story. The hero leaves home, as an untried youth, only to uncover their destiny. Along the way, the hero encounters helpers, overcomes obstacles, and learns their soul’s purpose. In facing the darkness during their travels, the hero finds their path to inner wisdom.

Copyright: Virginia Carper, Animal Teachers 2008, contact me at animalteachers @

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Adventures in Bird Feeding (1)

Food Plans for Wrens and Sparrows

In my area of Northern Virginia, wrens (Carolina and house) and sparrows (song and tree) are common. Because I live in a semi-urban area, I decided that these birds would be easy to attract. On my small balcony of my condo, I have a table that I use to feed the birds.

Because wrens rarely eat anything other than insects, I decided to put bananas out to see if they would eat the fruit flies. Since wrens are fond of suet, bread crumbs, and dried grapes, I have put out suet and grapes for them. Insects and suet have protein for the birds, while bread and grapes provide their energy needs.

After researching about the needs of sparrows, I decided on millet to encourage them to come to my feeder. Since my area is rich in cardinals, I decided not to put out sunflower seeds because this food attracts these birds. Even though the sparrows like sunflower seeds, I want the smaller birds to get their share in food.


Burton, Robert, “North American Birdfeeder Handbook”,Dorling Kindersly, New York, 1995.

Harrison, George and Kit, “America’s Favorite Backyard Birds”, Fireside, New York, 1983.

Bromley, Peter T. and Aelred D. Geis, Feeding Wild Birds, Publication Number 420-006, Virginia Cooperative Extension, April, 1998, 20 Sept. 2008


Copyright: Virginia Carper, Animal Teachers, 2008