10

Sharks Protest Human Stereotypes

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Our correspondent, Maurice Mako, is off the coast of Australia attending the annual Sharkmania Festival. The festival is a celebration of all things shark. All types of sharks are welcome. Intermingling between sub-species is encouraged. However, there is a rule against eating or intimidating fellow attendees. Even if he takes the last shrimp canape that you had your eye on.

Maurice filed this report:

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As usual, the attendees are having a wonderful time. Much of the early part of the day is spent in seminars and roundtables with the evenings being reserved for socialization. Some of the more popular presentations have been:

Oral Hygiene: Just Because You Can Replace Your Teeth Doesn’t Mean You Should Abuse the Privilege

Following the Scent of Blood Doesn’t Always Lead to a Tasty Meal

Standardized Testing: Don’t Worry if Your Child Doesn’t Score Well on the Shark Intelligence Metric (SIM)

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However, there was one seminar that was full to overflowing and the topic of extensive conversation at the dinner tables. The Preservation of Shark Society presented the provocatively titled

Why are Humans So Ignorant About Sharks After All these Years?

The talk addressed three major topics:

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Sharks are bloodthirsty predators who seek out humans to kill them.

Totally untrue. There are more than 400 types of sharks. Do humans focus on that? No! All they want to talk about are the great whites and hammerheads. And do they ever talk about invading our space? No!

How many of them ever focus on the dwarf lantern shark? Only 21 cm long. Or how about the whale shark? Forty feet long and only eats plankton.

Besides, who would want to hunt down a human anyway? Most of them are fatty and full of unhealthy chemicals. Anyway, we’re seafood lovers.

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Sharks are stupid.

If we’re so stupid, why are they worried about us catching and killing them?

Shark brains are size-appropriate to the shark. Their favorite shark, the great white, has a brain that’s two feet long and extremely well-developed.

It’s true that shark brains mainly focus on smell, but that’s what important to us. It’s how we find food and keep from being food.

And which species spends a LOT of time in front of a box full of make-believe humans rather than enjoying their environment? Clue: not the sharks.

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Sharks have to keep moving to stay alive.

Nope. Most of us have cheek muscles we use to filter water into our mouths and over our gills. We are not as good as humans at being “couch potatoes.” (We don’t have couches or boxes of humans to watch.)

The humans may be confused by the “glamour sharks.” Their favorite great whites, the whale shark, and the mako sharks as well as a few others do have to move to pass water over their gills.

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Humans need to get to know us to love us!

And how to we do that? We make pictures to go into those boxes the people spend so much time with!

Our next project is to find out how to be as interesting as those fake people or kittens.

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pictures courtesy of Google Images

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16

Cat Forum: Interview with Blondie’s Cats

 

Snoops and Kommando here. Welcome to another edition of Cat Forum. A few of you might remember that we have two human siblings, one female and one male. The female moved out a couple of years ago, and we don’t see much of her. But she has the good sense to be living with several cats (as well as the additional humans required to serve the cats). We wanted to talk to our new-found nieces and nephews. None of them complained about her, so she must be doing OK.

Maya

Tell us a little bit about yourselves.

Angel: I’m Angel. I happen to be an adorable muted calico with tons of energy and a huge appetite. I love playing with both humans and other cats, but no one seems to appreciate my creativity or fun.

Spaz: I’m Spaz. Everyone says I’m spoiled, but I’m a diva, so no less is acceptable. Also, isn’t being spoiled part of being a diva?

Maya: I’m Maya, a very sweet but shy plus sized cat. My favorite motto is “if I fits I sits”. I’m very dark, so I hide unintentionally quite often.

Onyx: I’m Onyx. I’m a jet black cat, but I bring no bad luck. I’m verrrrrrryyyyyyyy sweet and cuddly, and my appetite is as big as my heart and love of cuddles.

Patches: I’m Patches. I’m a very vocal and social kitty with a slight fur loss problem. But my lack of fur makes me just that much more lovable.

Patches

How well do you all get along?

Angel: I think my playmates and I get along quite well. They always run when I play chase, and Onyx loves to wrestle! The hissing and growling emitted by Maya and Patches must come from the frustration of being older and not as fast And flexible as I am.

Spaz: These young cats are loud and irritating. Also, they seem to think my food dish is a public buffet.

Maya: Everyone but that Angel cat is okay. Angel is a tad too rough for my taste.

Onyx: I’m a fairly docile cat, so I get along with everyone until someone *cough cough Angel* gets too rough or growls at me first.

Patches: The other cats are okay. I’m not a fan of too much action, so I try to avoid them at times.

Onyx

We hear that you live with a lot of humans. Do you get enough space to do cat things like sleeping in sun puddles and watching cat TV through the windows?

Angel: Luckily the blonde girl likes blankets and soft stuffed animals, so there’s plenty of nap spots. Sadly, there is limited access to windows, though I can always climb the curtains and watch special episodes of cat TV.

Spaz: Yes, I get to spend most of my day lounging. In between attention time and meals, of course.

Maya:I have a table that is right under a window, so I get a decent amount of time  doing cat activities.

Onyx: When I’m alone I do. However, when other cats or people are around, I prefer their company to lounging.

Patches: I certainly do. My favorite spot is on the kitchen table, where the sun shines directly.

Angel

Do you have a favorite human or do you think they’re all annoying?

Angel: My buddy is Ryan, AKA the big gamer dude, although Blondie “Victoria” is tolerable. But the other two fight a lot, and lock me out of their room at night, so nip to them.

Spaz: My human is Ryan. Everyone else is good for pets, dish refills, and nothing else.

Maya: Melissa is my human, and by extension, that means I’m stuck with Jeremy as well.

Onyx: Victoria is my primary human- she makes the best piece of human furniture. The others are okay, but I don’t want to share my human, so that rules them out.

Patches: Jeremy is cool. He remembers to feed me at night, at the very least.

What do you like to do with your human? Do you get enough time doing it?

Angel: I love to climb him, and we play hide and seek a lot. He also likes to play chase me away from the wire toys his TV offers. Aside from that, his lap is pretty comfortable. I don’t think we do it enough, but he insists two or three hours is enough with his work and family schedule.

Spaz: I like to watch YouTube videos with him, and receive cuddles. Also, lately, I’ve enjoyed seeing how loud I have to meow before he replies.

Maya: I like to see how long they can hold their breath by sticking my tail and/or butt on their faces. Also, I like rearranging their room under Jeremy’s supervision. I don’t get to do it as much as I sleep, though.

Onyx: I like to train her on dish refilling times and different types of cat cusines, especially those from a trash can. I also love cuddling and riding on her shoulders. Sadly, she has to spend eight hours at “work” to keep me in kibble. Aside from that, I’m usually around her.

Patches: I like to bowl with objects on the kitchen table. I’ll knock them over, wait for him to fetch them, then knock them over again. We do this every night!

What’s your favorite game/toy?

Angel: I have a little blue Mousie I found in Spaz’s cache that I love, and I also have a squeaky mouse that keeps Ryan up at night. Also, the humans brought home pizza one night, and there was a really neat white triangle in the box that I adore.

Spaz: I have a boa toy Ryan and I play with that I love.

Maya: I like wires and balls with bells.

Onyx: I like climbing, And I’m a fan of string.

Patches: Aside from bowling, I like those plastic bags Walmart has.

Spaz

Do you have a pet peeve/something that really annoys you?

Angel: I’m not a fan of being told no. Also, when I’m roughhousing with Onyx, Blondie doesn’t need to intervene. Onyx likes being choked.

Spaz: I hate sharing. My food, toys, water, litter and human are MINE!

Maya: No one shall pick me up, unless they’re looking to donate to the Maya blood bank.

Onyx: I don’t like being woken up. Also, once I claim an area, it’s quite rude to try and move me.

Patches: I don’t like being forced to move. My comfort obviously exceeds a human need.

Any nip-heads in the house?

Angel: Unless nip is synonymous with mashed potatoes or bacon, not me!

Spaz: I’m a sucker for Temptation treats, but not nip by itself.

Maya: Not me, that’s for sure. I’m about as picky as they come.

Onyx: Nip is okay. I’d rather have a cookie or cupcake.

Patches: Not that I’m aware of. Although I’ll eat anything, so I’m not a good one to ask.

Does anyone like human TV, computers, phones or some other “human” gadget?

Angel: I like the wires that come with them. The TV wires and phone chargers are the best.

Spaz: I like the phone, since it plays my YouTube videos.

Maya: Not me, because that takes attention away from me!

Onyx: I like sitting on the phone when it’s warmed up from being used. Same with the computer. Also, I like watching Ryan play his video games.

Patches: Nah, they make too much noise.

Anything you’d like to add?

Angel: I really wish humans could interpret our meows properly. A low grumbling mewl does not mean pick me up and coo “awe, such a sweet kitty”! Also, human legs make the best scratching post- and their socks are awesome toys.

Spaz: Always respect the calicos- we’re the most beautiful and the smartest.

Maya: Plus sized kitties are just as lovable as little kittens. Also, don’t mock your cat if she’s skittish- Skittles is not a feline approved nickname.

Onyx: Black cats are not bad luck! I’m sure a of the black cats out there with a bad rep were just upset from having to wait for a food dish refill or something equally as awful.

Patches: I don’t understand why humans leave breakable glasses on my bowling field if they want them kept whole. I know the glass would look better shattered. Also, why can’t I eat plastic bags? It’s good enough to hold my food, but not to eat? Weird.

  

18

Cat Forum: Interview with Twilight

Snoops and Kommando Kitty here. Today we are very pleased to be talking with Twitchy Twilight, star of the popular Cattitude Chronicles. Read on to see what makes her so special.

Please tell us something about yourself.

Well, I was born in this nice human’s backyard a couple of summers ago, and there were 3 other katlings (kat version of siblings) with me.

The human found homes for the other 3, but she couldn’t find me because I love to explore so I had “vanished”- So she thought someone had found me and took me home until one day when a really bad rain and wind storm hit and I was wet and cold and hungry so I came back to the yard I was born in – and the human who lived there saw me all wet, cold and hungry and infested with fleas and she took me in right away and cleaned me up and I immediately fell in love and claimed her and human #2 as my own!

How did you get the name “Twitchy Twilight”?

The human started calling me Twitchy, because I’m ALWAYS frisky and ready to play, and at the slightest little movement, I may be purrfectly still, and my eyes laser focused – but my tail immediately begins twitching and Twitches with every slight movement I see and then I POUNCE when they least expect it!

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We know you thought you had some big paws to follow after Shrimp went over the Rainbow Bridge. It looks like you’ve adapted pretty well. What do you think?

Well, my humans were so crazy about Shrimp, and so broken hearted when she died, that I knew I’d have my paws full.

I knew one of the things they loved about her was all that cattitude, and I tried my best to develop cattitude of my own – but it just wasn’t me. So I decided to take my chances (in spite of Shrimp’s teaching)- and just be my adorable, sweet self.

And I’m glad I did – because what my humans needed most wasn’t cattitude – but cuddles! And now I’m their little purrincess!

Who do you live with? 

My human and her husband – he doesn’t play with me much, but he’s very in love with me!

Do you have a favorite thing to do with your humans?

Oh yes! I love to eat popcorn with my human when she watches movies -(“Hubster” doesn’t like popcorn, and I’m not allowed to eat his hot and spicy Cheetos)!

I also love to paw at my human from on top the kat tree every morning when she brews her coffee (it’s right next to the Keurig), and she spends the first part of her morning playing with me!

And I also like to help her with her morning workouts – (I’m the “weights” she uses)!

Do you get to go outside?

Only for a little bit in the morning before my human leaves – and a little bit in the evening – but I’m always home by curfew – and when the weather is bad, she won’t let me out at all – she tells me, “I didn’t adopt you so you could still be cold and eaten up with fleas like a stray!”

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How’s the cat TV (watching out the window) there?

Oh my KATS! It’s the BEST! There are squirrels, baby birds, hummingbirds (in the spring), ducks and even RACOONS- (but they’re bigger than me)!

Do you have a special thing you like to do when there are no humans around?

Yes – I like to try to sneak my friends inside for a box party – but she caught me the last couple of times!

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What’s your favorite treat?

Redi Whip!!!

Is there anything you’d like to add?

Yes – I’d like to tell people not to be afraid to adopt “feral kats”- I was feral for almost the first year of my life – but now I know what it’s like to be pampered, warm and treasured- and I’m thankful someone took a chance for me!

22

Have You Hugged Your Stuffie* Today?

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*For some reason, stuffed animals are referred to as stuffies in many places online.

Snoops: Mom read us The Velveteen Rabbit. All about a stuffed rabbit who was loved very much by a little boy. The rabbit told the story. It was pretty good.

Kommando: Yeah. Except for the creepy horse.

Snoops: What creepy horse?

Kommando: The skin-horse. The boy had a dead horse in his bedroom.

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Snoops: Moving right along, it made us wonder what the stuffed animals around here were thinking.

Kommando: We were going to interview them, but they wouldn’t let us.

Snoops: That’s because you tried to eat the tail off the opossum. And you tried to chew on a few others.

Kommando: He has a long tail. It looks like a toy.

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Snoops: So we went to Lexi, our interpreter and dog-around-town.

Kommando: They wouldn’t talk to her either.

Snoops: Apparently dogs tear stuffies to shreds.

Kommando: So we did a survey. The results are below:

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Biggest Fears

  1. Not being adopted
  2. Being chewed up

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Likes

  1. Being cuddled
  2. Sleeping in bed
  3. Clean, fluffy fur

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Dislikes

  1. Drool
  2. Bodily fluids
  3. Washing machines/dryers

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Additional Comments

“If you are going to put us on a shelf, take us off once in a while and fluff our fur. Otherwise we get dusty and don’t feel clean.”

“We really like being hand washed and fluffed dry.”

“Don’t make us sleep on the floor. We get stepped on.”

“Don’t let dogs get near us. They chew on us, rip us up, and don’t have any respect for us.”

“Clean us right away if your child (or you) gets something nasty on us.”

“We don’t like to wear perfume or cologne.”

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“We don’t mind losing our looks if it’s from being loved.”

“Thank you to everyone who takes us home and loves us.”

Snoops: Those all make sense.

Kommando: I guess I should find the opossum and apologize.

 

 

 

18

2018 Animal Olympics – Week 1

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Riki T. Tavi here. Welcome to our summary of the first week of the 2018 Animal Olympics. It’s been an exciting week here. We’ve had thrills and a few surprises. It’s been truly heartwarming to see the carnivores and non-carnivores competing against each other in peaceful surroundings. Now I’ll turn you over to our commentators.

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Margaret Malamute – Freestyle Skiing

Since no equipment is allowed in competition, this event has always been dominated by animals who could run down the hill the fastest. The last three winners were the Dall sheep team. However, this year the seals challenged the definition of “upright”. They argued that upright for them was on their bellies. After much consideration, the Olympic Committee agreed with their argument.

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So the finalists were the Dall Sheep, the reindeer and the seals. The favored sheep ran into a problem almost immediately when one of their runners hit a patch of ice and skidded off the trail. The seals were next. Being their first Olympics, the form was not great. But their speed made up for it. The reindeer were last. They were under pressure to beat the seals using traditional methods. It came down to the last runner, but in the end the reindeer triumphed.

Gold: Reindeer; Silver: Seals; Bronze: Sheep. The sheep plan a challenge based on the conditions of the slope.

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Edie Ermine – Freestyle Sledding

In a somewhat surprising turn of events, the seals did not qualify for the finals. The likely explanation is that they spent extra time working on the skiing skills and not enough on the sledding. Regardless, the finalists were the ermine, the penguins, and (surprisingly) the polar bears. The polar bears entered the competition on a dare and were expected to finish at the bottom of the pack.

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The ermine went first, displaying their flawless beauty in the event. The scores were good, but not great. Definitely room for the other teams to score higher. The penguins, apparently sensing victory, were a little careless in their takeoffs and barely edged the ermine. The polar bears went last. Their form was unusual, to say the least. They sat on their butts and held their feet up. Since the only requirement is that competitors maintain the same position from top to bottom, it was an acceptable position. The bears were not attractive going down the hills, but it’s a speed contest.

Gold: Polar Bears; Silver: Penguins; Bronze: Ermine

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Penelope Penguin – Luge

The Luge didn’t really hold many surprises. This fan favorite is a test of speed not form. The sides of the track are expandable so all the animals use the same track.The finalists were the penguins, the polar bears, and the otters. All three teams are experienced, and all performed well. Some minors errors on the track made the difference.

Gold: Otters; Silver: Penguins; Bronze: Polar Bears

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Oscar Otter – Underwater Relay

The otters have been dominant in this event for many years. Swimming quickly around and through posts and rings seems second nature to them. The only real question here was who would get silver and bronze. The finalists were the otters, the penguins, and the seals. The penguins were faster than the seals, but the seals missed fewer obstacles. In a very close finish, the seals beat out the penguins for silver.

Gold: Otters; Silver: Seals; Bronze: Penguins

It’s Riki again. Hopefully, you’ve been watching the actual events online at cheeseland.anm/olympics. Please join us next week for our summary of the remaining events.

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All pictures courtesy of Google Images

18

The 2018 Supper Bowl

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The resident male human (Cat’s husband) loves to watch American football. He watches it all fall, but at the end of the year there seems to be a lot of “bowls”. Watching with him, we noticed something strange. The winner of the Rose Bowl didn’t get a bowl of roses (or even a bowl), the winner of the Orange Bowl didn’t get oranges, and some of the bowl were for gifts that didn’t even make sense. (Who’d want a weed-eater as a prize?)

It seems that the biggest game of all is this weekend. They call it the Super Bowl. What’s so super about it? Apparently it shows who has the best football team in the country. But they still don’t win a bowl. Instead, they get really big rings. You can’t eat out of a ring.

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So we decided that we needed to sponsor our own bowl, The Supper Bowl. And guess what the winners get? Silver bowls with their names engraved on them and a year’s supply of their favorite food (funded by an anonymous donor.)

We had to make a few adjustments to the game. Since few animals are bipedal, runners can carry the ball in either their hands or their mouths. Unless the game is between two bipedal teams, passing is not allowed. Finally, field goals are not allowed because of the difference in animal heights.

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After an 8-game playoff, the contenders in the inaugural Supper Bowl are the Lions and the Bison. It’s a classic match-up of speed and brawn. We’ll see if the Lions’ stealth is any match for the brute strength of the Bison.

Now, on to the game with our commentators, Biff and Zoomer:

Zoomer: Well, here we go. The Lions are kicking off to the Bison. That was some kick. The Bison ball carrier starts slowly, but now he picks up speed.

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Biff: Oh my goodness. That Lion defense is pretty impressive. Two go for the legs and one jumps up in front of him. There’s no gain.

(Two more attempts and the Bisons turn the ball over to the Lions.)

Biff: Now we’ll see how good that Bison defense really is. The Lion runner takes off but has no where to go. No gain.  Running through the Bison line is not going to work for the Lions.

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Zoomer: There he goes again. He sees a little daylight around the end and runs for it. The Bison line is slow to react. Touchdown! The Lions lead 6-0.

Biff: OK, now the Bison need to make sure that they come back strong.

Zoomer: Oh no! two of the Bison players have collided. This is not good. They need to be helped off the field.

Biff: The offense is already down players from previous injuries. They’re going to have to put in rookies.

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(seesaw)

(As expected, the series doesn’t go well for the Bison and they don’t score. Things go back and forth for most of the game. The defenses manage to keep either team from scoring until late in the game.)

Biff: Well, this is it for the Bison. If they don’t score here, they’re out of time.

Zoomer: Right you are. Here we go. The Bison form a group around their runner. They move as one. The Lions have no choice but to move out of their way. It looks like we’re headed to overtime.

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(The teams take a break to discuss their strategy. Whoever scores first wins the game.)

Zoomer: Since the Bison had the ball first in the game, the Lions will get it first in overtime.

Biff: Rumor has it that the Lions have been practicing a trick play. If it’s true, now’s the time to use it.

Zoomer: We’re back on the field. The Lions have the ball. The carrier goes to the left instead of straight ahead and runs into his own player.

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Biff: No! He didn’t run into him. He gave him the ball. The Bison look confused. The new runner passes the ball to a third Lion. He takes advantage of the confusion in the Bison defensive line. He leaps over two Bison who are wandering around and heads for the end zone.

Zoomer: And the Lions win the Supper Bowl!

Biff: Let’s go down to the field to talk to the victors.

(Fortunately for fans everywhere, the teams have disappeared into their respective locker rooms and are not available for interviews. The Supper Bowl will be presented the next day at a banquet.)

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Alert readers should have guessed the outcome. We are based in Michigan, home of the Detroit Lions.

All pictures courtesy of Google Images

 

15

2018 Animal Olympics Coverage Team

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It’s almost time for the Winter Animal Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. We noticed that the humans put out an announcement introducing their coverage team. We decided that would be a good idea, so here they are:

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General Coordination and Coverage – Riki T. Tavi (mongoose) – our Asian Correspondent

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Interpreters  – Lexi (German Shepard) and Yuma Cho (Raccoon Dog) – you may remember Lexi as the ace translator we discovered during the cat food crisis a couple of months ago.

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Cross-Country Tracking – Harold Hare – member of the gold medal-winning 2014 Snowshoe Hare team.

What it is: Teams compete to see who can locate the most food on a prepared track. There are separate events for carnivores and non-carnivores.

Favorites: badgers, hares, wolverines

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Freestyle Skiing – Margaret Malamute – member of the 2014 Olympic Mixed Sled-Dog Team

What it is: Teams compete for a combined score based on how quickly its members get down the mountain. The skier must remain upright and no equipment is allowed.

Favorites: Dall sheep, reindeer

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Freestyle Sledding – Edie Ermine – gold medalist, 2014

What it is: Teams are scored on how quickly its members are able to get down the mountain in the same position (back, front, sitting).

Favorites: ermine, seals, penguins

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Ice Hockey – Bruno Brown Bear – member of the 2014 Brown/Grizzly Team

What it is: Teams compete to see how many chunks of ice they can get into their opponents goal. Players will be ejected for drawing blood on an opposing team member.

Favorites: polar bears, black bears

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Luge – Penelope Penguin – silver medalist, 2014

What it is: Teams are scored on how quickly its members can get down an iced track on their backs

Favorites:  penguins, polar bears

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Raptor Grab – Arnie, member of the 2014 American Kestrel team

What it is: Teams compete to collect the largest number of fish in the shortest period of time. Points are deducted for bringing back game not marked with the Olympic. Participants are disqualified for bringing back prey that is not a fish.

Favorites: Red-Tailed Hawks, Golden Eagles

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Sleigh Pull – Rodney Reindeer, gold medalist in 2014

What it is: Teams of four animals compete to pull a sleigh of two (friendly) adult black bears. Participants are disqualified for tipping the sleigh over. Note: bears may not be as friendly at this point.

Favorites: caribou/reindeer, moose

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Underwater Relay – Oscar Otter, bronze medalist 2014

What it is: Teams of four animals compete to finish a circular obstacle course underwater with each member completing one quarter of the circuit. The winner is the fastest team with the fewest missed obstacles.

Favorites: otters, seals

We animals don’t tell time like the humans do. So just remember that all of the competitions will be during the day. But when it’s daytime in South Korea. So you might just want to set some kind of recording device or leave the channel on all the time.

See you in February!

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