Sunday, October 7, 2012

Related, but not rodents

I've tossed aside my idea for today's post in favor of 2 stories, one about a mole and the other about a shrew, brought to my attention by faithful followers:

Thanks to Chase for this link about the preserved skin of a mole that fell out of a file being prepped for digital scanning at the U.S. National Archives. The file was that of Civil War soldier James J. Van Liew's widow, who had sent the strange enclosure in 1900 with her application to the government for a widow’s pension. Van Liew had mailed the moleskin in a letter to his "Dear Wife," and although the reason is lost to time and the original letter has been lost, it was enough to secure her benefits. Friends vouched that they had seen and remembered the letter, which was all the proof she needed in lieu of a marriage certificate.
Thanks to Melissa for this link to an article about the mountain tree shrew using the pitcher plant for a potty.  I had previously blogged about a symbiotic relationship between bats and the carnivorous pitchers in Borneo, but now there is evidence that the shrews jump aboard, lick nectar from the bottom of the overhanging leaf, defecate into the pot, and making it part of their regular circuit by marking it with their scent.
Moles (but not that kind):

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