A prickly pear with scalloped notches made me wonder if desert critters manage to eat around the thorns. I know cactus is nourishing because my great-grandfather sometimes resorted to feeding his cattle by burning thorns off. Rabbits, I hear, do eat around the thorns, but Javelina munch thorns and all–without wincing. Javelinas are peccaries, not pigs. They’re named for javelins because their canines are that sharp. They also smell like skunks. Fortunately they don’t generally mess with people unless a mother thinks she needs to defend her young. They feel differently about dogs. All in all, I was happy to […]
No, the Canary Islands were not named for canaries. Canaries were named for the islands. That seems to be certain. Many claim that Europeans visiting the islands were surprised to see large dogs on Gran Canary so named it “big dog island” in Latin. Others say the name came from a tribe of people with a similar name or maybe a tribe that worshiped dogs. Whatever. A Canary Island dog surprised me as well, though it wasn’t particularly big. I just never saw one that looked quite like that.