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Fun Facts: Rules of Thumb
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When the bird and the bird book disagree, believe the bird.
The smaller the bird, the closer it will allow you to approach.
Bird calls are mostly adjectives with few verbs. They don't tell you what they are going to do -- only how well they are going to do it.
The single best clue to a bird's identity is the shape of its bill.
If a flock of geese is in a close V formation, it is almost certainly Canada geese. If it is a looser V, rippling and waving, or if it is a long line like one leg of a V, it is more likely the less common snow geese.
The inside of a pigeon loft should be low enough so that a pigeon can't fly over your head and small enough so that you can touch all four walls while standing in the middle.
Among birds of prey, females are about one-third larger than males.
The way you can usually tell whether a chicken will lay white eggs or dark eggs: If the chicken has white ear lobes, she will lay white eggs. If the chicken has red ear lobes she will lay brown eggs.
If you don't want a cat to jump in your lap, don't make eye contact with it.
Generally speaking, if your cat nudges your feet in the morning, it wants to stay inside. If it nudges your face, it wants to go out.
Feed your cat as much as it will eat in 30 minutes, twice a day.
There should be one more litter pan than the number of cats in your household. Sharing litter pans is probably the leading cause of house soiling problems in cats. If you only have one cat, and it isn't reliably using the litter pan, give it two litter pans and clean them frequently.
If you give your dog a fancy name, it's not for your dog but for your pride. You'll end up using a nickname.
Owning two dogs is no more work than owning one, but three dogs is hard work.
Pay no more then half of the retail price for a used kennel.
Figure on 1 pound of dry dog food for every 30 pounds of dogs.
In a suburb of medium density, a dog's bark can be heard in 200 surrounding houses -- or by 800 people.
Anything over 45 minutes seems like forever to your dog. You will be greeted as enthusiastically coming back from a two-hour shopping trip as you will coming back from a two-day vacation.
A stray dog who is afraid of people will trust the people associated with the dogs it plays with.
The old rule -- multiplying a dog's age by 7 to find the equivalent human age -- is fallacious. A dog is able to reproduce at 1 year and has reached full growth by 2 years. To calculate a dog's age in human terms, count the first year at 15, the second year as 10, and each year after that as 5.
If a dog tolerates gentle handling between its toes, it probably is suited for children.
If two dogs are headed for a fight and they appear about evenly matched, the dog on his home turf will win easily.
If you want to be friends with somebody else's dog, let the dog make the first move, and don't be too quick to respond.
It costs $1.50 a day to feed and care for a sled dog.
A kennel should be two times the length of the dog you are building it for. Measure the dog from its nose to the tip of its tail.
The best time for taking a puppy from its litter -- psychologically and physically -- is when it is 49 days old.
The first musher to reach the town of Iditarod -- the halfway point -- in the Alaska Iditarod sled race will not win the race.
Fish / Water Creatures
In a new aquarium, feed the fish half as much food as you want to and change the water twice as often.
You need three watts worth of aquarium heater per gallon in a room of normal temperature. Use four watts per gallon for rooms that are cooler then normal.
Provide at least one gallon of water for each inch of fish.
The distance between an alligator's eyes, in inches, is directly proportional to the length of the alligator, in feet.
The difference between male and female blue crabs is the design located on their apron (belly.) The male blue crab has the Washington Monument while the female apron is shaped like the U.S. Capitol. Also described as -- A girl has a beehive and a boy has a lighthouse. Does that mean the U.S. Capitol looks like a beehive?
It takes a lobster approximately seven years to grow to be one pound.
A 1,200-pound horse eats about seven times it's own weight each year.
The African elephant has an ear shaped like Africa. The Indian elephant has an ear shaped like India.
To find an elephant, look within 300 meters of water.
The year after a season of heavy acorn production there will be one more chipmunk living on each quarter-acre plot.
The circumference of an elephant's front foot is equal to the height of the shoulder from the ground.
Fish have vertical tails. Mammals have horizontal tails.
A female swine, or a sow, will always have a even number of teats or nipples, usually twelve.
Zigzag to outrun a crocodile.
If a polar bear charges you, dodge to the right. Eskimos say most polar bears are left-pawed. However Garrett Mickelson, a Dog Hause visitor says that, "First off, Polar Bears will attack with either paw, and will do so in such a rapid manner, that dodging either left or right will still get you killed before you knew what happened. Secondly, Inuits (Eskimo is derogatory for the Arctic native people and considered an insult) have many myths about animal behavior, many correct but many not."
When stuffed tarantulas are displayed in a glass case, two out of four people will find them interesting. One person will refuse to look and one will want to inspect them closely. All will coil at the idea of the top being removed.
To breed buffaloes, you need at least 1 bull buffalo for every 15 cows.
To estimate the weight of a gray whale, figure one ton per foot in length.
Keep baby animals in something that is 90 to 95 degrees F until their eyes are open, then lower the temperature 5 degrees a week to room temperature.
A grown rat can pass through a whole the size of a quarter.
Some breeds of sheep look like goats and some breads of goats look like sheep. In general, sheep's tail hand down and goats tails stand up.
Bears can outrun, out climb and out swim a human. Your only hope is to run downhill. A bear's center of gravity makes it difficult for them to run downhill. However Garrett Mickelson, a Dog Hause visitor says that, "Bears, and all bears (polar, black, brown, sun, panda, etc...) can run both up and down hill at the same speed (~35mph)." Good luck if you ever find yourself in that situation!
A snake needs a cage whose perimeter is equal to or greater then it's body length.
Rule of Thumb n. A method or procedure derived entirely from practice or experience, without any basis in scientific knowledge; a roughly practical method. The rule of thumb creates an informational oxymoron: it presents a generalization regarding specific circumstances. For example: when braiding three strands of leather for a belt, the length of the strands should be 1.5 times the length of the expected finished product. The generalization is based on experience at generating a specific result. The specifics include leather as a working material, three as the number of strands to be braided, and a belt as the product resulting from the process.
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FYI: The majority of the above rules of thumb were taken directly from "Never Trust A Calm Dog and Other Rules of Thumb" by Tom Parker. Published by Harper Perennial 1990. Unfortunately this book is now out of print.
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