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How nature’s creatures deal with the heat EMC lifestyle – This summer continues to be unbearably hot. The scorching sun has rendered lawns brown and has taller plants bowing in submission. Grumbles of air conditioners ﬁll the air and local beaches are crammed with semi-naked people. Wild animals lack these options, yet most species seem to cope with the heat relatively well. How they stay cool involves a great variety of fascinating adaptations. Tiger Beetles are those beetles on sand beaches that run and ﬂy short distances when disturbed. Sand, of course, becomes scorching hot under the sun’s glare. Tiger Beetles elevate their body away from the heat by stretching out their legs in a posture called “stilting.” When it is excessively hot,
Michael Runtz Nature’s Way they retreat into their angled burrows and wait for the temperature to drop. Many dragonﬂies direct their long abdomen away from the sun and some elevate it to cast shade on their head and thorax, the powerful middle section from which the wings and legs arise, in a posture called “obelisk.” They also pump more body liquid into their long abdo-
Submitted Michael Runtz
An American Robin keeps cool in a birdbath. men, so that body heat is lost to the surrounding air. Honeybees use their wings as fans to direct hot air out of the hive and cooler air into it, which is why you smell honey more strongly on hot days in summer.
Mammals and birds restrict their activity to cooler times of day, taking siestas in shady locations during the hottest periods. Gray Squirrels, more commonly black than gray, stretch out motionless on tree limbs.
By ﬂattening out their body, its surface area is increased and more heat is shed. Foxes and Coyotes ﬂatten out in shady sites and open their mouths and pant. Hot air leaving the mouth evaporates moisture in the mouth lining, cooling it. Hot blood is forced into the tongue, which also expels heat through evaporative cooling. By hanging the tongue out the mouth, heat loss increases. Air is inhaled through the nose where it picks up body heat from blood vessels lining the nasal passages. Some of this air is shunted into the throat and back out the mouth, taking the heat with it. In winter, these animals breathe only through their nose to retain body heat. As birds do not sweat, panting is an even more important way of discarding body heat. They also droop their wings
to increase the surface area through which heat is lost. Animals with large extremities use them to advantage in summer. Gulls and ducks pump more blood into their naked legs and feet to lose heat to the water. Beavers use their huge ﬂat tails in the same way. Turkey Vultures pee on their legs to add evaporative cooling to the heat loss process. On hot days animals gravitate to water to drink and bathe. Birdbaths are currently extremely popular with chipmunks and squirrels as well as birds. If you haven’t got one, ﬁll a shallow dish or garbage can lid with water. You will soon have a Coney Island of activity in your backyard. The Nature Number is 613387-2503; email is mruntz@ start.ca.
Surviving upsets, outages and natural disasters DIANA FISHER Accidental Farmwife
the check-in clerk that he was “never going to ﬂy Air Canada again” as if the airline was all-powerful, able to snuff the power from all points along the east coast of the continent at once. When it was my turn at the front of the line, I gave the young clerk a big smile – because I really was enjoying myself, just people-watching and sipping my free coffee. He looked me in the eye for a moment, then said, “Lady, you’re the ﬁrst one with a smile all morning. How would you like to ﬂy to Ontario ﬁrst class?” Well, that would be just lovely, I said. I have never really suffered a true disaster of the natural – or simply inconvenient – kind. During the Ice Storm of 1998 (which deserves capitals, you know), I lived in Barrhaven.
The only thing that happened at our house is that I had to put cleats on my boots for running my pre-dawn paper route. That and the cable went out. Very annoying. My parents in Kemptville, on the other hand, were without power for 21 days. So now we have a dry spell. The Rideau Valley Conservation Authority has declared a “Level 2” drought status. We are being asked to reduce our water consumption by 20%. No washing the car, no watering the lawn, no non-essential water usage. If the drought continues and the status moves up to Level 3, those water restrictions become mandatory. As I write this on Saturday the 14th, the grass on our pasture has not replenished itself in the past few weeks. We had to open the gates to the cow
pasture to give our sheep some more foraging choices. Hopefully the grass grows back before we run out of acreage. The Farmer took a good look at the sheep this morning. They seem to be keeping their weight on, so they must have found something to eat. Their ﬂeece doesn’t seem to be growing back after their last shearing, however. I guess they are adapting to the heat.
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Normally the ﬂeece grows back after the spring shearing just in time to protect the sheep from the mosquitoes but there doesn’t seem to be many of them either. It has been too dry for them to breed. I noticed one local farmer had his sweet corn for sale already. It seems a bit early. Hopefully that doesn’t mean they have lost their crops. I think we would need a few more weeks of dry spell be-
fore that would happen. The corn growing at the back of our property still looks good. But when you drive down the road you see some crops that are beginning to yellow from the bottom up, and their stalks look a bit wilty. I hope by the time you are reading this, it will have rained. And I hope it isn’t 35 degrees on my daughter’s wedding day, which is the 21st.
Give us a call or drop us a line when you need common-sense, cost-effective legal advice. W. John Rick BSc. LL.B Christine S. Thomas BSc. LL.B Lindsay McIntosh BA (Hons.) LL.B
591 March Road, Kanata T: 613-592-0088 359 Ottawa Street, Almonte T: 613-256-3480 www.rickassociates.com
EMC lifestyle - It was August 2003 and I was en route home to Canada from Taiwan for a visit. I made it as far as Los Angeles when the entire Eastern Seaboard lost power, and they cancelled my ﬂight home to Ontario. I hadn’t seen my family in months and I was desperate to get home. But truth be told, L.A. is not the worst place in the world to be stranded. Some people chose to sleep in the airport, waiting for the moment when planes would be rescheduled and put back in the air. My airline put me in a Mexican hacienda-style hotel for the night. I was quite comfortable. The hotel was hosting a West Coast Swing choreographers’ convention and I got to watch professional dancers all night. And the food was fantastic. Not bad at all. No complaints from me. The next morning at the airport, I recognized Canadian singer-songwriter Chantal Kreviazuk and her hubby Raine Maida sitting on their suitcases, hoodie-hoods up, sipping coffee, just like everyone else. One dweeb businessman was loudly proclaiming to
St. Andrew’s Kilmaurs, Ontario
Sunday July, 22nd -10:00 am Special Guests Rev. Larry Paul and Arden Walther BBQ and Music on the lawn following service Everyone Welcome - Bring a Lawn Chair R0011515288
West Carleton Review EMC - Thursday, July 19, 2012 7
Published on Jul 19, 2012