I'm going to try something for the first time ever, and write some satire. Keep in mind that this is all just a JOKE based on my funny experiences with intelligent but sometimes goofy animals. So here are my:
TOP 10 WORST ANIMALS IN SOUTHEAST ALASKA
Also, all photos were taken by me, as usual!
10) Spruce Grouse
Many people love these birds, as their colorful plumage change marks the changing from summer to winter and then back again. Their superior camouflage techniques make them almost impervious to attack from predators, which is good...because they have absolutely no defensive traits at all. When approached, these suuuuper scary birds simply stand still, convinced you can't see them. Even at three feet, they'll simply stand there, as if asking their neighbors, "You think they can see us?!". They're also extremely delicious birds, but I learned quickly I had to bring a slingshot. You can walk right up to them, so close that it's inadvisable to shoot, and honestly easier to just wail a rock at. Geniuses. Absolute geniuses.
9) Dall's Porpoise
So, they're pretty smart animals. They are relatives of dolphins after all. But evolution was not kind to these guys when it comes to looks. I mean, they never leave the water, and when they're swimming they're majestic and beautiful. So who am I to judge? But seriously, if you ever want a laugh, first watch a video of them in water, then look up a picture of one outside of the water. I guarantee a chuckle. They also will bow ride your boat, just for fun, and if you slow down they'll get bored and just peel off. Which begs the question, if they're so active, why the heck do they look like they've been chugging Natural Light on their porch for 30 years?
8) Bald Eagles
Don't get mad, just let me explain! Bald eagles are amazing birds and as important to the culture of Southeast Alaska as they are to the environment of the area. They are amazing birds, great hunters, and beautiful to look at. But with all their prowess, they choose to sit by the dumps of Alaska, in droves, and muddy their heads in our trash, becoming almost indistinguishable to their brethren. If anyone ever really wants to see eagles and for god-knows what reason has somehow missed them in their travels so far, we literally just tell them to go to the dump and be amazed at their abundance.
And then there's the insurance claims which they cause every year. It's almost like a ridiculous Statefarm commercial scenario. Some of Juneau's population (myself included) live on an island adjacent to town with a connecting bridge and a plentiful wetlands separating the two. Tons of eagles and other fowl hunt in these wetlands, but eagles particularly love to hunt, grab fish, and fly to their nearby nests, by the godforsaken dump right across the road.
Well, the eagles will grab a fish and fly over, but have no way to release their talons. So, as they fly, occasionally a fish which is too large for said bird will fall and smack against the road, or someones windshield. Now, if you're going to submit an insurance claim that states your windshield and hood were broken by a fish falling from the sky, you better have an Alaskan agent, because nobody else in their right mind is going to believe you. But it happens every, freaking, year. An eagle two summers ago managed to knock the power grid clean offline for a day or two from dropping a fish on the biggest transformer. Its just...come on guys, I know this is Alaska and the rest of the country thinks we live in an uncharted wilderness, but can't we all just get along?!
7) Pelagic Cormorant
Most people hate these birds because they've become pervasive and are not native to their area. But that is far from why they're making this list. They're both native and important to southeast Alaska, but a recently recorded incident makes them one of the stupidest animals I've ever heard of.
Pelagic cormorant nearly always nest in cracks of rocks which in Southeast usually means cliffs ascending from shorelines. These shorelines and intertidal areas see all the normal life; sea stars, anemone, urchins, sculpin, the list goes on and on. Well there is a documented case of a chick pelagic cormorant falling off one of these ledges and landing...head first...in an anemone. And I mean directly inside its mouth. Nobody knows what happened to this anemone after its' great meal, I like to think it became king of the anemone and rules the archipelago.
The cormorant probably died of suffocation and drowning quickly, but that has to be the dumbest predator/prey(?) interaction I've ever heard of. I just like to imagine the awkward falling through the air and then the anemone's surprised look when his meal appeared out of thin air.
6) Surf Scoter
Ever wondered what a black duck would look like with a clown mask on? Well then this is the bird for you! These noisy packs roam the waters in typical linear fowl fashion, commonly failing to notice 100+ ton boats charging right at them. Don't mind the beautiful puffins and oystercatchers, goldeneye, and harlequin around, we all definitely wanted to see thousands of clown-faced black ducks. Next.
5) Pacific Herring
Animal rule number one is to survive and reproduce right, and few things succeed at this better than fish do. But they also don't ever seem to overpopulate naturally and that is because they are equally as good at finding amazing ways to get eaten. Few fish do both these things better than the pacific herring. If basic level of learning and intelligence of an individual can be measured by (total group learning) / (individuals), then how stupid does each one have to be so that billions of them decide every year to come back to the same spots where whales and fishermen will engulf 99% of the population.
I mean, thank god for them, they've fueled huge industries and thousands of whales for many, many years, but if your sole purpose is to get eaten as quickly as possible, why can't they at least be somewhat tasty? Sometimes I wonder what the lowest level of intelligence is, and then I remember that there are fish so worthless we use them to catch other fish who's preferred meal is actual poop.
Porcupine are our white-tailed deer. That annoying pest you hate to hate but do really despise. The most avid environmentalist would even curse their existence when they pop out of nowhere at night when you're driving 55. That's porcupine. It doesn't matter whether you're driving along a road or hiking a scarcely used trail, a porcupine will manage to somehow put you into a precarious position either way.
And if you have a dog, you might as well just give up. The best trained dog will still undoubtedly get curious and make the fatal sniff that ends him in the vet with 50 quills in his face. Aaaand then he hates you for a month afterwards, all because these stupid vermin who look like the red koopas from Super Mario with spiked shells. They need to make a big community somewhere and live their lives happily because I still am not convinced we can coexist.
3) Pigeon Guillemot
So I actually really like these birds. The more I see the more I enjoy their little dive and subtly beautiful red features. But they are a terribly normal black bird with a black beak and a white spot. They combine two of the worst features already mentioned; traveling in giant bird packs while refusing to move for even boats, and having awful defense mechanisms. As far as I can tell, the defense of this bird is somehow related to the fact that the inside of their mouth matches the bright red on their feet. No idea what that's all about, but I've never seen them win a bird battle with or without it so...moving on.
2) Stellar's Sea Lions
People are always saying, "Well actually, cows produce more methane than do cars". Well, how about Sea Lions, which seem to fight and fart all day every day. These monsters can get up to 2,000 lbs and even the yearlings are much bigger and stronger than any human. But if for some unknown reason you're longing to observe them more closely, good luck. It doesn't matter if you're one individual in one kayak, somehow they still feel vulnerable and will come to terrifyingly bark and threaten you in the water. So here's my advise, forget about them altogether. They're smelly, loud, obnoxious, and want nothing to do with us, and I have no desire to be with them either.
1) Sea Otter
In the early White history of Alaska, sea otter were harvested to near extinction for their world's-softest and warmest fur. The environmentalist were outraged as these cute little guys were extremely close to extinction. Quickly with the American takeover, hunting and trapping of them stopped and the population was allowed to restore itself. But now, with some of the most strict protection in the world, their populations have completely exploded, and like the porcupine, they have become a menace.
Sea otter have to eat a quarter of their body weight every single day because of their insanely high metabolism required to stay warm in the Alaskan waters. While they will eat plants, they much prefer meat and will sit on populations of prawn and crabs until they've completely wiped them out. As a matter of fact, they have been a huge factor in the decline of many shrimping/crabbing industries of late. They like to eat everything delicious, and they must be American because they seem to have little to no self-control about their diet.
Here's the other thing, they're disgusting animals. They have some nasty sexual tendencies when it comes to their own, as well as forced mating with other species. They're fierce, commonly killing their own for feeding ground rights, and then will proceed to eat their dead foe. And then they just lay there in the water, wading on their backs looking up at you like they're just some cute cuddly thing while probably holding another animal's head under water just out of sight.
I'm sorry that I just ruined these 'cute' animals for you, but you deserve to know the truth. Otters are the Jeffery Dahmer of the animal world and the more we spread the word the more people will understand why we should begin harvesting otters again to stabilize their populations, and to make more cute, fancy hats.
I hope everyone enjoyed this post, and let me know if you'd like more content like this! Have a wonderful holiday season and a happy New Year!