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Urban Wildlife

Healing burned paws with fish skin

In the wake of massive wildfires that burned through the Sonoma and Napa areas last fall, Deana Clifford had a bad feeling.

“I feel like we’re going to get a burned animal,” said Clifford, who is a senior wildlife veterinarian with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and an assistant clinical professor at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

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The Jerusalem Cricket is scary looking but harmless

The Jerusalem Cricket is scary looking but harmless

The large (up to 2 inches in length), fierce-looking Jerusalem Cricket is a member of the Stenopelmatidae family.  It is commonly called a “potato bug,” in spite of the fact that it doesn’t prefer potatoes and is not a true bug.  The Native Americans called it Who-tzi-Neh or “Old Bald Man.”  Southwestern Indian tribes once called it, “child of the desert” and regarded it with fear. In Mexico it is sometimes referred to as, ”Niña de la Tierra,” translated, “Child of the Earth,” because of the almost child-like appearance of its relatively large, roundish head.

Occurring only on the North American continent, west of the Rocky Mountains from British Columbia to Mexico, the Jerusalem Cricket, Stenopelmatus fuscus, is a mostly subterranean insect that is only occasionally seen when it ventures above ground after dark, when cool, moist conditions prevail, or when the ground is being tilled for planting.  It is not poisonous but its l