Almost everything I know about wildlife . . .
. . . I learned from popular culture. I grew up in the suburbs, and then spent a number of years living in cities. We rarely saw anything more exotic than the gray squirrel. Of course our garbage cans got knocked over by raccoons occasionally but we never saw them do it. And years at summer camp led to a passing familiarity with the habits of skunks.
I began noticing some new and different animals when I moved to a semirural area of Connecticut. Deer were ubiquitous—and easily recognizable.
But one day I was driving along a local road and I saw a large bird walking across the street. What was that?!? I searched my memory and had an a-ha moment. It was a wild turkey. I knew because I had seen the picture on a bottle of Wild Turkey Bourbon!
The large black bird with a bald head pecking at something on the side of the road? Well, I know my Bugs Bunny and Looney Tunes cartoons as well as anyone else*. That’s a vulture of course. Pop culture at its finest.
Of course, not every wild animal matches so well with its pop culture version. The flying squirrels (see the photo in my Nature at Home blog) who love to live in my attic look nothing like Rocket J. Squirrel of the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show cartoon.
And chipmunks sure don’t look like Alvin and his buddies, although the chipmunk chirp (as heard on National Geographic’s Web site) is as annoying as the voices of Alvin, Simon, and Theodore.
So, what animals have you identified first from their cartoon counterparts?
*There are some images I can't show because they belong to someone else, like the cartoon vulture or Rocket J. Squirrel. That's why I have provided links.