As of February 2016, after 416 posts, and over six and a half years of blogging, I'm taking a break.
I've explained why here. There's plenty of past posts to read, though - hope you enjoy them !
Looking for a brilliant present for a young naturalist ? Buy my book ! Available from Amazon UK,
Amazon US and worldwide but buy from a local bookshop if you can.
Archived posts: The following articles are from the month or year requested:

My (almost) elephant skull


If you were asked what the two closest living relatives are to the elephant, you would think along the lines of something grey, hard-skinned and massive, and so guess that it might be a rhino or a hippo. The other close relative to the elephant is the sea cow - that's manatees and dugongs - which are heavy and grey, but they are aquatic. The other one is much harder to guess !

It all came about because of a visitor to my blog who also runs a taxidermy business in South Africa called Blue Duiker and who very kindly asked if I would be interested in a skull from there ! So a few weeks ago I was sent the skull of one of the closest living relatives to the elephant - and it arrived in a much smaller box than you might think ! That's because the close relative to the elephant is in fact:

Tracking red deer with my trail camera


As you'll know if you follow my blog, I bought a trail camera last year, and since last November I have been tracking a pine marten that lived in a wood on the moors above my house.While I managed to get  some really good footage of him, I seemed to be getting fewer and fewer clips of him, and I wasn't able to track down where he was living either, so at the start of July I decided to try and film something else instead.

Around where I live there are foxes, badgers, stoats, rabbits, roe deer and red squirrels, but I decided to try and film red deer. I thought they might be easy to film because I know where they live, they leave distinct tracks, they tend to move between the same places, and they are very big. So on the 5th July, I moved the camera...and this is what I have discovered since then !

안녕하세요 한국! (Hello Korea !)


안녕하세요 한국! 오늘 나는 매우 기쁘게 생각합니다. 내 책은 지금 한국에서 발표합니다! 이미 영국, 아일랜드, 미국, 캐나다, 남아프리카 공화국, 뉴질랜드, 호주에서 출판이지만, 한국어 버전은 외국어의 첫 번째 일이다.

당신이 한국에 있다면 난 당신이 내 책을 즐기시기 바랍니다. 한국에서 판매에 일부 사진을보고 싶어요. 내 이메일 주소가 jakesbones@gmail.com이다.

(난 정말 한국어를 구사하지 않는다. 나는 구글 번역 사용합니다. 당신이 여전히 그것을 이해 수 있기를 바랍니다!)

(Don't speak Korean ? The English version is below)

Handling abuse as a child blogger


If you saw last week's post about The Weird and Wonderful shop raffling off a human skull, you'll see it generated an interesting reaction, with over 100 published comments, another seven that were deleted, plus a lot of email messages about it, mostly supportive, with some quite offensive. (In the end, The Weird and Wonderful gave away a different prize, but I don't know whether that was human or animal, since they didn't answer my Tweet)

It was quite an experience, and not always a pleasant one, but I want to take a negative and turn it into a positive so it will hopefully help someone else in the future. Unlike what a lot of parents expect, I have been extremely lucky with all my time blogging, so I'm not exactly an expert on getting abusing messages, but I thought I'd share what I do when I'm responding like things to this for other young bloggers who might end up in the same position.

Human remains should not be raffle prizes (update)


When I visited the Horniman museum stores last year, the curator Paolo taught me that any human remains they keep, even if they are just partial, need to be treated with special respect. That makes sense. Humans might just be a bigger, cleverer kind of animal, but we are also the only species who knows that we are going to die, and that makes us very different to other animals. We are also the only species that has a sense of our own history, and that people have died before us and more will die afterwards.

So imagine how angry I was when I found out the taxidermy website The Weird and Wonderful are offering a human skull as a competition prize. [Added Sat 11am: link is now dead - see at bottom of story] This is wrong. Here is why I as a fellow bone collector think that this is wrong, and they should rethink what they are doing.

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