A just-for-fun Friday post: animals solving problems


As the week winds to a close, we thought we’d share a few of our favorite recent video finds about animals solving problems.

Lucy the smart beagle figures out how to get what she wants.

Next, here’s how “Ninja cat” solves his problem.

This is one octopus that is determined to figure out how to get dinner.

Finally, this baby moose needed some human intervention to get out of her jam.

We hope you’ll have a problem-free weekend!

November is peak deer-auto collision month


November is the month when auto-deer collisions are most likely to occur in New England. The average claim for deer-vehicle collisions is about $3,000 — much more if you factor in the cost of human injuries. Here’s a pop quiz: which New England state has the highest odds for hitting a moose and which has the lowest? The answers might be a little different than think: See this chart for likelihood of collision with a deer by state (PDF) or see the end of this article for just New England states..

Deer-car collisions can also be fatal for more than the deer. According to Massachusetts authorities, about 1 in 2,500 deer collisions results in human fatality

Moose are a whole different ballgame: 1 in 75 moose/vehicle collisions result in a fatality. And no wonder – A full grown moose can stand 6 feet tall at should height, considerably taller when you factor in the head and antlers. Antlers can be massive, with a span of 4 to 6 feet. At up to 1400 pounds in weight, you simply don’t want to hit one.

Check out this 12-step illustrated guide from wikiHow on how to avoid a moose deer collision. The New Hampshire Fish & Game folks also offer some good advice: Avoid Deer/Vehicle Collisions and Brake for moose, it could save your life.

Dangerous moose myth

There’s a persistent dangerous myth that often surfaces about moose-car collisions: some think that if a collision looks inevitable, you should accelerate so the impact will potentially hurtle the animal over the vehicle. Bad idea – MythBusters put this to the test on am Alaska episode using a moose dummy.

“The MythBusters steered a car motoring at 45 miles per hour into Lucy three times: once slowing down, once speeding up and once while maintaining the same speed. The wreckage revealed that slowing down is by far the safest option when running into a moose. Faster speeds deliver a greater force of impact, which the moose absorbs and delivers with a more powerful, damaging smackdown on top of the auto.”

The biggest thing about deer, moose and other wildlife is the surprising speed at which they can appear so moderating your speed is essential, particularly in animal zones during daylight and dusk. And even when they appear stationary, moose have been known to charge cars – especially if they have babies to protect, as in this clip of a protective Mama moose.

New England States – deer collision odds

  • Vermont 1 in 180
  • Maine 1 in 207
  • New Hampshire 1 in 279
  • Connecticut 1 in 299
  • Rhode Island 1 in 373
  • Massachusetts 1 in 524

Bats in the Belfry: Home maintenance nightmare


During a new roof installation, some Florida roofers ran into a surprise when they were tearing up the old one. Make sure that checking your roof is a routine part of maintenance.

Bats have an undeservedly bad reputation in public lore (well, except for Batman) but they are important little critters that keep the insect population down, have a role in pollination and seed distribution, and play other important ecological functions. Because of this, they are a protected species under Massachusetts law, and most other state laws too.
The Massachusetts Wildlife Department offers a useful Homeowner’s Guide to Bats that offers information on what to do if a bat gets in your house, signs that a bat colony might be inhabiting your attic, advice for how to get rid of a bat colony that has adopted your home as their own, and other bat-related tips and pointers.
One other note about the video on a different topic from the bats: If you have roofers working on your house, make sure that they use safety harnesses or some type of fall protection! While a work injury would typically fall under workers’ comp, as a homeowner, you don’t want to take any chances.

Halloween Perils For Pets … and People, Too


Last year, we posted a good roundup of Halloween safety tips for keeping people & property safe – particularly any diminutive zombies that might come to your house. There are also some excellent pumpkin carving examples and tips.

This year, we focus on pets. ABC News has posted Tips for Making Halloween Safer for Pets. Halloween is one of the most dangerous days of the year for pets because of the myriad of hazards it presents.

The abundance of candy lying around is a huge issue, since chocolate is poisonous to dogs. National Geographic has an excellent interactive doggie chocolate chart that tells you when to worry. According to the NRF, Americans spend close to $1.8 billion on Halloween Candy. That’s a lot of candy lying around just waiting to be ingested by animals. Not only that, but many of the wrappers are choking hazards for pets. Even the health conscious households who hand out boxes of raisins instead of candy should know that raisins are also dangerous to dogs and can result in kidney failure.

Here are a few more pet perils:

  • Heavy traffic to your front door gives your pets more than ample opportunities to escape. Many pets become lost or injured. Halloween is the second most reported day of the year for pets escaping, the first being the 4th of July.
  • Decorative candles may look festive but many pets receive injuries from them every Halloween. Whether it’s your cat knocking a candle off the mantle or sticking its head into a Jack-o-lantern, candles can burn and injure your pets if you’re not careful.
  • Owners who dress their pets in Halloween costumes should always maintain supervision. Many costumes poses choking hazards, overheat animals, or cause them to get tangled up and take nasty falls.

Lots of people don’t invest in pet insurance and that is clearly a mistake. If you don’t have pet insurance already why not connect with a Renaissance Alliance insurance agent near you?

Insurance and Your Dog


If you are thinking of getting a dog, or even if you already have one, it’s critical as either a homeowner or renter to check with your insurance agent to establish or review your liability coverage for dog bites and other canine-related injuries. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that every year more than 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs, and last year, the average cost of a dog bite claim was $26,166, according to the Insurance Information Institute — and costs continue to rise due to growing medical costs and larger settlements.

Most states have strict statutes holding owners directly responsible for injuries or damage inflicted by their dogs, and some insurance policies exclude dog breeds that are seen as particularly aggressive (see the Top 7 Dangerous Dog Breeds), so in addition to evaluating your ability to care for and properly train a dog, it’s vital to make sure you are covered by your policy, and take steps to minimize any risk of dog bite or other injury.

Tips for dog owners seeking homeowner/renter’s coverage for their dog(s):

  • Enroll your dog in obedience classes and work on helping the dog earn a diploma or certification
  • Schedule refresher classes for dogs who have already been trained, but are not as attentive as they once were!
  • Neuter male dogs to reduce dominance and aggression
  • Always keep your dogs on a leash and under control during walks
  • If your dog is allowed outside on your property, be sure the area is adequately fenced and protected
  • Never leave young children alone with a dog, and always teach them how to behave safely around dogs
  • If strangers make your dog nervous, be sure to separate them from new visitors in your home
  • To keep canine frustration in check, always make sure your dog is properly exercised, and don’t allow them to be exposed to teasing or taunting

Finally, if you are thinking of getting a dog primarily for home protection, be aware that money spent on increased security measures will ultimately be easier, more reliable, less expensive — and kinder to the animal.