Posts Tagged ‘ animals ’

Which Animals Don’t Have Tails? (I Had To Google It)

Sunday, January 19th, 2014

3 years, 2 months.

Disclaimer/incentive to read this: May contain unintentional potty humor of a 3 year-old.

Dear Jack,

On the way to school Friday morning, you broke about 5 minutes worth of silence to announce:

“Tigers have tails, so they don’t poop. And pandas, too. They have tails but they don’t really like to poop. But pandas are not bears.”

I should point out here that you weren’t trying to be funny… you were completely serious, not smiling at all. Your tone was very informative.

As I listened to you teach me about the bathroom preferences of animals, I began (privately) processing your logic.

I began thinking about how if pandas specifically don’t like to poop, does that mean other animals enjoy it?

Also, I tried to make a connection between having a tail and not pooping. Why would having a tail affect that?

I began wondering about the alternative- where would the food go that animals eat?

Does the tail serve as a bit of a trap door to keep it all in?

This thought process occurred during an intensive 8 second period, before I decided to ask you a follow-up question: 

What about fish?

“Fish have tails in the water, so they don’t poop,” you quickly answered.

For the first couple of hours of the day after I dropped you off at school, I was trying to think of animals that don’t have tails. No luck.

Finally, I Googled “animals that don’t have tails,” to find out the few exceptions to the rule.

Here’s the list of animals I found, according to the Internet, that don’t have tails:

Frogs (though they do when they are young), gorillas, apes, chimpanzees, orangutans, octopuses, clams, and starfish. Plus, certain spiders and insects; depending on a person’s definition of “animal.”

So if you rule out marine life, too, it’s pretty much certain primates that don’t have tails. I never realized so few animals, mammals in particular, have no tail.

Basically, your logic says that because humans don’t have tails, that’s why they poop.

In my 32 years on this planet, I’ve never thought how few animals have tails. I must thank you, Son, for bringing this to my attention. 

Of course, you’re using the “tail concept” to say that’s why most animals don’t poop.

If only you had a tail, potty training would be a lot easier… according to your logic, at least!



Love, Daddy 


Note: This is an opinion piece of the author (and his son) and does not reflect the scientific community. For example, panda bears really are bears; it’s red pandas that are not.


Photo Sources-

Young Sumatran Tiger Walking.

Giant Panda Bear In Tree.

Old Silverback Chimpanzee.

(Memes created by Nick Shell.)

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My Son, The Zoo Animal Heckler

Sunday, May 19th, 2013

2 years, 6 months.

Dear Jack,

Twenty years ago in 1993, as a 12 year-old boy, I got to see Jurassic Park in the movie theater with my dad. It was the most life-like experience I’ve ever had in regards to believing I was actually seeing real dinosaurs.

As for you, your version of that happened last weekend when Mommy and I took you to the Nashville Zoo. You finally got to meet a real “dinosaur,” as promised. (An iguana, to be exact.)

Though you enjoyed finally getting to see one, as promised and hyped up, you told me your favorite animal was actually, of all exotic things, the turtle.


(Maybe it’s because our last name is Shell and turtles have a shell?)

You brought a red lowrider truck with you as your companion.

Somehow, from the beginning of our zoo visit, you assumed that in order for the thing to be legitimate or official, you were obligated for each zoo animal to see your truck.

It was like getting your passport stamped. You had to have each new animal hear your offer to play with them.

Impressively, we ended up seeing every animal in the entire zoo in an hour and 25 minutes. Your concept of going to the zoo is like mine of going shopping: Get in, get it, get out!

But of course, along the way, you did have time to unintentionally (?) heckle the zoo animals:

“Hey Tiger! I ride you?”

“Hey Meerkat! Wanna play with my red truck?”

Fortunately, you never seemed too bummed out when the animals stared in the other direction while you sincerely tried to befriend them.

Oh well, we ended up buying a family season pass to the zoo, so this wasn’t your only chance to befriend the (hopefully) enchanted creatures of the forest.

Most importantly, you still believe that dinosaurs are alive and well.

I care less about you losing faith in Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny.

Or even Mickey Mouse.

But if you still believe that dinosaurs exist, I believe I can assist in keeping your childhood wonder alive even longer.

Randomly enough, the zoo helps with that.





P.S. To see more pictures of your recent visit to the zoo, go to The Dadabase Facebook page and click on the picture folder, Zoo and Baseball 2013.



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Hiding From My Son That Dinosaurs Are Extinct

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

2 years, 5 months.

Dear Jack,

If weather permits, Mommy and I are taking you to the zoo this weekend.

However, I think you’ve made some assumptions about what will be on exhibit there.

As I walked you into school this morning, you couldn’t hold in the excitement:

“We see dinosaurs at the zoo!”

It was at that moment this occurred to me: You have no idea that dinosaurs haven’t existed on this Earth in a very long time.

Really though, why would you not think dinosaurs are still around?

After all, I just bought you a plastic T-Rex to wrestle your monster trucks. Therefore, you have assumed that dinosaurs and monster trucks are age-old rivals.

It doesn’t help that over the weekend you watched an episode of Transformers: Rescue Bots, as well as the 1981 animated Spider-Man series, where the plot involved dinosaurs coming to life in modern day, causing chaos and therefore invoking the help of the good guys to save everyone.

When your teacher, Ms. Lauren, asked you what else besides dinosaurs you are excited to see at the zoo this weekend, you quickly responded: “Trucks. Fire trucks.”

Son, this may be a very disappointing visit to the zoo. Hopefully, I can pass off the iguanas as “baby dinosaurs.”

It’s just that I feel compelled to protect your belief in dinosaurs. I kind of don’t want you to find out the truth about them.

So that’s what will happen. I will encourage and build up your version of reality where dinosaurs are still alive in the world. Because honestly, that sounds like a pretty cool version of reality. Who am I to mess that up for you right now?




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My Kid Is Obsessed With Animals

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

19 months.

Jack has recently acquired a farm/zoo. And boy is he proud to take care of his Made in China plastic toys. I mean, his furry little friends.

This past weekend at his cousin Calla’s house, Jack discovered a “Farm Animal Play Set” my sister and her husband had bought on clearance for 3 bucks at Target. The set consists of a clear backpack filled with many familiar animals.

Why exactly the “farm” set included a mother and baby ostrich as well as a wolf, I don’t know.

Nor could I tell you why there is a random African-looking tree along with two logs. How certain things made the cut remains a mystery.

Not to mention that the “baby” animals are simply miniatures blended in from some leftover batch from Taiwan; clearly not originally intended to be in relation to the “mother” animals, which for some reason all have red eyes.

Needless to say, I named the dog with red eyes, Cujo.

And I couldn’t help but notice the adult duck is nearly the size of the adult ostrich.

One more thing, the larger sized animals were glued together; you can clearly see where the cow’s head was glued on to the rest of its body. (I have seen these exact ones sold separately at Michael’s for like 2 bucks a piece.)

Well, I shouldn’t have been surprised that Jack is completely unaware of just how “Frankensteined” his mismatched farm set is. All he knows is, he loves his animals.

Don’t all kids?

Jack has to be holding 3 of his animals at all times: in the car, in bed, during meals, even while running from me as I chase him across the house during playtime.

Yesterday when he saw that the dishwasher was empty, he grabbed the utensil caddy and carried it over to the coffee table. Then he carefully placed the mutant duck and Cujo in their own separate compartments.

He waited a few seconds and stared at the wall, as to symbolize the passing of several hours. Finally, he woke up the animals and removed them from the utensil caddy, I mean, their stalls: The plastic rooster had apparently crowed.

Kids love animals. Heck, they’re obsessed with them.

Take a look through your child’s favorite books or check out the covers of their favorite DVD’s. Humans are rare. Instead, talking animals have replaced us.

To a toddler, animals are something to be enthralled by.

Animals look funny, they have their own strange movements, they make weird distinct noises, and they’re lovable; except for the ones that are vicious and deadly; but in a child’s world, they by default are all enchanted.

(Have you noticed how many friendly lions and alligators are featured on your little boy’s shirts? I have. It’s pretty funny.)

I’m not the kind of guy to use the word “sweet” in the emotional sense, but I have to admit, it makes my heart smile to see him so earnestly trying to care for the needs of his animals.

You’ve already heard about Jack hosing down Cujo and Mutant Duck. (They must be his favorites.)

Well, now you know that his animals are a full-time responsibility.

They must not only be cleaned, but also fed and given a good night’s rest in their stalls. As long as the dishwasher isn’t full.

For more pictures of Jack with his animals, visit The Dadabase’s Facebook and click on the photo album, Jack’s Farm/Zoo.


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Santa Claus and Other White Lies We Tell Our Kids

Saturday, December 3rd, 2011

One year.

With good reason, I’ve never been able to legitimately process the double standard of leading a child to believe in Santa Claus while at the same time teaching them not to lie.

It’s interesting how far we have had to stretch the lies, just like with any outrageous falsehood, in order to keep kids believing.

“How does Santa fit down the chimney? How does he fit all the toys in his sleigh? How does he travel the whole world overnight?”

(Insert ridiculous answers here.)

Yes, the legend of Santa Claus was born of Christian folklore, so as a predominately Christian nation, we can rest assured knowing that jolly ole St. Nick has accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior. He has been confirmed, baptized, and even has a tattoo of John 3:16 on his arm.

Yet we can’t deny that in the way John Lennon once infamously claimed that the Beatles were bigger than Jesus, the fame of Santa arguably is greater than the actual reason Christmas came to be celebrated in the first place: the birth of Jesus as the prophesied Messiah of the Old Testament.

But can we really get caught up in this particular double standard? Aren’t there other white lies we tell our kids to either A) comfort them or B) entertain them? Yup.

A very traditional white lie I’ve heard parents tell their kids is that when a loved one dies, in particular a grandparent, that person becomes an angel who watches over them in Heaven.

Sorry, the Bible doesn’t say that. I don’t know of any popular religion that actually does.

Besides, what does that even mean? How does Grandpa Murphy “watch over” your kid? Does he part the clouds, look down and see little Jaxon about to run over a stick while riding his bike, so Grandpa sends a few of his buddy angels to kick the stick out of the way just in time, saving Jaxon from crashing his bike?

Sure, the Bible says that there are guardian angels, but we don’t actually become them ourselves after entering Heaven. So it’s a white lie.

It’s a similar thing when a beloved pet dies. Yeah, all dogs go to Heaven, just like that movie that came out when I was in 2nd grade. Cats? Yeah, them too. The goldfish? That’s debatable. Now, let’s stop asking so many questions and finish eating this delicious Hamburger Helper dinner.

Don’t worry, we “helped” that cow go to Heaven quicker and meet all his cow family that were part of those burgers we grilled out last weekend.

Image: Traditional Santa Clause via Shutterstock.

Unexpected Bonus!

Want to read more on the subject? Today I am giving away a copy of the new book, Christmas is Not Your Birthday, to one lucky and curious reader. The book’s author, Mike Slaughter, is the lead pastor of Ginghamsburg United Methodist Church in Tipp City, Ohio.

Through his church’s annual Christmas Miracle Offering, over $5 million has been raised for humanitarian relief in Darfur. If you ask me, this guy sounds like a real life Santa Claus. Not one that gives toys to kids, but instead someone who helps keep them from dying.

Just be the first person to A) leave a comment on this post saying you want it and B) send me an email including your mailing address to

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