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By Eric Botts and Meg Sipos

Bestiary tells stories about humans and other animals, about the wildness of humanity and the domestication of nature.
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BestiaryMay 15, 2019

Dear Fox, Dear Barn

Dear Fox, Dear Barn

Two beings shared a fleeting but intimate bond. Now, they exchange letters that trace the evolution and eventual ebbing of their relationship over time and distance. A familiar story told through strange voices: Lovers, once close, watch the inevitable rift that grows in their relationship as one leaves for adventure and the other remains in the place they call home. That the lovers in this story are an old barn in rural Nebraska and a fox roving the countryside doesn't make the story any different. But the haunting landscape and the stories they tell one another might.
Nov 12, 201944:32
Interfector's Folly

Interfector's Folly

Worn down by life in the city, Scott and his wife Steph move out to the country to raise a family and a small flock of chickens, but when a family of raccoons threatens his flock, Scott is forced to reevaluate his views of life and death.


Bestiary is produced by Meg Sipos Eric Botts.

Thanks to Scott Larson for letting us reproduce that essay for the show. It originally appeared printed in the literary journal Phoebe, based out of George Mason University, in issue 44.1. You can find Scott on Twitter @ScottALars

Special thanks to Kim Stryker and Eric Astor for all their support.

Podington Bear created our ad music. Other music in this episode from Tequila Moonrise, Nctrnm, Miquel Parera Jaques, Kevin MacLeod, Free Tim, Lloyd Rogers, Lee Rosevere, Kai Engel, Chris Zabriskie, and Roberto Billi.

Subscribe to Bestiary on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or whatever app you use to tap into the podcast ether. You can poke us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook @BestiaryPod, and our website is While you’re there, take a look at the artwork Eric makes for each of our episodes.

If you think we’re worth keeping around, you might consider making a monthly donation. If you can’t donate, you could leave us a review on Apple Podcasts or just share the show with someone who hasn’t heard us.

We’re always looking for new material. Send us your animal-related stories, or that time you were reminded of your own or other people’s animal-ness, or maybe something happened once, and you’re not sure it has anything to do with animals, but it still feels somehow relevant to the show. Leave us a message at (571) 446-0341 or record a voice memo on your phone and email it to

Jul 17, 201942:42
After the Harvest

After the Harvest

 In 1845, Edgar Allen Poe coined the term "The Imp of the Perverse" to describe our drive toward destruction, especially of ourselves. In his short story of the same name, the narrator recalls a murder he'd committed simply because he could get away with it. Later, though, he's driven to confess, not because of guilt but for the same reason he'd killed in the first place: The Imp had driven him to do it.

In this episode, Eric tells a story about resisting the Imp. He first published this piece as an essay in Ricochet Magazine in September 2014.

Find us on Twitter and Facebook @BestiaryPod.

Podington Bear created our ad music. Additional music in this episode from the Pangolins, P. Frosini, Kosta T., Nctrnm, and Jahzzar.

Additional voice work in this episode by Shaun Holloway and Chris Boss.

Subscribe to Bestiary on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, or whatever app you use to tap into the podcast ether. Wherever you listen, please consider leaving us a review.

Check out our website,, where you’ll find original artwork for each episode and links to support the show with monthly donations.

Do you have an animal-related story? A story about a time you were reminded of your own or other people’s animal-ness? Or maybe a story you’re not sure has anything to do with animals at all but still feels kinda, sorta relevant to things we do with this show? Tell us about it at (571) 446-0341 or record a voice memo on your phone and email it to

Jun 12, 201915:58
May 15, 201935:16
Sphecius Speciosus

Sphecius Speciosus

Few insect sounds have inspired as much writing as that of the cicada. Our first act comes from Christa Spillson: Amid a 13-year cicada brood cycle, an ice cream shop introduces a new flavor. And in act two, Robbie Maakestad, as part of a trio of young warriors, defends the chattering insect from a small colony of parasitic wasps.

Robbie is a Senior Features Editor for The Rumpus and an Assistant Professor of Writing at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego. He is writing a biography of place about Jerusalem’s City of David archaeological site. He has been published or has forthcoming work in Boulevard, The Normal School, Essay Daily, Wigleaf, and Bad Pony, among others. Follow him on social media @RobbieMaakestad.

Christa Spillson  is a graduate of the Master of Fine Arts program in nonfiction writing at George Mason University and teaches at Salisbury University in Maryland. Her writing has been listed as “notable” in Best American Essays and has appeared or is forthcoming in literary journals such as Boulevard, Crazyhorse, Diagram, The Rumpus, and Portland Review.

Music in this episode comes from Santosh, Thomas Helton and Kevin Patton, Salomé Lego Playset, Apache Tomcat, Quantum Jazz, Misha Dioxin, Kevin MacLeod, The Unnameable, Damiano Baldoni, and Lorenzo's Music. You can find all of those artists at the Free Music Archive. Also in this episode, cicada calls and choruses recorded by Mike Koenig and Dan Mozgai. You can find more cicada sounds on the website

Apr 10, 201929:36
The Girl Who Turns to Rabbits
Mar 27, 201919:18
Fleas in Utopia

Fleas in Utopia

A couple of punks fight fleas in a run-down apartment. One of them creates a utopian squat house while her mother watches Kenneth Copeland every morning at dawn. And: What if Iggy Pop and Frodo Baggins were brothers, and what if they were cats, and what if Uma Thurman was their mom? These questions and more...
Mar 12, 201944:13
The Island Wolves

The Island Wolves

Writer and environmentalist Kim Todd joins us to talk about her essay, published in July of 2017 by Orion Magazine, "The Island Wolves." In the mid-twentieth century, scientists began a study on Lake Michigan's Isle Royale, believing it to be a perfectly isolated, natural laboratory, in which they could study predator-prey relationships between wolves and moose, untainted by outside human influence. What they found would throw decades of scientific assumptions into disarray.
Dec 13, 201741:45
Simple Coyote Math, Part 3

Simple Coyote Math, Part 3

In the final installment of Simple Coyote Math, we take you into rural Idaho, where a coyote trap poisons a fourteen-year-old boy and his dog. And we round out the miniseries with two stories from Native American folklore.
Nov 29, 201730:15
Simple Coyote Math, Part 2

Simple Coyote Math, Part 2

Part 2 of our series on the North American coyote comes in three act, based on the rules that cartoonist Chuck Jones laid out for himself in his writing of the Coyote and Road Runner cartoons. Act 1 tells the story of a girl's death in 1970s Los Angeles and the madness that followed. In act 2, we revisit Mark Twain's coyote, that "living, breathing allegory of want." And act 3 takes us back to Eric's hometown, Erie, Pennsylvania, for a story about a coyote living among the city's dead.
Nov 13, 201735:20
Simple Coyote Math, Part 1

Simple Coyote Math, Part 1

In 1999, Chuck Jones, creator of the Coyote and Road Runner, published his autobiography Chuck Amuck, in which he details, at one point, the nine rules that governed his writing of the cartoons. This miniseries on our relationship with the coyote takes its structure from those rules. Part 1 begins with Jones' first 3 rules. Rule #1: "The Coyote cannot harm the Road Runner except by going, 'Beep beep!'" Our greatest effects on coyotes come from the ways in which we alternately demonize and valorize them. Rule #2: "No outside force can harm the Coyote - only his own ineptitude or the failure of the Acme products." In our efforts to exterminate the coyote, we do as much harm to ourselves and the ecosystems on which we depend as we do to the coyote. And rule #3: "The Coyote could stop anytime - if he were not a fanatic," and so could we.
Nov 01, 201725:17
All - American Avians

All - American Avians

During World War II, famed psychologist BF Skinner started working on a project in which he would train ordinary street pigeons to guide pelican missiles (the irony of which was not lost on him) into German warships. In this fictional episode, Eric imagines a piece of radio propaganda in which the US government asks its citizens to send their own pets to war--which, it turns out was not totally unheard of at the time.
Aug 16, 201602:60