Just the Zoo of Us
By Ellen & Christian Weatherford
More information can be found at justthezooofus.com 😊
Got a species you want us to review? Submit your animal friend to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and when we review your animal we'll give you a shoutout! 😊
Cover art by Mrs. Brainbow (Taylor Gordon-Wood). Theme music by Louie Zong.
Just the Zoo of UsJun 02, 2021
121: Nine-banded Armadillo w/ Carly Haywood!
Join Ellen & special guest Carly Haywood for a review of the scaly, pig-snouted friends of the underbrush: nine-banded armadillos! In this episode, we discuss whether you should be afraid of getting leprosy from an armadillo, what “pancaking” is and why they do it, and little tiny clone parades scuttling through the underbrush.
You can follow Carly on Twitter at @MotherOfDasypus :)
Cover photo: Svetlana Foote, via Getty images
120: Acorn Woodpecker & West African Lungfish
Join the Weatherfords for a weekly animal review! In this week's episode, Christian brings the acorn woodpecker to trial for its rampant vandalism & Ellen goes for a ride in a time machine with the West African lungfish. Along the way, we discuss the physics of using your face as a jackhammer, snot cocoons, and Sonic hedgehog.
Cover photos: Luis Echeverri Urrea via Getty images (woodpeckers), voltan1 via Getty images (lungfish)
119: Pigeons w/ Rosemary Mosco!
Join Ellen & special guest, science writer & naturalist Rosemary Mosco, for a review of the little grey guy strutting down a street near you: the pigeon! We discuss the history of why pigeons live alongside us, how they evade the clutches of even the world’s fastest predator, ways pigeon couples keep the romance alive, and the joy of appreciating these metropolitan doves.
You can find Rosemary's work, including her brand new book A Pocket Guide to Pigeon Watching at her website: rosemarymosco.com
Cover photo by Junichi Yamada, via Getty Images.
118: Ocean Sunfish & Tanuki
Join the Weatherfords for a weekly animal review! In this week's episode inspired by Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Ellen basks in the unexpected glory of the ocean sunfish & Christian pays respect to the mischievous tanuki. You'll learn what to bring to a sunfish's dinner party and how the tanuki earns the title of power couple.
117: Flatfish w/ Dr. Kory Evans!
Join Ellen & special guest evolutionary biologist Dr. Kory Evans for a review of the dimensionally innovative flatfish! Learn the story of why these quirky fishes developed such peculiar body plans and how their bizarre adaptations help them live their best life beneath the sand. We discuss migrating eyes, transient feet, and which cartoons got flounders right and wrong.
Keep up with Kory and his lab's work on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Sternarchella
Cover photo: Jodi Jacobson via Getty Images
116: Painted Bat & Dracula Parrot
Join the Weatherfords for a weekly animal review! In this week's festively spooky episode, Christian kicks off the celebration with the painted bat & Ellen counts up points for the iconic Dracula parrot.
Photos: Merlin Tuttle (painted bat), Ondrej Prosicky (Dracula parrot)
115: Myriapods (Millipedes, Centipedes & Pauropods) w/ Dr. Derek Hennen!
Join Ellen & special guest, entomologist Derek Hennen, for a review of our many-legged friends, the myriapods! We’re talking millipedes, centipedes, and pauropods: what the difference is between these long guys, how they manage to scurry around without tripping over all of those feet, and what they’re up to down there underneath the leaf litter.
Join the millipede fan club: @DearMillipede
Cover photo by Derek Hennen, of "one of the prettiest cherry millipedes (Polydesmida: Xystodesmidae) I've come across!"
Meet the Neighbors: Just the Zoo of Us x One Bad Mother
Just the Zoo of Us and One Bad Mother got together to celebrate MaxFun Block Party!
If you enjoyed this conversation we had with host Biz Ellis, be sure to subscribe to One Bad Mother on maximumfun.org!
114: Amazon Molly & Aardvark
Ellen inspects an army of fish clones, the Amazon molly, and Christian finally digs in to the details of the inimitable aardvark. Learn how clones are made in nature, what's going on inside the aardvark's porcine snout, and why it's so crucial to never leave home without tippy-tappies.
Amazon molly photo by Manfred Schartl. Aardvark photo by Michael Viard via Getty Images.
Special announcement: We're joining Maximum Fun!
We've got big, exciting, great news! Just the Zoo of Us is joining the Maximum Fun network! Listen to our announcement for more information about the network, the date of our first episode as members, and a very special treat if you stick around to the end (it's less than two minutes!).
Check out Maximum Fun & their other wonderful shows over at www.maximumfun.org :)
113: Freshwater Sponges w/ Mallory McNulty!
Join Ellen & special guest Mallory McNulty for a review of our porous friends, freshwater sponges! Get the real answers to your burning sponge questions, like what a sponge feels like in your hands, how a completely stationary animal gets to new places, what kind of role they play in their ecosystem & why freshwater sponges have earned their chance in the spotlight!
112: Mexican Mole Lizard & Echidna
Join the Weatherfords for a weekly animal review! In this week's episode, Christian reviews the reptile disguised as an earthworm, the Mexican mole lizard, and Ellen evaluates the eclectic, enigmatic echidna.
111: Common Loon w/ Ivan Phillipsen!
Join Ellen & special guest, naturalist Ivan Phillipsen, for a review of the iconic common loon! In this episode, we discuss why they got stuck with such a rude name, how they’ve managed to master both water AND air, and the hidden meanings behind those ethereal (and slightly spooky) songs in the night.
Ivan's podcast, The Science of Birds, can be found wherever you get your podcasts. For more information, visit their website at https://www.scienceofbirds.com/
110: Backswimmers w/ Gavin Campbell!
Join Ellen & special guest, ecologist Gavin Campbell, for a review of the surprising little bugs zipping just beneath the surface of a pond near you: backswimmers! In this episode, Gavin tells us his stories of raising dragons, a mysterious entomological cold case, and his very own super villain origin story.
109: Philippine Eagle & Humpback Whale
Join the Weatherfords for a weekly animal review! In this week's episode, Ellen details what makes the Philippine eagle soar above the competition & Christian sings praises for the humpback whale.
108: Great Horned Owl w/ Ashley Bray!
107: Thresher Shark w/ Jaida Elcock!
Join Ellen & special guest, shark scientist & co-founder of MISS Jaida Elcock, for a review of the chronically anxious scorpion of the sea: thresher sharks! Topics include the unique features that make thresher sharks particularly amazing, what it's like to study sharks, how to safely share the ocean with them, marine science in Finding Nemo, and more.
You can learn more about MISS's work promoting diversity and inclusion in shark science & support their organization at their website: https://www.misselasmo.org/
106: Mudskipper & Hoatzin
Join the Weatherfords for a weekly animal review! In this week's episode, Christian reviews how the mudskipper gets the best of both worlds & Ellen strongly relates to the smelliest living dinosaur, the hoatzin.
105: Fossa w/ Asia Murphy!
Join Ellen & special guest, ecologist Asia Murphy, for a review of the fossa! In this episode, we discuss their catlike (but not feline!) features, an unusual bachelor-deterring disguise, and what makes the buffed-up fossa such a unique and gorgeous animal.
This episode was made in collaboration with the Lemur Conservation Network! Learn more about the wildlife of Madagascar & how we can help protect them at www.lemurconservationnetwork.org
104: Blue-Eyed Black Lemur w/ Dr. Jen Tinsman!
Join Ellen & special guest, evolutionary biologist Dr. Jen Tinsman, for a review of Madagascar's striking blue-eyed black lemurs! In this episode, we discuss Madagascar's incredible biodiversity, the relationships between humans and lemurs, and just how charming these arboreal friends are.
This episode was made in collaboration with the Lemur Conservation Network. Learn more about their work supporting conservation in Madagascar at their website: https://www.lemurconservationnetwork.org/
103: Malayan Tapir & Lone Star Tick
102: Plants w/ Dr. Vikram Baliga!
Join Ellen & special guest, horticulturist Dr. Vikram Baliga, for a review of... plants! We left the animal kingdom for this look at some of the fascinating adaptations that plants have made to stay thriving. In this episode, we discuss millenia-old trees, diabolical beetle-trapping lilies, living toilets, cold-blooded plant warfare happening right in front of our eyes, and other fun facts guaranteed to give you a deeper appreciation for the plant life all around us.
101: Mantis Shrimp w/ Alice Chou!
Join Ellen & special guest, marine neurobiologist Alice Chou, for a review of the ocean's feisty boxers, mantis shrimps! In this episode, we discuss why the mantis shrimp is so good at punching stuff, what's up with their funky disco eyes, and other delectable treats for your brain.
100th Episode Q&A Celebration!
Join Ellen & Christian for a special episode answering questions from our beautiful listeners about topics including (but not limited to): making the podcast, things we've learned about animals and nature, our favorite video games, and more!
99: Bald Eagles w/ Patch, creator of TierZoo!
Join Ellen & special guest Patch, creator of zoology-meets-gaming web series TierZoo, for a review of North America's iconic raptor, the bald eagle. In this episode we discuss the intersection between ecology and video games as well as how the bald eagle measures up to its competitors.
98: Cockroaches w/ Charles Wallace!
Join Ellen & special guest entomologist Charles Wallace for a review of nature's oft-maligned rogues, cockroaches! In this episode, we bust myths about the roaches that cozy up to human spaces, learn about some of the fascinating strategies that different types of roaches all over the world use to thrive, and give these hardy insects some long overdue praise.
97: Sea Otter & Blue-Ringed Octopus
Join the Weatherfords for a weekly animal review! In this week's episode, Ellen reviews the ocean's most adorable monsters, sea otters, & Christian rates the dazzling blue-ringed octopus.
96: Orangutans w/ Dr. Lara Durgavich!
Join Ellen & special guest, biological anthropologist Dr. Lara Durgavich for a review of the arboreal royalty, orangutans! In this episode, we discuss how orangutans have adapted to make themselves at home in the tree tops, how we see ourselves reflected in their faces & behavior, and how we can help support orangutans in their habitats.
95: Cape Stumpnose w/ Dr. Yanasivan Kisten!
Join Ellen & special guest, marine ecophysiologist Dr. Yanasivan Kisten for a review of the unassuming yet impressive Cape stumpnose! In this episode, we discuss the crucial role that estuaries play in a healthy ecosystem & spotlight how this little silver fish that can stand up to some pretty big challenges.
94: American Black Bear & Scaly-foot Snail
Join the Weatherfords for a weekly animal review! In this week's episode, Christian teaches us why you should resist that urge to feed the bears & Ellen takes a deep dive into the heavily fortified extremophile, the scaly-foot snail.
93: Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle w/ Alex Troutman!
Join Ellen & special guest wildlife biologist Alex Troutman for a review of the most dedicated beach babes of all, Kemp's ridley sea turtles! In this episode, we discuss what we can learn about life from sea turtles, why it's so important to be kind to our beaches, and how we can all make the shores a little friendlier to the wildlife that we love.
92: Archerfish w/ Dagmar der Weduwen!
91: Periodical Cicadas & Portuguese Man O' War
Join the Weatherfords for a weekly animal review! In this week's episode, Ellen gives the buzz on periodical cicadas & Christian unfurls the sails of the Portuguese man o' war.
90: Pronghorn w/ Vinny Thomas!
Join Ellen & special guest, comedian Vinny Thomas, for a review of the champion of the sagebrush, the pronghorn! In this episode, we discuss how this charming little ungulate outran extinction, attempts to face modern challenges, and continues to do the absolute most at all times.
Intro & outro music: "Adventuring", Louie Zong
89: Vietnamese Mossy Frog w/ Gina Zwicky!
Join Ellen & special guest, biologist & naturalist Gina Zwicky, for a review of the amphibian master of disguise, the Vietnamese mossy frog! In this episode, Gina makes the case for frogs as simple yet refined masterpieces, shares some tricks of the frog-finding trade, and geeks out with Ellen over science communication via anime.
Intro & outro music: "Adventuring", Louie Zong
88: Stargazer & Pink Fairy Armadillo
Join the Weatherfords for a weekly animal review! In this week's very fossorial episode, Christian reveals the hidden nightmares of the stargazer fish and Ellen digs into the buried secrets of the pink fairy armadillo.
87: Jumping Spiders w/ Dr. Sebastian Echeverri!
Join Ellen & special guest, arachnologist Dr. Sebastian A. Echeverri for a review of the overpowered bards of the arachnid world, jumping spiders! In this episode, we discuss jumping spiders' incomparable processing power, hunting skill, and flair for the dramatic.
Episode cover photo by our guest himself, Dr. Sebastian Echeverri!
Intro & outro music: "Adventuring", Louie Zong
86: Copepods w/ Jimmy Bernot!
Join Ellen & special guest, evolutionary biologist Jimmy Bernot, for a review of the microscopic crustaceans truly running the world, copepods! In this episode, we discuss what makes copepods so successful at what they do, the role that parasites play in an ecosystem, and the biodiversity you can find among fish boogers.
Intro & outro music: "Adventuring", Louie Zong
85: Opossum & Burrowing Owl
Join the Weatherfords for a weekly animal review! In this week's episode, Ellen's heart is stolen by the trash bandit opossum & Christian digs up all the dirt on the burrowing owl.
84: Cheetahs w/ Gabi Fleury!
Join Ellen and special guest, conservation biologist Gabi Fleury, for a review of the punk nerds of the big cat family, cheetahs! In this episode we discuss how cheetahs go so fast, what sets them apart from the rest of the cats, and conflict between humans and wildlife.
83: Tarantulas w/ Tea Francis!
Join Ellen & special guest, artist and arachnid enthusiast Tea Francis, for a review of our fuzzy, chunky, leggy friends: tarantulas! In this episode we discuss why tarantulas deserve admiration, how (and why) to respect their boundaries, and what it's like to live with hundreds of tiny roommates in the Spider Room.
82: Olm & Maned Wolf
Join the Weatherfords for a weekly animal review! Christian returns with the secretive underground cave puppy, the olm, and Ellen reviews the uniquely stunning maned wolf.
81: Barnacles w/ Elizabeth Mills!
Join Ellen and special guest, marine biologist Elizabeth Mills, for a review of the often-overlooked ride-or-die friends of the sea, barnacles! Topics include (but are not limited to): barnacle reproductive anatomy, whale armor, zombie crab mechs, and whether or not geese are fruit.
80: Sea Stars w/ Dr. Christopher Mah!
Join Ellen and marine biologist Dr. Christopher Mah for a review of the mysterious, complicated, many-armed predators of the deep, sea stars! In this episode, we discuss why sea stars are so important to marine ecosystems, their secret drama playing out in slow motion, and their captivatingly unfamiliar beauty.
79: Reindeer (aka Caribou) w/ Olivia deBourcier!
Join Ellen and special guest, environmental scientist & host of the Beyond Blathers podcast Olivia deBourcier, for a review of a festive icon, the reindeer (also known as caribou)! In this episode, we talk about what makes reindeer so lovable (spoiler alert: so many things), what it's like to work with them, and the challenges they're facing in their native habitats.
78: Ants w/ Aaron Fairweather!
Join Ellen and special guest, entomologist Aaron Fairweather, for a review of the industrious, conniving, world-conquering ants! In this episode, we discuss what makes ants so successful, the theatrical levels of drama going on under our feet every day, and as a special treat, a free idea for a D&D character.
77: Orb Weavers & Wolf Spiders w/ Madison Bush!
Join Ellen & special guest, field biologist Madison Bush, for a review of a couple of very leggy friends, orb weavers & wolf spiders! In this episode we discuss the World Wide Web, moustaches made out of eyes, and buff Tom Holland.
76: Olympic Torrent Salamander w/ Travis Kurtz!
Join Ellen and special guest, herpetologist Travis Kurtz, for a review of Washington's very own Olympic torrent salamander! In this episode, we go over what makes salamanders so charming, the mysteries that make this little one so special, and what it's like to study them.
75: Coquerel's Sifaka w/ Keriann McGoogan!
Join Ellen and special guest, conservationist & primatologist Keriann McGoogan, for a review of Coquerel's sifaka! In this episode, we chat about what makes sifakas so special as well as what it's like to work with and study them in the wild in Madagascar.
This episode was made in collaboration with the Lemur Conservation Network for the World Lemur Festival. You can celebrate World Lemur Day on Friday, October 30! https://www.lemurconservationnetwork.org/world-lemur-day/
74: Scalloped Hammerhead w/ Ryan Hegseth!
Join Ellen and special guest, marine biologist Ryan Hegseth, for a review of the scalloped hammerhead! In this episode, we review what makes this hammerhead shark so successful and charming in addition to some slight detours along the way, visiting topics like octopus hickeys, learning to fight fear with education, and Shark Week.