Smithsonian Application

Examples of Articles

The Big Impact of Asian Small-Clawed Otters

The Big Impact of Asian Small-Clawed Otters

The Asian small-clawed otter (Aonyx cinereus) is a wily, adorable representative of the otter family. Commonly found in zoos in several regions, spanning several countries, these sleek little animals lead active lives. Even in captivity, they enjoy playing and trying to coerce their keepers into giving them more fish treats.

These otters are easy to love, with their affectionate personalities. They are also very intelligent. It is easy to see why the act of observing these animals is an enjoyable way to spend the day.

Physical Description

Asian small-clawed otters are also known as Oriental small-clawed, Asian short-clawed, and a few other variations of similar names. They are the smallest otters and weigh up to 11 pounds. They are about two to three feet long. Their tails are responsible for about a foot of that length.

In most cases, these otters have brown fur with a white or gray lower jaw and neck. While this coloration is common in other otter species, it’s particularly pronounced in many of the small-clawed otters. They have tiny, round ears, and a relatively petite snout, both of which contain structures to close off the ears and nose when the otters dive underwater. The Asian small-clawed otter has only partially webbed paws with short claws that aren’t always easy to see. Their facial whiskers help them to locate prey in the water. The way that these whiskers accomplish the task is by alerting the otters to movement in the water. The otters’ whiskers can feel that water movement. They have short legs and arms covered in ample skin to manage what needs to be done in the water and out of it.

Read more…

Red Pandas: Rightful Rulers of the Panda Roost

Red Pandas:  Rightful Rulers of the Panda Roost

Red pandas (Ailurus fulgens fulgens and Ailurus fulgens refulgens, (previously styani), are relatively small animals, but they are huge in the world of pandas and panda history. These housecat-sized bundles of fur, commonly found at zoos around the world, were first seen in 1825, by zoologist Frédéric Cuvier. This occurred many years before the giant panda was found.

Red pandas are currently considered to be in their own family, as you head further up in the taxonomic scale. The red pandas are considered to be distantly related to raccoons. However, red pandas are so distantly related that they are considered living fossils. If that isn’t confusing enough, scientists keep changing the theory of whether there is a connection at all. Basically, if they are not related to another species (i.e. raccoons), they are one in and of themselves, which is why they may be considered living fossils, by definition.


Red pandas have long tails that they use to help stabilize themselves. These tales not only help them to keep their balance, but also keep their faces warm when trying to nap in the cold weather. Including these multi-purpose tails, the pandas typically measure about 42 inches long.

Their underbelly fur is black and their top fur ranges from red to orange in color. This special coloring allows the pandas to be camouflaged when they are up in the trees. Any predator looking up from below will not see anything but the black fur of the panda’s underbelly, especially in the dark. Any tree-borne predators looking down cannot see the pandas either because the red fur matches the color that frequently matches that of common tree moss.

Read more…


Examples of Photography

fallBeachside architectureInSunset


Example of of One Type of Video (Many more available)

Music video that accompanies the cover song, “Killing Me Softly,” on Deborah E’s “Albumette.”

Note: The youtube videos include thumbnails and full video SEO. We have several different types of videos available for viewing.

More writing, photography, and video examples available upon request.