• Member Since 29th Apr, 2012
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"Oh, um, hello. As you know, I am Fluttershy and I teach kindness.

The key to being kind to everycreature is knowing what every creature needs. So in this class I will be introducing you to the many creatures we share our world with, and how they live."

Rated T for potential discussion about predation, parasitism, reproduction, and other fascinating things animals do.

Now has a badly neglected Twitter account with a similar premise.

Chapters (9)
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Comments ( 29 )

Animals are like people, except people are ungrateful and can curse

This story kind of sounds like it needs to be rated M. Why isn't rated M?

It's a gray area, I'll admit. I selected the rating for a couple of reasons: I don't plan on going into explicit detail describing violence and reproduction (the general, matter-of-fact statements in this chapter are about as far as it will go), and these acts are described as happening among wildlife instead of completely sapient characters.

I'm happy to bump up the rating if a staff member requests it, but in the end, there shouldn't anything here that would be out of place in a standard nature documentary, general audience animal encyclopedia, or high school biology textbook, and in fact I would contend that this is only a small step up from the panel in the official comics that I'm using as a cover for the story. I realize that everyone has different sensibilities, but I'd think that few people would argue that those works are not suitable for teens.

I found this really interesting.

I seem to recall hearing that even morphine won't help the pain of platypus venom, because it takes a different chemical path to causing it than most sources of pain or something.

If so, I would strongly suspect that it is a useful resource to people researching new pain-killers, and maybe other aspects of pain.

What anatomical feature define the taxonomic difference between a jellyfish and a siphonophore?

Consider moving the pictures from the author's notes to the start of the chapters. Might gross people out of reading, but then again you started with an animal that LOOKS cute (probably not actually good for snuggling, even the females).

All of these are actually really interesting. I didn't know what to expect from this story but I'm pleasantly surprised that I learned a couple things from this.

Can't wait for the next chapter!

Thanks for telling me. I don't know what went wrong, but I've replaced the image.

Even though some siphonophores look like jellyfish, their structure is fundamentally different. A siphonophore is a colony of many individual animals working together as one organism. In this way, each tentacle is actually its own individual, and there are other individuals in the colony that function in, for example, feeding or reproduction. A jellyfish is composed of just one individual, like what we'd think of as a normal animal.

Putting the images up top would be helpful, wouldn't it? I've taken your advice. :pinkiesmile: And you got me, I deliberately picked an animal that readers are likely to have heard of and is cute (but still weird) for the first chapter. (There will be chapters on other cute animals in time!)

This fanfic is very cute, and you nailed Fluttershy's voice.

Do the right bastard of a creatures known as the badger lol

He is a male, as you can tell by his pink bill, black throat, and the white patches on his cheeks. Females have a white throat and a brown face.

So why did you use a picture of a female?

I like how you're putting morals into this as well. Makes it feel more in-character.

The picture is of a male, but the lighting is not ideal. I used a clearer photo at first, however the image would not embed. This is what a female looks like.

I can't stop thinking that she's referring to Perry the Platypus

I am surprised that there was no mention of Vampire Fruit Bats even though you did mention Flutterbat. I know that they aren’t the focus of the lesson, but you’d think that since Flutterbat was mentioned and vampire fruit bats are a local spicies comparing and contrasting would be educational.

I tend to de-emphasize the more fantastical elements of the series in this fic, since it's mainly a thinly-veiled excuse for me to infodump about real-world animals. (The reader is probably a really unlucky student who happens to miss all the lectures on "mythological" creatures. :twilightsheepish:) But you're right, it would have made sense to have at least mentioned them directly, if only to say that they're different from blood-drinking vampire bats. In fact, I might well edit in a sentence saying just that right now!

"Although they need to drink a lot of blood, vampire bats don't take nearly enough to seriously hurt a creature of our size. However, they can still pose a danger to ponies by spreading diseases like rabies.

"But if you do live someplace where vampire bats are found, you may want to sleep with your windows shut so they won't come feed from you during the night. And it's a good idea to keep your shots up to date, so you won't get sick if you do get bitten.

Some world-building that walks the line you mentioned here 10117532 since it is the real species and real disease, just with fantasy medicine and/or animal-handling options.

Rabies is Serious Business in real life. The vaccine isn't trivially easy to get as a preventive thing for a human (I've tried), and I believe the post-bite, but pre-symptomatic treatment is expensive. The only even ATTEMPT at a post-symptomatic cure I've heard of is a medically induced coma. Don't know if it worked. Other than that once you show symptoms it is a death sentence I think.

Thus, in Equestria, I would think that, depending on just how rare "I can talk to bats (and maybe other things)." is that getting them the shots*, and/or feeding them mostly on blood from hospitals that is barely too old to be injected would be reasonable precautions. A day or two is probably enough of a buffer if a disaster drops the supply. Pegasi are fast to send the message and get the delivery, and, failing that, Ponies are helpful to each other so an emergency blood drive would likely get a good response even if half of it were earmarked specifically for the bats.
*We do it for pets...

Or maybe they just have better vaccine and cure options?

There are, of course, elements of worldbuilding that I cannot ignore while adapting real species as inhabitants of the MLP universe. (Not that I don't appreciate the challenge—I wouldn't have written this fic otherwise.) So I simply made the assumption that Equestria has more accessible preventative measures for the disease, which seemed reasonable seeing as most of the sapient population is among the vampire bats' preferred prey, no less. But I can see things working your way, too.

Fun fact! Do you know why salt on a wound is so painful? Sodium ions are the trigger for pain-sensing noiceptors in the peripheral nervous system. These ions are released by the body in normal situations, but just imagine dumping a bunch in externally.

Morphine blocks off a lot of those receptors (including some of them that aren't related to pain, which is why it is so dangerous of a drug), but if I remember correctly, it doesn't block off all of them. Maybe platypus venom affects those.

the true answer is, of course, magic

For this setting, that's an explanation I can accept. :rainbowlaugh:

I like how Fluttershy occasionally mentions other characters.

This is still supposed to be a MLP fanfic after all, offbeat though it is. :pinkiehappy:

When I was a little kid, which is longer ago than I care to think about, a local tv station had a Saturday morning live kids show called The Percy Platypus Show. It was pretty good for a local production.

Will you be doing any animal that are unique to the show?

I had no idea! :pinkiegasp: Fun coincidence.

Animals that don't exist in our world, you mean? It would be interesting to think up speculative biology for them, but I'd do it as a separate fic. Covering both real and (to us) fictional species in this one might get confusing.

I thought olms were from South America for some reason.

Also, I like how this chapter has more backstory than usual.

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