Category Archives: Welcome to Ask a Naturalist

A New Way to Follow Ask a Naturalist®…

Ask a Naturalist puffin logoAsk a Naturalist® has a new organizational layout that focuses on the correspondence we have with readers, and the process of answering questions. We’ll still be writing more in-depth articles about tricky questions, but for questions with simpler answers, you’ll see them here, as “Correspondence.” Click on a title that interests you and you’ll be taken to a page with the full question and all the back and forth between Ask a Naturalist® and the questioner.

If you know the answer or have a suggestion or correction, please join in the conversation by simply adding your comment to the discussion.

If a question grabs your interest and you want to know the answer, but you don’t want to join in, you can follow the conversation by clicking on the link that says “You can also subscribe without commenting.” You’ll get an email update whenever there’s an addition to the conversation. You can drop out of the conversation any time you want. Just click on the “Manage my subscription” link in your update email.

If you have questions or concerns about this, please email Thanks!

Please like AskaNaturalist on Facebook!

AskaNaturalist LogoI’m trying to figure out how best to use Facebook to let people know about and to give them another avenue through which to ask questions.  If you have any suggestions on how best to use Facebook for this site, please leave a comment here or on Facebook.  And if you could help me out by going to the page and liking it and sharing posts, etc. that would be very much appreciated.  Thank you!

AskaNaturalist on Facebook:

New Method of Subscribing to

Ask a Naturalist logoIn recent months, I’ve answered questions on everything from trees that smell like vinegar to seals that swim upside down.  What I haven’t done is keep up with sending out emails to subscribers. However, I have finally figured out how to use Feedburner, a service that will automatically send you an email whenever I post a new answer/article to  Once you are enrolled in the Feedburner system, you’ll get notices about new articles automatically … no more need to rely on me.

Subscribing is pretty simple.  Just click on Subscribe in the menu bar above and fill in your email address.  Feedburner will send you a confirmation email.  Click on the link and voila!  You’ll get an email on any day that I post a new article (typically 1-3 a week).  If you have any questions about this, or can’t get it to work, please email me at

If you’ve been using an RSS feed to subscribe to and you’re happy with that, there’s no need to change.

Tom Pelletier

Welcome to Ask a


I’m excited to be creating this new website/blog to answer questions about nature.  Despite a lifetime of learning about nature and asking questions, and a graduate degree in Biology, I would never claim to know more than a tiny fraction of the answers.  But I love to think about and research why and what and how questions about plants and animals.  I know how to track down the scientists who work on the questions, and I love the challenge of making their answers understandable to non-scientists.

For me, the most fun will be when you ask a question, and in the process of discovering the answer, we’ll also discover that there is another question, and that leads to another question …

Click here to send an email with your question. I’ll respond to you as quickly as possible.

Tom Pelletier, Naturalist