Saturday, March 31, 2012

Six-Legged Calf Is Instant Hit In Switzerland

Meet leggy Lilli, a cute calf who has become an instant celebrity in Switzerland. When Lilli came into the world -- in Weissenburg, 19 miles south of the capital city Bern -- with two extra legs attached to her back, an assisting vet didn't give her much chance of survival.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Bururi Long-Fingered Frog, Cardioglossa Cyaneospila, Comes Out Of Hiding

A long-fingered frog last seen in 1949 and feared extinct has come out of hiding in the forests of Burundi, a small country in eastern Africa, scientists reported this week. Called the Bururi long-fingered frog (Cardioglossa cyaneospila), the amphibian is about 1.5 inches (3.8 centimeters) long, with a black and bluish-gray coloration.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Titanoboa, World's Biggest Snake, Coming To Smithsonian

The world's biggest snake is coming to the nation's capital. A model of it, anyway. The scientifically accurate, realistic model of the prehistoric reptile is coming to the Museum of Natural History. And it's huge! Titanoboa is 48 feet long and weighs 2,500 pounds -- think of this snake as being about the length of a male sperm whale, or a city bus, and about as heavy as a hippo. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Orphaned Baby Owls Get New Home, Move In With Buddy Jimmy Robinson

After hatching in an incubator at a hawk conservancy in England, two orphaned baby owls have moved in with their new dad, park keeper Jimmy Robinson for a month of hand-rearing at his home, MSNBC's Animal Tracks reports. The burrowing owlets, named Linford and Christie, are 6 weeks old and will require 24-hour care. According to the network, the species gets its names from burrowing in small spaces in the wild.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Stowaway Kitten Back In Marin

A cat that wandered into the engine compartment of a van - and ended up traveling from Mill Valley to Santa Cruz - is back in Marin County. "She is quite adorable and in very good shape, with no apparent injuries or illness," said John Reese, a spokesman for the Marin Humane Society, which is providing a temporary home for the wayward feline at its Novato shelter. "She is healthy and in full purr."

Monday, March 26, 2012

Video: Man Cuddles Lions In Zebra Colored Truck

Befriending a pride of lions never looked so easy. While it's not certain if that brave man in the YouTube video is a park ranger or professional animal trainer, one thing is for certain. He's certainly got a way with those affectionate big cats in his magnificent zebra truck. The best part of the clip? When two of them cuddle him and lick his head.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Cat Falls Twenty Stories And Survives

We all know cats have nine lives, but this kitty is still the luckiest cat in the world. She fell almost twenty stories onto a small patch of mulch and walked away unscathed. 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Baby Giraffe Born At Bronx Zoo To Make Public Debut

Anyone who hasn't ever seen a baby giraffe should be sure to pop by the Bronx Zoo. That's where the Wildlife Conservation Society is welcoming a new female Baringo giraffe that was born earlier this month. Next week, the newborn giraffe will make its public debut in the zoo’s "African Plains" area, according to a media release from the Bronx Zoo. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

Service Dog Facts: Things You Didn't Know About Animals That Aid The Disabled

Service dogs accomplish pretty amazing feats on a daily basis. Bethe Bennett’s miniature schnauzer nudged her back to consciousness after a fall. The trained service dog also retrieved an emergency phone list so Bennett could call neighbors for assistance. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Video: Ducks And Ducklings Cross Pennsylvania Ave. With Some Friendly Assistance

If you're feeling down in the dumps, just watch this video of some Washingtonians helping a duck and her ducklings cross Pennsylvania Avenue downtown.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Video: Hibernating Black Bears Could Have Supernatural Healing Abilities

A new discovery that hibernating black bears have a remarkable ability to heal has scientists scratching their heads, but it could be exciting news for human medicine. Researchers found that despite a huge drop in heart rate, metabolism and body temperature, hibernating black bears are able to heal without any scars or infections.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Video: Lion Cubs Hug Trainer On His Last Day At Park

In this heartwarming video, baby lions climb, hug and lick a park worker on his last day on the job. It's not certain if the man in the video is a volunteer or an official worker at the lion park, but one thing is for sure -- these animals don't want to let him go. Their squeals alone are enough to make you shed a tear.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Animal Photos Of The Week

There was certainly no shortage of cute animals in the news this week. Interspecies animal friendships made headlines, with a baby chick that naps on a cat's shoulder and the excited puppy playing with two piglets.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Video: Thackery And Milo, San Diego Koala Joeys, Receive Clear Bill Of Health After First Medical Exam

Though understandably frightened after being separated from their mother for the longest period of time yet, koala joeys Thackery and Milo stayed strong as they underwent their first routine medical examination at the San Diego Zoo this week.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Guam Rail Chicks Hatch At National Zoo

National Zoo officials say two rare Guam rail chicks have hatched there. The birds are extinct in the wild. The small, flightless birds hatched March 3 and 4. The total population of the birds is now 162. In several weeks, zookeepers will perform routine medical exams and take feather samples to determine the birds' sexes.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

More Animals Becoming Endangered Warns Igor Purlantov

Scientists have discovered that animals and plants around the world are being killed off by humans faster than new ones can evolve.  This is the first time this has ever happened since dinosaurs became extinct says Igor Purlantov.  According to conservationists one in three amphibian species, one in five mammal species and one in eight bird species are now at risk of extinction which is worse than originally believed.  There are more than 45,000 species on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species although this is largely underestimated given that less than 3% of the world's 1.8 million known species have been analyzed.  

What is more alarming is that extinctions are happening 1,000 times faster than the natural normal extinction rate otherwise known as the background rate. Earth is currently losing species at a rate comparable to the mass extinction of the dinosaurs.  Studies have found that 36% of animals and plants that are used for medicine and food are threatened versus the average of 21% across all mammals which show that there is not only a risk to wildlife but also to human health says Igor Purlantov.  Unfortunately, it comes as no surprise that humans are the main reason for most of the decline in species around the world with habitat destruction and degradation leading the way as the largest root of the problem.  Other significant causes include over exploitation, pollution and disease which make it clear that wild plants and animals need to have large amounts of natural land preserved in order for them to survive.

Unless something is done to reserve this alarming trend, hundreds if not thousands of species of mammals, birds, amphibians and plants could be lost as a result of human actions within our lifetime warns Igor Purlantov.  The Endangered Species Act is a good start toward reserving this negative trend although proposed policy changes would limit the protection of wild animals and plants that need it most.  More than 80 conservation groups and nearly 100 prominent scientists have already expressed disapproval of changes to the Act that would seek to reduce the protection of wildlife by changing the consideration of where the species currently live and not include information about original home areas.  Also, scientists have argued that the process for getting wildlife listed for protection comes as too little too late since by the time some species are reviewed and added their numbers and habitat remaining are so depleted that any legal protection afforded to protect them cannot help and they needlessly go extinct.  

In order to protect these endangered animals and plants, there must be cooperation on a global scale and a clear set of goals to reverse these alarming trends so as to ensure that animals and plants are protected.  Without the ability to protect endangered species there is no way for many plants and animals to continue providing the Earth with much needed benefits such as nutrient cycling, pollination and climate regulation.  Ultimately, if anything is going to change, protective measurements need to be taken so that the ultimate goal is not merely to prevent the extinction of animals and plants but to return these species to the point that they are viable components of their ecosystems says Igor Purlantov.

Adorable Puma Cubs Escape Danger

In Managua, Nicaragua, a group of baby pumas were rescued from traps set by local farmers, and are now being raised in captivity until they're strong enough to go back into the wild.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Video: 'Frozen Planet:' Sea Lion Chases Penguin In Gripping Slow-Motion Sequence

Will the poor little penguin get away--or wind up inside the sea lion's belly? It's an obvious question for viewers of a video showing a gripping slow-motion chase sequence in which a Gentoo penguin tries desperately to elude the very toothy mouth of its pursuer.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Salamander Species Deemed World's Oldest, Beiyanerpeton Jianpingensis, Lived 157 Million Years Ago

A newly discovered 157-million-year-old salamander is the oldest of its kind and would've swum with the aquatic beasts of the Jurassic. The discovery supports the idea that this order diverged from other salamanders earlier than thought, the researchers said. Six specimens of this new species, now called Beiyanerpeton jianpingensis, were discovered in the Tiaojishan Formation, in Liaoning Province, China. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Samantha, Erie Zoo Gorilla, Gets Bunny Companion

ERIE, Pa. (AP) — An elderly gorilla that lives at a Pennsylvania zoo has a new companion: a bunny named Panda. The Erie Zoo's gorilla, Samantha, has been without a full-time friend since the death of Rudy, a male gorilla, in 2005. But officials say the 47-year-old western lowland gorilla is too old to be paired with another gorilla. So they opted last month to introduce her to Panda, a Dutch rabbit, last month.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Video: Ratatouille, Snowboarding Opossum, Shreds Slopes Like A Boss

We can't blame the marketing gurus at Liberty Ski Resort in Emmitsburg, Pa., for wanting to part with tradition in their newest promotional campaign, even though it does deprive us of another embarrassing ski resort jingle we all know and love.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Video: Penguins On A Plane Greet Delta Passengers

First there were snakes on a plane. Now penguins are taking the air. Or at least that's what happened on Delta flight 1641 from San Antonio to Atlanta on March 8th, as captured in this adorable YouTube video. According to Yahoo News, the pilot made a special announcement asking if anyone was allergic to penguins. When the plane reached cruising altitude, the pair took a stroll down the first class cabin greeting passengers who snapped and filmed the cuddly creatures.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Video: Sawfish Nose Senses, Slashes And Kills, Scientists Say

A new study on the distinctive sharp snout of sawfish has shown researchers that the saw-like nose might be even more useful in hunting that previously thought. Not only can it be used to swipe and stab, it also acts as a sensor to help track down their next meal, reports PhysOrg. The function of the sensory snout is twofold, with receptors detecting water movement as well as the electrical fields produced by their prey.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Video: Dog Dances Salsa

First there was the dog who could sing and play the piano. Now, there's a Chihuahua who can dance salsa. In this incredibly adorable YouTube video, a cute pooch shows off his smooth latin moves that will have you rolling on the floor with laughter.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Rare Pink Katydid Photos

Some types of wildlife need to stand out. The rare pink katydid is proof of that. First discovered in 1887, TreeHugger argues you'd be more likely to spot a unicorn in the wild than one of these precious hot pink critters, especially given only one in 500 have this fluorescent glow.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Crafty Penguin Busts Out Of Tokyo Aquarium

After scaling the walls of his enclosure to freedom, a one-year-old Humboldt penguin is on the run/swimafter escaping last Sunday morning. While the crafty escape artist is neither armed nor dangerous, Toyko police are aiding in the hunt for the penguin that scaled a sheer rock face to escape from Tokyo Sea Life Park. The tuxedoed fugitive was last seen swimming in the Old Edogawa river, which runs into Tokyo Bay.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Video: Incredible Dolphin Superpod 'Stampede' Caught On Video

Whale watchers in Dana Point, California caught this incredible dolphin superpod on footage earlier this week, where an estimated 2,000 dolphins convened and 'stampeded' together across the ocean for this spectacular event!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Top Dog Names And Cat Names

A lot of thought goes into selecting just the right name for a much-anticipated new family member — especially when that addition happens to be a dog or a cat. Truth be told, we've come a long way from the days when names like Spot and Fido sufficed. As we learned while researching the most popular names given to puppies and kittens in 2011, pet owners are favoring more human-like monikers for their animals — Charlie and Chloe, anyone? — and even pop culture-inspired picks that pay homage to cult movie characters, including Bella from the Twilight series.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Video: World's Most Elusive Whale Caught On Video For First Time

Scientists on a research voyage in Bass Straight got an exhilarating surprise when they chanced upon what might be the world's most mysterious and elusive whale: the Shepherd's beaked whale. It is believed this is the first time the species has ever been captured on video.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Video: Lioness Gives Birth To Tigon Cubs In China

There is nothing more adorable than a litter of newborn baby animals, but these cubs are special for another reason beyond their cuteness. According to the Associated Press, a lioness in China has given birth to two lion-tiger crossbreeds and one purebred lion in the same litter, marking a world first.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Happy Tails: Amazing Stories Of Rescued Pets

It was love at first sight. When I went to my local animal shelter more than six years ago, I thought of it as a first step -- I was planning on researching carefully all of my options, visiting several shelters and rescues, and taking my time to find my new canine companion. Ten minutes later, I was on the phone with my husband, explaining why we had to bring home a 7-year-old Beagle-German Shepherdish-looking mutt with advanced cataracts named Charlie.

Studies Confirm the Health Benefits of Having a Cat Says Igor Purlantov

Top Health Benefits of Having a Cat According to Igor Purlantov

Cats have been domesticated and living around humans for more than 10,000 years says animal rights advocate Igor Purlantov.  Although cats have long been valued for their companionship and ability to hunt household pests, Igor Purlantov believes that many people may be surprised to know that there are numerous health benefits associated with having a cat in a household. 
According to Igor Purlantov, the following health benefits have been studied and confirmed by researchers and health care professionals around the world who understand the benefits of having the most popular pet in the world, a cat, at home.

Asthma and Allergy Prevention in Children
Studies have shown that early and regular contact with cats can help children avoid developing a number of respiratory problems including asthma.  There is also evidence that living with a cat can also help prevent allergies in children says Igor Purlantov. 

Lower Risk of Cardiovascular Disease and Heart Attack
Studies have shown that having cat can make people less likely to die of cardiovascular disease.  According to Igor Purlantov one study even found that those without cats were between 30-40% more likely to die of cardiovascular disease than cat owners. Studies have also shown that people can reduce their chances of a heart attack by having a cat and there is a also reduced chance that someone will die suddenly due to a heart attack if they have a cat.

Improved Immune System
Having a cat has been shown to boost the immune system and also improve how it functions says Igor Purlantov.  It is believed that cats often have a very good sense of when a person is ill and are great at providing comfort to help a person feel better.  

Lower Blood Pressure
According to one study, people with cats are more likely to have lower blood pressure that those without cats.  It is believed that just petting a cat and enjoying their company can help calm a person and lower their blood pressure according to Igor Purlantov.

Lower Cholesterol and Lower Triglycerides
People with cats have been shown to have lower cholesterol than those without.  One study even showed that having a cat was actually more effective at lowering cholesterol than taking certain medications.  Studies have also shown that having a cat can lower your triglycerides, something that is usually only achieved by exercising and eating fewer carbohydrates and processed foods.

Reduced Stress and Anxiety and Risk of Stroke
It has been repeatedly shown that having a cat can help reduce stress as well as provide many other psychological benefits says Igor Purlantov.  Having a cat can also reduce anxiety as simply petting a cat has been shown to be soothing and calming.  Also, caring for a cat can help someone take their mind off their own worries especially as they enjoy the unconditional love a cat provides. Having a cat can also reduce the risk of a stroke as one study found that people with cats cut their risk of stroke by one third according to Igor Purlantov. 

Improved Mood and Reduced Depression
Simply interacting with a cat can improve a person’s mood and help make them feel better in general.   Also, having a cat can help relieve depression since being around a cat helps take someone’s mind off their problems and allows them to focus on something else including the unconditional love a cat offers. 

Help with Autism
There have been several studies where cats have been instrumental in therapy for autistic children says Igor Purlantov.  Cats have also been shown to help children with other developmental disorders, especially cases where the child has difficulty with social interactions and communication. 

Reduced Loneliness
Having a cat at home has been shown to help people that are feeling lonely, including those who are single or widowed.  Having a cat provides a connection and allows for someone feeling lonely to be able to spend time with another living being. 

Fewer Doctor Visits and a Longer Life
It has been shown that people with cats make fewer visits to the doctor and to hospitals in general.  Studies have also shown that when nursing homes allowed cats as part of their therapy, they had lower medication costs than other facilities without cats. 

These studies all confirm that there are clearly numerous health benefits associated with having a cat that can lead to a longer life says Igor Purlantov.  At the end of the day, people should go out and adopt a cat from a local animal shelter, it may be the best thing that has ever happened to them and their new cat companion.