Friday, January 29, 2016

FBI Taking Steps to Monitor Crimes Against Animals

Animal abusers are under the microscope as the connection to human violence grows stronger.  The FBI is taking steps to monitor crimes against animals, collecting a new database of animal abusers. "They'll be able to track whether these abuses have occurred or have resulted in worse crimes later on," said Fresno County animal abuse prosecutor Lynette Gonzales.  New research shows a strong connection between animal abuse and domestic violence, so this is what the database is meant to prevent: The scary story of a Fresno County man who hurt a dog, then attacked a woman before they could get him in court for animal cruelty.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Pigs, Pythons, and Other Animals People Call Their Pets

The dog may be a man’s best friend, but pot-bellied pigs, alpacas and pythons make fine companions, too. So do turtles and lizards and even sugar gliders. Areca Roe photographed all of these and more for Housebroken, her engaging look at unusual pets.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Animals That Save Human Lives

One of the most popular monuments to animal bravery can be found in New York City’s Central Park. A little north of the Children’s Zoo, the statue of a Siberian husky named Balto stands at attention on a granite rock. In February 1925 Balto led the final team of sled dogs that battled through 674 miles of snow and ice to bring diphtheria serum to the stricken children of Nome, Alaska.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

1,100 Cats, 1 Home and 1 ‘Crazy Cat Lady’

Lynea Lattanzio has no problem calling herself a crazy cat lady. With more than 1,000 cats living with her, there’s really no denying it.  “I’m gonna say that I’m at the top of the list of the eccentric, crazy cat ladies,” Lattanzio says.  She says she has taken in and lived with, at some point, 28,000 cats total. At the moment, she has a mere 800 adult cats and 300 kittens.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Animals Know How To Enjoy #Blizzard2016

At the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington DC, giant panda, Tian Tian, “woke up this morning to a lot of snow and he was pretty excited about it.” The zoo shared that news along with a few other priceless videos on its Facebook page this morning.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Do Animals Exercise to Keep Fit?

Amidst hours sitting daily at a desk or in front of the TV, humans voluntarily seek out exercise to combat a sedentary lifestyle and stay fit – but are we the only creatures that do this?  Scientists don’t quite know the answer yet. In a recent study, a researcher from Roehampton University examines the idea, finding that some animals get fit in preparation for planned events.  And, to the ire of humans, they may be able to do so with little to no voluntary exercise at all.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Why Don't More Animals Show Off Like Peacocks?

When you marvel at the brilliant colors of a peacock's tail or enjoy the trill of a songbird, you might pause to consider that those creatures' ancestors probably didn't have a lot of friends.Many animals display visual or auditory cues that contain messages like, "I would be a desirable mate" or "I am very strong; don't come into my territory." Species that lack such "quality signals" – including humans, crows and dolphins – probably evolved in smaller social groups where everyone already knows what everyone else is like, according to Michael Sheehan, assistant professor of neurobiology and behavior.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Geckos Are Largest Animals Capable of Sticking to Walls

Spider-Man's ability to scale vertical walls may help the web-slinger catch the bad guys in comic books, but he could never pull this trick off in reality, according to scientists in the UK.  A new study by zoologists at the University of Cambridge has found that geckos are the largest animals capable of sticking to smooth vertical surfaces – an ability that requires increasingly larger adhesive footpads as a percentage of overall body surface as animals themselves become bigger.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

LA Natural Gas Leak May Be Sickening Animals

As she visited her American quarter horse at stables just east of the Porter Ranch section of Los Angeles, Debra Zavatto came across a frightening sight: blood coming out of the animal's nose.  In the 13 years she's cared for Scarlett, Zavatto had never seen anything like that.  "People were saying, 'Oh, this stuff is giving nosebleeds,'" she said of the natural gas leak that has sickened residents of Porter Ranch. "I thought, 'Oh my God, I wonder if my horse got a nosebleed from the gas.'"

Monday, January 18, 2016

What Does It Mean When Animals Suffer a Vast Die-Off?

Are die-offs occurring more often?  To the casual reader, it can certainly seem that reports emerge on a regular basis of thousands of animals of a species suddenly dying.  The latest victims are common murres in the Northeast Pacific. They have been dying for months, but estimates of the toll jumped sharply when David Irons, a retired United States Fish and Wildlife Service biologist walking a beach in Whittier, Alaska, found close to 8,000 dead birds in early January.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

New Law Protects Animals From Extreme Heat and Cold

Dogs might seem to have more fun in the cold than people do, but long term exposure can be dangerous for them.  Betsy Larson owns a small dog, a Pomeranian named Chester.  She says, "I don't want to stand outside in the cold for 30 minutes.  I wouldn't make my dog do it unless we were outside doing something and having fun."  The Humane Care for Animals Act was amended in August to include a line that says no cat or dog owner can leave their pet in extreme heat or cold to the extent that the animal is injured or killed.  The law took effect at the start of 2016.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Sunshine Vitamin Linked to Animal Fertility

High levels of vitamin D are linked to improved fertility and reproductive success, a study of wild sheep has found.  The study, carried out on a remote Hebridean island, adds to growing evidence that vitamin D - known as the sunshine vitamin - is associated with reproductive health.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Animals in 2016: What's Ahead

Less than two weeks into the new year, big changes are already in the works that could dramatically change the fate of many animal species. Some will benefit, others won't, and still others will be a hot topic of debate for months to come.  Manatees fall into the last category. On January 7, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that the West Indian manatee should be downlisted from endangered to threatened status under the Endangered Species Act. Public comments can be submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service until April 7 of this year.

Monday, January 11, 2016

13,000 Animals Stranded At Sea Right And Nobody Is Talking About It

They have been stranded for over 11 days, and some are starting to die.  Thirteen thousand sheep and cows aboard the Ocean Outback — a ship involved in the live export industry, which sends countless animals thousands of miles every year just to be slaughtered when they arrive at their destinations — hang in limbo. Engine problems have forced the vessel to stay at the port in Henderson, Australia.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Little Girl Who Lost Arm Adopts Kitten With Missing Limb

Since their daughter Scarlette, 2, lost an arm to cancer as an infant, Simone and Matt Tipton have wanted to get her a pet with similar physical challenges. When the Trabuco Canyon, California couple heard about a kitten that lost its front leg, they knew they had found the next member of their family.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Scientists Discover How Animals Develop Patches

Scientists have solved what shall henceforth be known as the piebald mystery: by discovering the origins of the broad white patches that can adorn the belly and head fur of cats, dogs and farm animals.  The distinctive patterns were known to be caused by a mutated gene, but how the faulty DNA produced the signature white bellies and other splashes of light on animals’ coats was far from clear.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

2015's Online Animals of the Year

Animals can melt the human heart, tickle the funny bone or bring us to tears. And thanks to Instagram, YouTube and other online options, you can enjoy their antics simply by following, liking or pinning them.  Dr. Bonnie Beaver, executive director of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists and a professor at Texas A&M University's College of Veterinary Medicine, says two things make animal photos and videos so popular.

Monday, January 4, 2016

How Do Animals Communicate?

There’s little doubt that animals communicate very well both between themselves and with humans. But how exactly do they do this? A closer look reveals an amazing and sometimes hidden side to our fellow animals that we don’t always see.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Online Animals of 2015: Cute Faces and a Rat’s Resolve

Animals can melt the human heart, tickle the funny bone or bring us to tears. And thanks to Instagram, YouTube and other online options, you can enjoy their antics simply by following, liking or pinning them.  Dr. Bonnie Beaver, executive director of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists and a professor at Texas A&M University's College of Veterinary Medicine, says two things make animal photos and videos so popular.