Hundreds of seemingly drunk parrots are falling out of trees and the sky in a northern Australian town, mystifying veterinary surgeons who are struggling to care for them.
The brightly coloured lorikeets are showing classic signs of drunkenness by losing all coordination and passing out, and then cowering in cages as they recover from their “hangovers”.
“They definitely seem like they’re drunk,” said Lisa Hansen, a veterinary surgeon at the Ark Animal Hospital in Palmerston, near Darwin.
“They fall out of trees… and they’re not so coordinated as they would normally be.
They go to jump and they miss the next perch.”
Hansen said nobody was sure what was causing the symptoms, although it may be a plant they are eating.
Other theories include an outbreak of a mystery virus.
Archive for the ‘Animal Weirdness’ Category
In a remote corner of northern Alberta, Canadian beavers have built the world’s largest dam, proving once and for all they are worthy of their status as a national symbol.
The roughly 850-metre dam — located at the southern edge of Wood Buffalo National Park, about 200 kilometres northeast of Fort McMurray — is believed to be the work of several generations of beavers.
The massive structure captured international attention this week, more than two years after it was first discovered by an Ottawa ecologist surveying the area through satellite imagery.
The dam is so big, it can be seen from space.
“I think it’s great that our Canadian icon is bringing attention to our national parks,” park spokesperson Mike Keizer told CTV.ca, a reference to the beaver’s role as a national emblem.
But the dam won’t become a tourist attraction, despite the buzz. The wood-and-mud formation stands in an isolated spot, a multiple-day paddle and hike through un-trailed areas – so far that even rangers only view it from the air, Keizer said.
So much for the “hippy chimp”. Bonobos, known for their peaceable ways and casual sex, have been caught in the act of cannibalism.
An account of a group of wild bonobos consuming a dead infant, published last month, is the first report of cannibalism in these animals – making the species the last of the great apes to reveal a taste for the flesh of their own kind.
The account comes from a group of primatologists led by Gottfried Hohmann of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany.
The team has studied bonobos in the wild at a site in Salonga national park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on hundreds of days since 2002. Few were more eventful than 9 and 10 July, 2008. Early on the morning of 9 July, Andrew Fowler spotted an ape known as Olga with her two daughters: 5 or 6-year-old Ophelia, and Olivia, who was three years her junior.
“By 8 o’clock Olivia was dead,” says Fowler. She showed no obvious traces of blood or bruises, so it seems unlikely she had been killed by other members of her group.
Fowler’s team lost sight of the apes not long afterwards, but early the following day he saw Olga join them carrying Olivia’s body, which had already begun to decompose. “It was smelling, limp and wet,” he recalls. Olga and seven others spent the rest of the day devouring the corpse.
It’s a scene out of the Bible.
Not a lion lying down with a lamb, but three powerful cheetahs becoming friends with a baby impala antelope.
They met in Kenya’s Masai Mara, a world-famous game preserve known for its habitat of big cats, like these adult male cheetahs.
Photographer Michel Denis-Huot was on safari last October when he snapped these amazing shots in a grassy savanna.
“These three brothers have been living together since they left their mother at about 18 months old,” he said. “On the morning we saw them, they seemed not to be hungry, walking quickly but stopping sometimes to play together.”
The preferred diet of cheetahs begins with small antelope. But these cats weren’t hungry because they normally hunt in the daytime, either in the early morning or late afternoon.
A sheep gave birth to a dead lamb with a human-like face. The calf was born in a village not far from the city of Izmir, Turkey.
Erhan Elibol, a vet, performed Cesarean section on the animal to take the calf out, but was horrified to see that the features of the calf’s snout bore a striking resemblance to a human face.
“I’ve seen mutations with cows and sheep before. I’ve seen a one-eyed calf, a two-headed calf, a five-legged calf. But when I saw this youngster I could not believe my eyes. His mother could not deliver him so I had to help the animal,” the 29-year-old veterinary said.
Baloo the bear, Leo the Lion and Shere Khan the tiger have the most unusual and unlikely friendship between them.
Rescued eight years ago during a police drugs raid in Atlanta, Georgia, the three friends were only cubs at the time and barely two months old. They had been kept as status symbol pets by the drug barons.
Delivered to the Noah’s Ark animal rescue centre in Locust Grove, Georgia, the decision was made to keep the youngsters together.
“We could have separated them, but since they came as a kind of family, the zoo decided to keep them together,” said Diane Smith, assistant director of the Noah’s Ark zoo.
“To our knowledge, this is the only place where you’ll find this combination of animals together, they are our BLT, (bear, lion and tiger).
She’s like the Ashton Kutcher of the ape world: an orangutan in the Vienna Zoo now has a Facebook fan page to showcase the photos she takes with a digital camera.
The orangutan, named Nonja, uses a Samsung ST 1000 point-and-shoot that automatically uploads the photos.
When this post was published, Nonja had over 9,000 “fans” subscribed to her page.
But there’s a catch: coverage of the camera-toting ape in the U.K.’s Daily Mail explains that the camera has been modified to dispense a raisin whenever the shutter button is pushed.
So Nonja is evidently more interested in tasty treats than in artistic endeavors.
Workers in Madera County on Monday were trying to remove several dozen dead cows from a ravine near Coarsegold.The cows apparently were spooked and stampeded over a granite cliff more than a week ago, according to Kirsten Gross, director of animal control in Madera County.
Although some of the animals lived through the fall, they were either so badly injured or so emaciated by the time they were discovered that they were euthanized Saturday by county sheriff’s deputies.
Millions of salmon have mysteriously failed to turn up in a Canadian river as part of their annual spawning, leaving experts baffled and the local fishing industry in despair.
The Canadian government’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans projected that between six and 10 million sockeye salmon would return to the Fraser river this month.
But the official count for the annual ’summer run’ — by far the largest of four salmon migrations that see millions of fish return to Canada’s lakes and rivers from the Pacific each year from June to late August — is now just 600,000. Where the others went remains a mystery.
Local fishermen, quoted by the daily Globe and Mail, described the situation as “shocking,” a “catastrophe” and a “crisis,” while public broadcaster CBC said 2009 could end up being the worst year ever for the industry.
His startled expression and pleading eyes say it all. Left stranded in a rather undignified position, this poor baby elephant was in need of some urgent help after he managed to wedge himself in a manhole in Thailand.
After missing his footing and falling down the gaping manhole of a drainage ditch the poor animal was left well and truly stuck.
The unfortunate accident took place while the elephant was out walking in the street with its owner in Rayong province, in the east of the country.
The baby had been taken out to work in the street by a mahout – the men who drive the elephants – but must not have been looking where he was going. Rescuers spent three hours freeing the elephant, who was unharmed, by using a bulldozer to widen the hole.
Be sure to click through to the article – it has a wonderful photo
Jellyfish and other related creatures may be helping to reduce the effects of climate change by stirring up the oceans, according to a new study in this week’s issue of the journal Nature.The finding is the latest in a decades-old debate over whether swimming animals can contribute significantly to ocean mixing, the process by which warm water on the surface combines with the cold water far below.
Mixing plays a role in global climate change because carbon dioxide in the air above oceans dissolves in the surface water. Through mixing, it can get pulled into the depths and stored there for long periods. The process is also a key regulator of the Earth’s temperature and the ocean’s nutrients.
“It’s important for us to understand the dynamics of the ocean in order to really understand what’s going to happen to climate over land,” says John Dabiri, a bioengineer at California Institute of Technology in Pasadena and co-author of the paper.
To avoid predators, jellyfish and related animals often hide far below the ocean’s surface during the day and swim to the surface at night to feed, according to William Dewar, an oceanographer at Florida State University in Tallahassee who was not involved with the study.
If the work is correct, then it could mean that they’re ferrying cold water to the surface and warm water into the depths of the sea with each feeding cycle. In the process, they may be taking dissolved carbon dioxide with them far beneath the sea, changing the overall carbon balance in the atmosphere.
The cage opens and six newborn pigs file out and sprint to their mother.
Without a bark or a grunt, a black Rottweiler/pit bull named Tequila lies on her side. The piglets then suckle the dog’s milk for 20 minutes. The pigs are so eager for Tequila’s milk that they push, bump and jump over each other to get it.
“I’ve been farming for a while and I’ve never ever ever seen anything like this,” said James Favreau, who owns the pigs and dog on his Buckingham farm. “It’s amazing. Two weeks ago, this dog was hunting wild pigs with me.”
Now, Tequila is busy nursing six piglets and eight puppies. The 2-year-old Tequila gave birth to the puppies Monday, the same day Favreau’s 3-year-old Yorkshire produced the piglets. Favreau, 45, said Tequila started nursing the pigs Monday morning shortly after the pigs were born during a rainstorm. Favreau said he rescued one of the pigs from drowning and brought all of them into his home.
The San Francisco Zoo’s popular same-sex penguin couple has broken up. Male Magellan penguins Harry and Pepper have been together since 2003.
The pair nested together and even incubated an egg laid by another penguin in 2008, but their relationship hit the rocks earlier this year when a female penguin, Linda, befriended Harry after her long-time companion died.
This did not go over well with Pepper, who became violent. The three penguins were separated for some time following the fight.
“They have been doing okay since,” said Zookeeper Jennifer Katz. “They have been getting along okay. But Pepper is by himself now, so we are keeping an eye on the three of them.”
A mouse diced with death when it stole some food from under the nose of a leopard at the Santago Rare Leopard Project in Hertfordshire.
Instead of pouncing on the the mouse, the 12-year-old African leopard, called Sheena, simply watched as it fed on scraps of meat thrown into its enclosure.
At one stage she tried to nudge the mouse away with her nose, but the mouse carried on eating regardless.
The extraordinary scene was captured by photography student Casey Gutteridge, a photography student.
The 19-year-old, from Potters Bar, Herts, who was photographing the leopard for a course project, was astounded by the mouse’s behaviour.
“I have no idea where the mouse came from – he just appeared in the enclosure after the keeper had dropped in the meat for the leopard.
“He didn’t take any notice of the leopard, just went straight over to the meat and started feeding himself. But the leopard was pretty surprised – she bent down and sniffed the mouse and flinched a bit like she was scared.
A feisty Chihuahua chased a cougar out of a Philomath yard earlier this week. As Pete Springer reports, it’s the third cougar sighting in the area in the past year. Chiquita the Chihuahua and Rosie the border terrier charged the cougar after it jumped a backyard fence. The mountain lion pinned Rosie down but Chiquita kept barking incessantly at the big cat until it jumped out of the yard and ran off. The house is next to a wooded area where Philomath police have posted cougar warning signs. Roger Furhman is with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. He says cougars will generally run away when they encounter humans, but people shouldn’t count on a dog to scare a big cat away.
Odd couples come in all shapes and sizes but the story of the primate and the canine who are best friends has proved to be a match made in showbiz heaven.
Suryia the orang-utan and Roscoe a Blue Tick hound became friends when they crossed paths at a South Carolina sanctuary for endangered animals. Now they swim together, play together and Suryia even takes the dog for his walks.
Such is their bond that the pair drew the attention of National Geographic magazine and Oprah Winfrey, who will feature them tomorrow in a special show called Amazing Animal Friendship.
South Korean scientists say they have engineered four beagles that glow red using cloning techniques that could help develop cures for human diseases. The four dogs, all named “Ruppy” — a combination of the words “ruby” and “puppy” — look like typical beagles by daylight.
But they glow red under ultraviolet light, and the dogs’ nails and abdomens, which have thin skins, look red even to the naked eye.
Seoul National University professor Lee Byeong-chun, head of the research team, called them the world’s first transgenic dogs carrying fluorescent genes, an achievement that goes beyond just the glowing novelty.
“What’s significant in this work is not the dogs expressing red colors but that we planted genes into them,” Lee told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
This amazing happy-faced spider found in Hawaii is bound to leave you beaming from ear to ear. The tiny insect, which measures just a few millimetres across, has developed bizarre markings which look just like a smiling face.
Scientists think the spider, which is harmless to humans, has evolved the patterns to confuse predators. spider This tiny spider has developed markings that look like a smiling face But it’s no laughing matter for the spider which is under-threat from extinction from its home in the rainforests of the Hawaiian island chain in the Pacific ocean.
Spider expert and geneticist Dr Geoff Oxford, 62, from the University of York, said studying happy-face spiders was a real joy. He said: ‘I must admit when I turned over the first leaf and saw one it certainly brought a smile to my face.
Footage from a traffic camera overlooking a busy freeway in Santiago, Chile captured a dog performing a heroic act ? pulling an injured friend from oncoming traffic. The video, from Azteca America Colorado, shows an injured dog lying in the middle of a freeway after being hit by a car, while a rescue dog dodges traffic to run to its side. The rescue dog then drags the severely injured canine across lanes of traffic as cars swerve around it. No motorists stopped to help either dog, but a highway crew arrives at the end of the video.
Hat tip to Kara!
An Asian elephant that became addicted to heroin after being fed bananas spiked with the drug is to return home after undergoing a detox programme. The four-year-old animal, called Xiguang, received methadone injections for a year at five times the human dosage, state media said. It was illegally captured by traders in 2005 in south-west China. When police arrested the traders and freed the elephant, it was found to be suffering from withdrawal symptoms.
The elephant’s memory is legendary, but in a large, grey surprise to science the mighty Asian elephant turns out to have a distinct flair for maths as well
Under carefully controlled experimental conditions ? essentially comprising a large cage and two buckets of assorted fruit ? one elephant at Ueno Zoo in Tokyo managed to get its sums right 87 per cent of the time. A slightly less gifted pachyderm across the country in Kyoto scored a still respectable 69 per cent.
It’s more than 7-feet tall. Weighs over 500 pounds and walked upright — three “Bigfoot” seekers, including a Redwood City man, Wednesday claimed they have proof that they have found the body of the elusive creature in the wilds of Georgia.
And on Friday, at a news conference in Palo Alto, they say they will present DNA evidence to prove the carcass of “Rickmat” is that of a bigfoot.
Matthew Whitton and Rick Dyer, Georgia residents who lead Bigfoot-tracking expeditions, say they found the body of what appears to be a Bigfoot in the woods of northern Georgia and will join local Bigfoot researcher Tom Biscardi at the news conference, according to Robert Barrows, who is publicizing the event.
Among the creatures’s other physical characteristics of the body — according to the hunters website — http://www.searchingforbigfoot.com/ — were flat feet similar to human feet. Its footprint is 16 ¾ inches long and the length from palm to tip of the middle finger is 11 ½ inches long.
“I think you’ll find that this is the real deal,” Barrows said of the alleged discovery.
Hat tip to Kara!
Curious locals flocked to the home of owner Feng Changlin after news of the piglet spread in Fengzhang village, Xiping township.
“It’s hideous. No one will be willing to buy it, and it scares the family to even look at it!” Feng told Oriental Today.
He says the piglet looks just like a monkey, with two thin lips, a small nose and two big eyes. Its rear legs are also much longer than its forelegs, causing it to jump instead of walk.
Feng’s wife said the monkey-faced piglet was one of five newborns of a sow which the family had raised for nine years.
Marley the cat dropped 14 storeys out of a window of a high-rise and lived to meow about it.
It may have been nature that lured him out, and it was nature that cushioned his fall.
Angela Bester had left a window slightly ajar for her one-year-old Scottish Fold domestic cross she named after a favourite singer, Bob Marley, while she took an overnight trip to Whistler.
When she returned to her 14th storey condo, she froze.
“I saw the window and I knew instantly what had happened and I looked at the (uneaten) food and the water. In my heart, I knew he was gone,” said the construction health and safety manager.
“I was completely devastated.”
A pig that survived for 36 days buried beneath rubble in quake-hit southwest China on a diet of charcoal has been hailed as a symbol of the will to stay alive, state press reported Monday.
The pig, who weighed nearly 150 kilograms (330 pounds) at the time of the magnitude-8.0 earthquake on May 12, had lost two thirds of its weight when found last week, the Chongqing Evening Post said.
“It didn’t look like a pig at all when it was saved. It was as thin as a goat!” a witness told Xinhua news agency.
According to the report in the Chongqing Evening Post, the pig survived on water and a bag of charcoal that had been buried with the one-year-old in the ruins of Pengzhou city, Sichuan province.
Although charcoal has no nutritional value, it is not toxic either and it filled the pig up, it said.
A deer with a single horn in the centre of its head – much like the fabled, mythical unicorn – has been spotted in a nature preserve in Italy, park officials said on Wednesday.
“This is fantasy becoming reality,” Gilberto Tozzi, director of the Centre of Natural Sciences in Prato, told The Associated Press. “The unicorn has always been a mythological animal.”
The one-year-old Roe Deer – nicknamed “Unicorn” – was born in captivity in the research centre’s park in the Tuscan town of Prato, near Florence, Tozzi said.
He is believed to have been born with a genetic flaw; his twin has two horns.
An Antarctic fur seal has been observed trying to have sex with a king penguin.
The South African-based scientists who witnessed the incident say it is the most unusual case of mammal mating behaviour yet known.
The incident, which lasted for 45 minutes and was caught on camera, is reported in the Journal of Ethology.
The bizarre event took place on a beach on Marion Island, a sub-Antarctic island that is home to both fur seals and king penguins.
Why the seal attempted to have sex with the penguin is unclear. But the scientists who photographed the event speculate that it was the behaviour of a frustrated, sexually inexperienced young male seal.
A male orangutan, clinging precariously to overhanging branches, flails the water with a pole, trying desperately to spear a passing fish.
It is the first time one has been seen using a tool to hunt.
The extraordinary image, a world exclusive, was taken in Borneo on the island of Kaja, where apes are rehabilitated into the wild after being rescued from zoos, private homes or even butchers’ shops.
“Orang hutan” means “forest man” in one of Indonesia’s many languages and our long-armed cousins do indeed show a remarkable ability to mimic our behaviour.
It’s only a matter of time before they turn on US!
The first recorded species of frog that breathes without lungs has been found in a clear, cold-water stream on the island of Borneo in Indonesia.
The frog, named Barbourula kalimantanensis, gets all its oxygen through its skin.
“Nobody knew about the lunglessness before we accidentally discovered it doing routine dissections,” study lead author David Bickford, a biologist at the National University of Singapore, said in an email.
A horse is a horse, of course, of course, but the one brought to visit a patient at Wilcox Memorial Hospital was the wrong horse.
Hospital spokeswoman Lani Yukimura says a drunken man brought the horse to visit an ailing relative earlier this month, thinking it would cheer up the patient to see his stallion.
Yukimura says the man and the horse rode an elevator up to the third floor, where they were met and stopped by security personnel.
A dolphin swam up to two distressed whales that appeared headed for death in a beach stranding in New Zealand and guided them to safety, witnesses said Wednesday.
The actions of the bottlenose dolphin — named Moko by residents who said it spends much of its time swimming playfully with humans at the beach — amazed would-be rescuers and an expert who said they were evidence of the species’ friendly nature.
The two pygmy sperm whales, a mother and her calf, were found stranded on Mahia Beach, about 500 kilometers (300 miles) northeast of the capital of Wellington, on Monday morning, said Conservation Department worker Malcolm Smith.
Rescuers worked for more than one hour to get the whales back into the water, only to see them strand themselves four times on a sandbar slightly out to sea. It looked likely the whales would have to be euthanized to prevent them suffering a prolonged death, Smith said.
“They kept getting disorientated and stranding again,” said Smith, who was among the rescuers. “They obviously couldn’t find their way back past (the sandbar) to the sea.”
Along came Moko, who approached the whales and led them 200 meters (yards) along the beach and through a channel out to the open sea.
A BOY can reportedly only communicate by ‘chirping’ – after living his life in a virtual aviary.
According to reports from Russia, the 7-year-old ‘bird boy’ has spent his life in a flat filled with bird cages with a mum who treated him like one of her pets.
Pravda said the boy’s 31-year-old mum did not talk him and treated him like a bird, forcing him to learn avian language.
Social worker Galina Volskaya said shocked authorities discovered the boy in a two-bedroom apartment with bird mess littering the floor.
Like any soldier, he loved to relax with a cigarette and a bottle of beer when out of the firing line.
But in the heat of battle, he became an inspiring figure – bravely passing ammunition along to supply the guns.
All the men in the Second Polish Transport Company agreed that the recruit they called Voytek was the perfect comrade.
As for Voytek, he was just happy to be part of the unit… ever ready to lend a helping paw.
The 250lb brown bear, standing more than 6ft tall, was possibly the most remarkable combatant of the Second World War, seeing action amid the hell of Monte Cassino in Italy.
After the war, he and his fellow troops were billeted in Scotland and he lived out his days in Edinburgh Zoo, dying in 1963.
Two Komodo dragons have hatched at the Sedgwick County Zoo, apparently without the fertilization of a male. The dragons, both males, are believed to be the first in North America known to have hatched by parthenogenesis, which occurs naturally in some species, including invertebrates and lower plants. It happens more rarely in some vertebrates.
Two other known cases in which Komodo dragons hatched by parthenogenesis were at the London and Chester zoos in England in 2006.
The zoo in Wichita is having DNA testing done to document the mother’s and the babies’ genetic structure because of the remote chance that a male’s sperm was stored on the female’s body.
Researchers in a remote jungle in Indonesia have discovered a giant rat – five times the size of a typical city rat – and a tiny possum that are apparently new to science.
Unearthing new species of mammals in the 21st century is very rare. The discoveries by a team of American and Indonesian scientists are being studied further to confirm their status.
The animals were found in the Foja mountains rainforest in eastern Papua province in a June expedition, said US-based Conservation International, which organised the trip along with the Indonesian Institute of Science
South Korean scientists have cloned cats by manipulating a fluorescent protein gene, a procedure which could help develop treatments for human genetic diseases, officials said Wednesday.
In a side-effect, the cloned cats glow in the dark when exposed to ultraviolet beams.
A team of scientists led by Kong Il-keun, a cloning expert at Gyeongsang National University, produced three cats possessing altered fluorescence protein (RFP) genes, the Ministry of Science and Technology said.
“It marked the first time in the world that cats with RFP genes have been cloned,” the ministry said in a statement.
“The ability to produce cloned cats with the manipulated genes is significant as it could be used for developing treatments for genetic diseases and for reproducing model (cloned) animals suffering from the same diseases as humans,” it added.
A 26-year-old domestic cat from Shropshire could be one of the oldest in the UK.
Pussywillow lives in Ratlinghope and is still “sharp in her mind and her eyes”, according to owner Lin Brown.
The black cat, who now enjoys curling up by the stove, lived off animals she caught herself until she was 22, Ms Brown said.
Healthy cats can normally live to about 18, with previous world record holders only reaching their early 20s.
Pussywillow was near-feral when she was first taken in by the family.
Aaron Giles lost his identification bracelet 28 years ago in his grandfather’s barn.
This fall, Aaron, 32, received a phone call at his Massachusetts home informing him that his long-lost bracelet was found inside a chicken gizzard in Fairmont.
The bizarre finding occurred at Olson Locker when a large number of chickens were being processed recently at the business, owned by Mark and Chuck Olson
It can run for hours at 20 metres per minute without getting tired. It lives longer, has more sex, and eats more without gaining weight. Could the science that created this supermouse be applied to humans?
Scientists have been astounded by the creation of a genetically modified “supermouse” with extraordinary physical abilities – comparable to the performance of the very best athletes – raising the prospect that the discovery may one day be used to transform people’s capacities.
The mouse can run up to six kilometres (3.7 miles) at a speed of 20 metres per minute for five hours or more without stopping. Scientists said that this was equivalent of a man cycling at speed up an Alpine mountain without a break. Although it eats up to 60 per cent more food than an ordinary mouse, the modified mouse does not put on weight. It also lives longer and enjoys an active sex life well into old age – being capable of breeding at three times the normal maximum age.
A clam that lived on the seabed in the frigid waters off Iceland’s north coast has been hailed as the longest-lived animal ever discovered.
The mollusc, which is thought to have lurked beneath the waves until at least the age of 405, would have been a juvenile when Galileo picked up his first telescope, Hamlet was first staged and the gunpowder plot failed to blow up King James I.
The Arctica islandica clam was plucked from 80m-deep water by researchers at Bangor University in Wales, who were dredging the north Iceland shelf for the creatures. By studying their shells, the scientists hope to learn how the marine environment has changed in recent centuries.
The clam was alive when it was brought to the surface, but at that point, the researchers had no idea how old it was. Only after cutting through the shell and counting annual growth rings under a microscope did they date the mollusc to between 405 to 410 years old.
A female shorebird was recently found to have flown 7,145 miles (11,500 kilometers) nonstop from Alaska to New Zealand—without taking a break for food or drink.
It’s the longest nonstop bird migration ever measured, according to biologists who tracked the flight using satellite tags.
The bird, a wader called a bar-tailed godwit, completed the journey in nine days.
In addition to demonstrating the bird’s surprising endurance, the trek confirms that godwits make the southbound trip of their annual migration directly across the vast Pacific rather than along the East Asian coast, scientists said.
In a bizarre mishap that conservationists describe as “heartbreaking,” an estimated 10,000 wildebeest have drowned while attempting to cross Kenya’s Mara River during an annual migration.
The deaths, which occurred over the course of several days last week, are said to account for about one percent of the total species population.
The drownings created a grotesque wildlife pileup, after part of the migrating herd tried to ford the Mara at “a particularly treacherous crossing point,” according to Terilyn Lemaire, a conservation worker with the Mara Conservancy who witnessed the incident.
They’re an odd couple in every sense but a monkey and a pigeon have become inseparable at an animal sanctuary in China.
The 12-week-old macaque – who was abandoned by his mother – was close to death when it was rescued on Neilingding Island, in Goangdong Province.
After being taken to an animal hospital his health began to improve but he seemed spiritless – until he developed a friendship with a white pigeon.
Hat tip to Kara!
IN another case of researchers reporting the bleeding obvious, European scientists have found that children are smarter than chimpanzees.
A unique study comparing the abilities of human toddlers to chimpanzees and orang-utans found that two-year-old children have social learning skills superior to the apes, the researchers said.
In one social learning test, a researcher showed the children and apes how to pop open a plastic tube to get food or a toy contained inside. The children observed and imitated the solution.
Chimpanzees and orang-utans, however, tried to smash open the tube or yank out the contents with their teeth.
A cat in Sydney’s eastern suburbs was taken to a vet high on cocaine and benzodiazepines.
The eight-month-old Himalayan cat arrived at the Double Bay clinic on Monday morning with dilated pupils and a racing heart after being accidentally locked in a cupboard overnight, Fairfax newspapers reported.
It was having trouble walking, was easily startled, paced incessantly and was too anxious to have a thermometer inserted into its rectum, said a report in this month’s edition of Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery.
The owner was adamant the cat had not been exposed to drugs, mouldy food or toxic plants.
But when the vet phoned the owner’s wife, she admitted the cat could have licked “plates of cocaine” which had been served at a dinner party two days earlier.
An extraordinary encounter between two of nature’s most fearsome man-eaters has been photographed by an amateur fisherman.
Indrek Urvet said that he watched in astonishment as a four-metre (13ft) saltwater crocodile made swift work of a much-smaller bull shark by the remote Daly River in the Northern Territory. “I just saw this big croc come charging out of the water with a shark flapping in its jaws. I turned my boat to take some photos. Suddenly the croc saw me. He turned around and came shooting towards me.”
Mr Urvet, who said that fishermen on the river frequently lost their catch to the bull sharks before they could reel it in, retreated and watched from a safer distance as the crocodile devoured the metre-long shark.
Cattlemen from the department of Paran, Entre Rios, reported finding strangely mutilated animals in fields in this province.
The animals, all of them beef cattle, have had their genitals, tongues and udders removed, according to peasants.
The circumstance repeats itself relatively frequently in rural locations of this province and occurred this time in fields near Tabossi and Viale, to the northeast of the provincial capital.
Abel Gunter, one of the affected cattlemen, described the situation as “strange” and claimed that rural dwellers are displaying “concern” and intrigue over the mysterious animal deaths.
“We say that extraterrestrials are coming to mutilate our cows,” said the cattleman in an interview with a local station. He insisted that there is “something odd” in the animal deaths, because dogs and wild animals in the area generally feed off of the dead cow remains, but refuse to approach the mutilated specimens.
Reptiles found in Saudi’s luggage
A Saudi man’s attempt to smuggle live reptiles out of Egypt in his hand luggage has been foiled by horrified security officers at Cairo airport.
Snakes, chameleons and baby crocodiles were found in the 22-year-old’s bags as he tried to board a Saudi-bound flight.
Police had become suspicious when X-ray machines at the departure gate gave odd readings. Among the reptiles they found was a cobra, squirming to escape.
The animals were confiscated and turned over to Cairo Zoo.
A six-day-old lamb at a veterinary clinic on New Zealand’s South Island bleats like any other newborn sheep, but is rather different in other ways.
This lamb has seven legs, local media reported today.
Two of the extra legs hang uselessly behind the lamb’s forelegs. The animal has three hind legs, one of them with two hoofs. It walks using its two forelegs and three hind legs, the Ashburton Guardian newspaper said.
A US cat that is reportedly able to sense when a nursing home’s residents are about to die is baffling doctors.
Oscar has a habit of curling up next to patients at the home in Providence, Rhode Island, in their final hours.
According to the author of a study in the New England Journal of Medicine, the two-year-old cat has been observed to be correct in 25 cases so far.
Staff now alert the families of residents when he sits down next to their ailing loved one.
Deep in the Congolese jungle is a band of apes that, according to local legend, kill lions, catch fish and even howl at the moon. Local hunters speak of massive creatures that seem to be some sort of hybrid between a chimp and a gorilla.
Their location at the centre of one of the bloodiest conflicts on the planet, the civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo, has meant that the mystery apes have been little studied by western scientists. Reaching the region means negotiating the shifting fortunes of warring rebel factions, and the heart of the animals’ range is deep in impenetrable forest.
But despite the difficulties, a handful of scientists have succeeded in studying the animals. Early speculation that the apes may be some yeti-like new species or a chimp/gorilla hybrid proved unfounded, but the truth has turned out to be in many ways even more fascinating. They are actually a population of super-sized chimps with a unique culture – and it seems, a taste for big cat flesh.
By all accounts, Tahoe is a typical kitten: cute, sleepy and hungry. But his eating habits are far from typical, as the stray’s been nursing from a 3-year-old dog named Lillie.
Ever since the kitten was found under the hood of Eunice Collins’ running Chevrolet Tahoe a few weeks ago, he’s been feeding from the unusually cooperative longhaired dachshund. Tahoe feeds in the morning, at night and after naps, purring and pawing at the dog’s belly.
“That’s not going to happen very often,” said veterinarian John Beck, who added that the “kitten got lucky, basically” that he found a dog with those maternal instincts.
A 50-ton bowhead whale caught off the Alaskan coast last month had a weapon fragment embedded in its neck that showed it survived a similar hunt — more than a century ago. Embedded deep under its blubber was a 3 1/2-inch arrow-shaped projectile that has given researchers insight into the whale’s age, estimated between 115 and 130 years old.
“No other finding has been this precise,” said John Bockstoce, an adjunct curator of the New Bedford Whaling Museum.
Calculating a whale’s age can be difficult, and is usually gauged by amino acids in the eye lenses. It’s rare to find one that has lived more than a century, but experts say the oldest were close to 200 years old.
The Great Ape Trust in Des Moines, Iowa, is home to seven bonobos — a close relative of the chimpanzee — and three orangutans. But if you think Iowa might be a strange place for them to live, don’t say it out loud … these apes understand English.
Really. No kidding.
You can talk to the apes, and they know what you are saying.
The residents of the Great Ape Trust are part of groundbreaking language research where the apes are being taught to communicate with humans by pressing 350 lexigrams — symbols that appear on a screen and represent thoughts and objects.
An 11-year-old Alabama boy used a pistol to kill a wild hog that just may be the biggest pig ever found.
Jamison Stone’s father says the hog his son killed weighed a 1,051 pounds and measured 9-feet-4 from the tip of its snout to the base of its tail. Think hams as big as car tires.
If the claims are accurate, Jamison’s trophy boar would be bigger than Hogzilla, the famed wild hog that grew to seemingly mythical proportions after being killed in south Georgia in 2004.
A team of American and Irish researchers have discovered that some female sharks can reproduce without having sex, the first time that scientists have found the unusual capacity in such an ancient vertebrate species.
Their report that sharks can reproduce asexually through the process known as parthenogenesis is being published online today in the British journal Biology Letters. Researchers have observed parthenogenesis in certain species of birds, reptiles, amphibians and bony fishes, but the new finding suggests that vertebrates’ ability to reproduce without sex evolved much earlier than scientists had thought.
They’re Japan’s odd couple. Capybaras and squirrel monkeys, unlikely neighbors in the wild, are living in the same enclosure at a zoo outside Tokyo and so far, they’re loving it.
The monkeys ride on the capybara’s backs and kiss the world’s largest rodents, who tolerate their tricks. But in the wild, their paths do not cross — capybara’s live on river banks while the monkeys live in forests..
Bigfoot, the legendary hairy man-like beast said to roam the wildernesses of North America, is not shy, merely so rare it risks extinction and should be protected as an endangered species.
So says Canadian MP Mike Lake who has called for Bigfoot to be protected under Canada’s species at risk act, alongside Whooping Cranes, Blue Whales, and Red Mulberry trees.
“The debate over their (Bigfoot’s) existence is moot in the circumstance of their tenuous hold on merely existing,” reads a petition presented by Lake to parliament in March and due to be discussed next week.
A Brazilian spider delivers more than a painful bite that sends most victims to the hospital. Its venom stimulates an hours-long erection. Now scientists have figured out the chemical that seems to be responsible for the penis boost.
In Brazil, emergency room staff can immediately spot the victims of a bite from the Brazilian wandering spider (Phoneutria nigriventer). Patients not only experience overall pain and an increase in blood pressure, they also sport an uncomfortable erection.
“The erection is a side effect that everybody who gets stung by this spider will experience along with the pain and discomfort,” said study team member Romulo Leite of the Medical College of Georgia. “We’re hoping eventually this will end up in the development of real drugs for the treatment of erectile dysfunction.”
We all know not to feed the animals when visiting the zoo. Now the Antwerp Zoo has urged visitors to, please, stop staring at the chimpanzees.
New rules have been posted outside the chimp enclosure at the city zoo urging visitors not to form a bond with a particular male chimp named ‘Cheetah.’ He was raised by humans but is now bonding with the seven other apes at the park, a zoo official said Wednesday.
“We ask, we inform our daily visitors and other visitors that one of the monkeys is particularly open for human contact,” zoo spokeswoman Ilse Segers told AP Television News. “He was raised by humans in a family and therefore we are trying to integrate him, to try to get more social integration with the group.”
She said Cheetah’s continued interaction with humans was “delaying the social integration of the animal in the group,” and isolating the ape from the others.
A cat helped spare a family from death by carbon monoxide poisoning by jumping on the bed and meowing wildly as fumes filled the home, the owners said. Eric and Cathy Keesling said their 14-year-old cat, Winnie, played a crucial role in saving their lives March 24 after a gasoline-powered water pump in their basement caused the odorless but deadly gas to build up. About 1 a.m., the domestic shorthair began nudging Cathy’s ear and meowing loudly. “It was a crazy meow, almost like she was screaming,” said Cathy, who hesitated to get up until Winnie’s caterwauling and jumping persisted.
An environmental group said Tuesday it had captured a “monster” toad the size of a small dog. With a body the size of a football and weighing nearly 2 pounds, the toad is among the largest specimens ever captured in Australia, according to Frogwatch coordinator Graeme Sawyer. “It’s huge, to put it mildly,” he said. “The biggest toads are usually females but this one was a rampant male … I would hate to meet his big sister.”
Toby, a 2-year-old golden retriever, saw his owner choking on a piece of fruit and began jumping up and down on the woman’s chest. The dog’s owner believes the dog was trying to perform the Heimlich maneuver and saved her life.
Debbie Parkhurst, 45, of Calvert told the Cecil Whig newspaper she was eating an apple at her home Friday when a piece lodged in her throat. She attempted to perform the Heimlich maneuver on herself but it didn’t work. After she began beating on her chest, she said Toby noticed and got involved.
They were called Wallace and Gromit, a couple of abandoned yellow Labrador retriever siblings who wound up at the Coulee Region Humane Society. The pups were 5 months old last June when they were adopted out, but to separate homes. Months later, Pat Kucera at Diggity Dog Daycare noticed two yellow Labs named Levi and Cooper would “play like crazy” every time they got the chance during visits to his facility.
An industrial-scale microwave oven may have to be used to defrost a colossal squid caught in the Antarctic last month, scientists say. They are pondering how to thaw out the half-tonne squid in a way that makes sure none of it rots before other parts have defrosted. The squid has been kept frozen since it was caught by New Zealand fisherman in deep Antarctic waters in February.
Some animals are surprisingly sensitive to the plight of others. Chimpanzees, who cannot swim, have drowned in zoo moats trying to save others. Given the chance to get food by pulling a chain that would also deliver an electric shock to a companion, rhesus monkeys will starve themselves for several days.
Biologists argue that these and other social behaviors are the precursors of human morality. They further believe that if morality grew out of behavioral rules shaped by evolution, it is for biologists, not philosophers or theologians, to say what these rules are.
Three teenagers may be on the hook for a hefty fine if a court decides that their festive firecrackers outside an eastern German farm scared the libido right out of an ostrich named Gustav.
Rico Gabel, a farmer in Lohsa, northeast of Dresden, is claiming $6,450 in damages for the alleged antics of the three youths, ages 17-18, between Dec. 27 and 29, 2005.
According to his lawsuit, the farmer claims that fireworks set off by the boys made the previously lustful Gustav both apathetic and depressed, and thus unable to perform for a half-a-year with his two female breeding partners.
Call them the odd couples. A pair of month-old Sumatran tiger twins have become inseparable playmates with a set of young orangutans, an unthinkable match in their natural jungle habitat in Indonesia’s tropical rainforests.The friendship between 5-month-old female baby primates Nia and Irma, and cubs Dema and Manis, has blossomed at the Taman Safari zoo where they share a room in the nursery.
Hat tip to Kara!
The freeze-thaw, freeze-thaw see-saw of this winter’s temperatures may be a sign of global warming. But for now wood frogs are weathering the flux in style, according to an expert on the amphibians.
“They undergo freeze-thaw cycles all the time,” said Kenneth Storey, a professor of biochemistry at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada.
Some animals migrate to warmer climes for the winter and others burrow deep underground to sleep until spring. Wood frogs instead seek cover under leaves near the surface, where they actually freeze and thaw with their surroundings.
Chimpanzees in Senegal have been observed making and using wooden spears to hunt other primates, according to a study in the journal Current Biology. Researchers documented 22 cases of chimps fashioning tools to jab at smaller primates sheltering in cavities of hollow branches or tree trunks.
Who says cats and dogs don’t get along?
Workers at the Meriden Humane Society are marveling at a short-haired mother cat that has adopted a 6-day-old Rottweiler puppy that was rejected by its mother.
The tiny pup, named Charlie by Humane Society volunteers, nurses alongside a jumble of black and gray kittens recently born to Satin, who was taken to the shelter by an owner unable to care for her.
Male chimpanzees can be highly aggressive toward female group members, even using branches as clubs to beat them. Research carried out over many years in the Kibale National Park in Uganda now links this to female promiscuity and suggests that there would be more attacks on women if human society was as promiscuous as ape society.
However, another conclusion of today’s study is that because men play a role in bringing up children, unlike male apes, they are aggressive towards women who they suspect of cheating on them, since they may end up having to raise another man’s child.
Scientists in the eastern German city of Jena said Wednesday they have finally given up after three years of failed attempts to entice a sloth into budging as part of an experiment in animal movement.
A British zoo announced Wednesday the virgin birth of five Komodo dragons, giving scientists new hope for the captive breeding of the endangered species.
In an evolutionary twist, the newborns’ eight-year-old mother Flora shocked staff at Chester Zoo in northern England when she became pregnant without ever having a male partner or even being exposed to the opposite sex.
Mozart, an iguana stuck with a permanent erection six days after a mating session at a Belgian zoo, may have to have his penis amputated if the condition does not improve.
“He will see the vet on Thursday,” said Enid Balemans, spokeswoman for the Aquatopia Zoo in Antwerp, stressing that veterinarians were still considering alternative treatments.
The first flying dinosaurs took to the air in a similar way to a World War I bi-plane, a study shows. A fresh analysis of an early feathered fossil dinosaur suggests that it dropped its hind legs below its body, adopting a bi-plane-like form.
Neither gunfire nor two days in a refrigerator could slay this duck. When the wife of the hunter who shot it opened the refrigerator door, the duck lifted its head, giving her a scare.
Keeper Ann Rademacher says Judy went into the bathroom, picked up a toilet brush and cleaned the toilet. Rademacher says the 37-year-old Judy was a house pet before the zoo acquired her in 1988, so she may have been familiar with housekeeping chores. Judy wrung out a sponge and scrubbed down the fridge.
People in Cali, Colombia, are shocked to see the bond between a large African lion and a woman who saved it from abuse, involving long, affectionate kisses and hugs between the pair. Ana Julia Torres, who runs the Villa Lorena animal shelter in Cali, fed and nursed Jupiter the African lion back to health years ago after it was found abused and emaciated in a traveling circus.
Sometimes I really love my meals too!
A Tennessee man who kept 114 dead cats and a dead German Shepherd named Snowy in three freezers is suing police for seizing and destroying the frosty animal carcasses, which, he claims, had “emotional value” to him and were destined for a pet cemetery he was building. William Davis wants $1.5 million from the Murfreesboro Police Department and other defendants, according to a complaint filed last week in Rutherford County Chancery Court.
The finding of a parrot with an almost unparalleled power to communicate with people has brought scientists up short. The bird, a captive African grey called N’kisi, has a vocabulary of 950 words, and shows signs of a sense of humour.
Wah, wow, hoo! Turns out humans aren’t the only primates using songs to warn of life’s dangers and travails. White-handed gibbons in Thailand’s forests have been found to communicate threats from predators by singing — the first time the behavior has been discovered among non-human primates, researchers said Wednesday.
China has come up with an earthquake prediction system which relies on the behavior of snakes, state media said on Thursday, two days after two quakes struck off neighboring Taiwan. The earthquake bureau in Nanning, capital of the Guangxi autonomous region in southern China, had developed its system using a combination of natural instinct and modern technology, the China Daily newspaper said.
A Japanese research team has succeeded in filming a giant squid live — possibly for the first time — and says the elusive creatures may be more plentiful than previously believed, a researcher said Friday.
A Second World War veteran who was blinded in his right eye when he was hit by shrapnel can see again after being head-butted by a pedigree racehorse. Doctors tried in vain for 64 years to restore Don Karkos’s sight, until My Buddy Chimo stepped in. Hours after the horse smacked the 82-year-old paddock security guard in exactly the same spot as the shrapnel gashed his forehead in combat in 1942, he realised his vision was returning.
For weeks, Piedmont police were stumped by the Beanie Baby bandit. The popular stuffed animals were mysteriously showing up overnight on porches and in the yards of two homes on Rose Avenue. One of the families feared a stalker. Now, police in the tranquil East Bay city think they may have identified a suspect: Gertie, one of the family’s cats, which was caught on a surveillance camera carrying the plush toys in its mouth.
Chipmunks, mice and squirrels are heading for the hills, perhaps chased to higher elevations by a changing climate, scientists report.Since the early 1900s, small mammals in California have shifted their ranges dramatically, mostly to higher elevations.
Scientists compared modern notes with those of past museum director Joseph Grinnell, who investigated the diversity of mammals, reptiles, amphibians and birds along what he called the Yosemite Transect. With this information, scientists retraced this work, and documented with traps and photos the small mammals in this area that spans portions of the San Joaquin Valley, the Sierra Nevada, including parts of Yosemite National Park.
Rick Lisko hunts deer with a bow but got his most unusual one driving his truck down his mile-long driveway. The young buck had nub antlers _ and seven legs. Lisko said it also had both male and female reproductive organs. “It was definitely a freak of nature,” Lisko said. “I guess it’s a real rarity.”