Bites at Animal Planet

23 Oct

Which Breed is the 'Hot Dog'? New Book Tracks Data

Full-dog-graphic
Click to see a higher-res version. Courtesy of HarperCollins

In addition to being animal lovers, most of us here at Animal Planet are creative types who find inspiration from a variety of places - the news, the Web, other TV, books - you name it! So when David McCandless's new book Knowledge is Beautiful came across our desks, we obviously geeked out.

Even greater was that McCandless's visually appealing infographics played to our animal-loving-side as well. We loved looking through his "Best in Show" graphic (shown above) to learn more about specific dog breeds. Using data that ranked dogs by popularity, intelligence, etc., McCandless was able to show which breeds come out on top, which ones are perhaps overlooked and others that were rightly ignored. It's an interesting look at how breeds "rank" compared to one another. Perhaps we can see about adding in his information to our Dog Breed Selector...

To see more of McCandless's beautiful infographics, check out his blog. You can also purchase your own copy here.

Learn more about the Border Collie, the "Hot Dog!" in the above infographic, below!

22 Oct

Meet the Hellbender

Just in time for Halloween, I introduce you to the hellbender.

No, it's not one of Satan's minions or a CGI monster. It's a type of salamander native to the streams and rivers of eastern North America.  Despite its demonic-sounding name, this spectacular amphibian is completely harmless to people. Yet the species is rapidly declining due to human activity such as deforestation, erosion and chemical runoff into our streams--which is the real horror story.

Watch this video put out by the Forest Service and partners about one of North America's most fascinating and little-known wild animals.

 

The Last Dragons - Protecting Appalachia's Hellbenders from Freshwaters Illustrated on Vimeo.

Here's a close up of the ancient beauty of the hellbender, an animal perfectly adapted to and camouflaged in its environment.

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Photo by Brian Gratwicke via Flickr Creative Commons. 

Save Appalachian streams and the hellbenders that live in them with National Wildlife Federation.

21 Oct

BREAKING: There Are Now Only 6 Northern White Rhinos Left On Earth

According to a tragic report by our friends at The Dodo, there are now only 6 northern white rhinos left on Earth, after one of the last two males died of unidentified causes last Friday. From The Dodo:

Northern-white-rhinos-dodo

By Melissa Cronin

Over a million years ago, the northern white rhino roamed across Chad, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan. In 1960, there were about 2,000 of them. In the 1970s and ‘80s, poachers reduced their population from 500 to 15. Now, there are only six members of the species left.

That number had been seven until Friday, when Suni, a 34-year-old male who was the first northern white rhino to be born in captivity, was found dead by rangers at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya. The cause of death is unclear. What’s worse, Suni was one of two breeding males in the world.

"Consequently the species now stands at the brink of complete extinction, a sorry testament to the greed of the human race," the conservancy said in a statement.

Continue to the Full Report at The Dodo >>

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21 Oct

Apes, They're Just Like Us - They Make Campfires, Roast Marshmallows

THE REAL APES OF THE PLANET premieres tonight at 8 p.m. E/P
Only on Animal Planet

In Iowa, a 33-year-old male bonobo named Kanzi picks his own food for a picnic. He lights his own fire, toasts marshmallows — and, even extinguishes his campfire after he's done. WOW. See for yourself:

The large human brain gives us the evolutionary edge over other species, but studies show that almost everything we have learned has been handed down from our primal ancestors. In the new two-hour documentary, THE REAL APES OF THE PLANET, Animal Planet travels around the globe for an unprecedented look at some of the various 400 specimens that make up the primate family and the surprising way our behavior mirrors theirs.

THE REAL APES OF THE PLANET explores the surprising and mind-blowing similarities that humans share with our fascinating primate cousins. Passing on family traditions and grooming practices as well as ingenious survival tactics and the primates' ability to solve complex problems and form communities with a hierarchy system, the special highlights devoted parenting to fun-loving kids. Viewers also witness how, akin to humans, apes may demonstrate deceitful behavior to get what they want, overindulge in life's pleasures and not always get along.

Real-apes-marshmallow-video
Photo: Animal Planet/DCL video screengrab

In addition to Kanzi's story, chimpanzees, with their highly intelligent minds, in Uganda demonstrate their problem-solving skills and tool use when posed with a honey challenge. The long-tailed macaques in Thailand find a clever way to floss after a meal, and an orangutan in Borneo maintains her personal hygiene with a little soap and water. White-faced capuchins in the rain forest of Costa Rica uncover the secret that the sap of the Guyabano tree acts as a mosquito repellent if rubbed on their fur. THE REAL APES OF THE PLANET uncovers how these animals are individuals with their own personalities and why brainpower is essential to primate survival.

BLOG-real-apes-of-the-planet-500w

SEE THE REAL APES OF THE PLANET IN PHOTOS >>

 

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21 Oct

Hundreds of Salamanders Gather on Steps

What would you do if you woke up one morning and found THIS in your stairway? 

Ringed Salamanders MO
Photo by Missouri Department of Conservation via Facebook.

That's exactly what happened to one St. Louis area homeowner. No, these are not snakes, or even reptiles. They are an amphibian species called a ringed salamander.

The Missouri Department of Conservation posted this picture of the gathering--which is called a "congress of salamanders"--to their Facebook page and had this to say about it:

"Our St. Louis office got a call last week from a homeowner who had this pile of ringed salamanders trapped in an outside stairway. In autumn they travel by night to fishless woodland ponds where they may congregate by the hundreds for breeding. The salamanders were moved to a nearby fishless pond so they could continue.... If you see activity like this, let us know so we can help wildlife get back on the right road."

I'm most impressed with the homeowner, who did the right thing by contacting the Missouri Department of Conservation instead of a pest control company.

Amphibians like salamanders are on the decline globally. They are affected by habitat destruction, collection for the pet trade, climate change, pollution and disease.  Their sensitive skin aborbs toxins from the air and water and as a result, amphibians are considered "canaries in the coal mine" because their presence is an indicator of the health of the greater environment. If you have them in your neighborhood, that's a great sign.

Find out what you can do to help amphibians from the National Wildlife Federation. 

20 Oct

Special Testing Begins To See If Texas Dog Has Ebola

More than one week after going into quarantine, the dog of a Dallas nurse that contracted Ebola has begun the testing phase to determine whether or not he has the virus.

Bentley, a one-year-old Cavalier King Charles spaniel, was moved into a special kennel where officials can watch him and periodically collect samples of his waste for testing, according to a statement from the City of Dallas. Like humans exposed to the Ebola virus, Bentley will be monitored for 21 days.

The dog’s ordeal began earlier this month when his owner, Nina Pham, was diagnosed with Ebola after contracting the virus from a patient at a Dallas hospital. Pham has since been transferred to the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland for continued monitoring.

To learn more about Ebola and its tie to dogs, be sure to watch a CNN interview with Monsters Inside Me host Dan Riskin. And if you’re interested in diseases tied to animals and parasites, visit the Monsters Inside Me page on AnimalPlanet.com for photos, videos and more. You can also watch a new episode this Thursday at 10/9c.

20 Oct

Nothing is Cuter Than This Baby Rhino Playing With a Goat

Today's installment of utter cuteness comes to us from the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre in South Africa.

The centre's mission is to conserve rare, vulnerable or endangered animals. A big part of their work is captive breeding of endangered species. While they specialize in cheetahs, the Centre cares for many other species as well, including Gertjie the orphaned white rhinoceros

Gertjie--nicknamed "Little G"--has a sad story that is all too common. He was found next to the body of his dead mother, who was killed and mutilated by poachers. They hacked off her horn for the lucrative traditional Chinese medicine black market.

Practiced throughout Asia, traditional Chinese medicaine holds that rhino horn is used to treat a variety illnesses--despite the fact that science has shown that it actually has no medicinal value and despite the fact that killing rhinos for their horns is illegal. Rhinos are rapidly declining and some species are close to extinction. Yet such is the power of tradition and faith.

White rhino
Southern white rhinoceros calf.

Luckily for Little G, he was rescued and brought to the Centre. White rhinos are the most social of the five rhino species, and even after Little G recovered from the trauma of losing his mother, it was evident that he needed companionship. So the folks at the Centre introduced Little G to a pair of goats, and a fast friendship was born.

Here is Little G frolicking with Lammie the goat. The joy the two animals are experiencing in this video is evident and infectious. Whenever I get down about the horrible things people do to animals, videos like this one and the story of Little G's rescue help remind me that there are still good people and good things happening in the world.

 

Photo by Vanessa via Flickr Creative Commons.

17 Oct

America's Cutest Channels Its Disney Side This "Howl-O-Ween"

Cruellatunein
A dalmatian dressed up as Cruella de Vil…the irony! (Photo Courtesy of Disney Parks)

Who says Halloween has to be spooky and scary? You’ll never look at the holiday the same way again when Animal Planet and Disney comes together Saturday for America’s Cutest: Disney Side Howl-O-Ween.

Hosted by actor John O’Hurley, the hour-long special will be chock-full of adorable pets showing their “Disney Side” dressed up as some of Disney’s most iconic princesses, pirates, heroes and villains. It was filmed in Walt Disney World during the park’s first-ever Disney Side Dog's Day, as 101 (what other number could it be?) dogs took over Magic Kingdom for a pet-tacular day filled with a doggie dance party and a parade down Main Street USA, led by the latest winner from America's Cutest Pet.

Which the winning pooch had a “hairy-tale” ending and won? You’ll have to tune into America’s Cutest: Disney Side Howl-O-Ween SATURDAY at 9/8c to find out! Until then, check out some amazing photographs from Disney Side's Dog Day and get the inside scoop on how the event went, courtesy of the Disney Parks blog!

Cute pets in costumes and the happiest place on Earth…what could be better?

17 Oct

Shark Feeding Frenzy Is Nearly On Shore

Land Shark?! This unusual event was captured on a North Carolina beach last week, reminding us that sharks are indeed among us. We have no information as to what species of shark they were, but likely one of these sharks native to the area, and local news reports "masses" of Blacktip sharks on the Carolina coast this week. The YouTube post suggests they were feeding on blue fish, and you can see that pelicans and other sea birds are keen on picking up the scraps. Check out the thrashing caudal (tail) fin action! 

Check out Discovery News for more information on this encounter. Then see out our collection of amazing shark videos, as well as our LIVE Shark Cam!


Live video by Animal Planet L!ve

See another feeding frenzy!

14 Oct

(Adorable) German Shepherd Naps Like My Dad

Here's an adorable video of one tuckered out pup! He MUST be in a deep, deep sleep, dreaming of squirrels, fetching things and delicious, meaty treats ... It may be an oldie from last year but it's still CUTE AS EVER: 

Not to mention, he totally looks like my Dad napping on the couch on a lazy weekend. I LOVE YOU, DOG!!!

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Welcome to the Bites @ Animal Planet, where you can connect with the people who bring Animal Planet to life. Find out what's in the works here at Animal Planet, share your feedback with the team and see what's getting our attention online and in the news.

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