Bites at Animal Planet

30 Sep

Meet the Carnivorous Kangaroo

Kangaroos are herbivores. Native to Australia, they've evolved to be grazers and browsers, feeding on vegetation much like deer in other parts of the world.

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Red Kangaroo. Photo by Mike Souza via Flickr Creative Commons.


When I stumbled on this footage of a young red kangaroo feeding on a seabird, I had to do a double-take. It sounds like something out of the plot of a bad horror movie, but apparently, there have been anecdotal reports of kangaroos eating meat. This seems to be the first time the behavior has been recorded.

Check it out:

No one really knows what might cause this unusual feeding behavior. It turns out that many herbivores have been documented feeding on meat, from cows to deer to elephants. 

It could be that this particular kangaroo was lacking some vital nutrient and developed a craving for meat that could supply it. It could be caused by some a mutation that drove this particular animal to go carnivorous. It's that kind of mutation that sometimes leads to entirely new species, if the mutation results in better survival and reproductive success for the animals that have it. I doubt it hunted the bird, but rather scavenged the carcass on the beach. Either way, it's pretty amazing to see this behavior captured on video. 

Nature never ceases to amaze!

Protect Wildlife with the National Wildlife Federation.  

30 Sep

Dutch Airlines Makes Cutest Beagle-Run Lost & Found Service Video Ever

Klm-royal-dutch-beagleWhat better incentive to fly an airline and leave something behind on the plane than having an ADORABLE beagle retrieve it for you?! 

Well ... unfortunately this program with beagle isn't real. :(  KLM Royal Dutch Airlines announced the launch of a new Lost and Found program last week in a press release.  Sadly, the pup part is not true.  

But, well done, KLM on producing one super cute beagle video! And, hopefully you can make this video a reality someday because this idea is pretty brilliant:

 

Learn more about the sweet dog in our Dog Breed Selector >> And, watch a video about them below:

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30 Sep

Ten Reasons to Love Opossums

Opossums are one of the most common mammals in our cities and towns. The are really cool and interesting animals, but most people find them gross and scary-looking.  I'm here to throw a little love to these misunderstood creatures with my top ten reasons to love opossums.

10.  Opossums are North America's Only Marsupial.
Opossums are not rats or even closely related to rodents. They are marsupials. Most marsupial species live in Australia and like kangaroos or koalas, opossums have a very short pregnancy--just 12 days--and give birth to their young even before eyes or hind limbs have fully formed. With only front legs, the tiny babies must crawl into their mother's pouch, where they'll attach to a nipple and nurse while they continue developing.

9. Baby Opossums are Fluffy and Cute.
When born, baby opossums are hairless and only the size of a bumble bee. But by the time they're ready to leave mom's pouch after about 11 weeks, baby opossums have turned into adorable little balls of flull.

8. Baby Opossums Ride on Mom's Back.
Baby opossums get around by riding on their mothers' backs. Few things are cuter than seeing a dozen or so babies just hanging out on mom's back. 

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Mother opossum and young. Photo by Monica R. via Flickr Creative Commons.

7. They Break Records.
Opossums have 50 teeth in their mouths, more than any other mammal. 

6. Like Humans, They are Extremely Adaptable.
Unlike more finicky species, opossums don't require special foods or places to live. They'll pretty much eat anything from fruit to mice to insects (and yes, sometimes our trash). They're just as happy to sleep in a tree cavity as they are in an abandoned car. They might not be the most elegant of animals, but you've got to respect an animal that can live anywhere and thrive.

5. They Eat Garden Pests.
Opossums are great to have around the garden. They love eating slugs and other garden pests and can help keep populations of these critters down so your garden plants thrive.

4. They Utilize Trickery to Survive.
Opossums really do play dead when they can't escape from a threat. They flop over, roll their eyes in the back of their head, stick their tongue out, and release a foul-smelling fluid from their anal glands. This behavior disarms the prey-drive of many predators that are triggered to attack prey that runs or fights back, and it can save an opossum's life. Check out this young 'one "playing 'possum." 

 

 

3. They Are Immune to Rabies.
Unlike most other mammmals, opossums don't contract or spread rabies. Their body temperature is slightly lower than that of other mammals, and the virus can't take hold. 

2. Opossums Eat Venomous Snakes.
Snakes don't stand a chance if there are opossums around. Opossums eat snakes, including venomous ones. In fact, they are generally immune to the effects of snake venom.

1. Opossums Destroy Ticks.
Opossums are masters at destroying ticks. This is because they are very fastidious animals, constantly grooming themselves and removing (and eating) parasites like ticks. One opossum can take out around 5,000 ticks each year. That alone makes them worth having around!

Even though they are extremely adaptable and a successful species, they sometimes get themselves into trouble and need a helping hand. Here's a video of one young opossum in need of rescue.

 

Protect Wildlife with the National Wildlife Federation.  

29 Sep

10-Year-Old Goldfish Gets Second Chance at Life with Surgery to Remove Brain Tumor

A 10-year-old goldfish named George received life-saving surgery to remove a brain tumor earlier this month, giving him a shot at another 10 to 20 years to live.

The goldfish, who calls Melbourne, Australia, home, developed trouble eating, swimming and interacting with other fish, over the past year.

His owners Lyn Orton and Pip Joyce took him to Lort Smith Animal Hospital, where Dr. Tristan Rich diagnosed the little fella. He gave Mum and Dad the option to put him to sleep or to try the delicate surgical procedure. They opted to see their pet get another chance.

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29 Sep

#NothingButOctober: Feline All-Stars Show their #Catitude on the Animal Planet L!VE Kitten Cam!

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Photo: Joseph Schaefer

Last night, the Washington Nationals finished their regular season in historic style with their first ever no-hitter. Delighting fans and pets alike, the Nats’ win made the biggest impression on five feline fans who are now meowing their support for the hometown team via the Animal Planet L!VE Kitten Cam!  

Streaming LIVE 24/7 from the Washington Animal Rescue League, Kitten Cam underwent a spirited baseball transformation and introduced a new team of furry players who are ready to showcase their #Catitude and rally their team to victory in the postseason. At press time, they’re running laps around their room, sleeping in player’s helmets, and cuddling up with two plush versions of their favorite Nationals teammates.

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Meet the players on the APL!VE Kitten Cam

Now who may you ask are the five fantastic felines in the APL!VE starting line-up? We have the dynamic & adoptable team of Bryce Harpurr, Kitten Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermeow, Adam LaRoar, and Whiskers Werth.  And if those names look slightly familiar, you need not look any further than the National’s team roster for their human counterparts!

So this fall, step up to bat and hit a home run with the cutest players around!  Watch the baseball-lovin’ kittens of the Washington Animal Rescue League bringing their A-game and #Catitude straight to a screen near you on the APL!VE Kitten Cam.

 

26 Sep

“Werewolf” Cat Breed Raises Questions And Curiosities

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Lykoi Cat (Photo by: Nelius Rademan/Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

At first glance, werewolves and housecats go together like oil and water. But breeders have bridged the two into a new cat: the Lykoi.

The breed’s distinct look is due to a natural mutant gene variation that interferes with hair growth, resulting in a sparse, patchy coat, according to Nautilus. Not only does the Lykoi resemble a werewolf, it shares some similarities with dogs. Lykoi cats are particularly affectionate and known to follow their owners around.

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25 Sep

Sheep Aren't as Dumb as the Seem

SheepSheep don't have a reputation for being the most intelligent animals out there. Generally, there might even be some truth behind that stereotype.  

Every once in a while, howver, a sheep with more smarts than most catches our attention. Such is the case with this lovely lady, who figured out how to navigate over a series of grates installed in the ground spefically to deter hooved livestock such as cattle--and yes, sheep--from leaving the pasture.

Check her out.

 

Via Laughing Squid. Photo by Stefan Powell via Flickr Creative Commons. 

25 Sep

Meet Cuda, The "Deformed" Pit Bull That's Changing Minds and Hearts

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Photo by Julie LaRoy

Let’s get the obvious out of the way. With her short spine, long legs and overbite, Cuda isn’t the most attractive dog around. But look past her unusual appearance and you’ll find a sweet dog that has now become an unlikely advocate to change the stigmas some animals face on a regular basis.

This girl’s story began when her owner, Julie LaRoy, she came across the dog while working as an animal control officer in North Carolina, according to the Huffington Post. She sent her husband a picture as a plea to let the dog come home with them. After some initial resistance, LaRoy’s husband relented.

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25 Sep

Guess What a Vet Finds 43 1/2 of in a Great Dane's Stomach?

When one family's beloved Great Dane fell ill, they raced him off to the DoveLewis Emergency Animal Hospital in Portland, Oregon. After examination and x-rays, the vet found this:

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Photo: Courtesy of DoveLewis

Oh, what's THAT, you ask? Well, on surgery and extraction, THIS:

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24 Sep

ROAD TRIP! Tia Torres + Team Are NYC-Bound to Meet Jon Stewart on The Daily Show!

Guess who's on the road and entering New York City today?! Tia and the Pit Bulls & Parolees crew have been driving northward from New Orleans to meet the forever brilliant Jon Stewart! So, CLEAR your evening plans and get ready to watch the meeting of two great minds.

Tia of course also has a few pups in tow — HOW do you travel with a handful of dogs?! With many, many "pit" stops. Here are a few snaps of her taking one of the many — in Pennsylvania:

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Sept. 25 UPDATE! Miss the show last night?! Here's the full interview:

 

Visit the Pit Bulls & Parolees site for more videos and get ready for Season 6, premiering Saturday, Oct. 4, @ 10PM e/p!

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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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