Bites at Animal Planet

5 Oct

Rare 'Sofa Shark' Surprises Scientists, Who Promptly Let Him Go

(Guest post by Stephen Messenger from

A rare deepwater species has been spotted by scientists in Scotland for the first time in over a decade, offering the world a fresh reminder of what fascinating forms lurk beneath the ocean's depths.

The bizarre-looking fish, known as both a "sofa shark" or "false catshark," was captured by a team of marine biologists from the Scottish Shark Tagging Programme. Weighing in at over 130 pounds, with a length of 6 feet, the rare shark's appearance left scientists stunned.

"I was pretty surprised when it landed in our boat," marine biologist Francis Neat told The Scotsman. "We quickly measured and weighed it before sending it back into the water. We hadn't seen one in ten years."

Read more about the discovery on The Scotsman.

Remember when Jeremy Wade caught a rare Glyphis shark? Relive the moment here!

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5 Oct

Moose Fight Filmed in Alaskan Neighborhood [VIDEO]

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A father and son were treated with ringside seats to what could be Alaska’s fight of the century.

Only in Alaska will you find two moose going at it in a random driveway.

VIDEO: Rutting moose duke it out in Anchorage subdivision

"My son and I had front row seats," says Bill Tyra -- who captured these 2 moose duking it out in a South #Anchorage subdivision.FULL video:

Posted by KTVA 11 News on Saturday, October 3, 2015

Bill and Josh Tyra captured the moment, which was shared by local news affiliate, KTVA Alaska. The rut (that’s the word experts describe these moose confrontations) begins randomly in the driveway, before spilling out to the street.

“My son and I had front row seats,” said Tyra, who filmed the encounter from behind a car, according to KTVA.

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5 Oct

Dog Found by the Side of the Road Finally Has a Reason to Hope

Dodo Circular

(Guest post by Anna Swartz from

Fate must have had a hand in Maya's rescue — staff from Howl of a Dog, a rescue group in Romania, were on their way from dropping off a newly-adopted dog at her forever home when they saw Maya lying in a parking area by the side of a country highway.

As soon as they approached Maya they realized she was a sweetie at heart — she immediately rolled over and offered the rescuers kisses. 

Maya was probably hanging out in a parking area in hopes that passing cars would give her some food scraps and a belly rub. She had probably given up hope that any of the people who stopped would give her a real home. 

Imagine how excited Maya must have been when the rescuers picked her up and put her in their car — she had no idea where she was going, but she could probably sense that everything was about to change.

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5 Oct

Womans Upsets Bear, So He Eats Her Kayak

Maybe this video is a testament to just leaving wildlife alone. While on a 107-mile kayaking journey, Mary Maley encountered this bear who took quite a liking to her boat. She politely asks him to leave her kayak alone, which he seems to be doing. Until she pepper sprays him in the face. That prompted the bear to do exactly what she told him not to: eat her kayak. Maley then starts screaming at the bear, which doesn't seem to faze him in the slightest. 

Without her kayak, Maley reportedly had to swim out to a nearby sailboat since she no longer had any means of transportation. From there, she got a ride to the nearest city to get her kayak fixed. The bear, presumably, is simply full of kayak. 

Bears can be scary, but the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife knows how to handle them. Watch as they humanely catch and release nuisance bears here:

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5 Oct

Bouncy Emu Plays Fetch Just Like a Puppy

Dodo Circular

(Guest post by Anna Swartz from

Move over dogs — this adorable emu proves that giant birds can also be man's best friend.

Mimi the emu loves playing fetch with her family just like a puppy! As soon as her little human throws the ball, she goes racing off after it.


She doesn't exactly have the fetching part down though — as soon as she gets to the ball, she just sort of dances around it. But tell us this isn't the most adorable happy dance you've ever seen!


At least she keeps her family smiling. Watch the whole video below:

This emu may have fetch down pat (sort of), but this dog on the other hand isn't really sure how it works!

4 Oct

Obama Administration Sues School on Behalf of Girl and Her Service Dog

Dodo Circular

(Guest post by Stephen Messenger from

A little girl and her faithful service dog, who've been at the center of a legal dispute with the girl's local school district, just gained a powerful ally in their fight to stay together.

Devyn Pereira, a 7-year-old from Rochester, New York, has Angelman Syndrome, a genetic disorder that manifests as extreme cases of both autism and epilepsy. Due to the condition, Pereira requires the assistance of her life-saving service dog, named Hannah. The fluffy white pup not only helps Pereira walk and stay focused on learning, she's trained to detect when the girl's about to have a seizure.

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Despite the crucial role Hannah plays in Pereira 's education, officials from theGates Chili Central School District, where Pereira attends a special class, have put up roadblocks to keep the dog away. In order for Hannah to be at the school, the district says her family has to pay for a full-time handler to accompany them, and that Pereira's school aide can't help with the dog.

For the last three years, the Pereiras have made repeated requests that the district's policy be changed, but to no avail. The family has since paid more than $25,000 for the handler, all so that a little girl and her dog could stay together.

But now the Pereiras aren't alone in their fight.

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4 Oct

Man Who Beheaded Four Dogs Gets Up to 28 Years in Prison

Dodo Circular

(Guest post by Anna Swartz from

In a striking show for animal welfare, a Nevada man who gruesomely tortured and killed seven dogs was sentenced to up to 28 years in a state prison on Thursday.

Jason Brown, 25, was arrested last year after a dismembered dog was found inside his Reno motel room. When officers investigated further, they made a shocking discovery — inside the motel room's fridge were four severed dog's heads.

Shutterstock / Twitter/KTVN

Brown had been responding to local Craigslist ads, offering to take dogs and puppies whom people were giving away for free — and promising to give them good homes.

Some of the owners who gave or sold Brown dogs testified that he "seemed like a normal clean-cut kid," AP reports.

During the trial, the jury heard the terrifying audio from several videos Brown had recorded as he tortured and dismembered the dogs – including the screams and cries from the animals.

"I'm making a jacket out of them," Brown says in one video. "The little white Chihuahuas are my favorite. If I get one of those, they are coming to Jason's house of pain."

Brown told the judge on Thursday that he was doing drugs at the time and "no longer had control of myself."

People who abuse or neglect animals are often able to adopt or buy animals again and again, avoiding punishment and repeating the tragic cycle.

In this case, the shocking, horrific nature of Brown's crimes led to his harsh sentence. He won't even be eligible for parole for 11 more years.

"Those images I watched, I will never forget," Judge Elliott Sattler said before delivering the maximum sentence on Thursday. "The cruelty, the sadism you exhibited is simply shocking." 

Thankfully, there are authorities who take animal protection seriously. Check out when the North Woods Law Wardens got justice for illegal trapped wildlife.

4 Oct

Baby Giraffe Who Lost His Family Snuggles Up to His Rescuers

Dodo Circular

(Guest post by Sarah V Schweig from

 People traveling through Meru National Park in Kenya came upon a newborn giraffe wandering around completely alone.
Luckily, these people are exactly the type of humans a vulnerable animal needs to see. Acting as guardians for animals in need like this one, they are a part of the Meru Mobile Veterinary Unit, supported by Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT).
Rescuers found the giraffe on September 19 and brought him to the DSWT, where he's the tallest addition to the organization's herd of rescued orphaned animals. They named him Kiko.

"Two days after his rescue, he went out into the Nairobi National Park with his keeper, and has been feeding very well on his milk which we hope he keeps up," a representative for DSWT told The Dodo. "As a newborn giraffe, he currently calls the elephant stockades home — too tiny to sleep in the specially built giraffe stockade, which is currently home to ostriches Pea and Pod." 

DSWT added: "As the tallest mammal in the world, we suspect Kiko will soon dwarf his human carers, but for his keepers, feeding Kiko is a very different experience to bottle-feeding orphaned elephants, and soon, they'll use a special mobile feeding ladder to ensure he gets the nourishment he needs."

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4 Oct

Paddleboarder Has Once-in-a-Lifetime Experience with Pair of Whales

Dave Price is one lucky guy. While he was paddle boarding off the coast of Esperance, Australia, a pair of Southern Right whales decided to come over to him and say hello! Thanks to the quick thinking of an Esperance local, Jaimen Hudson, the moment was captured on camera. Once Hudson heard news of the whales' appearance, he launched his drone and caught this amazing encounter. This birds-eye perspective truly showed how large these animals really are, especially compared to humans!


Photo by Jeff Foott (not the whales from the video)

Southern Right Whales grow to about 45 to 55 feet and can weigh up to 60 tons! They are native to the water of Australia, South Africa, and Argentina. It is also estimated by NOAA that there are only 7,000 of them left in the world. 

Learn more about some amazing whales here!

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3 Oct

Heartthrob Veterans Help Shelter Dogs

Dodo Circular

(Guest post by Anna Swartz from

What could be better than a bunch of heroic hot dudes taking their clothes off for shelter pets? Exactly.

Dallas photographer Ricki Beason got the idea for her "Heartthrobs and Hound Dogs" calendar last year. She already volunteers her time to take photos of shelter dogs — but she wanted to help even more.

"My passion for rescue dogs began six years ago when I got my first rescue of my own, Blue," Beason told The Dodo. "I want to help save as many dog's lives that I can with my photography … Last year I started the Heartthrobs and Hound Dogs Calendar, featuring firemen cuddling adorable dogs, in an effort to reach beyond the borders of Dallas."

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