Bites at Animal Planet

18 Dec

Shedd Aquarium Otter Pup Has a Brand New Name: Meet Luna!

©Shedd Aquarium/Brenna Hernandez

Last week, Chicago's Shedd Aquarium - with the help of Good Morning America and over 10,000 voters - announced the new name for Otter 681, who was taken in by the aquarium through a partnership with the Monterey Bay Aquarium last month.

Voters had the opportunity to choose from five names (Cali, Ellie, Poppy, Ana and Luna). Which was the winning name? Luna! We think it's a perfect fit.

©Shedd Aquarium/Brenna Hernandez

During the special event held at the aquarium last Thursday, Luna was introduced to the otter exhibit at the Regenstein Sea Otter habitat in the Abbott Oceanarium at Shedd - where she'll become a fixture in the spring of 2015.

When she was first brought in, she weighed in at just six pounds. She's 11 pounds now and learning new things every day - from diving, to foraging for food, to grooming on her own.

For the latest updates on Luna, visit Shedd’s website at, or follow the pup’s progress on Shedd's Facebook page and Twitter account.

To learn more about otters, check out this article. To see a sea otter learn how to forage for fish, watch the video below:

17 Dec

Derby Gets Prosthetic Legs, New Life

Derby is a dog with malformed front legs. It wasn't until he was adopted that he got the chance to run.

"I kept looking at his photo and hearing his story, and I cried literally every time," caretaker Tara Anderson told 3D Systems. "Finally, I messaged [her] and I was like 'Okay, I'll do it. I'll take care of him!'" 

Tara felt the obligation to help Derby and started by getting him a cart, which helped but still limited his mobility and ability to play with other dogs.


(YouTube/3D Systems)

Unsatisfied with the wheeled options to assist disabled dogs, Tara sought additional help. The result was a set of custom designed, 3D printed prosthetic legs that allow Derby to run, play and LIVE!

Continue reading

17 Dec

Help Make Wishes Come True This Holiday Season with Make-A-Wish and Animal Planet


It's no secret that our Animal Planet stars love working with and saving animals - but they're also just as passionate for great causes like Make-A-Wish, which grants the wishes of children diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses. More than a few of these "wish kids" want to meet everything that crawls, slithers, flies or swims - and who better to help make these wishes come true than Animal Planet and its stars?

Caylee (photo above) is four years old and battling a gastrointestinal disorder. She loves the Gator Boys and Paul Bedard and Jimmy Riffle were just as excited to meet her and show her the ropes. She even got a lesson in wrestling a stuffed-animal gator. Check out more of her wish visit in the video below.

Want to watch even more magical moments? Check out AJ picking out a tree for his awesome treehouse with Pete Nelson, Wyatt taking over River Monsters with Jeremy Wade and much more in our Make-A-Wish playlist!

Do you want to help grant a wish for a child in need? Learn how at:


16 Dec

Guinea Pig Rush Hour

Guinea pigs by Toshihiro Gamo on Flickr.

What's cuter than a guinea pig? Dozens of guinea pigs using a special bridge to go from one enclosure to the next at the Nagasaki Bio Park in Japan.

The guinea pigs apparently do this often, because they seem to know exactly what do to and where to go.

Here's another video of the same behavior at the Chiba Zoological Park, also in Japan. 


h/t: boredpanda

16 Dec

Endangered Northern White Rhino Dies, Only FIVE Left on the Planet

Remember how there were only SIX northern white rhinos left in October, per our report here?? Well, now there are only five. SIGH. Read the full report from The Dodo and find out about our latest loss.


Photo: Wikimedia via The Dodo


By Stephen Messenger

One of the last remaining survivors of one of the world’s rarest animals has died, inching yet another species closer to extinction. Angalifu, a 44-year-old male northern white rhino kept at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, passed away on Sunday, zoo officials say — leaving only five members of the species.

“Angalifu’s death is a tremendous loss to all of us,” Rancy Reiches, curator of mammals at the zoo’s Safari Park, told the Los Angeles Times.


Continue to the Full Report at The Dodo >>


Continue reading

10 Dec

Seven Sperm Whales Found Dead Off Australian Coast

Screen Shot 2014-12-10 at 10.50.49 AM
People marvel at the beached whales in Australia. (Photo Credit: BBC News)

Beachgoers were in for a shock when they found a pod of dead sperm whales off the coast of southern Australia.

Six whales were discovered together Monday near Androssan, while a seventh was located a few kilometers away, according to the Huffington Post. An eighth whale was also seen in shallow waters, before a team of marine officials ushered it back into the ocean.

How did seven sperm whales end up like this? We’ll likely never know. DNews reports that one Department of Environment official told local news that one of the whales may have fallen ill and signaled the rest of the pod toward the shore.

Curious to learn more about this large and majestic whale species? Read more about sperm whales on

9 Dec

Sea Turtle Evades Shark

Photo by Teddy Fotiou via Flickr Creative Commons.

You might think that once they reach their adult size sea turtles are safe from predators. What could bite through those thick shells?

Turns out that even adult sea turtles are still on the menu for certain shark species, namely tiger sharks. Large, blunt headed tiger sharks are immensely powerful, and they love to dine on sea turtles. Often, they grab on to a flipper and tear it off, and indeed, sea turtles with missing limbs are not an uncommon sight. Tiger shark jaws are even powerful enough to crush through the shell of a sea turtle.

But don't feel too bad for the sea turtles. The video above shows just how smart these marine reptiles really are, and how well adapted they are to evade tiger sharks. The turtle anticipates the shark's attack and twists its body in the water. This does two things. First, it protects the turtle's vulnerable head and limbs from the shark's mouth. Even more fascinating, it puts its shell at just the right angle so that flat top is facing the shark. If the shark could grab the turtle shell from the side, it could shake the turtle to death and crush through the shell.  But not even a tiger shark can open its mouth wide enough to engulf the entire shell.

Amazing stuff! 

Protect Sea Turtles with the National Wildlife Federation.  


5 Dec

Have You Ever Seen an Owl Swim?

This great horned owl was attacked by a pair of peregrine falcons. Though much larger than the falcons, the owl knew better than to fight back against the smaller birds, which kill other birds by dive-bombing into them at speeds of over 200 mph.

Instead, it plunged in to waters of Lake Michigan to escape. Owls and other large birds don't enter the water willingly, but their light bodies float and they can use their wings to do a breaststroke and swim, as this owl shows.

Fortunately for the owl, it survived the attack and flew away after it reached the shore.

Protect wildlife with the National Wildlife Federation. 

Photo by Chris via Flickr Creative Commons.


1 Dec

How Bears Use Obesity to Survive

Science write Jason Goldman hosts a great wildlife podcast called The Wild Life. The latest episode focuses on bears. Based on this teaser, sounds like a fascinating episode:

"Bears have figured out how to become obese without becoming diabetic. Then they hibernate for 4-5 months without becoming weak. How can hibernating bears help us understand human health and disease? And did you know that some bears have learned to use tools?!" 

Listen to the episode by clicking on the orange arrow above. 

Bear fish
Black bear. Photo by CA Department of Fish and Wildlife via Flickr Creative Commons.

Protect Wildlife with the National Wildlife Federation. 

25 Nov

First Footage of a Monster from the Deep

What's believed to be first ever footage of a live, female anglerfish swimming at extreme depths has been recorded by researchers with the Monterey Bay Research Institute.  

AnglerfishThis species of anglersfish is known as the black seadevil. These terrifying-looking fish live in the deep ocean where no light reaches. The females have an appendage on their head with a bioluminescent tip. The glowing tip lures in potential prey just like lure on the end of a fishing pole, hence the name "anglerfish."

No one knows why so many creatures from the deep look like horror movie monsters. Perhaps our image of monsters is influenced by the human species' deep instinctual fear of the dark, cold depths of the ocean where we could never survive. Luckily, anglerfish are harmless to people. 

Regardless of human impressions of them, anglerfish are a fascintating species, as this video proves.

Protect wildlife with the National Wildlife Federation.  

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