Bites at Animal Planet

27 Aug

Hideously Cute Baby Bat Munches on Mealworms

Some animals are just so ugly that they are cute.

Here's a video of a tiny bat named Frank being raised by wildlife rehabilitators in Australia, happily munching on mealworms.

 

 

The good folks at Wildlife Rockhampton had this to say about the little guy on their Facebook page:

"Adorable little Frank is a white-striped free-tailed bat. Amazingly enough, he was dropped by a crow right beside one of our very own carers as they made their way to work one morning last week. As a micro bat, his body length is only about 6cm, and his diet consists entirely of insects. In this video he's thoroughly enjoying a mealworm Many people don't know how important micro bats are to our environment - here in Australia they help keep the mosquitoes and insect population to a minimum, allowing us to better enjoy our outdoor lifestyle. Thanks Frank for your hard work! We'll get you back to the wild as soon as possible." 

How cute is little Frank?!

White Striped Free Tailed Bat

27 Aug

Giant Grouper Takes Down Shark With One Bite

Bhkod

That's one for the grouper!

Friends in Florida were in for a shock while fishing off the coast of Bonita Spring, FL this month. While reeling in a black tip shark, a goliath grouper jumped out of nowhere and took the predator in its mouth.

Don’t believe us? Take a look at the video posted to YouTube by user Gimbb14:

Some may find it surprising that a fish could attack a shark, but as we’ve seen on River Monsters, groupers aren’t ones to be messed with. According to the Florida Museum of Natural History, goliath grouper (like the one in the video) can grow beyond eight feet and weigh as much as 800 pounds. And while shark isn’t on its usual menu, crustaceans, stingrays, octopus and young sea turtles are, making the fish a revered predator in the water.

Interested in learning more about groupers? Take a look at some video from River Monsters

26 Aug

Umbrella Cockatoo Makes it Rain Dog Treats

Bj048 We can't help but laugh and cheer Spike the umbrella cockatoo on as he sends Milkbone treat after Milkbone treat down to his great dane friends.

Watch the video below:

Want to see even more cockatoos? Check out this one that can really shake a tail feather!

25 Aug

Moray Eel Eats Lionfish

It's an eel-eat-fish world out there!  Check out this video below of a spotted moray eel attacking and eating a lionfish.  

Pay special attention to the eel's hunting technique. It bites the lionfish in the middle of its body and uses its double set of jaws to both hold and cut the lionfish in half. Then it pulls the lionfish through its coils and tears it in two. It's pretty amazing to watch!

 

Eel:1, Lionfish: 0!

Lionfish are no easy prey. They have venomous spines and most predators avoid them. Native to South Pacific and Indian Oceans, captive lionfish were introduced from aquariums into North American coastal waters along the eastern Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, where they have quickly become established and are considered a dangerous invasive exotic species.

Lionfish
Lionfish are an invasive exotic species in the Atlantic and Gulf. Photo by Tina Bao via Flicker Creative Commons.

Protect Wildlife with the National Wildlife Federation.  

23 Aug

Plant Milkweed for Monarchs!

Monarch butterflies are in serious trouble. Their populations have crashed and are at an all time low, and experts fear that this iconic black and orange butterfly species could disappear altogether if action isn't taken. 

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Monarch butterfly on milkweed. Photo by Rick&Brenda Beerhoorst via Flickr Creative Commons.

Monarchs, like all butterfly species, require host plants where they lay their eggs and where their caterpillars feed. Through the process of co-evolution, over hundreds of thousands of years each butterfly species has evolved immunity to the chemical defenses of just a limited number of plants. These are that species' host plants.

In the case of monarchs, milkweed (Asclepias spp.) is their only host plant, and unfortunately, we have done a bang-up job at a massive elimination of milkweed from coast to coast. Like many native plants that support wildlife, milkweed has gotten a bad reputation as a "weed." The default position of both conventional commercial agriculture as well as conventional home gardening is to eliminate it.

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Monarch caterpillar on milkweed. Photo by Brian Garrett via Flickr Creative Commons.

With the help of herbicide-resistant GMO crops that allow industrial farmers to spray massive amounts of chemicals to eliminate every last milkweed, and the emphasis of the home gardening industry on exotic ornamental plants that don't support wildlife over native plants like milkweed, we have been tremendously successful at wiping out milkweed.  And the monarchs are suffering.

It's not all bad news. We each can all do something to turn around this dire situation: PLANT MILKWEED IN YOUR GARDEN!  I'm not exaggerating with my capitalization. What we do in our gardens can literally save this beautiful butterfly species from oblivion. Add milkweed into your flower beds, plant it in containers on your patio, or if you have the space, grow a wildflower garden with milkweed and lots of othe native plants. 

Swamp milkweed
Swamp milkweed seed pods in my garden. Photo by David Mizejewski.

There are a few dozen species of milkweed native to North America. Many are actually beautiful ornamentals that are increasingly being sold in garden centers. You can get seed packets for some species as well. You can collect milkweed seeds (if you can find any wild plants) and grow them yourself. Not only is milkweed the host plant for monarch caterpillars, it's also an excellent nectar plant for adult butterflies and many other pollinators.

I'm currently growing two kinds of milkweed in containers in my urban backyard: swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) and butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa). These two species are found over much of the continent and are the two you're most likely to see in your garden center. Mine are part of the American Beauties Native Plants line.

So far, I haven't had any monarch caterpillars. Monarchs are one of the few migratory insects. The last generation to hatch in late summer will delay sexual maturity and migrate down to a few locations in the mountains outside Mexico City, or scattered locations in central California where they'll go dormant for up to five months before migrating back across North America. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that in the coming weeks, my milkweeds will serve as host to this last generation of the season.

Swamp milkweed seeds
Swamp milkweed seed pods. Photo by David Mizejewski.

Even if they don't this year, I've begun gathering seeds from my milkweeds. I will keep them in the refrigerator for a couple of months to simulate winter weather conditions the seeds need in order to germinate, and then plant them indoors around January. By the time spring rolls around, I'll have dozens of small milkweed plants that I can add to my garden and share with my friends.

Saving a species can really be that simple, but we all need to do it for it have an impact. I hope that you'll add milkweed to your garden and help save the monarchs!

Plant a Garden for Monarch Butterflies with the National Wildlife Federation 

 

21 Aug

Orphaned Eagles Released into the Wild

Check out this news report of my friend Ed Clark, President of the Wildlife Center of Virginia, releasing three young bald eagles back into the wild.

The eagles were all blown out of their nests by storms earlier this year, and have spent the last few months in captivity under the care of the vets and other staff at the Wildlife Center.  (Die-hard Animal Planet fans will remember the Wildlife Center from the series Wildlife Emergency that aired in the late 90s and early 00s.)

Speaking from experience, there is NOTHING that feels as good as releasing a wild animal back into its natural habitat.

 

Protect Eagles with the National Wildlife Federation. 

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Juvenile Bald Eagle. Photo by Ken Janes via Flickr Creative Commons.

 

20 Aug

Bighorn Sheep Rescued from Near-Fatal Swim

Bighorn sheep are creatures of the desert and mountains. They are specially adapted to survive in the extremes of arid habitats, where vegetation is tough and brown and water is hard to come by during much of the year. So when one showed up swimming in a golf course canal in La Quinta, CA it was a surprise sight for many.

Bighorn Sheep
Photo via Riverside County Animal Services' Facebook page.

Turns out there's a herd of bighorn sheep that hang around the Arnold Palmer Golf Course to take advantage of lush green grass and the regular water source in the otherwise arid Southern California.

This particular sheep apparently got a little too close to the water while getting a drink, and fell in. The steep, slick sides prevented it from getting out.

Fortunately for this sheep, rescuers from Riverside County Animal Services got to the scene in time.

They reported that there were scrape marks on the side of the canal where the exhausted animal had tried but failed to pull itself out.

Unfortunately, wild animals in trouble don't know that rescuers are trying to help them. Rescuers ultimately had to loop the rope on a control stick around one of the sheep's horns and pull it out that way. At that point the sheep realized it was being rescued and didn't resist. Once it was free of the water, it fled the scene and headed for the hills. Hopefully it learned its lesson and will avoid the canal. 

Unfortunately, it's not the first to fall into the canal, and other sheep have drowned. This population of bighorn sheep is endangered and plans are in place to install a fence around the potential death trap for wildlife.

Riverside County Animal Control posted this account to their Facebook page:

"This photo was taken at PGA West (just next to Arnold Palmer Golf Course) in La Quinta, Calif. The canal runs adjacent to the golf course and is very near an area known for the bighorn sheep. There are rugged slopes and terrain where the sheep travel in herds. In fact, they've been known for walking onto the golf course to graze on the fairways. The Desert Sun newspaper wrote a story recently about a concern some wildlife experts have regarding the sheep's frequent grazebys at PGA West. An 8-foot wall has been proposed to keep the sheep up in the wild regions of the Coachella Valley. (Bear in mind that the San Jacinto Mountain area is very close to many of the communities that dot the desert region in the Coachella Valley.)"

19 Aug

Download the Call of the Wildman Game, BACKWOODS RESCUE!

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Now you can join in the LIVE ACTION with Turtleman and Neal!  In the new game BACKWOODS RESCUE, you can find and rescue critters with Turtleman! Take care of your critters, then release them back into the wild. AND, build and decorate your own wildlife park! Sneak a peek of the game here:

 

Download the game to your device NOW! Click on the button for your OS:

Download-apple
 

Download-android 
 

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18 Aug

Team Villalobos & Pit Bulls & Parolees EP Lisa Lucas Take on the ALS #IceBucketChallenge

Pbp-ice-bucket-challenge

EVERYONE's getting on board with the ALS Association's #IceBucketChallenge! When Earl and Matt from Villalobos took on the challenge and SOAKED themselves, they also nominated our very own Pit Bulls & Parolees Executive Producer Lisa Lucas! Here's Lisa taking one for the whole Animal Planet team - WAY TO GO, Lisa!!

Hey Moe and Kanani ... YOUR MOVE!

Watch Earl and Matt's original video — we know it must have been especially frigid in the middle of those NOLA summer temps!

Continue reading

15 Aug

Treehouse Masters: Brian Kelley of Florida Georgia Line!

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This week's season finale of Treehouse Masters is one you can't afford to miss. Pete Nelson will be building a very special treehouse for Brian Kelley from Florida Georgia Line, and his beautiful wife, Brittney Cole.

Kelley and his wife already have a beautiful home built into the mountainside right outside of Nashville, but when they decided they wanted to do a little addition, they called up Pete and the crew. The treehouse masters constructed them a modern two-story structure that features a recording living room, master suite, and recording studio. Possibly best of all, the new treehouse connects to thier home by breezeway, which was no easy feat.

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Brian and Brittney react to the unveiling of their new treehouse.

Will the couple love thier new addition? Be sure to tune Friday at 10 PM E/P to see if Pete and the rest of the crew is successful in building Brian and his wife the perfect space they are looking for!

You can also check out some exclusive pictures from the filming here!

about the blog

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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