Bites at Animal Planet

Behind the Scenes

11 Jun

Shedd Aquarium Welcomes Pacific White-Sided Dolphin: It's a Boy!

Piquet and Calf
Photo credit: ©Shedd Aquarium/Brenna Hernandez

Chicago's Shedd Aquarium recently announced the gender of a new Pacific white-sided dolphin calf born June 1: it's a boy! This spirited calf has already accomplished numerous milestones that are vital to a young calf's first days; from taking his first breath seconds after birth, to bonding with his mother and learning how to slipstream, which is a swimming technique that helps a calf save energy by swimming in its mothers wake.

This marks the second pregnancy for the aquarium's 27-year-old female dolphin, Piquet. The first calf Sagu, born in 2012, is doing well and flourishing at the Shedd Aquarium. 

The new calf has weighed in at about 25-30 pounds and is 3 feet long. Experts and veterinarians will continue to monitor the calf and his mother during this critical first period, and they will be away from the public for the time being. For updates, check out Shedd's website, or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

To learn more about dolphins, go to our Ultimate Guide to Dolphins or view the videos below:


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17 Apr

Behind the Scenes: The Baines Family Wins the Ultimate Treehouse

 Contributed by Tory Jones

Get an in-depth look at how the beautiful designs inside these treehouse masterpieces come together with Treehouse Masters' own Tory Jones. Find out more about the Ultimate Treehouse Giveaway Winner inside this blog post!


This past winter in Jim Thorpe, Pa., Treehouse Masters gave a family a big surprise. The Baines family was the winner of the Delta Faucet Ultimate Treehouse Sweepstakes.

James Baines entered the contest with the hope of gifting his mother, Carrie, the treehouse she’s always wanted. Carrie raised James and his sister Sarah as a single mom before James played matchmaker and connected her with local resident Bill Baines. Now the family, along with Bill’s two daughters (Ashley and Chelsea), has been one big blended family for the last nine years.

The Baines family home is set on a creek side property in Jim Thorpe, Pa. The family is quite active and enjoys camping and fishing and all the other outdoor activities that the area offers, and they even host the “Baines Bash” every summer when extended family and friends come and camp in the backyard.


A large build with a living room, loft bedroom and bathroom, the treehouse has decks for entertaining and an outdoor shower off the back deck.  Delta Faucet was very generous and even supplied the fixtures and the groovy shower in a tree was the Carlisle Monitor 17 Series Tub and Shower with H20kinetic technology


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19 Mar

Dig Deeper Into Ice Cold Gold With Interactive Episode Journals


Before you tune into Ice Cold Gold tonight at 10/9c, be sure to check out our new interactive episode journals, cataloging the journeys of Sixty Degrees Resources this season. 

Not only do these episode journals follow the journey, they also grant you access to exclusive new content. Ranging from time lapses capturing the serene beauty of Greenland, to videos capturing behind-the-scenes moments from the show. This exclusive content will feature items we couldn't show you on air.


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11 Mar

Co-Creator of the 'Simpsons,' Sam Simon, Passes Away; Sea Shepherd Team Remembers His Contributions


Sam Simon, co-creator of the Simpsons, vowed to give away his entire fortune to charity after being diagnosed with colon cancer in 2012.

He died Sunday, March 8, having kept his word, donating incalculable amounts of money to various organizations: PETA, Save the Children, Mercy for Animals, the Sam Simon Foundation, and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

His Sea Shepherd contribution hits home here at Animal Planet, funding one of the vessels featured on Whale Wars.

In 2012, Simon donated money to Sea Shepherd to purchase the fourth ship in its fleet, which was proudly named after the long time animal rights activist and television executive. The Sam Simon joined the Bob BarkerSteve Irwin, and Brigitte Bardot. 

Samsimon one

The Sam Simon, and the three others in its fleet, plan to carry out the organization's mission: "to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world's oceans in order to conserve and protect ecosystems and species," and confront the illegal whaling activities of the Japanese whaling fleet.

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6 Mar

Laissez le Bon Temps Rouler! Inside This Baton Rouge Treehouse

Contributed by Tory Jones

Get an in-depth look at how the beautiful designs inside these treehouse masterpieces come together with Treehouse Masters' own Tory Jones. Find out more about the Triple Decker Record Setter inside this blog post!


I arrived in Cajun Country during Mardi Gras this year and Pete and team at NT&S had created one of the largest and most spread out tree house we’ve ever done for Baton Rouge, LA, dream clients Gwen and Todd Graves.

In massive old oaks overlooking their property sits a multi-level dream clubhouse. I was lucky to find Red Door Interiors, where I met owner Erin DeBosier and the delightful Melissa Laney who worked with me to outfit the spaces. The first level is a living room and bar with bathroom.  I filled the space with a large and oh-so-comfortable sectional couch; a tree stump coffee table in copper centered the room and was complemented with a velvet swivel chair and teak slab bar stools.  The lighting was supplied by Kichler and most impressive was the copper linear chandelier over the bar.


A large outdoor entertaining space sits outside of the double set of French doors.  I placed a large round table and an outdoor chandelier that was fabricated from salvaged iron sculpture parts that was then finished and wired by local artist Robbie Turner from Old South lighting and iron works. Adding warmth to the deck was a cooper-clad outdoor grill in a new design from our Kentucky friend Brion at Barnwell Chimney. For a quick exit out, there was a wooden slide built by our own Dustin Pulliam, build producer.

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6 Mar

Behind the Scenes: Design Details from the Mountain Lodge Oasis

 Contributed by Celeste Gruenstein of Décor Direct-Sarasota, FL


With the homeowners' love of skiing, we went with a ski lodge theme for the Martin's backyard.  Set out in the country, this home provided wide open treed vistas which we accented with lodge style furnishings.  We used Decor Direct's line of reclaimed furniture for a rugged western feel for both dining and seating areas.  For dining, a round dining table made from a re-purposed antique wagon wheel turned on its side to form the top of the table, and attached with yokes that used to straddle the necks of yaks to the salvaged old teak mortar table base.  (and yes the mortar is also approximately 100 years old, and was once was used to mash herbs and spices!)   Matching heavy reclaimed timber chairs complete the look. Uber cool and hardy!   

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3 Mar

Go on a Virtual Safari to Celebrate World Wildlife Day

At Animal Planet, there’s something wild inside us all. A sort of primal yearning that drives us to connect with the natural world. For many of us that means sharing our homes with “wild things” like Mr. Pouncy Pants, Rover or Nemo. Others develop and create inspiring animal content, volunteer at wildlife rehabilitation centers, lobby for better animal welfare laws and promote animal adoption. We all have different ways of expressing our appreciation for the wild world we love so much. 

 In celebration of World Wildlife Day, go on a virtual safari to the Okavango Delta with one of our employees . . . and get in touch with your inner wild.   



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27 Feb

Behind the Scenes: Design Details from Pankiw's Paradise

 Contributed by Celeste Gruenstein of Décor Direct-Sarasota, FL


The Pankiws, with backgrounds in building and construction, naturally have a love of wood.  So we used Decor Direct's line of natural sustainable tree slabs for their “Insane Pool” build.  Rather than linear pieces, we chose reclaimed felled tree slabs in organic shapes with live edge finishes.  These blend harmoniously with the natural elements of stone, marble and boulders in the pool and bar area construction. With one of our custom thick sustainable slab tables for dining, the Pankiws can enjoy poolside dining in stylish fashion.  


One of our mission statements at Decor Direct is that every piece has function and artistic qualities, so for a seating area off the Pankiw's bedroom, we showcased a coffee table that is functional art.  This super thick irregularly shaped reclaimed slab coffee table has a fresh vibe with metallic bullet style legs.  We continued the slab theme, with “art” in the form of a 6 foot tall slice of a reclaimed/re-purposed  tree mounted on a pedestal.   The result: a classic Decor Direct organic yet contemporized style for the pool area that builds on the natural elements of the pool area, yet retains an open vista to the wonders of the bay-front setting.

Watch Insane Pools every Friday at 9/8c!

27 Feb

Frank's Creative Audio-Visual Results at Pankiw's Paradise

Contributed by Frank Giuffre


With limited space in the new outdoor kitchen/bar area, Lucas gave me the challenge of where to place a TV and Terry’s beloved “Dock & Bar” sign. By building a custom enclosure that motorized up to reveal the TV, I was able to locate the TV and bar sign in the same spot. The enclosure also provided protection for the TV in its outdoor environment.

The lack of the typical lush Lucas Lagoons landscaping in this minimalistic design provided problems for speaker locations for me. Satellite speakers were mounted high up near the soffits while the burial subwoofer was installed in the sole landscape bed of the entire project.

20 Feb

Ahoy Matey! A Behind-the-Scenes Look at a Pirate-Themed Treehouse

Contributed by Tory Jones

Get an in-depth look at how the beautiful designs inside these treehouse masterpieces come together with Treehouse Masters' own Tory Jones. Find out more about the Sky High Pirate Hideaway inside this blog post!


Land Ahoy!

The gang returned to the Seattle area to create a pirate-worthy treasure tree house for clients Kelly and Stephanie Fahey.  They had purchased property in Edmonds, Wash., that they hoped to build their dream house on, but the first dream to check off the list was a tree house by Pete Nelson.

As Seattle locals they love the outdoors and spend much time outdoors with their kids hiking and exploring and had created a treasure map on the one first hike on the property and buried hidden treasure on the site where the tree house now stands.

The design called for the interior to be fort-like and slightly unfinished looking so the floors were heated from underneath and the insulation was placed on the outside under the wood sheathing, so we brought in Tracy Wade and her team to paint the plywood interior a silvery gray.  Tracy is a decorative painter and came up with the perfect formula.


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