Bites at Animal Planet


4 Mar

Forget Superstitions: Black Cats (and Other animals) Could be Born Lucky

Photos: Black Dog: m01229/Flickr; Black Cat: TraumTeufel666/Flickr

Toss your superstitions aside. It turns out that being a black cat or dog (or other animals) is actually incredibly lucky since it helps these animals live longer, new research shows.

Discovery News reports that the dark or black coloration in these animals stems from melanism, "or development of the dark-colored pigment melanin in the skin and its appendages (fur, hair, eyelashes, etc.)." However, it's still a mystery as to how or why melanism leads to better health.

"We don't know for certain," Gregory Barsh of the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, co-author of the study that appeared in PLOS Genetics told Discovery News. "Factors such as foliage, humidity, temperature, and/or infectious agents are all possibilities, and could affect camouflage, resistance to heat or thermoregulation, or resistance to infections."

The dark-peppered moth is a great example of melanism working to help a species. The moth's coloring helps camouflage it from prey since it can blend in better with its surroundings.

For even more information on this story, we encourage you to visit the full article on Discovery News!

Learn more about black-furred dog and cat breeds in the videos below:

2 Mar

Rescued Circus Lions Get Much-Needed Dental Work


Little to no teeth? Broken fangs? 

That's what 17-year-old circus lions King and Simba's mouths looked like after serving time in Peruvian circuses. What many lion mouths look like, actually. These circuses are nothing to smile at. 

Circus owners "often break their teeth and remove their claws... It's a painful process in which they do not use anesthesia and those doing it are not veterinarians," Eva Chomba, a Peruvian veterinarian with Animal Defenders,told the Huffington Post.

Peru banned wild animals in circuses in 2011 because of terrible suffering of lions, monkeys, bears and other animals, which were frequently whipped and beaten and kept in deprived and appalling conditions. But it's still going on. That's when Animal Defenders steps in. 

King and Simba, along with 21 others, were rescued by the Los Angeles-based Animal Defenders International. The two lions were transported to the dentist on February 20 and underwent surgery to fix their teeth, or lack there of. 

Unlike the circus, the Peter Emily International Veterinary Dental Foundation sedated the big cats.

King, unfortunately, wasn't completely cured. He'll have to be taken to an animal sanctuary in Denver, Colorado, to undergo more surgeries, but 26 monkeys took a trip to the dentist that Saturday. 

Wishing King and Simba, plus 21 lions and 26 monkeys a speedy recovery. Get well, you 49! 

Go into a lion's mouth with this clip from Into the Pride:

25 Feb

Conservation of the World's Rarest Cat is Working: Population Doubled!


The Amur leopard is the world's rarest cat. In fact, there are only 65 to 69 of these guys on Earth. 

Unlike most big cats, these leopards don't live in Africa; they live in Russia, in the temperate, broadleaf and mixed forests of the far east: Russia's Land of the Leopard National Park. A handful are even in China.

That's definitely different than the Savannah. 

But what makes these cats so entirely interesting and diverse is that there are so little of them. As Discovery News reported, in 2007 there were only 30 Amur leopards! Can you say "endangered?" 

That's why the the World Wildlife Fund, Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Amur Leopard Center and Leopard National Park are working so hard to protect the species. Scientists have set up cameras over the leopards' 900,000 acres, said the World Wildlife Fund, in order to watch growth and/or depletion. 

The main goal is to get these cats back in full swing: breeding and surviving. Russia is attempting to extend the leopard habitat into China with the Sino-Russian transboundary nature reserve, so the number of leopards in China will also have a safety net. 

Continue reading >

25 Feb

Animal Planet's 'Road to the Puppy Bowl' Tour Kicks Off Its Second Year

Flacco PBXI

If you're anything like us here at Animal Planet, the days since Puppy Bowl XI have been absolutely ruff! We all have to wait until 2016 rolls around to see next year's puppy athletes romping around the gridiron, but there's fortunately one great reason for you to keep calm and smile on. Road to Puppy Bowl is on its way! 

For a second year, Animal Planet is bringing the spirit of Puppy Bowl to animal rescue organizations around the country through Road to the Puppy Bowl, a series of all-star adoption events meant to help families find their very own MVP (Most Valuable Pet) at a shelter in their community. 


Next Stop:  Baltimore, MD!




On Sunday, March 8, 2015, Animal Planet is taking the Road to the Puppy Bowl tour to Charm City! We will co-host the event with the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter from 11AM to 3PM EST. Join us for an exciting event filled with giveaways, photo ops, and overly adorable animals!

To make the day even sweeter, Animal Planet will cover the full cost of all adoptions during this event. Yes, you can take your new furry friend home—FREE of charge. Whether you fall in love with a feline, a canine, a senior companion, or a playful, young tyke, all of the costs will be covered as long as you register for the event.

While you're there, share your Road to Puppy Bowl experience with us.  Post your photos to Instagram and tag them with #R2PB. We'll post our favorites here at

Sign up for Road to Puppy Bowl in Baltimore, MD here!


Can't make it to Baltimore? Stay tuned as we add more Road to Puppy Bowl dates. There may be an event coming soon to a city near you.

View a gallery of fan photos from Road to Puppy Bowl events.

Live video by Animal Planet L!ve 

20 Feb

Tokyo Zoo Stages Animal Escape With a Man in a Snow Leopard Costume (VIDEO)


I don't know what's more terrifying: an actual snow leopard escape or this costume. 

The costume.

An employee at the Tokyo Zoo dressed as a snow leopard last week as part of an annual animal-escape drill, breaking out of an enclosure and wreaking havoc on zoo staff, as captured in this AFP video

He pushes an employee to the ground behind an enclosure. 


And looks back without remorse. 


Continue reading >

20 Feb

Hungry Cat Heroically Leaps Through Snowbank to Save the Day! ... Well, *EAT* (VIDEO)

Brrrrrr! Heard enough complaints about the east coast deep freeze yet?  Well, though ice and slush may be halting some of our daily lives — here's one kitty who LAUGHS in the face of Old Man Winter! NOTHING will stop this cat from getting his food:

Bundle up those furry loved ones and stay warm out there! 


Does YOUR cat have any special heroic talents? We're searching for AMERICA'S NEXT CAT STAR!  Is there a kitty in your life you want to nominate? Well, here's your chance!

Nominate Your Cat Star and ENTER NOW >>



Betty Chu is a Digital Media Executive Producer for Follow her on Twitter @beddychew or Facebook.



19 Feb

Big Cat Plays in the Snow, Melts Hearts (VIDEO)

With the bitter cold winter keeping most of us indoors, it’s heartwarming to see someone outside enjoying the snow.

Meet Nala, a 5-year-old Norwegian Forest Cat/Maine Coon mix with a love for the outdoors. The fluffy feline lives in Norway and looks to be her happiest outside frolicking in the snow, enjoying snowball fights with her owner.

Continue reading >

12 Feb

Gato Malo: The Cat That Doesn't Give A Damn (VIDEO)

Paging Jackson Galaxy! We just discovered a cat in dire need of a house call.

While it’s safe to say cats aren’t the most playful or affectionate pets, this feisty feline (who we’re calling Gato Malo after the YouTube video) is just straight up cruel. See for yourself:

Continue reading >

12 Feb

Mysteries [Kind of] Explained: Why Cats Love Boxes

Tabby cat Etta: Resident Box-Welcoming Committee. (Photo by Jodi Westrick)

Any day I get a delivery from Amazon (or any site that sends shipments in boxes, really) is the best day in the eyes of my cats - particularly for my tabby Etta. As soon as I empty the contents and place the box on the floor, Etta makes her way to it and curls up for a nap.

What is it about boxes that's so appealing to our feline friends? In Wired's "What's Up With That" series, they explore several theories attempting to explain this cat behavior. So why do cats love boxes?

Here are the theories:

1) Boxes provide security.

According to the article, ethologist Claudia Vinke of Utrecht University in the Netherlands has been studying the stress levels of shelter cats. In particular, she observed newly-arrived cats to Dutch shelters - a group of which was provided with boxes, and another group that was not.

Can you guess what happened?

Turns out, the cats with access to boxes were much less stressed out, were more willing to interact with humans, and got used to their new surroundings faster. So, it seems like those boxes your cat(s) love could be comforting spots for them.

Continue reading >

11 Feb

A CATrospective: Henri, Film Noir Cat Star, Reached New Cat Heights with Timeless 'Paw de Deux' (VIDEO)

Henri est un chat qui est un peu triste ... Le SIIIIIIGH.

If you don't remember Henri, he's a bonafide kitty cat film noir star as you can see in his now classic Paw de Deux, a very important short-form, docu-film-noir feature in the Feline category:  

In what may be one of the most significant Feline Films ever to hit the big (computer) screen, we meet Henri, un chat francais, who is listless with his monochrome existence.  Henri is suffering from what he perceives as a less than puuuuurrr-fect life.

Henri is a FOOL.


Continue reading >

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