Bites at Animal Planet

Current Affairs

7 Oct

Cheetah Cub and Puppy Form Amazing Friendship

When Kumbali the cheetah cub was born at the Metro Richmond Zoo, he wasn't gaining any weight and quickly became the runt of his litter. The zoo's animal caretakers took him from his mother and litter mates to bottle feed him and ensure his survival. However, once he was readt to return back to his family, they discovered his mother, Khari, could only nurse two cubs instead of three. So, the decision was made to hand raise Kumbali!

So where does Kago the puppy come in? Well, without litter mates and a mother to teach him how to be a cheetah, Kumbali needed someone to socialize with and learn animal social cues. He couldn't return to his family as he grew older because he would be considered a threat. So, in came Kago!


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7 Oct

Lil BUB to Release Debut Album 'Science & Magic'

Lil BUB is no stranger to the music world. She made a guest appearance in Meow the Jewels, collaborated with artists such as Andrew W.K., and, to top it off, her owner, Mike Bridavsky, is an audio engineer. So it comes as no surprise that she will be releasing her debut album, Science & Magic, December 4 through the record label, Joyful Noise!

In a description of the album, Andrew W.K. says, "The songs on this album are the soundtrack to BUB's universal adventure, and a soundtrack to the universe itself. You'll feel transported by the music's stimulating spirit, and taken to places beyond your imagination's limits, all the while experiencing the sonic aura of BUB's loving and compassionate presence."

We can't wait to hear Lil BUB's groovy tunes! 25% of the album's profit will be donated to Lil BUB's Big FUND for the ASPCA to benefit special needs pets.

Check out the album's trailer here!

What does Lil Bub sound like? Find out here!

7 Oct

Sea Turtles Wear Little Swimsuits For an Important Cause

(Guest post by Stephen Messenger from

Why is this little loggerhead sea turtle sporting a tiny one-piece? So he can poop in it, that's why.

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Photo Credit: Flickr/University of Queensland

In hopes of better understanding the feeding habits of one of world's most endangered marine species, researcher Owen Coffee from the University of Queensland, in Australia, recently set out to find clues in the animals' fecal matter. But while the concept might sound simple enough, getting his hands on sea turtle scat proved no easy task.

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6 Oct

New Designer Pigs are Tiny, Cute and VERY Expensive

Dodo Circular

(Guest post by Anna Swartz from

Eager buyers already shell out hundreds of dollars for pet "teacup" pigs, and are often shocked when their so-called micro pigs grow to a hundred pounds (or more). Many of those pigs wind up in need of new homes when their misinformed owners realize they're not equipped for such a large, demanding animal.

Now scientists in China have gone and made the whole situation even messier by breeding a new kind of genetically altered mini-pig, Nature reports.

Beijing Genomics Institute, or BGI, originally bred the genetically altered mini-pigs as test subjects, but quickly realized that there was money to be made by selling them as pets.

To keep them small, scientists artificially "turned off" a growth hormone receptor gene, stunting their size.

The new pigs will be only about 30 pounds at most, and will cost about $1,600. The company even plans to allow buyers to "customize" their new pet by choosing the color and pattern of his or her coat.

"Teacup" pigs are often kept small through inbreeding, which is its own type of genetic modification, or by keeping piglets permanently malnourished. These new designer pigs are being kept small because of work that's happening in a laboratory. Either way, the results are the same — more little pigs being sold to families who may or may not be able to properly care for them.

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5 Oct

Rescuers Stop at Nothing to Save Orangutans from Devastating Jungle Fire

Dodo Circular

(Guest post by Sarah V Schweig from

The last thing endangered orangutans need is a blazing wildfire threatening their already diminishing habitat.

But rescuers are going above and beyond to make sure the orangutans they've so carefully rehabilitated and rereleased into the wild forests of Borneo, in Southeast Asia, are free from even this fiery contingency.

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A heavy haze currently covers Samboia Lestari, an area of Borneo so precious to the rare orangutans, where a wildfire erupted on September 23 .

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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

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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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

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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