Bites at Animal Planet

Cute

20 Oct

Nothing is Cuter Than This Baby Rhino Playing With a Goat

Today's installment of utter cuteness comes to us from the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre in South Africa.

The centre's mission is to conserve rare, vulnerable or endangered animals. A big part of their work is captive breeding of endangered species. While they specialize in cheetahs, the Centre cares for many other species as well, including Gertjie the orphaned white rhinoceros

Gertjie--nicknamed "Little G"--has a sad story that is all too common. He was found next to the body of his dead mother, who was killed and mutilated by poachers. They hacked off her horn for the lucrative traditional Chinese medicine black market.

Practiced throughout Asia, traditional Chinese medicaine holds that rhino horn is used to treat a variety illnesses--despite the fact that science has shown that it actually has no medicinal value and despite the fact that killing rhinos for their horns is illegal. Rhinos are rapidly declining and some species are close to extinction. Yet such is the power of tradition and faith.

White rhino
Southern white rhinoceros calf.

Luckily for Little G, he was rescued and brought to the Centre. White rhinos are the most social of the five rhino species, and even after Little G recovered from the trauma of losing his mother, it was evident that he needed companionship. So the folks at the Centre introduced Little G to a pair of goats, and a fast friendship was born.

Here is Little G frolicking with Lammie the goat. The joy the two animals are experiencing in this video is evident and infectious. Whenever I get down about the horrible things people do to animals, videos like this one and the story of Little G's rescue help remind me that there are still good people and good things happening in the world.

 

Photo by Vanessa via Flickr Creative Commons.

17 Oct

America's Cutest Channels Its Disney Side This "Howl-O-Ween"

Cruellatunein
A dalmatian dressed up as Cruella de Vil…the irony! (Photo Courtesy of Disney Parks)

Who says Halloween has to be spooky and scary? You’ll never look at the holiday the same way again when Animal Planet and Disney comes together Saturday for America’s Cutest: Disney Side Howl-O-Ween.

Hosted by actor John O’Hurley, the hour-long special will be chock-full of adorable pets showing their “Disney Side” dressed up as some of Disney’s most iconic princesses, pirates, heroes and villains. It was filmed in Walt Disney World during the park’s first-ever Disney Side Dog's Day, as 101 (what other number could it be?) dogs took over Magic Kingdom for a pet-tacular day filled with a doggie dance party and a parade down Main Street USA, led by the latest winner from America's Cutest Pet.

Which the winning pooch had a “hairy-tale” ending and won? You’ll have to tune into America’s Cutest: Disney Side Howl-O-Ween SATURDAY at 9/8c to find out! Until then, check out some amazing photographs from Disney Side's Dog Day and get the inside scoop on how the event went, courtesy of the Disney Parks blog!

Cute pets in costumes and the happiest place on Earth…what could be better?

14 Oct

(Adorable) German Shepherd Naps Like My Dad

Here's an adorable video of one tuckered out pup! He MUST be in a deep, deep sleep, dreaming of squirrels, fetching things and delicious, meaty treats ... It may be an oldie from last year but it's still CUTE AS EVER: 

Not to mention, he totally looks like my Dad napping on the couch on a lazy weekend. I LOVE YOU, DOG!!!

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8 Oct

Washington Firefighters Rescue Family of Hamsters

 

BABY-HAMSTER-OXYGEN-500 Firefighters in Lacey, Washington, had the chance recently to be heroes in more ways than one when they rescued a family of hamsters from the home of their human family.

"I can think of a handful of times where we have saved small animals (rodents, birds and even a few fish) from house fires," Battilion Chief Tim Hulse told Animal Planet. "The most common animal rescue is family dogs and cats. Obviously, our first priority is to locate and rescue any humans in the structure. Once we have confirmed that the house is clear and that the situation is under control, checking for family pets is often one of our next tasks."

BABY-HAMSTER-HOME-500

The firefighters found the family in the living room and after removing them from the structure, they gave them oxygen via breathing tubes, which were tiny enough to act like teeny oxygen masks for the hamsters. Sadly, one baby hamster was lost, but two adults and two other babies were saved - which is pretty amazing considering what they went through.

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8 Oct

*Kraaazy* Kangaroo Street Fight, Because Australia

Call me naive but I had NO IDEA kangaroos actually, really, for real, REAL-LIFE boxed like THIS:

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7 Oct

This Must be What Heaven Looks Like

 

Cu546 We don't know much about this video, but what we do know is that if heaven is a place on Earth, it's here in this pile of pug puppies.

Holy cuteness!

Want even more adorable pups? Check out Too Cute!

30 Sep

Dutch Airlines Makes Cutest Beagle-Run Lost & Found Service Video Ever

Klm-royal-dutch-beagleWhat better incentive to fly an airline and leave something behind on the plane than having an ADORABLE beagle retrieve it for you?! 

Well ... unfortunately this program with beagle isn't real. :(  KLM Royal Dutch Airlines announced the launch of a new Lost and Found program last week in a press release.  Sadly, the pup part is not true.  

But, well done, KLM on producing one super cute beagle video! And, hopefully you can make this video a reality someday because this idea is pretty brilliant:

 

Learn more about the sweet dog in our Dog Breed Selector >> And, watch a video about them below:

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30 Sep

Ten Reasons to Love Opossums

Opossums are one of the most common mammals in our cities and towns. The are really cool and interesting animals, but most people find them gross and scary-looking.  I'm here to throw a little love to these misunderstood creatures with my top ten reasons to love opossums.

10.  Opossums are North America's Only Marsupial.
Opossums are not rats or even closely related to rodents. They are marsupials. Most marsupial species live in Australia and like kangaroos or koalas, opossums have a very short pregnancy--just 12 days--and give birth to their young even before eyes or hind limbs have fully formed. With only front legs, the tiny babies must crawl into their mother's pouch, where they'll attach to a nipple and nurse while they continue developing.

9. Baby Opossums are Fluffy and Cute.
When born, baby opossums are hairless and only the size of a bumble bee. But by the time they're ready to leave mom's pouch after about 11 weeks, baby opossums have turned into adorable little balls of flull.

8. Baby Opossums Ride on Mom's Back.
Baby opossums get around by riding on their mothers' backs. Few things are cuter than seeing a dozen or so babies just hanging out on mom's back. 

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Mother opossum and young. Photo by Monica R. via Flickr Creative Commons.

7. They Break Records.
Opossums have 50 teeth in their mouths, more than any other mammal. 

6. Like Humans, They are Extremely Adaptable.
Unlike more finicky species, opossums don't require special foods or places to live. They'll pretty much eat anything from fruit to mice to insects (and yes, sometimes our trash). They're just as happy to sleep in a tree cavity as they are in an abandoned car. They might not be the most elegant of animals, but you've got to respect an animal that can live anywhere and thrive.

5. They Eat Garden Pests.
Opossums are great to have around the garden. They love eating slugs and other garden pests and can help keep populations of these critters down so your garden plants thrive.

4. They Utilize Trickery to Survive.
Opossums really do play dead when they can't escape from a threat. They flop over, roll their eyes in the back of their head, stick their tongue out, and release a foul-smelling fluid from their anal glands. This behavior disarms the prey-drive of many predators that are triggered to attack prey that runs or fights back, and it can save an opossum's life. Check out this young 'one "playing 'possum." 

 

 

3. They Are Immune to Rabies.
Unlike most other mammmals, opossums don't contract or spread rabies. Their body temperature is slightly lower than that of other mammals, and the virus can't take hold. 

2. Opossums Eat Venomous Snakes.
Snakes don't stand a chance if there are opossums around. Opossums eat snakes, including venomous ones. In fact, they are generally immune to the effects of snake venom.

1. Opossums Destroy Ticks.
Opossums are masters at destroying ticks. This is because they are very fastidious animals, constantly grooming themselves and removing (and eating) parasites like ticks. One opossum can take out around 5,000 ticks each year. That alone makes them worth having around!

Even though they are extremely adaptable and a successful species, they sometimes get themselves into trouble and need a helping hand. Here's a video of one young opossum in need of rescue.

 

Protect Wildlife with the National Wildlife Federation.  

29 Sep

#NothingButOctober: Feline All-Stars Show their #Catitude on the Animal Planet L!VE Kitten Cam!

Catitude30
Photo: Joseph Schaefer

Last night, the Washington Nationals finished their regular season in historic style with their first ever no-hitter. Delighting fans and pets alike, the Nats’ win made the biggest impression on five feline fans who are now meowing their support for the hometown team via the Animal Planet L!VE Kitten Cam!  

Streaming LIVE 24/7 from the Washington Animal Rescue League, Kitten Cam underwent a spirited baseball transformation and introduced a new team of furry players who are ready to showcase their #Catitude and rally their team to victory in the postseason. At press time, they’re running laps around their room, sleeping in player’s helmets, and cuddling up with two plush versions of their favorite Nationals teammates.

#Catitude
Meet the players on the APL!VE Kitten Cam

Now who may you ask are the five fantastic felines in the APL!VE starting line-up? We have the dynamic & adoptable team of Bryce Harpurr, Kitten Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermeow, Adam LaRoar, and Whiskers Werth.  And if those names look slightly familiar, you need not look any further than the National’s team roster for their human counterparts!

So this fall, step up to bat and hit a home run with the cutest players around!  Watch the baseball-lovin’ kittens of the Washington Animal Rescue League bringing their A-game and #Catitude straight to a screen near you on the APL!VE Kitten Cam.

 

23 Sep

5 Facts You Otter Know About Sea Otters

Happy Sea Otter Awareness Week
Photo Credit: Rolf Hicker/Getty Images

It's Sea Otter Awareness Week, and we're otterly excited to put the spotlight on these amazingly cute and intelligent superstars of the marine world! On Animal Planet L!VE, we invite you to take a look into the natural habitat of California's southern sea otter on the LIVE Sea Otter Cam, powered by our partners at seaotters.com. While you watch wild sea otters swim, play and socialize on the cam, here are 5 exciting facts you otter know about sea otters!

1. Sea otters are social animals and a group of them is called a raft.

To humans, rafting is a sport or a leisurely weekend activity, but to otters rafting is a way of life!  If you see one otter, there’s a good chance that many more are swimming nearby.  Sea otters prefer to swim in same-sex groups called rafts. These groups can range from just ten otters to larger groups of hundreds or thousands. Something cute to note is that rafting sea otters can often be seen holding each others' paws to prevent themselves from floating apart while sleeping.

 

sea otter pup
Photo Credit: Arthur Morris/Corbis

 

2. Baby sea otters are absolutely adorable, but it’s hard work being a sea otter mom.

Can you imagine being a new mother and having to swim through waves with an infant sleeping on your stomach? Sea otter moms do it all the time.

 

Born in the water with only the ability to float, sea otter pups cannot swim until they reach 2 months old and shed their newborn fur coat (lanugo).  During this time frame, the female otter serves as her baby’s crib, ferry, groomer, and feeder

 

At 2 months old, an otter pup will learn to swim and dive on its own, but life doesn’t get any easier for mom until the pup is weaned after 6 months of age. This is due mainly to the fact that sea otters do not have blubber to keep them warm. In order to regulate temperature, an adult otter must eat approximately 25% of their body weight each day and that doesn't even include the additional amounts mothers need to eat to nurse their babies.

 

According to a June 2014 research study published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, a female sea otter requires 14 hours of hunting per day to gain enough energy and nutrition to care for a 6 month old pup. Unfortunately, this means that otter mothers are more suceptible to health issues and mortality by the time the pup can be weaned. Some otters will abandon their babies to ensure their own survival, particularly when faced with food limitations within an area.

 

Since sea otters normally give birth to one pup every year, an otter mom's job really is never done!

 

3. Sea Otters are one of the few mammals on earth that use tools to hunt and eat.

Most of us will admire sea otters for their cute looks and silly antics, but they're also a smart species. They belong to a small club of mammals that use tools to hunt and eat. Since shellfish like clams and crab make up a large portion of their diet, sea otters have to find clever ways to crack their shells open. This is usually done by finding a rock, placing it on their stomach, and then hammering the shellfish into the rock until it yields the meat within.

 

Even cooler is the fact that sea otters have their own convenient hiding places for their favorite rocks. Each of their forelegs has a pocket of skin which can be used to safely store the otter's tool of choice and their freshly caught prey while diving to and from the surface.

 

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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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