Bites at Animal Planet

Live Cameras

6 Aug

How to Throw a Pool Party for Puppy Cam's Stars

One of Animal Planet’s greatest digital assets, Animal Planet Live, is a series of live cameras that showcase animals just being animals. Of these 18 cams that stream 24/7, both the puppy and kitten cams are located close by to us at Washington Animal Rescue League. Myself and three other Animal Planet interns got the opportunity of a lifetime yesterday—to throw a pool party for the pups on the APL!VE Puppy Cam. Here’s how it went down.


Before setting up the pool, a WARL staff member cleaned out the area and got the enclosure prepped for what would be an hour-long extravaganza of fun. Andy, Arnie, Akuna, Arrow, and AJ (the spunky 8-week-old hound/beagle mixes) greeted her with wet noses and playful nibbles while she attempted to sweep the floor. One pup snagged her shoe cover on the way out, but she retrieved it after a bit of tug-of-war. Once the room was ready to go, we suited up in gloves, shoe covers, and gowns before entering the magical area where my dreams came true. We had to wear all the gear because the puppies haven't received all of their immunizations yet, so they're still in quarantine. 

In order to ensure the safety of the puppies, we elected a lifeguard to be on-duty in case a crisis should arise. We chose Andy, mainly because he was the only one big enough to fit into the lifeguard costume that Zoe (another intern) brought along. Turns out that Andy had some strict rules and wasn’t so nice about enforcing them when he chose to bite the ears and tails of his siblings (and our blow-up frog). No one really wanted to go swimming in our inflatable duck pool and it was more of a large water bowl than a swimming area. 



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8 May

Celebrating the Mother of all Mother's Days with Giraffe Birth LIVE's Katie & Kipenzi

Kids just grow up way too fast! One day a baby is small and wobbly, seeing the world for the first time with their adorable, wide infant eyes. One month later, that same little princess is 6-feet tall, weighs 205 pounds, and enjoys running in figure eights outside! Well, at least that's the case for the reticulated giraffe calf, born at the Dallas Zoo on Friday, April 10.


Dallas Zoo Giraffes Katie and Kipenzi
Photo Credit: Dallas Zoo

Millions watched Animal Planet's Giraffe Birth LIVE on television and online as 7-year old giraffe, Katie, delivered her healthy daughter, Kipenzi. Many fans continued to follow mom and baby for the next two weeks over the live stream, but what have Katie and Kipenzi been up to since leaving the spotlight on APL!VE?


On May 1, Kipenzi made her public debut in the Dallas Zoo's award-winning Giants of the Savanna exhibit. In a video shared by the Zoo, Kipenzi zooms around her new home, accompanied by Katie and her favorite adoptive uncle, Auggie.  Since then the precocious tot has gradually met other members of the herd including her ma's best gal pal, Jade. Ever curious, Kipenzi also started to expand her food palate. She recently tried out hay and will start to eat more grains soon. However, the calf still gets her main meals by nursing off of mom's rich and nutritious milk.

Mama Katie is also enjoying life away from the cameras' lenses. She keeps a very watchful and protective eye on her calf when they're outdoors, but she also makes frequent stops at the feeding platform to get yummy treats from zoo visitors.

This Sunday, both mom and baby have a lot to celebrate. It's Mother's Day for Katie and all the human and animal moms of the world. Plus, her calf will be exactly one month old! Celebrate this remarkable family and the baby giraffe's first milestones by reliving the birth of Kipenzi. Animal Planet will air the Giraffe Birth LIVE: Mother's Day Special on Sunday morning at 9/8c!

Tune in to Animal Planet on Sunday morning at 9/8c for the airing of the Giraffe Birth: Mother's Day Special! Then check out more highlights here.

15 Apr

What's Life Going to be like for Katie the Giraffe's New Baby Girl? 10 Facts About Her First Years


After Katie gave birth this weekend to her beautiful baby girl, we thought, you're probably wondering what it's like to be a baby giraffe, huh? 

Well, here are 11 baby giraffe facts that will make you say "oh!" as many times as you'll say "aww." 

1.) You know when your friends joke around and say "Were you dropped on your head as a baby?" Well, baby giraffes actually are! From six feet above the ground from their mom's belly, babies just fall out. Talk about a rough first day!

2.) When baby giraffe's are born, their horns are stuck to their heads. Within the first week of their lives, the horns pop straight up

3.) Calves are never left alone. Moms take turns babysitting their friends' babies in their "towers" (groups) so that other mothers can go grab a bite to eat. These nursery groups continue until the giraffe is about five months old.

4.) Giraffes have bumps on their heads, horns yes, but bumps, too. As giraffes get older, those bumps get larger! Boys grow about three as they age, and girls usually only have one. 

5.) Baby giraffes are taller than most humans at about six feet tall post-birth, and after their first year, definitely are. 

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7 Nov

Prepare Yourself for Cute Overload: Shedd Aquarium Rescues Orphaned Sea Otter Pup

©Shedd Aquarium/Brenna Hernandez

We couldn't send you off into the weekend without something ridiculously cute to look at, so enjoy awwing at the cuteness of Otter 681, who just arrived at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium as part of a joint rescue effort with the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the United States Fish and Wildlife Services.

The orphaned six-pound female pup arrived at Shedd last Tuesday after living the first four weeks of her life at Monterey Bay in order to make sure was stabilized.

"Pup 681’s situation was urgent. As an organization dedicated to marine mammal care and conservation, we were perfectly positioned to ensure that this little pup had a home, providing the long-term care needed to survive," Tim Binder, Vice President of Animal Collections for Shedd, said in a statement. "This rescued animal provides an opportunity for us to learn more about the biological and behavioral attributes of this threatened species and to encourage people to preserve and protect them in the wild."

©Shedd Aquarium/Brenna Hernandez

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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 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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12 Aug

Honoring Earth’s Majestic Giants on World Elephant Day

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Can you imagine a world without elephants? How about a day when children will learn about them only in a state of extinction like their ancient predecessors: the Wooly Mammoths? It may surprise you to hear that this day is frighteningly close with some major wildlife conservation organizations predicting that the majority of the earth’s elephants will be extinct in the next two decades.


Thirty-five years ago in 1979, African Elephant populations were estimated to be at 1.3 million which itself was drastically down from about 10 million at the start of the 20th century. Today, those numbers are even smaller at less than 400,000 due largely in part to anthropogenic (human-related) causes. According to the Wildlife Conservation Society’s 96 Elephants campaign, poachers kill 96 elephants per day in Africa in order to sell their tusks in international markets. This continues despite a 1989 ban on the ivory trade from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Last year, CITES’ research revealed that 22,000 African elephants died as the result of poaching in 2012.


Similar declines are evident in Asia where there are only 40,000 Asian elephants left, and 30% of those elephants live in captivity, as reported by the World Wildlife Fund.


To put a spotlight on the insurmountable damage poaching, habitat loss, and other factors impose upon the elephant populations in Africa and Asia, the Elephant Reintroduction Foundation launchedWorld Elephant Day in 2012. Celebrating its third year on August 12, 2014, World Elephant Day's main goal is “to help conserve and protect elephants from the numerous threats they face.”


Photo Credit: Thinkstock


So what can you do this World Elephant Day to spread awareness about the plight of the world’s largest land mammal and give these species a chance at survival? Here are five great places to start:


1. Support the cause from home. The first step to helping elephant conservation efforts is to prevent the sale of ivory and lessen its value as a commodity in countries around the world, but you can start the change by advocating locally. Sign a petition and write to your local legislators telling them that you want laws passed that stop the sale of ivory in your state. Of the 50 states in the USA, only one has done just that with New Jersey’s Governor Chris Christie signing a bill banning the sales statewide on August 5, 2014.


2. Go Grey! Many zoos and organizations participating in the 96 Elephants campaign and World Elephant Day events are encouraging elephant lovers to wear grey for the day and share their “Elphies”--selfies with real elephants, photographs, or homemade artwork-- on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram using #elphies.


4. Learn more fascinating elephant facts and share them with friends, family, and even strangers you may meet. For example, did you know that an elephant drinks up to 50 gallons of water per day and has an innate ability to find and dig for it underground? The holes they make are often used by other animals to quench their thirst in dry seasons.


Impress others with your knowledge by checking out 10 Things You Should Know about the Elephant Crisis and the Summer of Fun Safari elephant profile.

5. Go elephant watching on Animal Planet L!VE’s newAfrican Watering Hole Cam. Located in Kenya, one of the countries with the largest surviving elephant population, this cam brought to you by the multimedia organization and the Mpala Research Centre and Wildlife Foundation puts you in the midst of their native habitat. During its online hours between 11:30pm and 12:30pm ET, you may catch a glimpse of elephants and other animals coming to this bustling watering hole for a drink. At other times, enjoy highlights of recent elephant visits.

On August 12th, will also hold a special live chat at 12pm ET with renowned elephant expert Simon Hedges of the Wildlife Conservation Society. Make sure to tune in!

There's no time to waste. Honor the earth's majestic giants and take a stand against poaching today on World Elephant Day!

See more LIVE cams like this African Watering Hole Cam on Animal Planet L!VE, where great moments like this happen all the time.


8 Jul

Get the Scoop on Dairy from APL!VE's Calf & Chick Chats

It’s the dog days of summer, and for most of us that means a lot more time spent outside soaking up sun beams. However, there comes a time when the heat gets the best of us, and we all need to cool down and reach for a sweet, icy treat. Chances are there’s one cool, creamy dessert that you'll reach for first: Ice Cream! Its refreshing creaminess makes the mouth water and is nearly undeniable after a long day in the sun, but when was the last time you stopped to think about what it takes to deliver a cone full of milky deliciousness to your hand (and stomach)?


Well, this summer Animal Planet L!VE has the scoop with the re-introduction of Calves and Chicks Chats starting Wednesday, July 9 at 10:30AM EST!


SouthMTN-6 copy


Meet us on Calves and Chicks Cams each week to find out fascinating information on the animals that provide the basic ingredients for all of your favorite dairy and egg treats. For example, did you know that a calf weighs 90 pounds when born but will grow up to be over 1,000 when it reaches adulthood? Or that a single adult cow will produce between 5 to 12 gallons of milk per day?


Each week, you'll have the chance to learn more fun facts like these from the staff of the South Mountain Creamery. They'll be in the chat room to answer viewers’ questions about what life is like for calves and chicks growing up on the farm and to give tidbits into what it requires to produce the dairy products we consume daily. As you chat, you’ll also be entertained by the antics of our cute APL!VE Calf and Chicks cam stars.  Be sure to join us!

Our first chat is on Calf Cam so get moooo-ving over to APL!VE. >>

Don't forget the other APL!VE cam chats you can participate in including Puppies, Kittens, Sharks, Tamarins, Sloths, and Bunnies! Go to for the full chats schedule.



2 Jul

Animal Planet L!VE Gets Patriotic!

It’s almost the 4th of July and that means our Animal Planet L!VE cams are getting decked out in all things red, white and blue to celebrate. Whether it be bunting in the cam's corner or an all-American blow out (here’s looking at you, Kitten Cam), Animal Planet L!VE is ready for the Fourth! Our ants on Ant Cam are even marching on to some classic patriotic music! Need more convincing? Here are some highlights of what you’ll find over at Animal Planet L!VE this Fourth of July weekend!

Kitty in a Hat
Our Kitten Cam is all dressed up and ready to party.

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6 Jun

Explore the Wonders of the Caribbean Reef on APL!VE's Newest Live Cam


Spotted eagle rays are one of the many inhabitants of the Caribbean Sea. Credit: Thinkstock


Want to follow the majestic fluid movements of a spotted eagle ray as it swims by? To immerse yourself in the midst of a massive school of surgeonfish? To observe aquatic life from an exclusive spot on the ocean floor without even needing to strap on scuba gear?

Animal Planet L!VE invites you to take a dive into the clear blue waters of the Grand Cayman Islands through the gaze of the new Caribbean Reef Cam.  Provided by our partners at ReefCam and broadcasting live from a cleaning station, your live underwater adventure is certain to put you on eye-level with the most fascinating marine animals you'll ever see outside of an aquarium setting.


Reef Cam Screenshot 500x
Screenshot from APL!VE Caribbean Reef Cam

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4 Jun

Zoo Atlanta Resident & APL!VE Star Okra the Sloth Expecting!

SLOTH WEEK has begun!  Tune in Friday, June 20 to Tuesday, June 24 for plenty of fun sloth online content on Animalist and Animal Planet will also air a special mini-marathon of Meet the Sloths on June 21st from 8am to 11am ET/PT.



Expecting-sloth-zoo-atlanta-500x500What happens when you mix Cocoa and Okra together? You get a baby sloth apparently!


Zoo Atlanta announced last week that their 19-year-old Hoffman's two-toed sloth, Okra Mae, is expecting. An ultrasound conducted by the zoo’s Animal Management and Veterinary Teams successfully revealed the pregnancy on May 23rd.


Like many things when sloths are involved, this pregnancy is long awaited at the zoo. It is the result of matching done in collaboration with the Species Survival Plan (SSP), which recommended 21-year-old male Cocoa as a viable mate for both of the zoo’s female sloths, Okra and Bonnie. Cocoa was introduced into the zoo’s sloth exhibit during the summer of 2013, and all signs point to his and Okra Mae’s slow-mance beginning not long after his arrival.

With a lengthy gestation period of 11 to 12 months, Okra Mae and Cocoa’s baby is predicted to be born in early June or July 2014.  He or she will be the first sloth born at Zoo Atlanta, and a welcome sight for viewers of Animal Planet L!VE’s Sloth Cam, which streams live daily from inside the sloth exhibit.

As we all wait for the impending birth of Okra Mae and Cocoa's bundle of joy, follow the leisurely upside-down lives of the zoo’s sloth trio on Sloth Cam, and tune in every other Wednesday at 1:30pm EST for Sloth Chats with the staff at Zoo Atlanta.

Update 6/20/14: Zoo Atlanta reported today that while Okra Mae did go into labor, the baby did not survive. In a press release, Zoo Atlanta's President and CEO Raymond B. King stated, "We’re disappointed about Okra Mae’s baby. This would have been a first for us at Zoo Atlanta, and we were looking forward to the birth with great excitement. While this birth had a sad outcome, we’re encouraged by the success of our sloth program so far and are optimistic that Okra Mae will produce other offspring in the future.”

Our heartfelt condolences go out to Zoo Atlanta at this time.

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