Bites at Animal Planet

Nature

27 Jul

Bold Beachgoers Leap into Action to Save a Shark in Distress

Dodo Circular

(Guest post by Stephen Messenger from thedodo.com)

The mere sight of a sharp-toothed aquatic predator lurking in the water is usually enough to send most folks scrambling back to dry land — but not these brave beachgoers. They know that sometimes even "scary" animals need a helping hand.

Earlier this week, brothers Marcus and Logan Lakos were amongst dozens of people out enjoying a day in the sun at Henderson Beach State Park in Florida when they spotted a swimmer in distress — specifically, a hammerhead shark. It would be hard to fault anyone for wanting to flee to safety or wait and hope that the large animal would swim away, but the Lakos boys' reaction was quite the opposite, and they convinced others to join them.

"I started pulling it in and it was kind of scary, but hammerhead sharks aren't really that dangerous to humans. Knowing that, I pulled it in," Logan told news station WJHG. "Everyone else was freaking out so it was hard to bring him in. But once people started realizing we were trying to help it, some of the other guys around were all crowding around it and trying to help it."

YouTube/FlyAlb

Once the shark was up on the sand, the source of her distress was clear — two hooks and a fishing lure were embedded in her mouth. Although those painful remnants meant she had survived previous run-ins with humans, they no doubt impeded her ability to eat, and potentially opened her up to infections.

Soon enough, Logan and Marcus were joined by dozens of other people on the beach who shunned their fear of sharks to come to her aid.

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27 Jul

Sassy Baby Owl Gets Questioned By Police

Dodo Circular

(Guest post by Sarah V Schweig from thedodo.com)

A baby owl will get out of the road when she's good and ready, police found recently.

Standing in the middle of a road last week in Boulder, Colorado, the baby owl stood her ground when a police deputy approached and asked about her activities. The painfully adorable interview was caught on camera.

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"Hey. What's up?" the deputy asks, to which the juvenile owl replies, "Chirp ... click, click."

 

After determining the owl wasn't too shady, and seemed perfectly healthy, questioning ceased and the juvenile flew safely away.

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26 Jul

1,500 Hens Freed from Cages for the First Time Ever

Dodo Circular

(Guest post by Stephen Messenger from thedodo.com)

Hundreds of chickens who had spent their entire lives in the cramped cages of a factory farm have finally been given the chance to experience what it's like to be free.

This week, farm animal sanctuary volunteers in California carried out a rescue of epic proportion, delivering to safety about 1,500 battery hens from a facility that had viewed them as mere commodities from the moment they hatched. There, their existence was one of constant discomfort and misery, denied even the most basic semblance of a natural life.

Christine Morrissey
 
"The chickens at this particular farm lived in a barren, unsanitary environment," Christine Morrissey of Harvest Home Animal Sanctuary told The Dodo. "Rows upon rows of tiny cages, where the chicken would basically just have enough room to turn around — nothing more, nothing less. They weren't able to spread their wings, or be comfortable in any way. It was a very dirty environment which they could not escape."

Having outlived their usefulness for egg production, the chickens had been slated to be killed and disposed of. But that all changed on Thursday.

Given access to the unwanted chickens, volunteers from Harvest Home Animal Sanctuary and Animal Place Sanctuary intervened on the birds' behalf. One by one, each hen was liberated from her stark cage to be whisked off to a new life of peace and comfort on the sanctuaries' grounds — a far cry from their former conditions.

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23 Jul

Chimps Abused By Humans Still Have Remarkable Ability To Love

Dodo Circular

(Guest post by Ameena Schelling from thedodo.com)

These chimpanzees have been mistreated by humans time and time again — but they still have love for them.

The video below, which was taken in 2013 but is making the rounds again, shows a group of chimps living on a Liberian island. They were formerly used in hepatitis research, but were released by the New York Blood Center (NYBC) after they outlived their usefulness.

Despite their rough treatment, these chimps hold no grudges. In the video, their favorite caretaker arrives on the island to check up on them. They eagerly run up to him, standing upright to wrap him in hugs and hooting happily.

YouTube/sholor

When the rest of the family hears the happy noises, they run up as well, gathering around the caretaker as if in greeting.

YouTube/sholor

Unfortunately, while this video shows the touching kindness of these intelligent animals, their fate is far from pretty. Essentially abandoned after years in labs, the chimps are unable to fend for themselves on the islands, which have few food sources, and rely on human kindness to survive. A second video shows the chimps eagerly grasping at fruit handed out by their caretakers.

 

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23 Jul

Bison Selfies Are A Bad Idea, One Woman Learns The Hard Way

Dodo Circular

(Guest post by Sarah V Schweig from thedodo.com)

A Mississippi woman touring Yellowstone National Park with her family got a little carried away with the rampant majesty of the park's wildlife.

Spotting an especially photogenic bison during a hike on Tuesday, the 43-year-old woman and her daughter approached and stood mere feet from the handsome beast. Then, they turned their backs to pose for a selfie.

"They heard the bison's footsteps moving toward them and started to run," theNational Park Service said in a statement, "but the bison caught the mother on the right side, lifted her up and tossed her with its head."

The woman's father sprung to action, covering her until the bison moved away. After a trip to the Old Faithful Clinic, the woman was lucky: Her injuries were minor.

"The family said they read the warnings in both the park literature and the signage, but saw other people close to the bison, so they thought it would be OK," said Colleen Rawlings, Old Faithful District Ranger. "People need to recognize that Yellowstone wildlife is wild, even though they seem docile. This woman was lucky that her injuries were not more severe."

 

A photo posted by sarah hope valentine (@shval406) on Jan 20, 2015 at 9:49pm PST

Wild bison have called the region home since prehistoric times and almost 5,000 live there now. So far this summer, there have been five people injured after close encounters with bison in Yellowstone. "Bison can run three times faster than humans can sprint," Yellowstone reminded visitors.

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23 Jul

104-Year-Old 'Granny' Orca Spotted Leaping Wildly Out Of The Ocean

Dodo Circular

(Guest post by Sarah V Schweig from thedodo.com)

famous 104-year-old orca has made another big splash this week, and a lucky photographer caught her on camera.

Just off the coast of Vancouver, Canada, Granny breached brilliantly as she led her pod through a narrow pass between islands, and Gary Sutton snapped the glamour shots, which Wild Whales Vancouver posted to its Facebook page.

Gary Sutton

Arguably one of the world's most known animals, Granny, or J2, made waves last year when the discovery of her age (then a ripe 103) spoke to how long orcas can thrive in the wild, as opposed to captivity.

"It was a pretty incredible experience," Gary Sutton, of Wild Whales Vancouver, told The Dodo. "I saw this whale breach almost completely out of the water twice in a row and assumed it was a younger animal because of the crazy air time but when I looked closer later on and matched up the eye patch and chin clip to older photos, I realized it was the matriarch herself!" Sutton has never seen Granny being that active before, he said, and to catch the moment on camera was pretty special. "At approximately 104 years old, seeing her lead her pod out of Active Pass with a breach like that is something I'll never forget."

Gary Sutton

Granny's birthday is thought to be in 1911 — that's astoundingly before World War I and before the Titanic sank. The discovery of her birthday added to the already concerned public's evidence against keeping intelligent marine mammals like orcas in captivity, and brought potentially bad news for SeaWorld, which profits off such practices.

The latest images of the ancient orca are a reminder of how truly majestic these animals are — especially when they're allowed to live their long lives in the wild.

Read more about how scientists know how old Granny is here. And follow Gary Sutton's fantastic pictures on Instagram.

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22 Jul

Myth Busted: How Boa Constrictors Really Kill (VIDEO)

New research published in the Journal of Experimental Biology suggests that the way boa constrictors kill their prey isn't quite what we thought it was.

Boa Constrictor

The widely accepted belief is that victims of constricting snakes such as boas die from suffocation. The idea is that as the snake constricts, prey can't refill their lungs after they exhale and eventually suffocate. It turns out that while the snakes are indeed constricting their prey, the method of death isn't actually suffocation.

Instead, according to this study, these snakes kill their prey by crushing them with the immense strength of their coils rather than by suffocating it. The pressure exerted by the snake increases blood pressure and cuts off circulation to the brain and organs and can cause death in just a matter of seconds. This method, as it turns out, results in a much quicker death than by suffocation, which is something if you're on the menu for one of these large snakes.

This video explains it all.

 

You can read more about this study, published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, here

Protect Wildlife with the National Wildlife Federation.

 

22 Jul

Polar Bear Mom Accidentally Films Baby's First Steps in Wild

Dodo Circular

(Guest post by Ameena Schelling from thedodo.com)

This proud polar bear mother inadvertently filmed her young cub leaving the den for the very first time.

Filmmakers had set up a spy camera outside the den to observe the family's behavior without introducing humans into their environment. At first, mom thinks the camera is quite a toy, spinning it around on the frozen ground as she plays with it.

But she eventually adjusts the camera, allowing it to capture her baby's first nervous steps outside the winter den.

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The footage that follows is strikingly similar to humans' own home movies — the shaky adjustments, the sometimes sideways footage and the sweet insight into the subjects' private life.

At one point, mom captures a stunning shot of her and her baby staring into the camera. 

980x.jpg-2YouTube/JohnDownerProd

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21 Jul

Impossibly Sci-Fi Looking Creature is Actually a Real Thing (VIDEO)

Meet the flamboyant cuttlefish, an undersea creature that looks like it is a CGI creation for the latest sci-fi blockbuster and could't possibly be a real animal--but actually is.

The video above from the Aquarium of the Pacific tells a little bit more about these these adorable and alien-looking cousins of the octopus and squid.  You can learn more about these utterly fascinating cephalopods from the aquarium's blog post about them.

The flamboyant cuttlefish lives us to its name and definitely proves that sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

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Photo by Hugh Ryono of the Aquarium of the Pacific.

Adopt an Octopus with the National Wildlife Federation.

21 Jul

Adorable Video Proves Seals Are The Puppies Of The Sea

Dodo Circular

(Guest post by Anna Swartz from thedodo.com)

Imagine swimming in the ocean when suddenly you're surrounded by creatures from the deep ... snuggly seals who just want to kiss your face, that is.

In this video uploaded to Facebook earlier this month, a group of divers got the best surprise ever when a bunch of friendly seals popped up to say hello and give kisses.

Facebook/OceanReality

In fact, these seals might have been a little TOO friendly ...

"Hello human!! I will taste your face now!!"

Facebook/OceanReality

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