Bites at Animal Planet

Nature

20 Nov

Watch a Lion "Sleep Roar"

You've heard of sleep walking, but what about sleep roaring?

If you have a pet dog, you know that canines dream. You've probably seen your dog flipping his or her paws, breathing heavily and maybe even barking--all while sound asleep.

This video is the cat version of that:

The lion's name is Hercules and he lives in Colorado at a facility called Wild Animal Sanctuary which specializes in rescuing large carnivores. Large carnivores such as big cats, bears and wolves face euthanization more than any other group of captive wild animal due to the high cost of feeding them and the extreme danger associated with caring for them.  

(Sidenote: please don't try to get a big cat, bear, wolf--or any other kind of wild animal--as a pet. It's not cool and usually end badly for the animal. Getting to live in a wildlife sactuary like Hercules did is the rare exception.)

They had this to say about the video:

"...he sometimes dreams of roaring while he is sleeping. Much like dogs do (where they dream of barking or running in their sleep), lions also have vivid dreams, and Hercules is having one heck of a wild dream!"

What do you think lions dream about?

Lion sleeproar

Protect wildlife with the National Wildlife Federation. 

18 Nov

Baby Goose Jumps Off Cliff - Dramatic Video

Life is tough in the wild. Baby barnacle geese learn that the hard way when leaving the nest for the first time. Check out this dramatic video of what barnacle geese goslings are up against when it comes time to strike out into the great big world. Talk about extreme cliff diving!

Barnacle geese are birds of the north. Their spring breeding grounds are the rocky cliffs in Greenland, Norway and Russia. In winter they fly south to England, Ireland, Scotland, Germany and the Netherlands. 

As a species their populations are doing well. 

12178665936_7a85924b8b_bBarnacle geese. Photo by Åsa Berndtsson via Flickr Creative Commons.

 Protect wildlife with the National Wildlife Federation. 

 

 

12 Nov

Chinese Leaders Accused Of Smuggling Absurd Amount Of Illegal Ivory

Reports from last week revealed that Chinese officials and business leaders, part of a delegation on a state visit with President Xi Jinping to Tanzania, was used to smuggle massive amounts of illegal ivory — the obscene demand causing local prices to double. Read The Dodo's in-depth report below.

Elephants-thedodo
Photo: Matt Bidulph/Flickr vis The Dodo

 

By Melissa Cronin

A Chinese presidential delegation has been accused of recently trafficking a huge amount of illegal ivory out of the country worst hit by elephant poaching.

During a March 2013 visit to Tanzania, Xi Jinping, President of the People's Republic of China, brought a large entourage along with him. The group was there to purportedly promote relations between their two countries. But, according to a new report, that wasn’t their only goal. Local traders allege that the arrival of the delegation caused local ivory prices to skyrocket because they bought so much of it.

Continue to the Full Report at The Dodo >>

 

 

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11 Nov

Elephants Get Ahold Of GoPro, Create Perfect Short Film

When elephants stumble across a GoPro left by tourists, they react just like any human would.  Find out about Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe, where the adorable close-ups happened and read The Dodo's full account of the encounter.

  Elephant-gopro-video
Photo: YouTube video by Sue Bowern Zambezi Safaris

By Melissa Cronin

When a herd of elephants at a watering hole in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe, stumbled across a tourist's GoPro camera, they reacted, understandably, like the rest of us would: by rushing over to touch it. One hurried over immediately.

Continue to the Full Report at The Dodo >>

 

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7 Nov

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

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©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."

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©Shedd Aquarium/Brenna Hernandez

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4 Nov

Rhinos Heartbreakingly De-Horned ... To SAVE Them

Rhino poaching is at a crisis point. And, conservationists are taking drastic measures to try and save them. 

Wildlife warriors with Rhino Revolution are leading the effort to save rhinos by de-horning them — a tragedy in itself but the method serves as a deterrent that will help buy time for the wildlife rescue workers to act. The animals are sedated for the procedure, marked, then released.  Read the Rhino Revolution's 7-Point Plan of action >>

1,004 rhinos were murdered last year for their horns — and, that number only accounts for the killings uncovered by conservationists. 668 rhino were murdered in 2012 — compared to 10 years ago, in 2003, which saw 22 rhinos killed.

Screen Shot 2014-11-04 at 2.44.26 PM

In this video by Shannon Wild of AnimalBytesTV, watch Rhino Revolution rescuers work to de-horn and save these beautiful creatures: 

Coming up this month in a documentary on Animal Planet, former NBA superstar and wildlife advocate Yao Ming travels to Africa to investigate the poaching crisis threatening both elephants and rhinos.

Teamed up with the organization WildAid, Yao's previous efforts to campaign against shark fin demand changed traditional hearts and minds in China, resulting in a drop in sales by 50-70% of the food delicacy. WildAid, Yao and Animal Planet are all hoping to see a similar impact against poaching of elephants and rhinos ... before, it's too late.

 

Tune in to the program, SAVING AFRICA'S GIANTS WITH YAO MING on Tuesday, Nov. 18, at 10/9c. And visit IvoryFree.org to SIGN THE PLEDGE TO BE IVORY FREE!

  Yao-ming-be-ivory-free

 

30 Oct

Bats Need Love Too

Halloween is upon us, and what animal is more a symbol of the holiday than the bat? It's also Bat Week, a designation created to help raise awereness about how awesome bats are, how important they are to us, and to help people realize that most of what you THINK you know about them is wrong. Read on to have all of your bat myths dispelled!

3642531568_a1a9253ef2_bPhoto by Mark Evans via Flickr Creative Commons.

Did you know?

  • Bats are diverse. With over 1,000 species, bats are the most diverse group of mammals.
  • Bats are not rodents. They're not even closely related to rodents. They belong to the mammal order Chiroptera (rodents belong to the order Rodentia), so calling them "flying rats" is flat-out wrong.
  • Bats eat more than mosquitoes. Some bats do eat mosquitoes, but that's not all they eat. Most species in North America feed primarily on insects and help control populations of beetles and moths that are agricultural pests. Other species feed on flower nectar and are important pollinators. Some eat fruit. There are other species that specialize in feeding on fish, frogs or small mammals. And of course, there are three species of vampire bat that feed on the blood of other animals.
  • Bats aren't blind. All bat species have eyes and none are blind. Many species do primarily rely on echolocation to find their prey.
  • Bats won't get tangled in your hair. Bats sometimes swoop close to people, likely in an effort to catch mosquitoes trying to bite us, and so it's possible that behavior inspired this myth.
  • Bats are not dangerous. While bats can carry rabies like most other mammals, your chances of being bitten by a rabid bat are exceedingly low. That chance goes down to zero if you never try to handle a bat. A bat can't bite you if it doesn't touch you, and the only way that will happen is if you try to touch it. Here's how to remove a bat (or bats) that get into your home.
  • Bats are in trouble. Over six million bats have died in North America in just the last few years. The deadly killer is a disease known as white-nose syndrome that mysteriously appeared in 2006 and proceeded to wipe out mass numbers of bats. Biologists are still trying to figure out what white-nose syndrom is and how to stop it.
  • Bat boxes do work. Many people try to help bats by putting out bat boxes, only to be disappointed when bats don't move in. Bats boxes do work, but you have to have the correct model and you have to mount it properly. Here's a good tutorial on building and mounting a bat box.

So there you have it: bats are awesome! If you're still not convinced, watch this video of an orphaned bat responding to its caretakers, and your heart will melt. 

  

 Adopt a Bat with the National Wildlife Federation.

22 Oct

Meet the Hellbender

Just in time for Halloween, I introduce you to the hellbender.

No, it's not one of Satan's minions or a CGI monster. It's a type of salamander native to the streams and rivers of eastern North America.  Despite its demonic-sounding name, this spectacular amphibian is completely harmless to people. Yet the species is rapidly declining due to human activity such as deforestation, erosion and chemical runoff into our streams--which is the real horror story.

Watch this video put out by the Forest Service and partners about one of North America's most fascinating and little-known wild animals.

 

The Last Dragons - Protecting Appalachia's Hellbenders from Freshwaters Illustrated on Vimeo.

Here's a close up of the ancient beauty of the hellbender, an animal perfectly adapted to and camouflaged in its environment.

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Photo by Brian Gratwicke via Flickr Creative Commons. 

Save Appalachian streams and the hellbenders that live in them with National Wildlife Federation.

21 Oct

Apes, They're Just Like Us - They Make Campfires, Roast Marshmallows

THE REAL APES OF THE PLANET premieres tonight at 8 p.m. E/P
Only on Animal Planet

In Iowa, a 33-year-old male bonobo named Kanzi picks his own food for a picnic. He lights his own fire, toasts marshmallows — and, even extinguishes his campfire after he's done. WOW. See for yourself:

The large human brain gives us the evolutionary edge over other species, but studies show that almost everything we have learned has been handed down from our primal ancestors. In the new two-hour documentary, THE REAL APES OF THE PLANET, Animal Planet travels around the globe for an unprecedented look at some of the various 400 specimens that make up the primate family and the surprising way our behavior mirrors theirs.

THE REAL APES OF THE PLANET explores the surprising and mind-blowing similarities that humans share with our fascinating primate cousins. Passing on family traditions and grooming practices as well as ingenious survival tactics and the primates' ability to solve complex problems and form communities with a hierarchy system, the special highlights devoted parenting to fun-loving kids. Viewers also witness how, akin to humans, apes may demonstrate deceitful behavior to get what they want, overindulge in life's pleasures and not always get along.

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Photo: Animal Planet/DCL video screengrab

In addition to Kanzi's story, chimpanzees, with their highly intelligent minds, in Uganda demonstrate their problem-solving skills and tool use when posed with a honey challenge. The long-tailed macaques in Thailand find a clever way to floss after a meal, and an orangutan in Borneo maintains her personal hygiene with a little soap and water. White-faced capuchins in the rain forest of Costa Rica uncover the secret that the sap of the Guyabano tree acts as a mosquito repellent if rubbed on their fur. THE REAL APES OF THE PLANET uncovers how these animals are individuals with their own personalities and why brainpower is essential to primate survival.

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SEE THE REAL APES OF THE PLANET IN PHOTOS >>

 

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21 Oct

Hundreds of Salamanders Gather on Steps

What would you do if you woke up one morning and found THIS in your stairway? 

Ringed Salamanders MO
Photo by Missouri Department of Conservation via Facebook.

That's exactly what happened to one St. Louis area homeowner. No, these are not snakes, or even reptiles. They are an amphibian species called a ringed salamander.

The Missouri Department of Conservation posted this picture of the gathering--which is called a "congress of salamanders"--to their Facebook page and had this to say about it:

"Our St. Louis office got a call last week from a homeowner who had this pile of ringed salamanders trapped in an outside stairway. In autumn they travel by night to fishless woodland ponds where they may congregate by the hundreds for breeding. The salamanders were moved to a nearby fishless pond so they could continue.... If you see activity like this, let us know so we can help wildlife get back on the right road."

I'm most impressed with the homeowner, who did the right thing by contacting the Missouri Department of Conservation instead of a pest control company.

Amphibians like salamanders are on the decline globally. They are affected by habitat destruction, collection for the pet trade, climate change, pollution and disease.  Their sensitive skin aborbs toxins from the air and water and as a result, amphibians are considered "canaries in the coal mine" because their presence is an indicator of the health of the greater environment. If you have them in your neighborhood, that's a great sign.

Find out what you can do to help amphibians from the National Wildlife Federation. 

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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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