Bites at Animal Planet


5 Feb

Epic Life or Death Chase: Pine Marten Versus Hare

Surviving in the wild is a tough business. Wild animals must be extreme athletes in order to catch a meal or to avoid being eaten themselves. The video below demonstrates this fact of life perfectly. It captures incredibly rare footage of a pine marten and a snowshoe hare in an intense life or death race.

Watch the video. Who do think will win this race of survival?


Pine martens are members of the weasel family and typically hunt in wooded areas for voles, mice, squirrels and birds. They are rarely seen making long distance sprints out in the open. But in the dead of winter, a marten will not pass the opportunity to make a meal of a hare as large as itself just because the hare bolts into the open.

Pine marten. Photo by Bearskin Lodge via Flickr Creative Commons.

The hare smartly takes advantage of the plowed road instead of running through the snow. Deep snow makes escape hard for prey species, which typically can fun faster than their predators. Snow slows them down and eliminates the advantage of speed. The hare knows that running in the snow would give the advantage to the marten, and avoids it.

 Protect Wildlife with the National Wildlife Federation.

4 Feb

That's the Spirit: Chaga

How and Why We Picked This: Alaskan Chaga has been found to contain over 215 phytonutrients — or plant chemicals which are non-nutritive with protective and disease-preventing properties.

Toby Foster was reading a USDA/Tufts University–Boston, MA/University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension study that found that levels of antioxidants in foods harvested closer to the magnetic poles of earth are generally higher than in those collected closer to the equator.

When a food is measured for antioxidant potential, it is measured on a scale known as Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC). We already knew that our berries blew the lid off the scale. While the cultivated blueberry you pick up in the organic section of the grocery story rate around 24.5, and the wild berries folks in Oregan pick hit 61, wild Alaskan Blueberries registered a whopping 76!


Amazing, we know, but you know what is even more amazing? Goji Berry rate 400, Acai Berry double that at 800, and, wait for it, Alaskan Chaga – 36,557! Kinda takes the concept of superfood to a whole new level!

It was as recently discovered that the betulin in birch is converted by the Chaga into its prime phytonutrient, betulinic acid. It’s been shown to have anti-retroviral, anti-malarial, and anti- inflammatory properties, and demonstrated promise as a potential anti-cancer agent.

Not to say that we really thought that distilling Chaga into vodka would make a cure for cancer but...well, Foster was waxing poetic one evening when we were gathered around the campfire - we love Toby for that, and a bunch of planets were lined up that night, so who really knows?

For all you wellness fans, other useful phytonutients present in Chaga include: 29 Beta Glucans, Saponins, SOD or superoxide dismutase, amino acids, Germanium, Triterpenes, organic minerals, polysaccharides and Triterpenes.


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2 Feb

Rescued Baby Orphans Keep Cozy With Stuffed Animals

Dodo Circular

(Guest post by Stephen Messenger from

There are many ways wild animals in the Amazon might find themselves without a mother — from habitat loss, poaching and smuggling for the illegal pet trade. But fortunately for these orphaned forest babies, folks living in the community have stepped in to make sure they feel surrounded by love regardless;

They've raised a small army of plush toys whose sole duty is to have the little ones feeling at home.



Thanks to a campaign launched by Semmas, the secretary of environment and sustainability in the Amazonian capital of Manaus, 13 rescued baby monkeys, sloths and anteaters living in a nearby wildlife refuge aren't without a sense of parental care.

In recent months, the public has donated 63 stuffed animals for the youngsters to cuddle with and keep cozy — and it's clearly working.


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2 Feb

Two Nature Lovers Head to Chilean National Park to Find Puma With No Tail

Nothing sounds better than traveling the world with a close friend, searching for wildlife. That's just what Rene Araneda and Wayne Tebrake have done in the special, Wild Expectations

Rene and Wayne met when Rene was training to be a field guide in Africa. Now, they're traveling to Torres El Paine National Park in Patagonia, one of the wildest places in Chile. But why exactly are they there?

A year and a half ago, Rene and his cameraman, Christian, spotted a female puma and her cubs, a rare sight! To make this sighting even more extraordinary, one of these cubs had no tail. A puma relies on their tail while hunting, so Rene wanted to know how this little cub would survive. Now, Rene and Wayne want to find that puma as an adult to see how she's doing.

Photo by Christian Munoz

On their journey, they don't just encounter pumas. They come face to face with condors, llamas, gray foxes, and Austral pygmy owls, just to name a few.

Photo by Christian Munoz

They even meet a herd of huemel, or South Andean deer, an endangered species of deer. It is estimated that there are only 2,000 of the species left.

Photo by Christian Munoz

As Rene and Wayne search for their puma, they get to truly experience the beauty of Chile's wilderness, a place seemingly untouched by humans.

Photo by Christian Munoz
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Photo by Christian Munoz

But will Rene and Wayne find their puma? Find out on Wild Expectations TONIGHT at 10/9c!

25 Jan

Lost Sloth Knows Just Where to Wait For Help to Arrive

Dodo Circular

(Guest post by Caitlin Jill Anders from

Sometimes it's OK to admit we can't do it alone — and to know when to ask for help.

A little sloth was trying to cross a road in Ecuador, but started to get confused, and realized he might be a tad lost.

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Rather than try to cross the road on his own, the sloth decided to stay put and wait for help in a place someone would be sure to find him.

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22 Jan

Experts Determine 'Weird Lost Cat' is Normal Lost Seal

Dodo Circular

(Guest post by Hudson Hongo from

After careful analysis, a California veterinary hospital concluded this week that an animal believed by police to be a "weird-looking cat" is, in fact, a normal-looking seal.

Staff at The Marine Mammal Center first learned of the oddly flippered feline on Wednesday, when officers passed on reports of a baby seal "flopping around in the bushes" in Hayward, California, three miles inland from the San Francisco Bay.

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22 Jan

Frog Extinct For 140 Years Turns Up Alive and Well

Dodo Circular

(Guest post by Solon Kelleher from

We thought these frogs had been wiped off the face of the earth long ago, but we were searching for them in the wrong places.

For over a century, scientists combed the ground-level of the northern Indian forests for any sign of the elusive amphibian — but they should've been looking above their heads.

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You're staring into the eyes of a Frankixalus. Congratulations, you're among the first humans to do so in roughly 140 years.

They're an interesting bunch, no doubt. Aside from eating their own mother's eggs as tadpoles, their DNA shows a drastically different line of ancestry than other tree frogs in the northern Indian forest.

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21 Jan

Man Snuggles Up to a Bunch Of Bears, Falls Asleep

Dodo Circular

(Guest post by Solon Kelleher from

Days are tiring for Jim Kowalczik at the Orphaned Wildlife Center (OWC) in Otisville, New York. Between giving back rubs to the Jimbo the 1,500-pound Kodiak bear and playing in the snow with Jenny and Amy, two Syrian brown bears, he could use a little nap.

So that's exactly what he did.

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Nestled on a pile of hay, Kowalczik was photographed dozing off alongside four rescued Syrian bears.

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Direct contact with bears is controversial and generally ill-advised, because it's dangerous for both the humans and the bears. But Kowalczik seems to have formed a unique bond with Maddy, Judy, Jenny and Amy.

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21 Jan

Tiny Owl Uses Tiny Mushroom as an Umbrella

Dodo Circular

(Guest post by Zainab Akande from

This sweet little bird is destined for greatness — in addition to cuteness. And apparently, he doesn't shy away from the camera.

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Tanja Brandt, a photographer in Germany, has owned Poldi ever since he was a baby. "I got him when he was five months old," Brandt told Bored Panda. "He didn't want to come out of his egg and he was very small, the smallest. His six sisters were all hatched, and as he was the last to be born, days after the others, he was very small."

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Poldi isn't the only pet of Brandt's who doesn't shy away from the limelight. He has other partners in crime, one of them a Belgian shepherd named Ingo.

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20 Jan

Vietnam's Sacred Turtle Found Dead in Hanoi

A deceased Yangtze giant softshell turtle has been found in Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi, Vietnam. The turtle weighed about 440 pounds and is estimated to be around 100 years old.

This turtle is a legendary symbol in Vietnam and news of its death has lead to country-wide grief. There was only one of this species of turtle in Hoan Kiem Lake, and it was thought to be Kim Qui, or the Golden Turtle God

However, this turtle's death does not just have superstitious significance; this species is listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List. This was one of only four Yangtze giant softshell turtles left in the whole world. One resides in another lake in Vietnam and two others live in a zoo in China. Intensive breeding efforts are being made with the pair in China to help save the species.

Tim McCormack of the Asian Turtle Program told AFP that these turtles are "possibly the rarest species on the planet and definitely the rarest turtle species...[This loss is] a great blow."

Learn more about endangered species here and take the pledge to #StartWith1Thing to help save the world's animals.

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