Bites at Animal Planet


10 Feb

Zookeeper Dressed as Zebra Escapes From Zoo... Wait, What?

Animal zoo escapes are rare here in the United States, only happening about five times a year. However, when an animal does get on the loose, the zoo keepers need to know how too wrangle them. 

But how can zoo keepers practice wrangling a wild animal without actually letting a wild animal free? Zoos usually have a written protocol, but in practice catching a rogue animal is easier said than done. Remember when the black and white llamas escaped a assisted living facility in Arizona? Just llamas were a struggle, imagine if it was a lion or cheetah!

Well, the Tokyo Zoo has created it's own system of capturing animals on the loose... and it involves a staff member and a zebra costume.



Okay, maybe not exactly like that, but pretty close. In this drill, a staff member dresses up and runs around the street like a zebra would. The rest of the staff practices herding capturing the "zebra" in a net.

screenshot from Daily Mail Online Video

This annual drill may seem silly at first, but it is actually good practice if an escape ever were to happen. 

screenshot from Daily Mail Online Video

This annual drill has become a spectacle to the locals. People crowd around and take photos of the peculiar procedure.

screenshot from Daily Mail Online Video

Continue reading >

9 Feb

Just Released: Footage of a Wild Jaguar Living in Arizona

We think of jaguars as big cats of the South American tropics, and they do indeed roam the rainforests and vast wetlands on that continent. But they once also ranged as far north as the United States, from the desert Southwest, west to California and east to Louisiana--that is, until humans hunted them to local extinction decades ago.

In recent years, however, evidence that these spotted carnivores could eventually reclaim their former habitat has been cropping up. A fleeting visual encounter here, possible footprints there, and even the occasional photo. Since 2013 a male jaguar named El Jefe has been photographed living in Arizona's Santa Rita Mountains outside of Tucson.

Now, the first video footage of El Jefe has been recorded and released to the public. The video, recorded by Conservation CATalyst and the Center for Biological Diversity, is part of a conservation project aimed at protecting habitat in the region for jaguars and their smaller feline cousin, the ocelot.  El Jefe is the only known jaguar surviving in the United States, and unfortunately, his habitat is now at risk of destruction at the hands of a Canadian mining company.  

Jaguar El Jefe Arizona

Jaguars are impressive predators and the largest cat found in the New World, followed by the cougar, which shares its range. Only tigers and lions are larger. Jaguars are opportunistic predators, feeding on everything from capybara and deer to birds, large snakes and even alligator-like caiman, which they dispatch with a skull-crushing bite to the head.

In Arizona, El Jefe is feeding primarily on prey such as javelina and deer. He'll only be able to survive if we protect this important American jaguar habitat from mining development.

Adopt a Jaguar with the National Wildlife Federation.

26 Jan

Family Out Skiing Sees Tiny Pink Thing Moving in the Snow

Dodo Circular

(Guest post by Sarah V Schweig from

He wouldn't have survived if they hadn't come along.

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"An unbelievable Snowmaggedon story," Sarah Pekkanan wrote on Facebook on Saturday. "My friends Perry and Liz decided to spend the storm at a nearby ski resort."

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"While out with their kids last night, they discovered a baby pig, half-frozen and stuck in the snow and ice, by the side of the highway."

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Continue reading >

25 Jan

Five Sperm Whales Wash Up Off English Coast

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Photo Credit: Facebook/BBC Look East

Over the course of four days, five sperms whales believed to be from the same pod have washed up off the Eastern coast of England.

The first whale appeared Friday on a beach in Hunstanton, Norfolk, before the latest appeared Monday afternoon in Wainfleet, Lincolnshire, according to BBC News.

Continue reading >

22 Jan

Terrified Cow Who Ran Through Streets of NYC Gets Luckiest Break

Dodo Circular

(Guest post by Christian Cotroneo from

For this cow, it must have seemed like a fairytale of New York.

For the slenderest moment yesterday, he trotted triumphantly through the sunny streets of Queens. Running, braying, even enchanting onlookers who soaked up the surreality of it all.

Video captures a slaughterhouse cow’s run for freedom

A runaway cow escaped from a Queens Halal slaughterhouse and wandered around area streets.

Posted by New York Post on Thursday, January 21, 2016

"It was very nice to see a cow running through the streets," Claudia Escobar told the New York Post.

It was, in all likelihood, nice to be a cow running through the streets.

Then the slaughterhouse called.

Police arrived on scene — although they weren't immune to this cow's unbridled enthusiasm for life, tweeting, "How cow! It seems the @NYPD103Pct will stop at nothing to keep traffic moooving."

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The cow wasn't hard to corral. In moments, police had loaded him into the back of a truck.

And that briefest fairy tale of New York seemed to arrive at the most abrupt of endings.

Continue reading >

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.

Screen Shot 2016-01-22 at 10.42.57 AM

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.

Continue reading >

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.

18 Jan

Smart Pig Solves Puzzle in Under a Minute

Dodo Circular

(Guest post by Stephen Messenger from

Braininess likely isn't the first quality to jump to mind when most people think about pigs, but it probably should be. Here's one now to show you why.

When presented with a relatively complex problem-solving task — arrange wooden blocks according to their color — this pig named Moritz does so with remarkable ease. In fact, he's able to complete the exercise in under a minute — faster, perhaps, than some young humans.

While it's clear that Moritz has had a bit of training, his intellectual capacity is far from atypical for his kind. A research paper in the International Journal of Comparative Psychology found that pigs are actually on par with a number of animals people commonly credited with being brainy.

"We have shown that pigs share a number of cognitive capacities with other highly intelligent species such as dogs, chimpanzees, elephants, dolphins, and even humans," said neuroscientist Lori Marino in a press release. "There is good scientific evidence to suggest we need to rethink our overall relationship to them."

Watch more smart pigs!

14 Jan

Another Sea Snake Washes Up on Southern California Shore

Yet another yellow-bellied sea snake has appeared on Southern California's shore, this time near Coronado. This is the second snake to wash up in the past month, with the first being found mid-December near Huntington Beach. Before now, a yellow-bellied sea snake hadn't been spotted near the shore since 1972.

El Nino is the most plausible reason for the sudden appearance of these snakes so far north. Yellow-bellied sea snakes are native to the tropical waters of the Pacific and Indian Oceans, but El Nino has made waters further north much warmer than usual.

While this species of sea snake is highly venomous, there are no recorded human deaths connected to a yellow-bellied sea snake bite.

The 20-inch long snake was barely alive when it was found and passed away shortly after its discovery.

Learn more about sea snakes here:

13 Jan

Fossils of Giant Ancient Crocodile Found in Tunisia

This is a massive discovery, both literally and figuratively. Paleontologists in Tunisia have found the fossil remains of the world's largest sea-dwelling crocodile, a species that before now had be completely unknown.

Screen Shot 2016-01-13 at 11.43.18 AM

The group, lead by Federico Fanti of the University of Bologna and supported by the National Geographic Society Committee for Research and Exploration, have named this new species Machimosaurus rex, or M. Rex for short. From the fossils they found, they have estimated that this prehistoric beast measured up to 30 feet long and weighed over 30 tons. The skull alone is five feet long. Their complete findings have been reported in the journal, Cretaceous Research.

"It's just big. It's almost the size of a bus," said Fanti to the Washington Post about the crocodile. "It definitely was at the top of the food chain at the time, at least in this particular locality."

The fossil was found just inches below the surface on the edge of the Sahara Desert in Tunisia.

While the sheer size of this crocodile is impressive, this discovery also rattles preconceived notions about mass extinctions during the Jurassic Period. While the group of crocodiles M. Rex belongs to were thought to have gone extinct 150 million years ago, these new findings show that M. Rex actually lived 130 million years ago. 

Fanti said that while previous studies hypothesized a mass extinction of marine reptiles between the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, the discovery of M. Rex proves otherwise.

"That's leading us to consider the mass extinction theory is wrong and that we should better understand what's going on at the end of the Jurassic period," Fanti said.

M. Rex may be extinct, but there are still some monster crocs out there, just like the one Jeremy Wade came face-to-face with!

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