Bites at Animal Planet


30 Jul

300-Pound Grouper Caught Off the Coast of Florida

"I was able to swim along side this beautiful animal and even touch its huge scales. After a few minutes of this close...

Posted by The Huffington Post on Tuesday, July 28, 2015

It's a week of giants for Florida! First the 18-foot python, now this: a gargantuan grouper. On Monday, Florida doctor Sam Gerson went out on Cape Canaveral, Florida with a fishing charter. Little did he know he was going to make the catch of a lifetime. After dropping his line over a shipwreck site, he felt a nibble almost instantly.

"I dropped my line in and within seconds of hitting bottom, I felt a strong jerk. As I started reeling in, the rod bent until the tip was almost in the water. Soon I wasn’t reeling, but instead holding on for dear life as line was running out of the spool at an alarming speed," he told The Huffington Post.

After an hour of reeling, the massive grouper, nicknamed "The Dinosaur," breached the surface. According to their fishing guide, the fish weighed at least 300 pounds and could be more than 50 years old.

After snapping a pic next to his catch, Gerson let "The Dinosaur" back into his watery domain. 

Watch Jeremy Wade catch his own gigantic grouper here!

30 Jul

The World Would be a Better Place #IfAnimalsMadeLaws

Dodo Circular

(Guest post by Anna Swartz from

Early Thursday morning, perhaps as a collective response to the tragic killing of Cecil the lion, Twitter users across the country began tweeting out the laws that would exist if animals were in charge. The hashtag #IfAnimalsMadeLaws was soon trending nationally.

Some of the suggestions are serious.

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Some are silly.

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30 Jul

In the Darkness of Cecil's Death, Jane Goodall Sees Light

Dodo Circular

(Guest post by Solon Kelleher from

After the tragic news broke over Cecil the lion's death, the internet has been flurried with a mixture of mourning and dentist-bashing. A source of stability in the chaos, Jane Goodall speaks out about Cecil's death as only she can in her always calm, clear and passionate voice.

While many have found it hard to articulate what we should do now that Cecil is dead and his killer is still free, Goodall sees the light: "Only one good thing comes out of this – thousands of people have read the story and have also been shocked. Their eyes opened to the dark side of human nature."

Here is her full statement, released on Wednesday by The Jane Goodall Institute.

"I was shocked and outraged to hear the story of Cecil, Zimbabwe's much loved lion. Not only is it incomprehensible to me that anyone would want to kill an endangered animal (fewer than 20,000 wild lions in Africa today) but to lure Cecil from the safety of a national park and then to shoot him with a crossbow...? I have no words to express my repugnance. He was not even killed outright, but suffered for hours before finally being shot with a bullet. And his magnificent head severed from his wounded body. And this behaviour is described as a "sport." Only one good thing comes out of this – thousands of people have read the story and have also been shocked. Their eyes opened to the dark side of human nature. Surely they will now be more prepared to fight for the protection of wild animals and the wild places where they live. Therein lies the hope."

See an amazing lion-to-human connection here. 

30 Jul

Puppy Mill Dogs Feel Grass for the Very First Time

Dodo Circular

(Guest post by Anna Swartz from

Last Saturday, 93 furry lives were changed forever.

The little dogs were all different: Some were Shih Tzus, some were poodles, some had long matted hair and some had short coats. Some of the dogs lay quietly, while others paced nervously and whined in their crates. But, all the dogs had one thing in common — they had just been rescued from miserable lives in puppy mills.

North Shore Animal League

Nearly one hundred dogs arrived at the North Shore Animal League America from puppy mills all over Oklahoma. They had all been used for breeding, spending their lives locked in cages, forced to have litter after litter of puppies for sale in pet stores.

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29 Jul

Bold Dolphin Shows Man Just What He Thinks of His Phone

Dodo Circular

(Guest post by Sarah V Schweig from

A group of men was soaking up the scenery from a fishing boat, gliding smoothly across the beautiful waters near South Australia.

The sun was shining, the scenery was idyllic. Wild dolphins followed the boat, adding to the picturesque majesty of the moment.

"Look at that! That's amazing," someone says about the dolphins swimming alongside their vessel.

"He's showing off," another says.

One man tries to capture the dolphin on his cell phone camera, leaning slightly over the side of the boat.

The adorable dolphin, with his permanently jovial expression, follows, looking up at him, almost posing.

Then the little dolphin ... just leaps out of the water and tries to swipe the guy's cell phone.

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29 Jul

Strangers Find Bulldog Trapped in Hot SUV

Dodo Circular

(Guest post by Anna Swartz from

A lucky bulldog may only be alive today thanks to the quick-thinking actions of a concerned bystander. Robyn Urman, a hairstylist and proud animal-rights advocate, noticed a bulldog sitting alone in the passenger seat of his owner's SUV in downtown Tenafly, New Jersey, on Monday.

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Temperatures were in the 80s, and, inside his human's black Mercedes, the bulldog was likely heating up far too quickly. Bulldogs especially need to stay out of the heat: Being brachycephalic, or short-snouted, they're at a higher risk of injury from extreme heat.

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29 Jul

This is Why Cecil the Lion's Death Matters

Photo: Bryan Orford/YouTube

A beloved and well-known lion who called protected land in Zimbabwe his home for 13 years, was killed earlier this month in actions that have now brought poaching charges against a hunting guide and land owner, The Washington Post reports. An American dentist, Walter Palmer, has released a statement saying he regrets having killed Cecil the lion during what he believed was a legal hunt, but it is yet to be determined whether charges will be filed against him as well, the BBC reports. Zimbabwe officials are looking for Palmer whose whereabouts are currently unknown, according to Slate.

"He was beautiful — one of the most beautiful animals you’d ever see,” Johnny Rodrigues of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force told The Washington Post in a phone interview. "… Nine times out of 10, doing the safari drive, you’d come across him walking with his family. He was one of the animals it was guaranteed you were going to see. Thousands have seen him. Instead of protecting it — a good marketing tool — they go ahead and kill it."

Cecil's death has reignited conversations about controversial big game hunting, particularly because Cecil was lured off protected land with bait, tracked for two days, killed once he was weakened from his wounds, beheaded and skinned. Officials were able to track Cecil's movements during his final days due in part to the GPS tracker he was wearing as part of an Oxford study to track the impact of hunting in the area surrounding Hwange National Park.

While Cecil's death has outraged many, including Jimmy Kimmel, who got choked up while talking about the lion on Jimmy Kimmel Live! last night, the greatest impact will likely be on the pride he's left behind. According to UPI, Cecil had a coalition pride with another male lion, Jericho. Between the two prides, there were six lionesses and about a dozen cubs. Without Cecil, Jericho will be weakened and potentially unable to protect the two prides from other male lions and their cubs.

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29 Jul

Giant 'Pit Bull' has Puppies and It's All Kinds of Wrong

Dodo Circular

(Guest post by Sarah V Schweig from

A New Hampshire kennel is claiming to help dispel poor pit bull reputations by breeding a dog to be unnaturally huge and selling his puppies for a lot of cash.

Hulk, the giant dog, is believed by some to be a cross between an American bulldog and a American pit bull terrier. Not even fully grown yet at 22 months, Hulk currently clocks in at 175 pounds and serves as a cash cow for Dark Dynasty K9s.

Headed by Marlon Grennan, Dark Dynasty K9s breeds "protection dogs" for profit, and made headlines earlier this year because of Hulk's enormous size. Now, Hulk has fathered a new litter of puppies.

"We produce the best of all the finest bloodlines," DDK9 writes on its website. "The result is a well balanced calm family dog also capable of becoming a top of the line working dog. DDK9's dogs can be trained for any level of protection including for high level security or family and personal protection."

"How could you look at that face and be upset?" Grennan says, holding up one puppy to the camera in a recent video on the dogs. 

Well, for one thing, the United Kennel Club points out serious issues withAmerican pit bull terriers bred to be this large: "Excessively large or overly massive dogs and dogs with a height and/or weight so far from what is desired as to compromise health, structure, movement and physical ability."

Another reason to be upset: Even though Grennan claims his giant "pit bulls" dispel negative connotations about pit bulls, Grennan still puts on a "training suit" and gives the dogs the aggression training sessions that make them such valuable commodities.

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27 Jul

Hero Finds Family's Lost Cat — 1 Year Later And 4,000 Miles Away

Dodo Circular

(Guest post by Caitlin Jill Anders from

Cats are extremely resourceful and resilient creatures. Even when they are lost, they are often able to find their way home — and sometimes in extremely incredible ways.

A volunteer with CatFriends in Hawaii — who goes by the name of Mr. Bill — started noticing a stray cat near the Honolulu airport about eight months ago,KHON 2 reported. He began feeding and keeping tabs on the very friendly cat.


Mr. Bill typically deals with feral cats, but he realized that this cat was a Siamese and much friendlier than many cats he typically watched over. When he was finally able to check for a microchip, the cat's true identity was discovered. The feline's name is Bogie, and his family lives in Michigan — more than 4,000 miles away.

And finally, on Friday morning, they were reunited.


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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

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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