Bites at Animal Planet


25 Nov

Family Discovers Shocking Guest in Their Home

Dodo Circular

(Guest post by Sarah V Schweig from

All was normal at the Forest Department in Ferozabad, India until the phone rang on Tuesday.

On the line was a panicked voice saying they'd discovered something terrifying in a spare room of their home: A fully grown male leopard.


The Forest Department contacted Wildlife SOS and a rescue team hurried to the house.

"The room had been secured and the team got to work controlling the people that had gathered," Dr. Ilayaraja, senior veterinary officer, said in a press release.

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24 Nov

Bindi Irwin Pays Dances in Memory of Her Father in Finale of 'DWTS'

Bindi and Derek's freestyle dance!

What an amazing night for Bindi and Derek Hough! They had a perfect score, getting 10s from all the Dancing with the Stars judges for both of their dances. Check out #TeamCrikey's freestyle dance that didn't leave a dry eye in the house. Don't forget to vote for them here:

Posted by Australia Zoo on Monday, November 23, 2015

Each week you think she can't out do herself, but every week, Bindi Irwin seems to do it! During the past 11 weeks of Dancing with the Stars, she has consistently wowed both the judges and the audience with her precise dance moves, charming personality, and touching tributes to her father, the late Steve Irwin.

Last night, during her final dance of the season, Bindi and her dance coach, Derek Hough, performed a contemporary freestyle dance to Leona Lewis’ “Footprints in the Sand” as a tribute to her father. What she didn't expect was a large photo of her and Steve Irwin to appear at the dance's end. Needless to say, there wasn't a dry eye to be found. 

Bindi then shared this family photo:

She and Hough were awarded a perfect score. Fingers crossed that she wins the Mirror Ball tonight!

Watch her and Steve dance together here:

23 Nov

Blind Puppy Fights to Overcome His Anxiety

Dodo Circular

(Guest post by Caitlin Jill Anders from

When a Facebook post advertised a free puppy named Lucy in California, dozens of requests poured in to give her a loving home. Another puppy named Stuart was also mentioned in the same post — but no one was asking about him.

In fact, Stuart was in danger of being drowned by his former owner — just because he is a little different.


Stuart is a tiny puppy with some big obstacles to overcome. He's blind and also suffers from a possible spinal defect, which means his walk looks like an adorable bunny hop. Sometimes his back legs will suddenly give out. On top of everything else, he's missing his tail — but Stuart certainly isn't missing his spirit. 


Denise Mueller immediately felt a connection to Stuart after seeing the Facebook post. She was surprised that no one seemed to care about his plight, so she reached out to the post's author. "I asked her what would happen to him if no one took him in," Mueller told The Dodo. "She replied that she would be taking him to the pound. I wanted to help him so badly." 

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23 Nov

Cats Show What They're Thinking During Belgium's Lockdown

Dodo Circular

(Guest post by Sarah V Schweig from

Difficult situations often call for levity — preferably in the form of cats.

Brussels went into lockdown on Sunday during a police investigation connected to the attacks in Paris, and Belgian police encouraged its citizens to support their efforts with the hashtag #BrusselsLockdown. Defense Minister Steven Vandeput tweeted: "Police are asking the public not to report their movements on social media, please support & rt #BrusselsLockdown."

But what went viral was a showing of support from the nation's most indifferent citizens: The cats.

From the funny to the satirical to the sweet, here's some of our favorite feline solace during the storm:

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23 Nov

Nola the White Rhino Passes Away, Only 3 of the Species Left

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The 41-year-old female Northern white rhino has passed away at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. This means there are only three of her kind left. The three remaining rhinos currently reside at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya.

On top of arthritis and other age-related health issues, Nola had surgery earlier this month to drain an abscess on her hip that had caused a bacterial infection. However, her health continued to decline even after the surgery and she became progressively worse last week. According to the Zoo's blog, her appetite and her activity level began to decline. The decision was made to euthanize her.

“There are no words to adequately express the depth of the loss of Nola," stated Randy Rieches, curator of mammals at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

Nola was brought to the San Diego Zoo in 1989 from the Druv Kralove Zoo in the Czech Republic, with the purpose of breeding and conserving the species. Despite their efforts, Nola never became pregnant. 

Sadly, the last three rhinos are unable to breed. However, there is still hope. The Zoo's blog said the San Diego Zoo Institute has stored the genetic material of 12 different rhinos in their Frozen Zoo, "with the hope that new reproductive technologies will someday allow northern white rhinos to be reproduced by having southern white rhinos serve as surrogates."

This is happening to animals like Nola every day. If we aren't careful, there won't be any animals left in the world. Learn more during the premiere of Racing Extinction on Wednesday, December 2 at 9/8c.

22 Nov

Circus Cat Chained to Truck For 20 Years Takes First Steps to Freedom

Dodo Circular

(Guest post by Ameena Schelling from

An elderly mountain lion who spent his life chained to the back of a truck has finally gotten a taste of freedom.

Mufasa the mountain lion was rescued from an illegal Peruvian circus earlier this year. Likely sold into the exotic pet trade as an infant, he had spent 20 years being carted around from village to village and forced to perform.


Lacking even the comfort of a cage, when he wasn't performing he would be locked up and chained in the open bed of a truck, where he'd curl up behind the tent poles to sleep. 


"It was heartbreaking to see Mufasa chained among the circus equipment, living on the back of a pickup truck," Jan Creamer, president of Animal Defenders International (ADI), said in a statement. "A heavy harness and chains were wrapped around his body and as we cut them away, he stretched, free, for the first time."


At the time, Creamer described the scene as "the most sad, wretched thing that you've ever seen," noting that "it was like he wasn't even alive."

Continue reading >

21 Nov

Beautiful Little Nudibranch Washes Ashore in Australia

Came across this odd critter at Broadbeach today. It's a Glaucus Atlanticus.

Posted by Lucinda Fry on Thursday, November 12, 2015

It's not a mythical creature, though it is named after one. This is the sea creature named Glaucus atlanticus, or blue dragon as it is more commonly known! It is a species of sea slug, more specifically a nudibranch, and can be found in tropical waters all around the world. This little one was recently found on the beach in Queensland, Australia. They are known to wash up on beaches even though they are more commonly found in open water.

But the blue dragon's looks aren't the only thing worth discussing. This little creature is able to eat poisonous jellyfish like Portuguese Man o' War because they are immune to its venom. After that, the blue dragon is able to store that venom in their finger-like extremities. So while they are beautiful, and pretty cute, don't touch them unless you want a pretty bad sting!

Learn more about another weird sea creature here!

19 Nov

Chagas Disease Spreading in Southern United States

A bug called the "kissing bug" sounds cute, right? However, names can be deceiving. This bug is the opposite of cute, as its kiss involves sucking your blood. In sucking human blood, the kissing bug can spread a parasite that causes Chagas disease. This disease is a problem in the tropical climates of Central and South America, but is very rare in the United States. However, it is starting to spread to the southern states, especially Texas. Researchers are still investigating why, but they believe climate change is a large factor.

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So, what is Chagas disease and its symptoms? It's important to know, because many American doctors aren't trained to recognize the symptoms. First, Chagas disease is a parasitic infection, meaning that the kissing bug transmits a parasite that its carries through a bite or through their feces. The bug is known to bite sleeping people on the thin skin around their eyes or mouth. 

Once someone has the parasite, it may take months and even years for symptoms to manifest. Symptoms are also vague and flu-like: fever, fatigue, body aches, diarrhea, and vomiting. The most significant symptom is swelling eyelids on the side of the person's body that was bitten. However, Chagas disease can also cause blood clots, heart failure, fainting, and death.

Besides through a kissing bug bite, the disease can be spread through blood transfusion, organ transplants, eating infected insects, or eating raw food. The disease can be treated once diagnosed over a two-month period. 

Don't panic, though. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of infected is about 300,000 people in the United States, though that is only an estimate as some people may be carriers with no symptoms. This number skyrockets in tropical countries, with the number estimated as high as 20 million

Check out the whole NBC investigation on the bug here:

The tsetse fly transmits a similar parasite that can cause African Sleeping Sickness. Learn more about it here:

19 Nov

New Species of Daddy Longlegs Discovered, Named After Smeagol

Attention, Lord of the Rings fans! A new species has been discovered in Brazil and it has been named by the cave-dwelling creature, Smeagol (also known as Gollum). Its formal name is Iandumoema smeagol and it is a species of daddy longlegs. While daddy longlegs, or harvestmen, are arachnids, they are not spiders!

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The harverstmen were named after the creepy character because they are subterranean and they have adapted to life in caves. Since there's no light in their natural habitat, they do not have eyes and have no melanistic pigmentation, making them a pale yellow color. 

According to the researchers who discovered Smeagol, this species should currently be considered vulnerable. Deforestation and development projects in the area threaten to destroy the only places the arachnids have been found. They are also unable to adapt to any other environment outside of caves, making it impossible to move them to other caves. Researchers continue to study the species to find out how out to save it from extinction.

Many of the world's species are threatened by human influence. But, this is something we can change. Find out how on Racing Extinction, airing December 2 at 9/8c.

18 Nov

Two-Legged Puppy Gets 3D-Printed Wheels

A tiny puppy named Tumbles has a new chance at life. Born with only two legs, this terrier-beagle mix was the runt of his litter and needed to be hand-reared by his family. However, instead of bottle feeding Tumbles, they brought him to Ohio animal shelter Friends of the Shelter Dogs. From there, he was placed with an experienced foster. Having two legs couldn't keep this puppy down!

"He's a little sweetheart and doesn't act as if he has any limitations," Angela Marx, rescue coordinator at Friends of the Shelter Dogs, told CBS News.

Now at six weeks old, Tumbles has had another stroke of luck. After seeing photos of the two-legged pup, the Ohio University Innovation Center has offered to make him a 3D-printed wheelchair. And it doesn't stop there: they have pledged to support Tumbles for the rest of his life, meaning that they will continue making him wheels as he grows up!

It's a long road ahead for this pup. He still needs to learn how to use his wheels and will go through months of physical therapy. No matter what, Tumbles has a great life ahead!

While Faith can move her legs, she can barely use them. Despite her adorable face, her legs are making it difficult to get adopted. 

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