Bites at Animal Planet

Oceans

8 Jul

Too Cute Tuesday: Germany’s First Walrus Pup is Born

 

On June 15, an adorable, whiskered male walrus pup was born at Hamburg’s Hagenbeck Zoo. But this isn’t an ordinary walrus pup.

Why? Because he is the first and only walrus to be born in Germany. The zoo’s website states that this group of walruses (the pup’s mother and enclosure mates) came to them about a year ago from the Moscow Zoo to fulfill the dream of Tierpark Hagenbeck to host the only walrus breeding group in Germany. And their dreams have come true! This little guy doesn’t have a name yet, but it will be decided by zoo visitors.

Continue reading >

6 Jun

What Could Kill a 9-Foot Great White Shark?

Eating-sharks-250For all those thinking the sharks may be the greatest predator in the water, new findings might cause a bit of alarm. There's something out there eating 9-foot great white sharks.

As part of a new shark tracking program, scientists tagged a healthy 9-foot female great white shark off the Australian coast. Then, four months later, the tracking device was discovered by a beach comber about two-and-a-half miles from where the shark was originally tagged.

When the scientists reviewed the recovered device, they found a rapid temperature rise - from the mid-40s to the high-70s - and a 1,900-foot change in depth. Both can be explained by the animal "living" within the stomach of something much larger. To date, this is all the information scientists have.

Is there a giant creature out there feasting on great whites? Watch the video below and decide.

Could it be megalodon?

Continue reading >

20 May

Scuba Diver Encounters Shark -- and Lives to Tell the Tale

8xjwnA scuba diver off the coast of Florida's Vero Beach had a close encounter with a shark - and caught it all on his GoPro camera, according to an article in the NY Daily News.

Jimmy Roseman, a West Melbourne native, ran into the shark while he was 90-feet under water. The shark circled him several times and when he got too close, Roseman prodded him with his spear gun to scare him off.

Check out the video below:

Want more up-close encounters with mystifying creatures?

Tune in to Monster Week - all this week at 8PM E/P, with River Monsters specials starting at 9PM E/P.

Check out another shark of the deep when Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives airs Sunday, May 25 at 7PM E/P.

9 May

Curious Shark Nibbles on Inflatable Boat

Recently, the crew from Max Animal had the encounter of a lifetime when an inquisitive Great White Shark started chomping on their inflatable boat. According to the crew, they were filming for their youtube channel somewhere off the coast of South Africa when the shark decided to 'investigate' their boat.

While this was undoubtedly a frightening experience, it was one with a happy ending. All parties involved (including the shark!) swamp away unharmed.

Check out the incredible footage below

2 May

Sixty-ton Whale Lands on Canadian Shores, Could Explode

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It's problem enough that a 60-ton whale carcass landed on the shores of a small fishing town in Newfoundland, but residents have legitimate concerns over the possibility that the carcass could explode. As explained by The Atlantic, during decomposition, gases such as methane build up inside the carcass. In this particular case, the whale ballooned to nearly double its size.

As of today, it appears that the whale has shrunk in scale and an explosion may not be imminent. How do we know? Marine science communicators at Upwell and Southern Fried Science created a site that provides status updates. You can check it out here.

For now, citizens of the small town will just have to deal with the stench and hope it doesn't impact their tourist season.

For more on the actually quite interesting history of whale explosions, check out The Atlantic's article.

See more Monster content on Monster Week! Starts May 18 at 8PM E/P!

15 Apr

New Device Enables Scientists To Converse With Dolphins

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A baby Atlantic bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) and mother swim together in the seas near Curacao, Netherlands Antilles (Photo by Horizons/UIG via Getty Images)

Humans are one step closer to communicating with dolphins, after scientists successfully interacted with dolphins using an underwater audio device, according to news outlets.

Cetacean Hearing and Telemetry, or Chat, enables scientists to emit audio that resembles the sounds dolphins make in the water. While the microphones do not translate the dolphin sounds into human language, it allows scientists to “speak” in clicks and high-pitched whistles that can be used to teach dolphins new commands and vocabulary, according to The Independent.

Continue reading >

21 Mar

Can Lobsters Feel Pain? Scientists Seek an Answer

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AlexanderShalamov/Veer

Have you ever been horrified by the thought of cooking a lobster alive, fearing that it can feel the pain? According to a recent article in the Washington Post, scientist Robert Elwood has been working for the last eight years to uncover whether or not lobsters and other invertebrates do feel pain in the same way humans do.

When conducting tests on various kinds of shellfish, Elwood discovered some interesting results. According to the article, when Elwood brushed acetic acid of the antennae of prawns, the prawns began an intricate, prolonged grooming process - something that was diminished when the prawn were given a local anesthetic before the acid was placed on the antennae.

In the case of brown crabs, when crabs were touched with a brief electric shock, the crabs tended to rub at the spot for "an extended period of time." Similarly, if the crabs claw was removed, as it often is in fisheries, the crabs would rub and pick at the wounded area.

“These are not just reflexes,” Elwood told the Post. “This is prolonged and complicated behavior, which clearly involves the central nervous system.”

Elwood also researched another factor - how much pain is worth it for a great reward? In the case of hermit crabs, crabs that had located an ideal shell for their home were more willing to put up with greater increases in pain before moving out of the better shell. Elwood suggests that this behavior goes far beyond any reflex and could be a true relection that the animals are able to feel pain.

Despite Elwood's findings, the subject of pain remains a problem of consciousness. Pain remains "private to each individual." However, Elwood's findings have inspired change - some scientists have changed how they treat invertebrates in their labs and are encouraging others to do the same.

What do you think? Can lobsters and other invertebrates feel pain?

26 Nov

It’s A River Monsters Roundup, Featuring The Greenland Shark And Skate

It’s been a BIG week for fish in the news and we’re bringing you two incredible stories involving two rare beasts as seen on River Monsters: the skate and the Greenland shark!

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It's a monster skate! (Photo Credit: Jeff Rotman/Getty Images)

Continue reading >

4 Nov

Yao Ming Leads Crusade Against Shark Fin Soup

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Virgin Group head Branson and former NBA player Yao attend a news conference organized by Wildaid to promote shark conservation in Shanghai. Credit: REUTERS/Aly Song

The consumption of shark fin soup as a rare delicacy in China has been on the decline thanks to the efforts of NBA star Yao Ming, conservationists, Chinese business leaders and others. Consumption has "gone down by 50 to 70 percent in the last two years," Peter Knights, executive director of WildAid, told the Washington Post.

According to the same article, the demand for this "fashionable" soup led to the killing of more than 70 million sharks last year alone. The problem stems from the fact that the nation is unaware of how their consumption impacts the species, which is why many believe the increase in awareness has led to a decrease in demand.

Chinese demand for endangered wildlife is not limited to just shark fins. Ivory is popular among the lavishly rich, which has led to an increase in elephant poaching in Africa as well.

As Knights told the Post, "Conservation is more about China now than it is about Africa. China can be the savior of wildlife or it can be the demise of it."

Read more on The Washington Post.

21 Aug

Dead dolphins across East Coast leave scientists confused

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Over 70 dead dolphins have washed up on the shores of Virginia this summer, according to CNN. (Photo Credit: moodboard/Corbis)

When you go to the beach, what do you expect to find? Probably sunbathers, sandcastles and obnoxious tourists.

Dead dolphins, however?

For some beachgoers this summer, it’s unfortunately true. An article from CNN revealed there were 228 recorded dolphin deaths this year from New York to Virginia, according to federal authorities. State officials in Virginia also shared that out of the more than 164 dolphin deaths in state waters this year, 78 carcasses washed ashore in August. Making these figures all the more startling is that there were only 111 deaths recorded last year.

Continue reading >

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