Bites at Animal Planet


9 Dec

The Animals Behind the Sounds of Star Wars

In 1977, George Lucas created an entire universe from scratch. The birth of the Star Wars franchise was also the birth of Ben Burtt's legendary career as a sound engineer. Burtt who has contributed to every Star Wars movie and subsequent video game and TV show since the beginning, capitalized on the plethora of sounds the natural world offers to bring Star Wars to life.

Check out some of the iconic Star Wars sounds and the curious animals behind them.


According to Burtt, the infamous voice of everyone's favorite Wookiee was created using "mostly bears, with a dash of walrus, dog, and lion thrown in". Star Wars fans insist, however, that Burtt got more creative than he cared to admit. They argue Burtt also enlisted the help of camels, badgers, tigers and even rabbits. 

TIE Fighters: 

Now listen to this: 

Quite similar, no? In fact, the TIE fighter sounds were created using the howls and yells of elephants. All Burtt did was stretch them out and slow them down.

Tusken Raiders:

Now listen to this: 

Burtt and his crew made minimal manipulations to the donkey bray to create the desired sound. Just a bit of deepening and speed adjustment and voila. 

The Sarlacc:

While the Sarlacc noise is mainly an orchestra of the sound crew's growling stomachs, the base effect used was an alligator's hiss. 


Now listen to this: 

This one may be harder to hear, but the sounds of the Tauntauns were created by manipulating the vocal stylings of an Asian sea otter named Moda.

Acklay Screech: 

Now listen to this: 

To create the screech of one of the most terrifying monsters from The Battle of Geonosis, Burtt called upon sounds from pigs and dolphins.

Excited for the franchise to continue? So are these pups: 

13 Oct

Dog Who Survived Oregon School Shooting Grieves Lost Owner

Dodo Circular

(Guest post by Anna Swartz from

The recent devastating school shooting in Oregon killed nine students and left their loves ones grieving — including one devoted dog who survived the shooting but lost his favorite human.

Bullet, a black-and white service dog, was by owner Sarena Dawn Moore's side when a gunman opened fire on the classroom at Umpqua Community College on Oct. 1. Moore, who was in a wheelchair, was killed — and her loving dog was there with her the whole time.

The day after the shooting, police delivered an unharmed Bullet back home, where he reunited with Moore's fiancé, Travis Dow.

Dow told CNN that he was overjoyed to see Bullet again. "Bullet became a piece of Sarena, and I was happy to get him back," he said.

But it quickly became clear that Bullet felt Moore's loss too. "He's been acting really droopy. He knows she ain't coming home, 'cause he was there when the fatal day happened," Dow said.

Continue reading >

24 Sep

Pit Bull Puppy Chained to Fence With Heartbreaking Note

Dodo Circular

(Guest post by Caitlin Jill Anders from

A puppy was recently found heartlessly chained to a fence with no way to escape, next to a sign that read, "Free dog, please take," according to WNEP News (Scranton). 

Sandy Scala

The pit bull, named Cesar, was found and brought to the Griffin Pond Animal Shelter in Pennsylvania. His rescuers originally assumed he had been abandoned by his owner, which later proved to be incorrect. The dog had not been abused in any way and was very excited to see and play with his rescuers.

"He was in really good condition and was so sweet," Sandy Scala, a humane officer at Griffin Pond, told The Dodo. "He just wants attention and to be petted. He had no idea how to play with toys." 

Sandy Scala

Cesar went missing from his home after his family's kids were playing with him and accidentally let him get away. The whole neighborhood was on alert and the family assumed that if anyone saw Cesar, they would let them know. It never occurred to them to contact a shelter, they later told Scala, who visited with Cesar's family to facilitate his return home. Cesar was wearing a collar and his family hoped that would be enough to help bring him home.

Continue reading >

22 Sep

White 'Cat' Turns Out to be Something Far More Rare

Dodo Circular

(Guest post by Stephen Messenger from

It's not every day that an animal this uncommon drops by for a snack.

Susan Lichty was glancing out across the driveway of her New Hampshire home recently when she spotted what looked to be someone's white pet moseying through the foliage. It's a good thing she stopped to take a closer look, though, or else she might have failed to notice just what a remarkable creature it truly was. 

"I saw an animal, a white animal, and I thought at first it was a cat. Then I saw the way it was lumbering along, and I knew it was not a cat," Lichty told the Concord Monitor.

Nope. Not a cat. Actually, he's a glorious albino porcupine — who Lichty caught on film nibbling on some leafy greens.

According to biologists, albinism affects only about 1 in 10,000 porcupines, which means the pale-hued animal seen that day is very rare indeed. Fortunately, despite the fact that he's had a much tougher time hiding from threats, the hungry porcupine has made it into adulthood looking perfectly plump and healthy, winning the hearts of folks lucky enough to see him.

"It was definitely an albino, with red eyes," Litchy told the Monitor "I was able to watch it for quite some time before it walked away. It was cute." 

 Porcupines may be cute, but they pose a pretty serious danger to pups. 

Continue reading >

1 Aug

Dog is an Expert at Carrying His Tail Around With Him

Dodo Circular

(Guest post by Caitlin Jill Anders from

You know the saying, "You'd lose your head if it wasn't attached?" Well, one dog has decided to take that saying very seriously, except not with his head — with his tail.

This pup is either so afraid he's going to lose his tail or he likes it so much that he insists on carrying it in his mouth around the house with him.

The pup was gotten so good at walking his tail that he's even mastered the art of turning corners ... sort of. 

A tail is an important part of a dog's identity, apparently, and this little guy is determined to keep an eye on his. You have to admire his dedication. Watching this dog play fetch would probably be the funniest thing ever.

Check out the full video of this cautious dog below!

Love goofy pups? There are five currently on APL!VE. Watch below.

Live video by Animal Planet L!ve

31 Jul

Dog Lost in Canyon for Six Weeks Comes Home Alive

Dodo Circular

(Guest post by Anna Swartz from

When a 9-month-old husky mix named Banjo was caught in a fast moving current and swept away by the Poudre River, her panicked family worried they would never see her again.

Banjo was out on a hike with her human brother, Braeden Brooks, when they both slipped and fell into the river in Colorado's Poudre Canyon. The two were separated: Brooks made it out but a frightened Banjo was whisked away downstream.


Brooks and Banjo's mom, Donna Hill, organized a search party and went back to the canyon day after day looking for the family's lost dog. But weeks went by with no sign of Banjo. Brooks had to return to school in Kentucky, but came home to Colorado every week to keep searching for Banjo … to no avail. 

Continue reading >

22 Jul

Polar Bear Mom Accidentally Films Baby's First Steps in Wild

Dodo Circular

(Guest post by Ameena Schelling from

This proud polar bear mother inadvertently filmed her young cub leaving the den for the very first time.

Filmmakers had set up a spy camera outside the den to observe the family's behavior without introducing humans into their environment. At first, mom thinks the camera is quite a toy, spinning it around on the frozen ground as she plays with it.

But she eventually adjusts the camera, allowing it to capture her baby's first nervous steps outside the winter den.


The footage that follows is strikingly similar to humans' own home movies — the shaky adjustments, the sometimes sideways footage and the sweet insight into the subjects' private life.

At one point, mom captures a stunning shot of her and her baby staring into the camera. 


Continue reading >

25 May

The Last Alaskans: Hear What the Critics Are Saying

Around the office at Animal Planet, we're proud of all our shows, but The Last Alaskans holds a special place in our hearts. We're glad the critics are recognizing what we see, and we hope you will too tonight at 10/9c.

‘The Last Alaskans’: A reality show with a heart as big as its subject

"... a superb, eight-part docu-series premiering Monday night."

"Unlike other reality shows, there’s little sense that a producer is nudging a particular narrative this way or that; the subjects are entirely themselves and, given their loner instincts, remarkably willing to explain why they live here and how they manage it."

- The Washington Post

Review: ‘The Last Alaskans,’ a New Animal Planet Series

"... an affecting series."

"... [H]ere the quests for sustenance are presented merely as facts of life. The compelling part of the series is the why: Why live like this?"

- The New York Times

Preview the show here: 

23 Apr

What Are Jeremy Wade's Favorite River Monsters Episodes?

Ever wonder if Jeremy has favorite moments from the series?

Well, find out this Sunday -- tune in for a marathon of his most favorite episodes ever, starting at 1 p.m. ET! And, at 9 p.m., stay tuned for an all-new premiere, Alaska's Cold Water Killer, when he treks far north in search of a beast that's been blamed for vanishing fishermen all along the vast coastline. 

Check the TV Schedule for the full line-up >>


In the meantime, what are YOUR favorite River Monsters moments? Watch our countdown with Jeremy of the top fan favorite videos on




Betty Chu is a Digital Media Executive Producer for Follow her on Twitter @beddychew or Facebook.


20 Mar

Saturday's Going to the Pits! Pit Bulls & Parolees Season Finale Airs Saturday at 10/9c


Are you a Pit Bulls and Parolees fan? Then cancel your weekend plans because Saturday is going to the dogs!

It’s all pit bulls, all day long tomorrow on Animal Planet. The festivities begin early at 9am with our all-day Pit Bulls and Parolees Viewers Choice marathon, featuring the show’s best episodes, as picked by the fans.

The night begins with at 9/8c with Pit Bulls and Parolees: Unleashed, featuring behind the scenes and never before seen footage from this season. It also features our own Tia Torres looking back on memorable moments and giving the fans insight into what they didn’t see on TV. It all leads up to our Pit Bulls and Parolees season finale at 10/9c, in which Tia, after risking her own life to help rescue an abandoned dog, finds herself at odds with a local shelter over the dog’s fate.

Continue reading >

become our fan






stay connected

our sites