Bites at Animal Planet


28 Sep

Florida Woman 'Rides' Protected Sea Turtle, Shares Photos, is Arrested

After photos of a woman "riding" a sea turtle went viral through the popular Snap Chat app earlier this summer, Melbourne Police reported via Facebook that they had arrested the woman Saturday morning on a felony warrant.

According to the report, the photos of two women "flooded social media networks" and many people forwarded complaints to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The Washington Post reported that police officers responded to a separate disturbance call and identified the woman as 20-year-old Stephanie Moore.

Sea turtles are protected under the Endangered Species Act and Florida's Marine Turtle Protection Act. Florida's east-central shoreline, where Melbourne beach is located, is “the second most important nesting beach in the world,” according to the Sea Turtle Conservancy. According to CBS News, 90 percent of the United States' population of sea turtles call that stretch of beach home.

Watch as Jeff Corwin works to protect sea turtle nests:

21 Sep

Hellabrunn Zoo Celebrates Birth of Indian Rhino Calf

Photo Credit: Hellabrunn Zoo/Marc Müller

The Hellabrunn Zoo in Munich is proud to present their new baby Indian Rhino, born on August 31! This not-yet-named male calf was born to mother Rapti and father Niko and presented to the public earlier this month. His birth is very important to the conservation efforts being made to preserve his species.

Photo Credit: Hellabrunn Zoo/Marc Müller

There are under 3,000 of this species left, which makes them considered vulnerable, but not yet endangered. The Indian Rhino, or Great One-Horned Rhino, is native to India and Nepal. It is the largest of the three rhino species and only has one nasal horn as opposed to two. Its survival has been threatened by habitat loss and poaching for its horn, which is thought to have medicinal value, though that has not been proven true

The zoo is asking for suggestions for the name of the calf. The only requirement is that it must start with P and reference Rapti's native country, Nepal. Congratulations to the Hellabrunn Zoo!

Learn more about the efforts being made in rhino conservation here:

19 Sep

Cat and Turtle Play Tag

We often think of reptiles as slow and kind of dumb, plodding through life on nothing but instinct and with little propensity for unique interactions with other species. This video of a cat and a turtle playing a game of tag is a great example of the fact that furry and feathered animals don't have the market cornered when it comes to this kind of behavior.

It's hard for me to say what's actually going on here. A turtle of this size wouldn't think of feeding on an animal as large as the cat, so it's not displaying predatory behavior. It's not fleeing from the cat as a potential predator. The turtle couldn't be confused and trying to engage the cat as a mate. Turtles aren't generally territorial, and besides, this is an aquatic species that normally lives in ponds, so trying to defend turf on a cement patio makes no sense.

Cat and Turtle

That leaves me with only one other conclusion: the turtle is playing with the cat. The cat is clearly engaging in play behavior, but reptiles generally don't play the same way that mammals do, or at least we don't interpret their normal behavior as such.

Maybe this video is evidence otherwise? What do you think? 

Protect Wildlife with the National Wildlife Federation.


13 Sep

Meet the Fastest Tortoise in the World

Dodo Circular

(Guest post by Caitlin Jill Anders from

The 2016 Guinness Book of World Records winners were just announced, and there are definitely some shockers. There's a dog who can catch multiple soccer balls in under a minute, a cow with exceptionally long horns — and the fastest tortoise in the whole world.


That's right: There's a tortoise who ISN'T slow — well, at least, not slow for a tortoise. Bertie, the Guinness Book of World Records winner, was called the Usain Bolt of tortoises by CNN. Bertie lives in England with his owner, and can go 0.6 miles per hour. For a tortoise, that's REALLY fast.

Continue reading >

18 Aug

Plastic Straw Removed from Sea Turtle's Nose

Dodo Circular

(Guest post by Ameena Schelling from

Warning: some of these images may be considered graphic

One look at this turtle and you will never litter again.

Turtle researcher Nathan Robinson and his colleague, Chris Figgener, were looking for mating sea turtles off the coast of Costa Rica when they came across an olive ridley sea turtle with something odd up his nose.

Robinson, who's currently studying creatures who live on sea turtles, originally thought it was a tubeworm. But when he tried to pull it out, he realized it was something quite different. 

Nathan Robinson 

Continue reading >

13 Aug

Butterfly Species Drinks Tears of Turtles

Dodo Circular

(Guest post by Caitlin Jill Anders from

Animals in the wild have so many fascinating behaviors that we can only begin to understand. Sometimes pictures surface and we're not really sure what's happening — but we make our best guess, and it's beautiful regardless.

A photograph is making the rounds of a butterfly perched gently on a turtle's eye— and people think the butterfly might actually be drinking the turtle's tears.

Ama La Vida TV

There is indeed a butterfly in the Amazon who drinks the tears of turtles, and that could very well be what's happening in this picture. There are also butterflies who drink crocodile tears. Butterflies drink tears of other animals for the nutrients, and are mainly looking for salt, as sodium can be hard to find from other sources.

It is such a beautiful reminder of how amazing animals are, and how well they work together to live their lives.

Check out the full video of a butterfly drinking crocodile tears below: 

Get more info about an interesting species of butterfly below. 

12 Aug

Genius Tortoise Blows His Family Away with New Talent

Dodo Circular

(Guest post by Anna Swartz from

You know when your tortoise is in the yard and you have to keep getting up to let him back in the house? Well that's not a problem for this guy's family — Jeffrey the tortoise figured out how to open the back door all by himself.

"Hey guys, I'm done out here so I'm coming back in." 

"Don't worry humans I don't need your help because I am a FREAKING INCREDIBLY TALENTED TORTOISE."

Continue reading >

23 Jul

Turtle Saved from Soup Pot by Costa Rican Police

A green sea turtle was rescued last week by Judicial Investigation Police after they received a tip by a neighbor, according to The Tico Times. The 264-pound turtle was found on its back and bound in a private home. It was suffering from six harpoon wounds, inflicted during its capture. This is the second sea turtle in three weeks to be rescued from ending up in someone's bowl. The first was found in the trunk of a car and suffers from critical injuries, including a harpoon wound to its lung. 

These turtles are captured and eventually sold to be put in turtle soup. Green sea turtles are already listed on the endangered species list and if the harvesting of both their meat and eggs doesn't stop, this species could disappear forever. They are protected by the Sea Turtle Conservation and Protection Law and those found poaching the creatures can face up to three years in prison.

Both are being rehabilitated at the Jaguar Rescue Center.

 Learn more about protecting sea turtles here!

13 May

90-Year-Old Tortoise's Legs Chewed Off By Rat, Wheels Give Her a Second Chance (VIDEO)

While Mrs. T the 90-year-old tortoise was hibernating in her United Kingdom home, she was viciously attacked by a rat that chewed off her front feet.

Photo: YouTube video image

However, this horrifying story has a heartwarming ending - her owner Jude Ryder rushed her off to the vet who performed immediate amputation to save Mrs. T's life. And, with the help of Ryder's ingenious son Dale, a mechanical engineer, Mrs. T's mobility was restore.  He was able to fashion a set of wheels from a model airplane toy set and give her a second chance at a normal tortoise life. Read more of the story here >>

Continue reading >

10 Mar

Rare Leatherback Sea Turtle Rescued from South Carolina Shore


A rare leatherback sea turtle found itself on a South Carolina beach Saturday, becoming one of just a few live leatherback strandings reported in the United States.

The turtle, named Yawkey based on where it was found (Yawkey South Island Reserve) South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) to the South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Hospital to receive treatment, according to a press release. The turtle is a juvenile, under 10 years old, and weighs in at 475 pounds.

It is unclear how Yawkey became stranded. According to the same press release, during the spring and fall seasons, leatherback sea turtles migrate through South Carolina's coastal waters. They can currently be found nesting off of the Florida coast - a key reason why the Aquarium hopes to release Yawkey back into the wild within the next two days.

Continue reading >

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