This fantastically pink slug, Triboniophorus aff. graeffei, is only found on Mount Kaputar, a mountaintop in New South Wales, Australia. According to scientists, the slugs and several other strange species are from the days when this region was a damp rainforest. When Mount Kaputar erupted 17 million years ago, it preserved a very unusual ecosystem. "A series of volcanos and millions of years of erosion have carved a dramatic landscape at Mount Kaputar National Park, creating a fascinating world with some very colourful locals," writes the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service on its Facebook page. More info in the Sydney Morning Herald. (Thanks, Gabe Adiv!)
A Gulf of Mexico fisherman opened the uterus of an adult bull shark and found a two-headed shark pup inside. According to Michigan State University researchers, this is the first two-headed bull shark confirmed by scientists. ""Given the timing of the shark's discovery with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, I could see how some people may want to jump to conclusions," Michael Wagner, MSU assistant professor of fisheries and wildlife, wrote in a report in the Journal of Fish Biology. "Making that leap is unwarranted. We simply have no evidence to support that cause or any other." (EurekAlert!)
Members of UKC Japan care for dogs rescued from inside the exclusion zone, a 20km radius around the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. (REUTERS)
As regular Boing Boing readers will recall, I traveled to Japan some months back with PBS NewsHour science correspondent Miles O'Brien to produce a series of stories about the aftermath of the March 11 quake/tsunami, and the Fukushima nuclear disaster that followed.
Reuters today published an article about new efforts to save animals abandoned by families forced to flee their homes after the nuclear disaster.
"If left alone, tens of them will die everyday. Unlike well-fed animals that can keep themselves warm with their own body fat, starving ones will just shrivel up and die," said Yasunori Hoso, who runs a shelter for about 350 dogs and cats rescued from the 20-km evacuation zone around the crippled nuclear plant.
The government let animal welfare groups enter the evacuation zone temporarily in December to rescue surviving pets before the severe winter weather set in, but Hoso said there were still many more dogs and cats left in the area.
"If we cannot go in to take them out, I hope the government will at least let us go there and leave food for them," he said.
Inset: Mr. Hoso, who is also director of the United Kennel Club Japan (UKC Japan), speaks in front of a destroyed house in Namie town, inside the 20km exclusion zone around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, January 28, 2012. A photo gallery of more images from their rescue efforts follows (all images: Reuters).
Things I did not know before viewing this adorable video shot by Surrey Wildlife Trust Mammal Project Officer Dave Williams:
1) The dormouse, a little rodent species you'll find in Britain, hibernate in the winter in nests they hide on the ground.
2) The dormouse spends up to one-third of its life in hibernation, and typically begin that winter "sleep" when the first frost hits, and their food sources are gone.
3) They lose about a quarter of their body weight during hibernation.
4) The word "dormouse" comes from the Anglo-Norman dormeus, which means "sleepy (one)"
You can donate to support the Surrey Wildlife Trust's nature conservation work here.
(via @joeljohnson, photo: Dave Williams, Surrey Wildlife Trust)