Watch pink legless lizards, mysterious dongs of the desert

The dongs of the deep have nothing on the hearty Mexican mole lizard, aka dongs of the desert.

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Watch a very cute bat gobble up a banana

Watch Denise Wade of Bat Conservation and Rescue QLD in Queensland Australia feed a banana to a a rescued bat. The bat was hit by a car and the driver kindly covered the injured animal with a box until help arrived.

"On this occasion we have a happy outcome and with no broken bones and only a slight concussion, Miss Alisha (named for the car's driver) will spend a short time in care before being released back to her colony," writes Wade.

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Why don’t house cats roar?

It turns out lions, tigers, leopards, and jaguars are the only species of cat that can roar. SciShow explains why in this new video. Read the rest

Scientists discover transparent frog

Scientists discovered this new species of "glass frog" in Ecuador's Amazon lowlands. Hyalinobatrachium yaku's belly is so transparent that you can clearly see its kidneys, bladder, and beating heart. From Science News:

Yaku means “water” in Kichwa, a language spoken in Ecuador and parts of Peru where H. yaku may also live. Glass frogs, like most amphibians, depend on streams. Egg clutches dangle on the underside of leaves, then hatch, and the tadpoles drop into the water below. But the frogs are threatened by pollution and habitat destruction, the researchers write. Oil extraction, which occurs in about 70 percent of Ecuador’s Amazon rainforest, and expanding mining activities are both concerns.

"A marvelous new glassfrog (Centrolenidae, Hyalinobatrachium) from Amazonian Ecuador" (ZooKeys) Read the rest

Cats domesticated themselves

In many, animal species are domesticated when humans bring them into their homes whether they want to be there or not. For example, it's mostly accepted that humans domesticated wolves, breeding them in captivity until they became the modern dogs we love today. Now, a new study of cat genetics reveals that cats just kind of hung around humans for thousands of years before they were domesticated. From Casey Smith's article in National Geographic:

The earlier ancestors of today’s domestic cats spread from southwest Asia and into Europe as early as 4400 B.C. The cats likely started hanging around farming communities in the Fertile Crescent about 8,000 years ago, where they settled into a mutually beneficial relationship as humans’ rodent patrol.

Mice and rats were attracted to crops and other agricultural byproducts being produced by human civilizations. Cats likely followed the rodent populations and, in turn, frequently approached the human settlements.

“This is probably how the first encounter between humans and cats occurred,” says study coauthor Claudio Ottoni of the University of Leuven. “It’s not that humans took some cats and put them inside cages,” he says. Instead, people more or less allowed cats to domesticate themselves.

A second lineage, consisting of African cats that dominated Egypt, spread into the Mediterranean and most of the Old World beginning around 1500 B.C. This Egyptian cat probably had behaviors that made it attractive to humans, such as sociability and tameness.

The results suggest that prehistoric human populations probably began carrying their cats along ancient land and sea trade routes to control rodents.

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Fisherman catch first documented two-headed porpoises

Fishermen in the North Sea near the Nethelands caught the first two-headed porpoises ever documented. The trawler crew found the animal already dead in its nets. From Deinsea, the journal of the Natural History Museum Rotterdam:

"The crew of the fishing vessel thought it would be illegal to keep the dead porpoise and they threw the specimen back into the sea. Fortunately, first a series of photographs was taken. The specimen, however, is lost for science and natural history."

"The first case of conjoined twin harbour porpoises Phocoena phocoena (Mammalia, Cetacea)" (Deinsea via Mysterious Universe)

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Savage fight between dog and fox

I had a hard time watching this one (embedded below), but it stands as a remarkable testament to the fitness of mammalian embodiment to its evolutionary niche: the brutal execution of competition and confrontation. (via, via)

It looks like almost everyone decided on the name Fig, so Fig it is! 🍑 Fig finally got to spend a little quality time with @boyfriendmoose today. Moose is confused as to why there's a tiny Juniper running around the house. We're still taking introductions to Juniper slowly, she's pretty unpredictable at times so we're taking it delicately. More videos of Juniper and Fig coming soon. I'm also working on editing a vlog type video showing the trip to Minnesota to pick Fig up from @mikdolittles_animals. Im not super proficient at editing videos in Premier pro yet, so we'll see how it turns out 🤷🏼‍♀️ #FigTheFoxx

A post shared by J U N I P E R & F I G (@juniperfoxx) on Jun 13, 2017 at 2:15pm PDT

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Mysterious ape-like creature caught on camera in Los Angeles

Jake Gardiner was walking in the woods in the foothills of La Crescenta, a suburb of Los Angeles, when he heard rustling in the trees. He recorded video on his mobile phone and later noticed what many are saying looks like an ape-like creature swinging around the branches.

“It could be some kind of ape, it also could be a bear, it could be a large bird,” says Andrew Hughan, a spokesman with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

He added that it could be someone's pet but it's difficult to say based on the blurry video and lack of physical evidence.

“It’s an interesting mystery right at the moment, and we'll see what happens," he says.

(Los Angeles Times)

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Miracle calf in India born with "human" face!

Holy cow! A calf in Uttar Pradesh, India was born with a human face, leading some people to worship it as an incarnation of the god Vishnu. Unfortunately, the animal died an hour after birth. From India.com:

Unfortunately, the deformed calf could not survive and died in an hour, but that did not stop the locals from celebrating the birth of the cow with a human face, which they believe is an incarnation of God. They believe the dead calf is the ‘Gokaran’, 24 incarnations of Lord Vishnu. In fact, the religious believers now plan to build a temple for him.

Raja Bhaiya Mishra, 55, the manager of the cow shelter (where the animal was born), was quoted saying, ‘It’s a miracle that the calf was born in this shelter. Thousands of people have been here to see it. We will be cremating him in three days, and a temple will be built for him. This avatar has most definitely created a devotion feeling amongst the people.’

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Should we wipe out vampire bats?

The YouTube channel Skunk Bear digs into the moral and practical concerns of vampire bat eradication while offering some bat knowledge along the way. Read the rest

Why did all these cows jump off a cliff to their deaths?

Last month, a dozen young cows in Levron, Switzerland mysteriously leapt off a cliff and plummeted to their deaths 165 feet below. A thirteenth cow survived the jump by landing on the others. From Mysterious Universe:

The calves, 13 Hérens aged 6-8 months, were found at the bottom of a 50 meter (165 foot) drop and all were dead except for the one on top, which was taken to an animal hospital in nearby Cern where it was treated for a broken jaw. The rest were cremated at a meat waste facility, to the dismay of a local animal warden who wanted to inspect them to help determine why they leaped to their deaths...

Norbert Terrettaz, president of a local farming insurance company, suspects the cows were chased or spooked by a wolf, a lynx or a dog. However, that doesn’t explain the fact that there were no scratches or bites on the corpses, no tracks or spores on top of the cliff and no explanation for why the yaks didn’t run too – either off the cliff or, after hearing the splats, in the opposite direction.

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Horrifying video of police officer attacked by wild animal INSIDE Saint Petersburg PD

We don't generally post nasty stuff at Boing Boing, but the sheer intensity of this one—captured by the impassive eye of a security camera at Saint Petersburg Police Department—is something else. My thoughts are with the officer and his family as he embarks on the road to recovery. Read the rest

Delightful creatures made with hand-looped polymer clay

What started as a hobby making clay flowers turned into Russian artist Alisa Laryushkina's charming animal sculptures. Read the rest

Big, sweet dog interrupts newscast

And that's the way it is. (via Laughing Squid)

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There are only three of these turtles left

This is the Yangtze giant softshell turtle, one of the most endangered species on Earth. There are two at China's Suzhou Zoo and one in the wild in Vietnam's lake Dong Mo. Conservationists really need to find a fourth to aid their efforts to rebuild the species. National Geographic spoke with Aimin Wang, director of the China division of the Wildlife Conservation Society, about the group's efforts to find another elusive Yangtze turtle:

What would it mean for the species if one were to be found?

It increases our opportunity [for successful breeding] quite a bit. The male in China is quite old, but the female is young. The turtles are bred using artificial insemination. The last four attempts with the breeding pair in China were unsuccessful. We just tried for a fifth time and got high-quality sperm. We won't know for another month if our results were successful.

Why are these turtles so important to save?

This is a flagship species, and for biodiversity, they're quite important. They serve as an important [indicator of environmental health]. If we can help them survive, that means our ecological system is quite good. If they disappear, that means our ecological system is quite bad.

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Why peeing on a jellyfish sting is actually a terrible idea

Acidic solutions can help neutralize the toxins from a jellyfish sting so why shouldn't you try to piss the pain away? (Reactions)

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Rare albino orangutan rescued from cage in Borneo

A few weeks ago, this five-year-old albino orangutan was rescued from a remote village on Borneo where it was kept in a cage. The animal is now under the care of the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation. Orangutans are critically endangered and the foundation says they aren't aware of any albino orangutans reported anywhere else, ever. From National Geographic:

The foundation held an international campaign asking for name suggestions from around the world. Ultimately it chose “Alba,” meaning “white” in Latin and “dawn” in Spanish.

"Hopefully a new dawn will come for these precious animals," the group said in a statement reported by the Jakarta Post.

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