Hipster snake sports mustache and sunglasses


The Texas Park and Wildlife Department recently posted this photo of a particularly stylish Western rat snake.

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2016 Comedy Wildlife photo finalists announced


Wanting to see some new animal reaction pics? Swing by The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards and be inspired by some of 2016's best. Something for every occasion. Read the rest

Adorable doggo turns 12 and gets a Big Mac to celebrate her birthday


“My dog Pip turned 12 the other day and we gave her a Big Mac to celebrate,” says IMGURian Amandazander1d.

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Horses can communicate with people using symbols


Researchers from the Norwegian Veterinary Institute developed and tested a system for horses and people to communicate using a symbolic language. From the Daily Grail:

...Twenty three horses learned to tell trainers if they wanted to wear a blanket or not. Subjects were shown three symbols: a horizontal bar to say "I want a blanket", a blank square for "No change", and a vertical bar for "I don't need a blanket". They learned the meanings in a day or two and using them to convey if they were too warm or too cold, building the case for self-awareness...

(In the scientific paper, the researchers write that,) "When horses realized that they were able to communicate with the trainers, i.e. to signal their wishes regarding blanketing, many became very eager in the training or testing situation. Some even tried to attract the attention of the trainers prior to the test sit- uation, by vocalizing and running towards the trainers, and follow their movements. On a number of such occasions the horses were taken out and allowed to make a choice before its regular turn, and signalled that they wanted the blanket to be removed. It turned out that the horses were sweaty underneath the blanket."

"Horses can learn to use symbols to communicate their preferences" (Applied Animal Behaviour Science)

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What animals would look like if they had eyes at the front

Deer. Oh dear.

A creepy series of shoops by IMGURian Kiyoi from Mashable, riffing off a single uncanny Reddit shoop.

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The Cat from Outer Space

Movie trailer for The Cat from Outer Space (1978), directed by Norman Tokar and starring Ken Berry, Sandy Duncan, Harry Morgan, and Roddy McDowall. I predict a remake in 3... 2... 1....

If you're, er, curious, you can watch it on Amazon Video: The Cat from Outer Space

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Drowning Pool's "Bodies" covered by angry animals


Insane Cherry was good enough to create what is undoubtedly the most metal cover of "Bodies" ever recorded. Birds, goats, camels, seals, cats, and dogs all come together for this historic collaboration. Read the rest

Warning: viewing these baby animals in cute outfits may kill you


Brace yourself for a level of cuteness that could have lasting effects. Zoo Portraits by Barcelona-based Yago Partal include interesting information about each species. That cute otter could grow to 99 pounds, the heaviest of the weasel family. Read the rest

Ominous music in shark videos makes people more negative about the fish

A new study suggests that the ominous background music often heard in shark documentaries correlates with viewers' fearful and negative opinions of sharks. (For the source of this musical cliche, see the 1975 trailer for Jaws above.) From the Scripps Institution of Oceanography researchers paper in the scientific journal PLOS One:

Using three experiments, we show that participants rated sharks more negatively and less positively after viewing a 60-second video clip of swimming sharks set to ominous background music, compared to participants who watched the same video clip set to uplifting background music, or silence. This finding was not an artifact of soundtrack alone because attitudes toward sharks did not differ among participants assigned to audio-only control treatments. This is the first study to demonstrate empirically that the connotative attributes of background music accompanying shark footage affect viewers’ attitudes toward sharks. Given that nature documentaries are often regarded as objective and authoritative sources of information, it is critical that documentary filmmakers and viewers are aware of how the soundtrack can affect the interpretation of the educational content.

"The Effect of Background Music in Shark Documentaries on Viewers' Perceptions of Sharks" (PLOS One via Dangerous Minds)

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Albino bat photos come in three categories


1. Cute. Read the rest

Birds and other animals painted on feathers


Krystle Missildine paints delicate animal portraits on feathers, like this robin on a macaw feather.

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Cats sitting on glass tables


There they are, fluffy floofblobs. “Cat legs appear to function like airplane landing gears as the stow safely away in the floof,” observes one commenter.

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A man walked into a McDonald's with a dead badger...


I'm loving it: On Saturday, a fellow strolled into a McDonald's in Falköping, Sweden carrying a dead badger under his arm. The staff asked him to leave, which he reportedly did, but then began whipping the badger around the parking lot, hitting cars with it before tossing it onto the roof of one vehicle.

“We were waiting for the food at the drive-in when we saw him swinging a dead badger,” a witness said. (Then he threw the badger and it) landed on the roof of the car and there are scraps of meat and scratches there now.”

According to The Local, police ejected the man from the property but did not file charges. No word on the dead badger. Read the rest

Inspector Crow: birds investigate cause of death when they find a body


Do Crows hold funerals? Nah, not really, but they're up to something when one among the murder is murdered, and scientists are fascinated by their behavior around fallen comrades.

Calling to each other, gathering around, and paying special attention to a fallen comrade is common among the highly intelligent corvids, a group of birds that includes crows, jays, magpies, and ravens, says Kaeli Swift, a Ph.D student in environmental science at the University of Washington. (See "Are Crows Smarter Than Children?")

But it doesn't necessarily mean the birds are mourning for their lost buddy. Rather, they're likely trying to find out if there's a threat where the death occurred, so they can avoid it in the future.

One study involved using masks to see if crows would avoid humans who handled dead crows (and thereby implicated themselves in the investigation.) They did. On the other hand, if crows are smart enough to investigate murders, maybe they're smart enough to take one look at that mask and think: "OK, that is definitely a murderer." Read the rest

Animal-themed deck of cards


Gregor Klingman's "Wild Kingdom" is a deck of art cards featuring hand-drawn snakes, wolves and other awesome creatures. Each suit is given a distinctive character—Hearts are "Courageous and Loyal" whereas Diamonds are "Clever and Wise"—and each face card has subtle variations. Read the rest

Why are scientists drawing eyes on cows' asses?


In Botswana, conservation scientists from the University of New South Wales are painting eyes on the rear ends of cattle in an effort to deter lions from eating them. As the lions' protected habitats shrink, they move closer to human settlements. In Botswana, the lions attack the livestock that the subsistence farmers count on. That leads the farmers to kill the African lions, further endangering the species.

(UNSW conservation biologist Neil Jordan’s idea of painting eyes onto cattle rumps came about after two lionesses were killed near the village in Botswana where he was based. While watching a lion hunt an impala, he noticed something interesting: “Lions are ambush hunters, so they creep up on their prey, get close and jump on them unseen. But in this case, the impala noticed the lion. And when the lion realised it had been spotted, it gave up on the hunt,” he says.

In nature, being ‘seen’ can deter predation. For example, patterns resembling eyes on butterfly wings are known to deter birds. In India, woodcutters in the forest have long worn masks on the back of their heads to ward-off man-eating tigers.

Jordan’s idea was to “hijack this mechanism” of psychological trickery. Last year, he collaborated with the BPCT and a local farmer to trial the innovative strategy, which he’s dubbed “iCow”.

"Eye-opening conservation strategy could save African lions" (UNSW) Read the rest

Watch a monkey's revenge on guy who gave it the finger


The monkeys of Shimla, India are not to be trifled with by other primates.

(via r/funny)

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