Check out this series of photos from India's Hemis National Park, where photographer Adam Riley watch a snow leopard stalk and hunt a pack of sheep. The real awesome part of these photos: Getting a look at just how effective that spotted camouflage can be
. In a few shots, the leopard all but disappears against a background of rocky outcroppings. — Maggie
"We've been visiting here for the last six years to say hello to the seal pups and we've never had this much interaction before," writes Jason Neilus, of a visit to the Farne Islands. "They were everywhere and all over us!!!! After a nightmare drive there with the worst traffic coupled with the imminent arrival of the St. Jude storm we didn't think this trip was going to be worth the effort but once again the seals made every second worthwhile." [Video Link via Arboath]
This incredible video shot at Izatys Resort at Mille Lacs Lake, Minnesota shows an "ice shove," where currents, winds, or temperature differences push chunks of lake ice onto land like a drifting iceberg. (via karenstan, thanks Sean Ness!)
And here is a CNN story from last year about this phenomena destroying homes in the Minnesota region. (Thanks, Jason!)
It's a nice-looking vest
, but it does make a rather strong point about humans' role in animal extinctions. The Formosan Clouded Leopard was one of the animals declared extinct in 2013. — Maggie
Dr Bjoern von Reumont:
"This is the first time we have seen venom being used in crustaceans and the study adds a new major animal group to the roster of known venomous animals. Venoms are especially common in three of the four major groups of arthropods, such as insects. Crustaceans, however, are a glaring exception to the rule." [BBC] — Rob
Tom Fassbender, an active member of Boing Boing's G+ community, hiked the John Muir Trail solo last year. It's over 200 miles long, and he's been writing entertaining and informative articles about his adventure on his blog, Ford's Basement. Tom writes about gear, food, clothing, maps, tents, water purification, footwear and foot care, trash, batteries and solar recharging, photography, first aid, sun protection, and crapping in the wilderness (and what do do with your crap).
Anyone thinking about embarking on a backpacking trip of similar length (or even weekend trips) will benefit from reading his posts. If you aren't, the posts are still great travel writing, and you'll learn about gadgets and other gear that might be useful in your daily life.
Backpacking the John Muir Trail
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Psst, hey kid. You wanna see some clips from the dissection of one of the largest mako sharks ever caught? Sure you do.
This NOAA video has amazing footage of the shark's stomach — so big it fills a tall Rubbermaid tub — and the even more amazing footage of scientists lifting an almost completely intact sea lion head out said shark's stomach.
What's the benefit? Studying the stuff in a shark's stomach helps us understand how different species are interrelated — which helps scientists figure out how to better manage the conservation of whole ecosystems. Essentially, write the good folks at Smithsonian.com, this is an example of scientists making valuable use out of a not-exactly-ideal situation. The shark was legally caught and killed by fishermen filming a scene for a reality TV show.
This Shark Week, the seals of the world would like to take a moment to remind you that appearance isn't everything. Scary-looking creatures might not actually be that much of a threat to you. Adorable ones are not necessarily as cuddly as they let on.
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If you seem to be the target of bloodsucking attention, there are two biological systems you can blame
— your microbial flora, and/or your immune system. Your particular mix of skin bacteria play a big role in determining how well mosquitoes can smell you (and whether you smell delicious). Meanwhile, your immune system controls your allergic response — or lack thereof — to mosquito bites. If you never get red welts to go with the biting, it's easy to think that you're not getting bitten as often as someone who does. — Maggie
Please enjoy this dispatch from a beautiful summer day in central Alabama — where babbling brooks are home to both poisonous cottonmouth snakes and
metric crap-tons of leeches. Intrepid writer Jim Godwin manages to make the experience of wading in one such creek seem weirdly idyllic and is rewarded with photos of an almost Syfy-worthy showdown
, in which a pack of leeches go after one of the snakes. Thanks leeches. Theeches. — Maggie
New research shows that male sea lampreys (that's a sea lamprey mouth pictured above) entice females into reproduction with the help of a special bump of tissue. No, not that. Get your mind out of the gutter. The lamprey's "rope tissue" is fascinating, writes Science Codex, because it's made of heat-generating fat cells similar to the kind found on mammals that maintain their own internal body temps — something the lamprey can't do.
Image: Sea Lamprey Mouth, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from usfwspacific's photostream
In this not-exactly-safe-for-work video, two tapirs (a jungle-dwelling mammal, related to the rhinoceros) go at it with verve, while a nice family watches and makes what I assume to be amusing commentary.
As Matthew Cobb at Why Evolution is True discovered, this is only one entry in a whole genre of tapir sex videos and tapir penis photos.
Previously: The truly horrific penis of the echidna