Dolphins are taking over Venice canals while Italians are in quarantine

The famous canals of Venice have been looking clearer since Italy went on lockdown to slow the coronavirus pandemic. Read the rest

The penguins at the Chicago Aquarium are not practicing social distancing

With no visitors coming into Chicago's Shedd Aquarium, some of the rockhopper penguins have been given free reign to roam and explore. While Wellington seems really into the Amazon fish tank, Edward and Annie have been using the opportunity to bond together more in anticipation of mating season, according to the Shedd's Facebook page.

Whatever they choose to do with their time, I say: fly free, my tuxedo'd comrades.

Penguins openly explore Chicago aquarium closed due to Covid-19 [The Guardian] Read the rest

Michael Bublé performed a private concert of Christmas songs for a trio of gorillas

The lucky apes — Ganyeka, Yakini and Motaba — currently live at the Werribee Open Range Zoo in Melbourne, Australia. According to PRI, one of the zookeepers discovered that the silverback gorillas responded quite positively to Bublé's dulcet tones:

When we play Michael Bublé's CDs, the boys will instantly start pleasure grumbling and sit nice and calm and relaxed. Our theory is it’s the beautiful low tones that he sings with kind of mimics their pleasure grumble. And they’ve even been shown to hum little food songs when they eat, and we think [Bublé] must really resonate with that sound.

So as long as Bublé was in Australia anyway, they got him to stop by the zoo and surprise the silverbacks with a little private croon.

Canadian singer delights his gorilla superfans with Christmas songs [María Elena Romero / PRI]

Image via NeedPix (Public Domain) and Eva Rinaldi / Flickr (CC 2.) Read the rest

Quadruplet human kids get quadruplet lamb kids for their birthday

At least some things in the world are still adorable. From RTÉ:

The Kelly's have four boys who are just one day shy of their fifth birthday.

Now they have been gifted an early birthday present of quad lambs.

Honestly the whole video is worth it just for the lambs running off at the end.

Quads on the double for Offaly farming family [Teresa Mannion / RTÉ]

Image: Public Domain via PxHere Read the rest

This 'foster mom' bear is raising a cub saved by a dog

An orphaned black bear cub has been placed with a substitute bear mom this week after the little baby bear was saved by a family dog, and tenderly brought to safety. Read the rest

A police dog is running against the goat incumbent mayor of a small Vermont town

In 2019, a 3-year-old Nubian goat named Lincoln was officially inaugurated as the first mayor of Fair Haven, Vermont. And then she pooped. As Town Manager Joe Gunter explained at the time, "Originally we did it as a fundraiser to replace the playground behind the school, but it really turned into a small civic lesson for the children. 'Come out and vote. Get involved in the town.'"

But that election only guaranteed a one-year term, and Lincoln only narrowly defeated Sammy, a K-9 cop. And now Sammy's taking another shot at the top seat in town. If elected, Sammy has promised to release her tax returns and recuse herself from all police business that might come before the town to avoid any conflicts of interest, according to her representative, Police Chief Bill Humphries. Humphries has also tried to soothe the concerns of Fair Haven's feline population, which has a long history of hostile relations with canine police officers.

In response to Sammy's campaign, Lincoln has released a budget proposal that includes $0 spending on grain, $0 spending on hay, and a promise that there will be no tax increases to fund the playground that formed the foundation of her historic run for the town's inaugural mayorship.

Fair Haven will hold the contentious election at their Town Meeting on March 3, 2020. And while I don't want to be partisan, I think it's only fair to point out that one candidate is literally a cop, and the other one is literally the GOAT, so I think we all know who deserves to be in charge. Read the rest

Enjoy these unsolicited dik-dik pics

Dik-diks are basically tiny African deer whose name comes from the chirping sounds they make. And if that's not adorable enough, then just wait until learn that they mark their territory with their tears (okay technically it's a secretion from the preobital gland but still).

So here are some completely unsolicited dik-dik picks, courtesy of the UnsolicitedDiks Twitter page.

Top image via Sharp Photography / Wikimedia Commons Read the rest

Australia is only a horrifying natural death trap so it can balance out the adorableness of the quokka

I've always understood Australia to be a nightmare hellscape full of crazy killer creatures. But that's only because I hadn't heard about the quokka. This teddy bear-sized marsupial lives on the islands off the mainland of Australia, and they're just — I mean — look at this thing!

It's basically a non-cannibalistic Ewok, and apparently they're known for being friendly as hell (also exceptionally horny), earning them the distinction of the "happiest animal in the world." Though it's illegal to touch one, they're allegedly super-down with selfies, too.

I would brave any Australian beast just to be best friends with one of these lil' fellas.

Image via Wikimedia Commons Read the rest

The Irish language has the best weird translations of common animal names

There's a popular saying in the Gaeilgeoir, or Irish Speaker, community: "Is fearr linn Gaeilge briste, ná Béarla cliste," which basically means "Broken Irish is better than clever English."

I'm American, but I heard this refrain many times when I had the privilege of curating an Irish language Twitter account one week. I was nervous, as I've been learning the language as a casual hobby over the last few years. But the native speakers were remarkably encouraging—they were just happy to use the language at all, and to share its musicality with others. (I think the language is having a bit of a renaissance right now, as people in their 20s-40s feel a longing for a cultural connection that their Boomer parents neglected in their eagerness to assimilate).

This is all to say that: I can assure you that these Irish translations of common animal names are absolutely real. And while they're not broken Irish, they're still far more clever than anything our bastard mutt English tongue could ever come up with:

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Posted @withrepost • Thank you @gaeilge_vibes Is aoibhinn liom Gaeilge 💚🤣 #gaeilge #irish #vocabulary #languages #lol #irishblog #tgif #ireland #éire

A post shared by Emha na Réaltaí (@emasolasnarealtaiimochroi) on Nov 11, 2019 at 7:29am PST

This isn't like in English, where we giggle about "titmice" and "cocks" because of the unintended double entendre. "Cíoch" is actually breast. "Bod" is in fact a penis. These are pretty literal translations; no hidden suggestive meanings about it. Read the rest

Animal BFFs: Cheetah cub snuggles with puppy friend

You need this. Read the rest

Watch how this adorable hummingbird makes friends with a human

Not only is this the calmest hummingbird I've ever seen, but the bravest as well. Read the rest