Tasmanian tiger: thought to be extinct yet sighted two months ago

In 1936, the Tasmanian tiger (Thylacinus cynocephalus) was declared to be extinct. Yet in the last three years, there have been eight reported sightings according to Tasmania's Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment. I hope it's true. From CNN:

While stories abound that some continue to live in the remote wilds of Tasmania, an island state off Australia's south coast, there has been no hard evidence to support this -- only claims of sightings, like the ones newly released.

One report last February said that two people, visiting Tasmania from Australia, were driving when an animal with a stiff tail and striped back walked onto the road.

The animal "turned and looked at the vehicle a couple of times" and "was in clear view for 12-15 seconds," the report read. Both people in the car "are 100% certain that the animal they saw was a thylacine."

Another report filed the same month described a striped "cat-like creature" moving through the mist in the distance.

image: Thylacines in a Washington DC zoo, c.1906 (public domain) Read the rest

Mom rescues baby squirrel

They named her SarahDee. Read the rest

Massive great white shark bit man's kayak and left huge teeth behind

On Saturday, Danny McDaniel was kayaking near Santa Catalina island off the southern California coast when he felt something big strike the side of his boat. It was a great white shark that Ben Frable, Marine Vertebrates Collection Manager at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography later estimated to be 17-20 feet long. How did they know how big it was? They measured the teeth left lodged in the kayak. From CNN:

"I felt like I was being pushed like a toy in the water," said McDaniel, who lives in San Diego.

The shark had sunk its teeth into the back end of the boat and pushed McDaniel around till he was face-to-face with (his kayaking partner in another boat).

"The whole upper body of the shark was out of water," he said. "It was humongous." The shark soon let go and went deep into the water, according to McDaniel, who said the whole ordeal lasted about five seconds...

"It is pretty amazing and encouraging that such large animals are still able to exist out there with fishing activities and human encroachment and environmental change," Frable said.

"Big individuals like these, especially if they are female, are very important for species' health and survival as they can produce and have produced more offspring than others."

Read the rest

Thieves mistakenly steal bag with 4 live snakes inside

A reptile breeder in the SF Bay Area says he'd just finished giving a talk and was packing up in the parking lot when thieves stole one of his duffel bags containing four live snakes. Read the rest

Video: Goat crashes through glass door and sleeps in bathroom

The getaway goat's name is 'Big Boy.' “He’s never done anything like that before,” his owner said when finally reunited with the goat.

“I think he was drinking too much that night. I’m really sorry it happened but there wasn’t much I could do. I wasn’t there.”

In an Ohio town, a teen got home from school last Friday to discover the family dog barking outside, and a sliding glass door shattered.

The kid's mom called the Ashland County Sheriff’s Office after they figured out a goat had crashed into their family home.

Keathley said she and the deputies called vets, animal control and the local Humane Society for advice. She said everyone laughed at them and they laughed too but they really needed help. Finally, the deputies decided to attempt corralling the goat out themselves. They tried tying a rope around its neck, enticing it with carrots, dog bones, grass.

At one point, the goat turned around and ran back into the bathroom. Eventually, the two deputies each grabbed a horn and managed to lead the goat outside and into the German Shepard’s cage.

On local Facebook pages, Keathley asked, “is anybody missing a ram? Please contact me ASAP.”

She said she didn’t want to include what the male goat had done in the post or else the owner might not claim him.

More: Goat breaks into Ashland County home, falls asleep in bathroom [times-gazette.com, video courtesy Jenn Keathley] Read the rest

Chinese farmers breeding pigs as heavy as polar bears

Bloomberg News reports on the porcine powerhouses bred in the People's Republic.

The 500 kilogram, or 1,102 pound, animal is part of a herd that’s being bred to become giant swine. At slaughter, some of the pigs can sell for more than 10,000 yuan ($1,399), over three times higher than the average monthly disposable income in Nanning, the capital of Guangxi province where Pang Cong, the farm’s owner, lives. ... The large swine are being bred during a desperate time for China. With African swine fever decimating the nation’s hog herd -- in half, by some estimates -- prices of pork have soared to record levels

Read the rest

Paintings by famed chimpanzee to be sold by London gallery

During the 1950s, surrealist and ethologist Desmond Morris mentored Congo, a chimpanzee, in the great ape's artistic pursuits. Congo painted more than 400 works that were purchased by the likes of Joan Miró and Pablo Picasso. And now Morris is selling his collection of 55 of Congo's paintings at London's Mayor Gallery. He's keeping just one of them. The paintings -- which will be priced around £1,500 – £6,000 -- will first be on exhibit from December 3-19. From It's Nice That:

Morris worked with a number of apes in his research but explains that none matched Congo’s apparent artistic instinct. “No other apes were controlling the mark making and varying the patterns as he was,” Morris says. “I originally picked Congo out as one of the more boisterous at the zoo and felt that his strong personality would respond well to to focused periods of working together..."

Morris commented on his decision to sell all but one of his favourite paintings from the time, saying “I am holding onto the serious, scientific research notes that I made during my years working with Congo, but, at 91 years old, I now would rather that the paintings and drawings be made available to other collectors, to whom I hope they will bring as much pleasure as they have to me.”

Read the rest

In Nevada, Tyler Turnipseed desperately leads a losing battle against 'Zombie deer'

Nevada's chief game warden, Tyler Turnipseed knows they will lose the battle against 'zombie deer.' Deer infected with chronic wasting disease are infecting the Western United States.

NY Post:

Tyler Turnipseed, chief Nevada game warden, suggested in testimony about the proposed law that local populations could be infected if a hunter passing through the state from elsewhere dumps butchered waste.

Kansas, Colorado and Wyoming have all reported cases of animals with the disease — heightening concerns that the disease could spread into Nebraska, Utah, Idaho and ultimately Nevada, J.J. Goicoechea, a state Department of Agriculture veterinarian, told lawmakers.

“It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when,” Wolff said. “We know that we can’t wrap Nevada in a bubble.”

Maybe we can just extend the southern border wall to surround the entire state? Read the rest

For the first time, pigs have been filmed using tools

At a zoo in Paris, ecologist Meredith Root-Bernstein noticed a Visayan warty pig pick up a piece of bark in its mouth and then use it to move soil. Over the following years, she and colleagues observed the adults pigs and offspring in the enclosure using bark to build their "nests":

Although the behavior occurred in captivity, there is at least some evidence pigs have used tools in the wild:

It’s very possible that wild Visayans use tools, too, she adds. Fernando “Dino” Gutierrez, president of the Philippine conservation nonprofit Talarak Foundation, Inc., which works to protect warty pigs, agrees.

A few years ago, Gutierrez witnessed a group of wild Visayans pushing rocks toward an electric fence to test it. “As soon as they push and the rocks make contact, they would wait for the clicking sound or absence thereof,” he said by email.

Read the rest

All hell breaks loose as a buck trashes a salon

Holy cow! Thank goodness no one was hurt!

(h/t @NekoCase) Read the rest

Cat trips out on the nature of reality, identity, and spacetime

Mathematician Clifford Pickover's brilliant caption for this clip: "Philosopher-cat explores the nature of reality, identity, mind, and its place in the vast space-time cosmos that we call home."

Read the rest

Watch a black bear break into a middle school

Last Thursday, a young black bear broke into Fretz Middle School in Bradford, Pennsylvania. As it was evening, the only humans inside were the custodians. The bear eventually left of its own accord.

I'm positive that this was the plot of an (ahem) Berenstein Bears book I read as a child. Read the rest

Squirrel encounters invisible force field

This squirrel is surprised to encounter a hard, solid, almost completely invisible force field. Read the rest

Can you spot the leopard in this photo?

I could not see the leopard even zoomed in. It is there though. If you can't find it either, click here.

Read the rest

Idiot soccer hooligan arrested for punching horse

A gentleman was arrested in Portsmouth, England after punching a police horse during a riot following a soccer game. He apparently was angry that Portsmouth lost to Southampton. It isn't clear why he blamed the horse though. From The Telegraph:

In the footage of the aftermath of the first match in seven years between bitter rivals Southampton and Portsmouth, the supporter then attempts to run from the horse, but his path is blocked as he ends up in the arms of a group of police officers with riot shields.

Hampshire Constabulary said a 52-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty and attempted criminal damage. He was later released but remains under investigation.

Read the rest

Bird flight, bug gaits, and animal walks: fascinating videos for animators

Artist and animator Stephen Cunnane directed these wonderful videos to help artists animate bugs, birds, and other animals.

.embed-vimeo {text-align: center; position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%;} .embed-vimeo iframe {position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%;} Read the rest

Veterinary tech training video starring man as pissed-off, unruly, and frightened cat

The video is titled "Veterinary Technician Training: Handling a Fractious Cat."

After several viewings, it occurs to me that they mean "cat" as in "hepcat."

Read the rest

More posts