Wasp nest fills car

Used car for sale! Only 10,000 careful owners: "You need to call yourself an exterminator, dude."

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Firefighters place ladders to let raccoons escape fire

Heartwarming, but also quite tailwarming. Read the rest

Elephant has had it up to here with tourists

This elephant residing in Kruger National Park in South Africa is evidently tired of tourists rumbling around, bothering it. "Jeezis Chroyst" Read the rest

Caiman joins couple for late-night swim in pool

Caimans are such adorable little crocodilians! Here's one joining a Florida (?) couple for a late-night dip in the pool. Read the rest

Guinea Pig tricks

There are 25 of them in this video -- tricks, that is, not guinea pigs -- but I was happy to lose count. Read the rest

Cockatoo removes anti-bird spikes from building ledge

This bird is smarter than I am. The Independent:

In a video posted on social media, titled ‘Fuck the police”, the sulphur-crested cockatoo is seen patiently ripping out sections of metal spikes and dropping them on the pavement outside the Town Centre Arcade on Katoomba Street.

The camera later pans down to reveal the bird has torn out dozens of the sections across the entire length of the wall.

The footage, which was posted on Monday by Isaac Sherring-Tito, has been shared more than 34,000 times on Facebook.

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Wasps invade Alabama

In this photograph, shared by entomologist Charles Ray, is the fate of an alarmingly high number of Alabama gutters, overhangs, soffits and corbels: "super nests" housing as many as 15000 wasps.

“We wanted to warn the public not to disturb them themselves, but get a professional,” Mr. Ray said. “We had three people who were seriously injured in 2006.”

Warmer winters contribute to these nests, Mr. Ray said. Most yellow jackets don’t survive the cold months because they freeze to death or have trouble finding food. They need a fair amount of sugar and carbohydrates, he said. ...

“They’re worrying me, because a child wouldn’t have a chance out there,” said Mr. [James]Barron, whose smokehouse nest was still awaiting removal. “I have many grandkids. A child couldn’t run fast enough, and I’m worried about that.”

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Turtles eating watermelons

"This turtle's obsessed with watermelon." Read the rest

Close call for tortoise

Keep your eyes on the road ahead! You never know when an old guy might leap out in front of your vehicle. Read the rest

Cow Army occupies Stockport

Residents of Stockport, England, were "awoken by mooing" recently after a herd of cows invaded the neighborhood: "It's just done a poo." Read the rest

The mysterious wild cats of Britain

Growing up in Britain, one of my favorite folk fascinations/media obsessions was the alleged presence of big cats in the countryside. Fueled by blurry photos and living at the margins on possibility, the phenomena helped tabloids move on slow days and sometimes shaded into cryptozoology, ufology and other more delicious myths. But they're out there! Aren't they?

There have been 155 big cat sightings reported to UK police forces in the past three years, according to forces responding to FOI requests. There are likely many more never recorded. Local newspapers publish dozens of eyewitness reports every year, and have helped to firmly establish certain creatures – the Surrey Puma, the Beast of Exmoor – in local legend. Where might these cats have come from? One theory suggests they were released by their owners in the months leading up to the 1976 Dangerous Wild Animals Act. Exotic animals had been sold in Harrods; cheetahs could occasionally be seen being walked in Hyde Park. Given the choice of acquiring a costly licence or relinquishing their pets to animal sanctuaries, at least some owners chose a third option: sending cats out into the wild.

And yet they are never captured—but for a few escapees and abandonments granted no mythic fanfare, such as an elderly and arthritic puma so chill she could be petted.

UPDATE: There's a whole wikipedia article just about British big cats

The existence of a population of true big cats in Britain, especially a breeding population, is believed to be highly implausible by experts owing to lack of convincing evidence.

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Everything you ever needed to know about dolphin clitorises

Katherine Ellen Foley writes that the "complex clitorises" of dolphins are key to understanding their sex lives.

Although these preliminary findings don’t definitively prove that dolphin reproduction can also be for pleasure, they do add evidence to the argument that for dolphins, sex isn’t entirely about reproduction. Sex can serve several different functions, like social learning or establishing dominant hierarchies, says Orbach. Male calves frequently mate with their mothers, and “a lot of the [dolphin] mating we see in the wild is homosexual mating,” she says. “It could be males establishing who’s the leader in the group.”

Before Orbach and Brennan submit the study to a peer-reviewed journal, they’re waiting to find a few more dolphins that died of natural causes to add to their sample size.

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Science: cats might be slightly less stupid than is otherwise obvious

Cats recognize the sounds of their names within sentences, report researchers in Japan, though it's not clear they understand that they are being named.

The team chose not to attempt to test cats’ abilities by asking them to retrieve named objects they had previously been shown – as is often used in experiments with dogs. The authors said: “the training of cats to perform on command would require a lot of effort and time.”

Instead they took a different approach, playing a voice saying four words followed by the name of the cat – all in the same intonation – and noting the animal’s responses and movements through video recordings made in the cat’s normal surroundings.

The results showed that cats rarely did more than twitch an ear or move their heads in response to the voices, with very few so much as moving their tail, let alone meowing.

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Chickens kill fox

A fox got trapped in a coop and the chickens fucken murdered it.

The unusual incident in Brittany took place after the fox entered the coop with 3,000 hens through an automatic hatch door which closed immediately.

"There was a herd instinct and they attacked him with their beaks," said Pascal Daniel, head of farming at the agricultural school Gros-Chêne.

The body of the small fox was found the following day in a corner of the coop.

"It had blows to its neck, blows from beaks," Mr Daniel told AFP news agency.

I remember a children's book, from the mists of a British childhood, where this was the plot. What was it? Read the rest

Newly-discovered spider deemed most beautiful

This photo, courtesy of the British Tarantula Society, shows the recently-discovered burrow-dwelling spider [Birupes simoroxigorum] in its full glory.

It's been described as the most beautiful spider (more via Metafilter) but not without controversy. Read the rest

Dog rescued from icy river turns out to be wolf

The BBC, citing Estonia's Postimees, reports that workers there "bundled a wild wolf into their car" thinking that it was a dog. In any case, the big fella was in big trouble out in the ice.

Speaking to the Estonian newspaper Postimees, one of the men, Rando Kartsepp, said: "We had to carry him over the slope. He weighed a fair bit. ... He was calm, slept on my legs. When I wanted to stretch them, he raised his head for a moment," he added. ...

The wolf recovered from its brush with death within the day and, after being fitted with a GPS collar by researchers from the national environmental agency, was released back into the wild.

"We are so happy for the outcome of the story, and wish to thank all the participants – especially these men who rescued the wolf and the doctors of the clinic who were not afraid to treat and nurture the wild animal," EUPA said.

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Toxic Mooseculinity

The twitter account @TheScaryNature posted this image with the caption "these two Bull Moose died in battle and became frozen in ice", and the only thing I can think of is "Toxic mooseculinity."

The photographer, as revealed by Google's reverse image search feature, is Brad Webster:

Webster says there are several theories on what happened to the moose, but the most likely scenario to play out is that the two moose were fighting over a female when one was knocked unconscious or suffered a broken neck, taking the other one down with it.

"There was a fight and one of them won, and they both lost," Webster said. "Once it's knocked out or once it's dead, you've got a live moose that won the fight, but the other moose is dragging you down into the water."

I've already made a joke of it, but there's a weird power to Webster's photo and I can't stop thinking about it.

UPDATE: Found Brad's website.

Another word that I would [use to describe Alaska], [and] would take probably more explanation would just be: culture. … The culture of the village; the culture of the people; the beauty of the language and the beauty of the traditions and the heritage and the knowledge that’s been passed down. And wanting to learn from it and respect it, but still in a way that respects the people to continue to be who they are. Some kind of a weird balance, of an outsider coming in and wanting to see and experience those things, without imposing or changing the experience for them.

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