Monday, April 30, 2012


A nine-spotted ladybug, the official insect of New York State. It was spotted in the Long Island getaway town of Amagansett -- no small matter, since there had not been a confirmed sighting of one anywhere in New York in 29 years. (Jim Pisarowicz/National Park Service)


Albino dolphin

An albino dolphin, right, swims with an adult dolphin at the Baia da Babitonga, in Santa Catarina state, Brazil. Biologists studying an endangered dolphin species that lives only on the southern coast of South America say this is the first recorded instance of an albino baby among them.(Projeto Toninhas/Univille/AP Photo)


Elephant seal

This southern elephant seal, nicknamed Jackson, was found on a beach in southern Chile and tracked by the Wildlife Conservation Society with a satellite transmitter. They say he traveled 18,000 miles in 11 months, swimming up and down the South American coast. (


Gila monster

A Gila monster is being held by animal service officials in Carlsbad, Calif., after it was discovered in a family's yard. (ABC)


Matilda's horned viper

This snake is called Matilda's horned viper. The Wildlife Conservation Society says it is a newly-found species that lives only in remote parts of Tanzania. Biologists say they are keeping the exact location of the new species a secret, since it could be of interest to illegal pet collectors. (Tim Davenport/WCS)

World's smallest vertebrate

A frog sits on a U.S. dime in this photo taken by Louisiana State University herpetologist Christopher Austin near the Amau River in Papua, New Guinea. The species was claimed as the world's smallest vertebrate, Jan. 11, 2012. (Christopher Austin/Louisiana State University/AP Photo).


Sunday, April 29, 2012


Photographer Adrian Tavano watched as Kala, a Malayan sun bear, woke up and opened her mouth. She usually uses her ten-inch long tongue to eat termites hidden deep inside trees at Miami Zoo in Florida, United States. (Adrian Tavano/Solent).


Purple Squirrel

Couple Catches Purple Squirrel in Pennsylvania

Image Credit: Courtesy Michelle Emert Carithers and Connie Emert
Percy and Connie Emert from Jersey Shore, Pa., have been battling the squirrels that damage their bird feeders for some time, but until Sunday they’d never seen a rodent like this — a purple squirrel.
Connie Emert told ABC News that she’d seen the oddly colored squirrel for about a week prior to capturing it, but her husband didn’t believe her.
“He figured it was just an off-color squirrel,” she said. “But when we trapped it on Sunday he was like, ‘My God, you were right. It was really purple.’”
Percy Emert traps the squirrels that damage the feeders and sets them free far away from the yard.
Connie Emert estimated he has trapped at least 50 squirrels this winter.
The couple released the squirrel on Wednesday after showing it to family, friends and neighbors.
The Emerts said they have no idea how the squirrel acquired its unique coloring.
“We’ve never seen one before and no one else ever did either,” Connie Emert said. “No one else can explain it. No one has any idea what happened to him.”

Chameleon species

Tiniest chameleon species

A young member of the tiniest chameleon species ever discovered perches atop a fingertip.(Courtesy PLoS One).

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Bururi long-fingered frog

This little blue critter is a Bururi long-fingered frog from East Africa -- the first one seen in 62 years. Scientists thought it was extinct, a victim of civil war and deforestation. (David Blackburn/California Academy of Sciences).


Great Dane

Dave Nasser sits with his Great Dane, George, at a friend's home in Tucson, Ariz. (Greg Bryan/Arizona Daily Star/AP Photo).



Pedaling Mantis

Macro Photographer Captures Bicycling Bug

Macro photographer Eco Suparman was shocked when a praying mantis he was photographing jumped up onto a curled plant and looked just like he was pedaling away on a bicycle. (Eco Suparman/Caters News)

Friday, April 27, 2012

Baby Elephant

Baby Elephant Debuts In Germany

Baby Asian Elephant Bull Makes First Public Appearance

A weeks-old Asian elephant bull (Elephas maximus) named Assam plays with keeper Robert Schieritz during his first appearance in the outdoor enclosure at the Hagenbeck Zoo in Hamburg, northern Germany, April 27, 2012. (Philipp Guelland/DAPD/AP Photo).


An underwater camera at a drilling site in the Gulf of Mexico filmed this rare Magnapinna squid in November 2007. The footage circulated among oil industry employees but became public after a recent report in National Geographic. The rare creatures have long tentacles that hang at right angles from "arms" that extend out from their bodies. (Youtube )


Heteropoda maxima

The Heteropoda maxima (shown here) is one of more than 1,000 new species discovered around the Mekong River in southeast Asia over the past 10 years, according to a new report by conservation group World Wildlife Fund). With a legspan of up to 11.8 inches, the species is the largest huntsman spider in the world. (Courtesy Petra and Wilfried Creative Commons/WWF)


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Two-headed kitten

A two-headed kitten born in Wood County, Ohio, died after only a few days. The kitten was born with four eyes, two noses and one mouth. (ABC)


White lions

Pictured here in the Sanbona Game Reserve is one of four white lions recently released into the Sanbona Game Reserve in South Africa. The white lions were taken into captivity decades ago to protect them from poachers. Under a multimillion dollar conservation project, the lions are now being reintroduced to the wild. (Courtesy The Mantis Collection)


Pygmy tarsier

For the first time since 1921, scientists observed a living pygmy tarsier -- one of the planet's smallest and rarest primates -- on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. Some scientists believed the tarsiers had become extinct because they had not been seen for so long. The nocturnal animals are very small -- weighing 2 ounces -- and have large eyes and ears. (Sharon Gursky-Doyen/Texas A&M University/Courtesy of National Geographic Society )


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Barreleye fish

Researchers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) captured this image of a barreleye fish (Macropinna microstoma) in the deep waters just offshore of Central California from a video taken by a remotely operated video at depths of 2,000 to 2,600 feet. Since it was discovered in 1939, the barreleye's vision has been a mystery, until scientists at MBARI solved it on Feb. 23, 2009. The barreleye has extremely light-sensitive, tubular eyes that can rotate inside of its transparent head. Capped by bright green lenses, the fish's eyes point upward when it looks for food overhead, and then they point forward when the fish is feeding to focus on its prey. (Courtesy Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute)



Ugly Bat Boy came to live with a New Hampshire veterinarian after the vet told the cat's previous owner that he liked the animal's looks, according to the U.K. Telegraph. Ugly was born to a litter of four and is now 8 years old. Because of his appearance he's become a local celebrity. (ABC)

One footed snake

A Chinese woman was spooked after a one-footed snake, shown here, turned up in her home. Duan Qiongxiu, 66, of China's Sichuan province, woke early on Sept. 11, 2009, to find a 16-inch-long snake in her room, with a clawed foot growing out of its body. The snake is as thick as a small finger and appears to have a foot growing on its body, about 10 inches from its head. The foot is less than an inch long and has four claws. (CEN)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Vegetarian cat

Could this be the U.K.'s only vegetarian cat? Although cats are natural carnivores, Dante is a rescued tom who turns his whiskers up at anything -- except for organic fruit and vegetables. This fussy feline refuses to touch traditional cat food of any kind, favoring ''less fattening'' homegrown alternatives. (South West News Service)

Albino elephant

A rare albino elephant calf is captured on camera in the Okavango region of Botswana. Experts say albino elephants are usually not white but have more of a reddish-brown or pink hue, according to the BBC. Albinism is thought to be fairly common among Asian elephants but is not so common in larger African elephants. (Mike Holding/AfriScreen Films)



Woolly Mammoth Apparently Butchered by Ancient Humans

Buigues Bernard/Mammuthus/MCE
Well-preserved carcass of a Siberian mammoth, more than 10,000 years old, found with fur and bones, and evidence that human hunters may have cut it open.

Woolly Mammoth Discovered in Siberia

Monday, April 23, 2012

Two Large Cats ....

Healthy cat

How to have a healthy cat?

(NaturalNews) Domestic cats are suffering with more and more health problems at earlier ages. Clearly something is profoundly wrong with the current model of feline health care. Here the main cause of this decline in health is explored, along with the action you can take to have an enormous and positive impact on your cat's quality of life.

Diet is at the heart of the majority of feline health problems

Most people who are concerned for their own health are fully appreciative of the role food plays in their health. The motto 'garbage in, garbage out' is a succinct, if somewhat crude way of getting this message across.

The same is no less true for cats. Commercial cat food is the fast food of the feline world. Commercial cat food manufacturers are corporations. Corporations are all about making as big a profit as possible. That is there bottom line. Corporations are run by many people all doing their job, making up the bigger picture. Corporations tend not to have much in the way of ethics or scruples as these get in the way of profit.

There are few laws in any country regarding pet food. Those that are in existence are almost impossible to uphold. Few people will spend the thousands in legal fees needed to pursue a lawsuit for the sake of an animal. The few who are able and willing would have a hard time proving that the brand in question caused the problem.

The ingredients of most commercial cat food

The best food will always go to the more lucrative human market. Meat is expensive. Every tiny morsel that can be turned into a profit, will be. Cats don't just get the dregs, they get what is deemed to be unsuitable for human consumption - slaughter house waste (fat, etc), road kill, euthanized animals from small laboratories, dead or diseased farm and zoo animals, even euthanized pets from veterinary clinics in some countries.

These are sent to a rendering plant where they can be left for days in any weather, before being processed. The processing itself uses very high temperatures and pressures to kill pathogens. This process also kills and alters nutrients. The euthanasia drug doesn't break down during processing.

The end product has a preservative added (normally one that is considered unfit for human consumption on toxicity grounds) to ensure it keeps indefinitely without refrigeration.

This is sold to pet food manufacturers. Because they didn't add the preservative, they can legally claim their product to have 'no added preservative.'

The pet food industry uses this product as their protein base, diluting it down with cheap carbohydrates such as fast food waste, newspaper, sawdust, ground up nut shells, and anything else cheap on the world market.

Isolated and synthetic 'nutrients' are then added to try to address the nutritional imbalance. Synthetic nutrients cannot be digested or utilized. At best they pass through your cat's body unused. At worst they end up in parts of the cat's body they have no business to be.

This sad picture may not even be the worst one. Better or more expensive commercial cat food may start off with slightly better ingredients, but the processing will be similar.

Cats are carnivores, not omnivores

Cats eat the carcass they have just killed immediately. They don't scavenge as dogs do. They are unable to digest old or decayed meat.

Cats are lone hunters and they alone are responsible for their food. This means they have adapted to have light bones and organs, so they can run fast, lightly and for sustained periods of time. This means they are unable to digest vegetable matter, which takes longer.

The best food for your cat is food you have made yourself from quality ingredients. You can find more information on this subject here.

Learn more:


Are the Heartworms (and other parasites) in your neighborhood?

Veterinarians spend a lot of time discussing preventive care to keep the nasty, ugly and disease causing parasites away from our pets.  Now, there is a tool that might help you, the pet owner, understand just how prevalent these disgusting pests are in your local area.

The Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) has created aParasite Prevalence Map where you can actually get down to the level of the county in your particular state and see how many pets are testing positive for parasites like heartworms, roundworms, hookworms, whipworms and even diseases like Lyme Disease and Anaplasmosis.
I think some of you might be surprised at the number of parasites in your neighborhood!
Also released today was a press release stating that CAPC expects most areas of the country to have higher than normal populations of mosquitoes…and thus higher risks for heartworm transmission as well.
There is a lot of confusion over heartworms. Many people think that heartworms have developed a strong resistance to the preventives or that the preventives never really worked well in the first place.  As Dr. Jim explains in this Veterinary News Network article from 2011, the situation is a little more complex than most what most people believe.  There is also a video version of the story as well.
Bottom line, talk with your veterinarian about the risks your pet has for specific parasites in your area.  Follow his or her recommended guidelines for prevention and the odds are that your pet won’t show up as a positive statistic in the CAPC Parasite Prevalence map!

High Maintenance Dog Breeds

High Maintenance Dog Breeds?

Our friends over at Trupanion Pet Insurance blogged about this topic today:  High Maintenance Dog Breeds.   Evidently, the original story was done by Yahoo Shine and can be found here, including pictures.   Sadly, I can’t tell who was responsible for creating this list and their criteria is simply listed as high energy dogs with increased grooming needs and probably a short attention span.

So, here’s their list (in alphabetical, not “maintenance” order):
  1. Australian Shepherd
  2. King Charles Cavalier Spaniel
  3. Border Collie
  4. Brussels Griffon
  5. Cocker Spaniel
  6. German Shorthaired Pointer
  7. Jack Russell Terrier
  8. Poodle
  9. Labrador
  10. Yorkshire Terrier
What do you think? Did they get the list right?

Saturday, April 21, 2012


Meet Nelson, a Baby Kea Parrot From Germany

He's so ugly, he's almost cute

This baby parrot is named Nelson, and he is arguably one of the ugliest birds in the world. His parents rejected him when he was born. But don't feel too badly -- he has around-the-clock care from staff at Bergzoo in Germany. And one day, he will grow into a Kea parrot, with beautiful green feathers and a flash of orange under his wings.
(Steffen Schellhorn/Imago Stock/Newscom)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Smartest Dog Breeds

Smartest Dog Breeds?

So the first thing I see this morning is yet another Top Ten list of dog breeds.  This one was generated by PetMD back in March and reports the Top Ten Smartest Dog Breeds (in their opinion).  Again, like yesterday’s list on High Maintenance dogs, there is no information as to the why or how they chose these breeds.

So, in order…here are the top ten smartest breeds:
  1. Border Collie
  2. Poodle
  3. German Shepherd Dog
  4. Golden Retriever
  5. Doberman Pinscher
  6. Shetland Sheepdog
  7. Labrador Retriever
  8. Papillon
  9. Rottweiler
  10. Australian Shepherd
So, I know that this list will make some people happy and some people mad.  My friend, Brenda T from Indy will be happy with the #8 pick and, obviously, a large number of dog owners in the US will be happy with the #7 pick (given that Labs have been the #1 registered breed for 21 years now!).
I guess I really can’t be too picky since I don’t know how the breeds were ranked, but I can tell you my opinion…I think most dog breeds exhibit a similar level of intelligence.  You will note that a vast majority of dogs on this list are either working or herding breeds, so it makes you wonder if their “jobs” have anything at all to do with their perceived higher level of smarts.
I want to hear your opinions…d you think these lists are accurate?  Any examples of a dog that you considered “super smart”?Cat playing on laptop computer
Oh…and why isn’t anyone focusing on the top smartest CAT breeds???
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