It doesn’t take long for Hello Kitty fanatics to take a bad idea of the Hello Kitty cat and make it even worse. When it comes to Hello Kittifying, no pet is safe, even if you’re a dog:via)
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Yuck! A Romanian company is accused of dumping 47 tonnes of animal carcasses on the outskirts of Bucharest. The firm, Protan, could be fined up to £10,000 ($20,000) and those found responsible could face jail terms. The carcasses are rotting amid heat of 38C (100.4 degrees Fahrenheit), just meters from a main road. Piles of black plastic bags are stacked around the dump, with bits of chicken and even horse carcasses poking through. A strong wind is blowing the stench in all directions, but more worrying is the danger to human health.
A pair of tiny abandoned ducklings found battling against waves after being washed out to sea are being nursed back to health - in a teacup. Their rescuer, canoeist Chris Murray, is nursing them back to health. (via)
Americans spend an astonishing $41 billion a year on their furry friends Americans now spend $41 billion a year on their pets—more than the gross domestic product of all but 64 countries in the world. That's double the amount shelled out on pets a decade ago, with annual spending expected to hit $52 billion in the next two years. That puts the yearly cost of buying, feeding, and caring for pets in excess of what Americans spend on the movies ($10.8 billion), playing video games ($11.6 billion), and listening to recorded music ($10.6 billion) combined. 42% of dogs now sleep in the same bed as their owners, up from 34% in 1998. Their menu reflects every fad in human food—from locally sourced organic meat and vegan snacks to gourmet meals bolstered by, say, glucosamine to ward off stiff joints. Half of all dog owners say they consider their pet's comfort when buying a car, and almost a third buy gifts for their dogs' birthdays. About 77% of dogs and 52% of cats have been medicated in the past year, an increase of about 20 percentage points from 1996. About 63% of U.S. households, or 71 million homes, now own at least one pet, up from 64 million just five years ago. After consumer electronics, pet care is the fastest-growing category in retail, expanding about 6% a year. More new pet products were launched in the first six months of last year than in all of 2005. Pet products now aim to make people feel they're being extra good to their little ones—much as toy makers have long encouraged parents to spoil kids. Along with doggie spas, there are mobile pet-grooming vans, pedicure services, professional dog walkers, and massage therapy for animals. And for some pet lovers, no medical procedure is too extreme. Plastic surgeons offer rhinoplasty, eye lifts, and other cosmetic procedures to help tone down certain doggy features, from droopy eyes to puggish noses. Root canals, braces, and even crowns for chipped teeth are also becoming more popular.
An African love bird caused a commotion inside a Philippine Airlines (PAL) flight from Bangkok upon landing in Manila Sunday evening after it was seen fluttering through the passenger cabin as the last passengers disembarked from the aircraft. The airline could not say how the bird ended up inside the jet, but an unidentified passenger might have sneaked the bird into the aircraft during boarding back in Bangkok. Doctor Simeon Amurao, officer-in-charge of the airport Veterinary Quarantine Service, said the bird died due to extreme stress, just before it was supposed to be euthanized per routine procedure. (via)
Monday, July 30, 2007
An alcoholic crow that sticks his beak in people's pints of lager has been banned from his favourite pub. According to the UK's The Sun, the boozy bird, nicknamed Carling by drinkers, swoops on customers' pints whenever they turn their backs. Sarah Wyatt, manager of the David Protheroe pub in Neath, South Wales, told the newspaper: "At first everyone thought it was funny. Then a bird expert pointed out he's a carrion crow which feeds off dead animals." "I'm glad he's been banned. You never know where his beak's been."
Hollywood residents believe they’ve found a humane way to reduce their pigeon population and the messes the birds make: the pill. Over the next few months a birth control product called OvoControl P, which interferes with egg development, will be placed in bird food in new rooftop feeders. “We think we’ve got a good solution to a bad situation,” said Laura Dodson, president of the Argyle Civic Association, the group leading the effort to try the new contraceptive. “The poop problem has become unmanageable and this could be the answer.”
A guinea pig called Sooty enjoyed a night of passion with 24 females after fooling his way into their cage in south Wales. Sooty wooed the lady guinea pigs, one by one, and has now become the proud father of 42 baby guinea pigs from his two nights of passion. His endeavours left staff at Little Friend's Farm, Hopkinstown, Pontypridd, amazed at his stamina. Park owner Carol Feehan, 42, said: "I'm sure a lot of men will be looking at Sooty with envy.
A US Airways jet was diverted as it came in for landing at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix on Thursday because a dog was running loose on the runway. The dog, which appeared to be a stray, turned up on the runway on the south side of the airport around 5:45 a.m. The dog ran across both runways, eluding airport security workers for 30-minutes, as they chased it in vehicles and on foot.
A zoo-bred Owston's Palm Civet cub (L), the first artificially bred civet in the Hanoi Zoo is seen with its mother at the zoo in Hanoi, Viet Nam, July 23, 2007. The Owston's Palm Civet is an extremely rare species which is only found in northern Viet Nam, northern Laos, and southwestern China. (Xinhua Photo) (via)
Animal testing in Britain has reached a 15-year high and is set to go on rising. The growing use of genetically-modified mice in scientific research last year pushed the total number of animals used in laboratory testing to more than three million for the first time since 1991. More than two-thirds of all the animals used in scientific testing were mice. Another 406,000 procedures were carried out on rats. But the use of larger, more controversial species continued. Some 4,200 "non-human primates", including monkeys and marmosets, were used in British labs. That figure was a 10 per cent fall from 2005. And among the large mammals used last year were 36,377 sheep, 8,821 horses, 7,402 dogs, 5,334 cattle and 4,675 pigs.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Fish Condo Doesn't your fish deserve to live as stylishly as you do? This fish condo not only breaks up the monotony of one-bowl swimming, it makes your fish the envy of his friends. 3 interconnected globes create a 3-room living space.
Saturday, July 28, 2007
Recent temperature increases in the icy continent are impacting some penguins' abilities to feed and breed, creating population dips in species that can't handle the heat. Go into the field with researchers studying Antarctica's wildlife, and find out which of the penguin protagonists are adapting to a warming world—and which are suffering. (via)
Friday, July 27, 2007
A sacred bull seized from a Hindu monastery in Wales because he tested positive for tuberculosis has been slaughtered. The plight of Shambo the bull had attracted international attention since his diagnosis this spring and prompted an Internet campaign by the Skanda Vale monastery to save him. Hindus revere cattle and said killing the bull would violate their religious rights. More than 100 devout Hindus and their supporters prayed and chanted outside the bull's paddock throughout Thursday, but animal health officials and police led Shambo from the monastery to a trailer about 7:30 p.m. A Webcam site, dubbed Moo Tube, which the monastery set up to show the flower-garlanded bull in his paddock, broadcast images of an empty, hay-lined shrine. Swami Suryananda, one of Shambo's caretakers, said officials had “committed the most violent and ignorant act of desecration of our temple and destroyed an innocent life. “The perpetrators of this act will suffer the consequences of their actions for generations to come."
Lenuta and Costel, two tiger cubs from one of the world's most endangered species, the Siberian tiger, were born in a Romanian zoo this year. The Siberian tiger, native to northern China, southern Russia and parts of North Korea is on the brink of extinction in the wild, decimated by poaching and loss of habitat. Scientists believe only a few hundred now live outside captivity. The cubs, now weighing 3 kilos (6.6 lb) each, were born on May 21 to six-year-old Gina and her mate, six-year-old Geo.
Three new arrivals at Paultons Park, near Ower, have been introduced to the park's two resident meerkats. To prevent the animals from attacking the newcomers - which is the usual instinct for meerkats - the keepers came up with the ingenious idea of using Vicks VapoRub. The novel solution involves rubbing Vicks on the animals' noses, under their tails and around their enclosure to block their scent for a couple of days. It has been such a success they are now recommending it to other animal keepers. (via)
When Paul Hewitt wants to check whether mold exists in a home or building, he brings along his two-year old beagle, Kody. That's important because Kody does the work. When Hewitt says "show me," she sniffs out the mold by pointing her nose at the spot and sits patiently at the spot, nodding her head up and down, until the spot is marked. Kody has been trained for up to 1,000 hours on detecting 18 different types of mold.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Blogathon '07 will be on July 28th this year. Jill, at Jilbean, says, "Of course I am participating! I will stay up for 24 hours and post a cute animal picture every 1/2 hour for the day! I choose to post animal pictures - as animal photography is a huge hobby of mine, and it is wonderful on the eyes in the wee hours of the night/morning! I will be blogging for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Greater Connecticut Chapter. I am blogging in honor of my aunt Ina - who currently lives with Multiple Sclerosis in Connecticut and in memory of my Aunts Paula and Eudice - who both had MS and have passed away. To sponsor me - please click the following link and you can choose to sponsor an hourly sum or a lump sum. Last year I raised over $900 - I am hoping to beat that number this year!" Sponsor Jill by Clicking Here!
Oscar the cat seems to have an uncanny knack for predicting when nursing home patients are going to die, by curling up next to them during their final hours. His accuracy, observed in 25 cases, has led the staff to call family members once he has chosen someone. It usually means they have less than four hours to live. The 2-year-old feline was adopted as a kitten and grew up in a third-floor dementia unit at the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. The facility treats people with Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease and other illnesses. After about six months, the staff noticed Oscar would make his own rounds, just like the doctors and nurses. He'd sniff and observe patients, then sit beside people who would wind up dying in a few hours.
Sungai, an 11-month-old siamang at the San Francisco Zoo who was rejected by her parents in Albuquerque and then by her fellow apes in Houston, will be moving to Kentucky soon in her ongoing search for a family. Three human foster parents at the zoo had been hand-rearing Sungai while gradually introducing her to adults Mindy and Storm, with the hope they'd bond with her. It didn't happen. So, in the next few weeks, she'll leave for the Louisville Zoo, where she'll join her 8-week-old brother Zain -- freshly snubbed by their parents in New Mexico -- and Zoli, a 4-month-old male whose mother and father died unexpectedly. "The hope is that all three, who are showing signs of not accepting adult company, can be reared together and learn natural behaviors," Garcia said. "All three are considered important to the siamang species survival plan breeding program." [See earlier photos of Sungai at the San Francisco Zoo.]
In California, downtown Oakland's bucolic nature reserve has such a serious overpopulation of Canada geese -- which drop about a ton of poop a week on the 122-acre park -- that the city is considering introducing dogs to herd the geese into fenced enclosures, buying a goose poop Zamboni and spraying the goose eggs with mineral oil to prevent them from hatching. "No one's talking about shooting the geese -- we don't need more gunshots in Oakland," said Jennie Gerard, chief of staff to Oakland City Councilwoman Pat Kernighan. "But people cannot lie down on the lawn because there's so much poop. It's an aesthetic issue. It's gross." They're so well adapted to city living that their population throughout the U.S. is expected to double by 2010, from 220,000 to nearly half a million, according to Oakland's Canada Goose Management Study.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Two hedgehogs triggered a nocturnal police operation in Germany this week after the spiky little mammals awoke neighbors with their loud, shameless mating. They went on fornicating even as a crowd gathered to watch them. In fact the attention made them even more vigorous. "The hedgehogs were loud and uninhibited in their actions last night. Neither the owners of the house nor the police officers called to the scene were able to put a stop to their passionate fornication," Bremen police said in a statement.
Jumbo squid that can grow up to 7 feet long and weigh more than 110 pounds are invading central California waters and preying on local anchovy, hake and other commercial fish populations. An aggressive predator, the Humboldt squid—or Dosidicus gigas—can change its eating habits to consume the food supply favored by tuna and sharks. Before the 1970s, the giant squid were typically found in the Eastern Pacific, and in coastal waters spanning from Peru to Costa Rica. But as the populations of its natural predators—like large tuna, sharks and swordfish—declined because of fishing, the squids moved northward and started eating different species that thrive in colder waters.
Colombia is home to the world's largest number of land mine victims. Last year, there were 1,108 victims, or about one every eight hours, the government says. Nearly a quarter of the victims die from their injuries. For the past year, a special Colombian police unit has been locking rats in cages with cats as part of a project to train the rodents to sniff out the more than 100,000 land mines planted mostly by leftist rebels across this conflict-wracked Andean country. Bringing the rats face to face with an enemy allows them to stay more focused once they are released.
It is a story that combines all the great mysteries and exciting discoveries of the sea – an octopus hauled onto a fishing boat with valuable ancient pottery attached to its suckers. The discovery is being hailed as one of the great undersea treasure discoveries of modern times. Officials at the National Maritime Museum in Seoul say the pottery dates back to 12th century, when the Koryo Dynasty ruled the Korean peninsula. The adventure began when Korean fisherman Kim Yong-Chul cast out a long line, felt a familiar tug and hauled up his first octopus of the day. He was puzzled by several blue objects attached to its suckers and thought at first they were shells. But when he examined them, he realized they were pieces of pottery. Not realizing he was on the point of making an incredible discovery, he cast out his line again and again, bringing in more octopus with shards of pottery attached. Although other ships have been found and pottery recovered, this is the first time a family of octopus have found a wreck for the museum.
Volunteers have been taking part in one of the most popular wildlife events of the British summer - the bi-annual count-up of hundreds of swans at a Dorset swannery. A colony of the birds has lived at Abbotsbury sanctuary since medieval times and keeping track of their numbers has become an annual tradition. Between 600 and 1,000 flying swans breed, nest and hatch there every year. They provide feathers for the helmets of the Gentlemen at Arms, the Queen's bodyguard. in addition, Lloyds of London use quills from Abbotsbury swan feathers to register insurance losses in their 'Doom' book.
The remains of a prehistoric mastodon - a mammoth-like animal - have been found in northern Greece, including intact long tusks. The mastodon's tusks measure 5m (16.5ft) and 4m. They are the longest tusks ever found on a prehistoric elephant-like animal. The animals were similar to woolly mammoths, but had tusks that pointed forwards, rather than spiralling upwards. Their teeth were also different.
Martin Hof has become a minor celebrity here, in part for his ability to communicate with fowl, which some say borders on the magical. And while there's something special, and a little comical, about watching him talking, humming, and yes, whispering to the birds, there's more to this than meets the eye. At age 23, Hof has developed an unusual approach to managing urban geese populations that is gaining adherents in the animal-friendly Netherlands - the first country in the world with an animal rights party in parliament. "It's all about respect for the geese," he says. The main problem at the Hof van Delft and most parks is that the birds have been allowed to overbreed and are clashing with the humans whose territory they share. But rather than destroying them, Hof finds new homes for the geese, dividing them along family lines to reduce the trauma of the move.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Scientists say they have calculated the date at which the African and the Asian elephant went their separate ways. The two elephant species diverged from a common ancestor some 7.6 million years ago, experts working in the US, Germany and Switzerland say. They came to their conclusion after comparing a genetic analysis of the two species with material derived from the extinct woolly mammoth and mastodon.
In a funeral home in Wisconsin, past the visitation parlor and a rack of pamphlets on cremation, down a set of dark stairs, a dead squirrel rides a plastic horse. His tiny mouth permanently frozen in a cowboy's holler, he raises his straw hat with one paw. A trio of dead chipmunks in grass skirts are frozen in a hula dance, paws raised above their heads. A sign above their beach hut reads "topless girlie show." The scene is partly lit by a lamp with a base made out of four animal legs (hooves still attached). All of this death is Sam Sanfillippo's life. The funeral home's former undertaker, the 87-year-old is a life-long hunter and fisherman. The basement is filled with an odd collection of hunting prizes and roadkill that arrives by mail. Mr. Sanfillippo has spent years organizing the collection into artistic tableaus. His taxidermist cousin, Vito, stuffed most of the subjects. The purpose of the collection, he says, is twofold. In part, it teaches kids "how to fish and hunt and get their minds off dope." It also entertains grieving relatives. "It cheers them up," Mr. Sanfillippo says.
Monday, July 23, 2007
MACON, GA (AP) -- A Georgia family is upset with their local sheriff's office after a deputy shot and killed their pet pig. Janice Jones said that Gator, a black, potbellied pig, was a friendly animal that her family had owned for five years and that her two children, ages five and seven, adored. David Davis, a chief deputy with the Bibb County Sheriff's Office, said a new neighbor of the Joneses called the sheriff's office Wednesday morning, telling them that a wild hog was in her flower bed in her yard. The hog had no collar and looked like a wild hog, he said. A sheriff's deputy responded to the call and spent about two hours in the neighborhood, trying to decide what to do before finally shooting the pig, Davis said.
A pet Chihuahua in Masonville, Colo., is being credited with saving a toddler from a striking rattlesnake. 1-year-old Booker West was splashing his hands in a birdbath in his grandparents' northern Colorado back yard when the snake raced to the toddler and struck. The five-pound dog, Zoey, jumped in the way and took the bites. "She got in between Booker and the snake, and that's when I heard her yipe," said Monty Long, the boy's grandfather. It did not appear that the dog would survive hours after the bite. However, the Zoey is now recovering. (via)
Neatorama's post about London's white chipmunk led us on a hunt for white animals around the world. Migaloo, the baby whale, was found off Heron Island, on Queensland, Australia's central coast. He is believed to be the only completely white humpback whale in the world. In Bangkok, at the Dusit Zoo, a rare baby albino common barking deer was born April 7, 2007. An albino mountain goat was photographed in Valle D'Aosta in Italy on June 24, 2007 . This is the only white capra ibex ever documented, the only one ever seen. Forest rangers have named him "Snowflake." In Wiarton, Ontario, Wiarton Willie, Canada’s famous white groundhog, emerges from his lair every February 2nd to check his shadow and tell us whether we’ll have a long winter. Two African pygmy hedgehogs in Cumbria, England, produced an baby albino hedgehog. Only one in ten thousand hedgehogs are born totally white with red eyes. Dinah, the albino alligator, can be found at the Knoxville Zoo in Tennessee. Dinah is one of only 30 known true albino American alligators out of five million worldwide. Royal Gorge Bridge and Park, in Canon City, Colorado is the home to a whole family of rare white buffalo. This is a healthy recessive gene unlike the albino recessive gene which results in pink eyes, horns and hooves. These white buffalo have dark eyes, gray horns and hoofs. The sire for the calves, Chief Silver Bullet, a 3-year-old white buffalo, is a proud father who participated in welcoming the newborns by helping to clean them off and protect them. A rare, white parrot was born to a Tahlequah, Oklahoma, bird breeder. The number of breeders across the world who can say they have helped hatch a white Quaker parrot is extremely low. A dozen may be a big overestimation. Had the bird been red-eyed, it would have simply been an albino Quaker – not really a big deal. That, however, was not the case. The bird now lives in Louisiana. In 2006, an albino hummingbird was photographed in North, South Carolina. Only about a dozen albino or leucistic Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have been banded, and none of them are known to have returned in a following year after migrating to Mexico or Central America for the winter. County Durham in the North East of England has Tic, Tac and Toe, white ravens which were found starving in a churchyard. An albino African penguin chick, hatched at Bristol Zoo in England is proclaimed to be "one-in-a-million." There have been only two recorded sightings of albino penguins in the wild. Four white Bengal tigers were born in April, 2007 at the Guadalajara Zoo in Mexico. It is the sixth litter of white tigers born at the facility -- all sired by the same father, named Nino. A white tiger born at this zoo is the one that attacked Las Vegas entertainer Roy Horn of the Siegfried and Roy act in 2003. Cute Baby white tiger. There are many reports of white lions being born in zoos. There aren't many things more adorable than white lion cubs. But white lions do not survive well in the wild and none have been seen since 1975 when they were documented in a pride found on the Timbavati Game Reserve in South Africa. A 53-pound albino catfish caught by a fisherman out of the Missouri River in July 2007, is now on display at the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga. In Valbrembo, Italy, on March 28, 2007, a baby albino wallaby named Pino, was born at “Le Cornelle” zoo. On Princess Royal Island and Gribbell Island near the mid coast of British Columbia, a Kermode or spirit bear, a rare white-coated black bear, occurs at about 10-20% frequency. They are occasionally also found in Wisconsin, Alaska and Minnesota. It is thought that the presence of a single recessive gene in these creatures is responsible for the white coat that as many as one in ten of these bears is born with and retain throughout their lives. The Minnesota Division of Natural Resources passed a permanent regulation protecting all white-phased black bears from hunting. Exeter, Ontario Canada has white squirrels which they are very proud of. So proud that Peter Snell has produced a song and video about them: "White Wonder." In Brevard, North Carolina, about 25% of the town's squirrels are white squirrels. The town "goes nuts" each year with a White Squirrel Festival. Olney, Illinois, loves their white squirrels so much that local laws give the squirrels right-of-way on every street; residents are fined if they try leave town with one. Local police patches bear an outline of a bushy-tailed albino squirrel. Marionville, Missouri, proudly proclaims itself the Home of the White Squirrel, with emphasis on “the.” “Olney had a celebration this past year: 100 years of the white squirrel.” a spokesman said. “Well, we’re long before that. We claim that they got them from here.” On the hunt for white squirrels, we found something really different in Oglesby, Illinois and Granville, Illinois. These towns are the home to white-tailed squirrels. Partly-white squirrels are not partly albino, because there is no such thing. But like albinism, white patches of fur on dark animals are a genetic mutation. In 2006, a white moose was spotted in forests of Østfold, Norway. Norwegian hunters were gunning for it, so it might not be there any longer. German hunters in the Erzgebirge Mountains in eastern Germany were going after a snow-white deer with pink eyes, so that one might be gone as well. Even more sadly, Snowflake, the world's only albino gorilla died of skin cancer at the Barcelona Zoo on November 24, 2003. Snowflake had a good life though, in his 37 years at the Barcelona zoo, he fathered 22 offspring with three different females. None is albino.
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Anti-Bark Dog Collar The Gentle Spray TM Anti-Bark Collar is the most humane and effective nuisance barking solution. It delivers a harmless burst of citronella to interrupt your dog's barking. Twice as effective as electric shock!
AppeTeasers® Cat Toy Series! The perfect bite-sized toy, Appeteasers® will make every hour Happy Hour! Just the right size for airborne fun, plus they’re satisfyingly stuffed with our mouth-watering Zoom Around the Room® organic catnip. Get ‘em while they’re hot! Three designs: Mouse-A-Roni & Cheese, Cocktail Wiener Dog, Teenie Sardini. Toys are 3 x 2 3/4” tall.
Talking Babble Ball The Talking Babble Ball is an interactive toy that talks to your pet when touched. The improved technology is so sensitive it can be triggered by a pet breathing on it, or just by the vibration of a pet walking past it. When play is finished, the Babble Ball turns off automatically and waits to be touched again. Pets think it's actually alive!
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Friday, July 20, 2007
A white chipmunk has moved into Ron Dawson's front yard in north London and is defending its territory. "He chases away blue jays and morning doves. It's a wonder he's survived because he really sticks out against the background," Dawson said. The white rodent -- which Dawson has named WACy for white albino chipmunk -- isn't a true albino. He has black eyes. WACy survives on bird feed that falls from a feeder in Dawson's front yard. See a video of the cute little guy here.
Two fourteen-year-old boys, while trying to impress a girl, climbed into the hippo exhibit at the Kansas City Zoo and threw rocks at the two-ton mammals. John Davis, a national expert on hippos, said it was a crazy stunt, considering the animals' weight and that they can run faster than the average human, at least for short distances. Next time - why not just buy flowers?
Thursday, July 19, 2007
A mayor in eastern Germany has filed charges against workers at his local zoo for shooting animals and selling them as meat. A spokeswoman for the mayor's office said deer were among the animals killed and sold by workers at Erfurt Zoo without permission over a number of years.
Bacteria Caught While Fishing! A man is fighting for his life after he was infected with a deadly flesh-eating bacteria. Steve Gilpatrick said he and his family go to Galveston every year for a week of vacation. "We have a big family and everybody comes here and just has fun," daughter Erin Gilpatrick said. Steve Gilpatrick was fishing at Crystal Beach on July 8. "He was in the water for no more than half an hour," wife Linda Gilpatrick said. Within a few days, Steve Gilpatrick had an infection in his leg, Houston TV station KPRC reported. "He's diabetic and just thought he had an infection, a severe infection of some sort," Linda Gilpatrick said. "He had no way of knowing the gravity of it." Doctors at John Sealy Hospital said they believe Steve Gilpatrick has Vibrio vulnificus, a bacteria that kills tissues and cells as it spreads. The bacteria likely entered through an open wound, doctors said. After three surgeries, all the skin has been removed from his right leg. The leg may have to be amputated and the infection could kill him. "He could die at any minute," Erin Gilpatrick said. "There's nothing we can do about it, but pray and try to help him get better." *** This is what Vibrio vulnificus did to the hand of Lou Groth, a Louisianna fisherman. If Lou Groth had known, or even suspected, he might have been able to clean his hands properly after handling shrimp late one day in early July. Or, after his ring finger started swelling the next day, go to a hospital’s emergency room sooner. What he wants to do is get the word out to other people so they know about the “bad little bug,” as he calls it, that is so prevalent along the coast and a constant threat during the summer months to outdoorsmen who love to work and play in South Louisiana. Read his story here.
If you want your dog to keep up with the Joneses dog, you should know they're spending $107 a year on his treats and toys. And that chunk of change is just a drop in the pet spending bucket, according to information from the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association. In 2007, U.S. pet expenditures are expected to top $40.8 billion (that's up from $38.5 billion in 2006, and $17 billion in 1994). The big bucks trend is fueled by baby boomers who increasingly "humanize" their pets, says Bob Vetere, president of the Greenwich, Conn.-based pet products association. They'll buy something that they find meaningful, such as a pricey designer collar, rather than gift their pet with something like a used tennis ball. This year's expenditures will include $16.1 billion for food, $9.8 billion for veterinary care, $9.9 billion for supplies and over-the-counter medicine, $2.1 billion for live animal purchases and $2.9 billion for pet services, including grooming and boarding. More folks than ever own pets, too. Nowadays, 71.1 million U.S. households, up from 51 million households in 1988, own at least one pet. "I think one of the bigger `surprises' has to be the way baby boomers are continuing to own pets," Vetere says. "Historically, pet ownership drops off dramatically as people reach age 60 and beyond. ... Boomers are actually looking at pets as replacements for the kids who have moved out." And the top dogs among those pets aren't dogs, they're freshwater fish, which number 142 million. There are also 88.3 million cats, 74.8 million dogs, 24.3 million small animals, 16 million birds, 13.8 million horses, 13.4 million reptiles and 9.6 million saltwater fish. Other survey tidbits include: The average age and sex of the person buying pet products is a 46-year-old female. Thirty percent of dog owners buy dental products for their dog, including toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash, tartar/breath control/whitening products or floss. Twenty-six percent of dogs (up from 18 percent in 2004) have their own bed. Fifteen-percent of dog owners and 11-percent of cat owners purchased an urn for their pet's ashes in 2006. More than 50-percent of pet owners purchased a gift for their pets in the past 12 months. Christmas topped the list of popular gift-giving holidays, but Halloween, Valentine's Day and Hanukkah are popular, too. Dog owners buy up to seven gifts per year, while owners of other pets purchase about four gifts per year. Regardless of species, more than $10 is spent on each gift. Salt-water fish owners spend $71 a year on decorations. Oh, by the way, speaking of spending money on your pets: i-pets.com ...
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
One Lancaster County neighborhood has flies -- swarms of them. "There's always flies, always, not one -- a lot," said homeowner Tracey Little. "It's horrible, absolutely horrible. You can't go out on your deck. You go out to sit in the sun and you're covered with flies," Little said. "If I'm cooking in here and have the door open, that door will literally be covered in flies because of the smell of the food." Some neighbors said they think that a nearby chicken farm could be causing the fly infestation.
Donkey owners in the Kenyan town of Limuru are up in arms over an order from the municipal authorities that their animals must wear nappies (diapers.) But recent press coverage and outrage from the town's residents has led the authorities to put their plans on hold. "If we have to put nappies on our donkeys, soon they will say our cows need them too," one donkey owner said. Limuru's mayor, James Kuria, says: "We must come up with a way to make sure that the droppings are not a nuisance." (via)
A U.S.-born giant panda has given birth to twin cubs in a research center in southwest China, state media reported on Tuesday, its third pair of twins so far. Eight-year-old Huamei, whose name means "China America," gave birth to the first cub at Sichuan province's Wolong Nature Reserve early on Monday, Xinhua news agency said. The second, a male weighing 129.8 grams, came three hours later. The first cub's gender and weight have yet to be established, but both the cubs and mother were doing well, Xinhua quoted Li Desheng, vice-director of the reserve's research centre, as saying. The cubs are the third pair delivered by Huamei, who gave birth to twins in 2004 and 2005 since returning to the motherland in February 2004, the agency said. Huamei is the first giant panda to have been born and survived in the western hemisphere since 1990, Xinhua said.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Found: 17 pairs of socks, not all match. Roger and Catherine Dellor's cats - Cleo and Tony - have been bringing them presents: someone else's socks. "At first, it was just one or two," said Roger Dellor. "Now, they are arriving every day." The Los Altos couple thought they could return the socks to the proper laundry basket after making a plea in fliers they put in neighbors' mailboxes. "Neighbor, are you losing socks?" the flier asked. No one has stepped forward so far, but the Dellors think they know where at least some of the socks are coming from. One of their neighbors, for reasons unknown, has a bag of socks in his driveway of the cul-de-sac neighborhood where the Dellors say it is safe to let their cats out. "I saw a bag of underwear, too," Roger Dellor said. "I just hope the cats don't decide to bring home the underwear."
Found: 17 pairs of socks, not all match.
Roger and Catherine Dellor's cats - Cleo and Tony - have been bringing them presents: someone else's socks.
"At first, it was just one or two," said Roger Dellor. "Now, they are arriving every day."
The Los Altos couple thought they could return the socks to the proper laundry basket after making a plea in fliers they put in neighbors' mailboxes.
"Neighbor, are you losing socks?" the flier asked.
No one has stepped forward so far, but the Dellors think they know where at least some of the socks are coming from.
One of their neighbors, for reasons unknown, has a bag of socks in his driveway of the cul-de-sac neighborhood where the Dellors say it is safe to let their cats out.
"I saw a bag of underwear, too," Roger Dellor said. "I just hope the cats don't decide to bring home the underwear."(via)
Zookeepers across the continent are celebrating the birth of two extremely rare red pandas at Edmonton's Valley Zoo. The cubs, which were born at 3:26 a.m. Tuesday, are part of a very small population of red pandas in the world. It's estimated that there are fewer than 2,500 red pandas alive in the wild because the animals' natural habitat in China, India and Nepal is being destroyed. Forty red pandas are being raised in zoos. The Valley Zoo has joined an international breeding program in an effort to keep the species alive. Currently, the cubs are being kept away from the parents because the mother, Lala, was over grooming them and causing lacerations.
The real fire fox in nature is actually called Red Panda, Ailurus fulgens, an endangered species. It is is a mostly herbivorous mammal, slightly larger than a domestic cat (55 cm long). This red panda has semi-retractile claws and, like the Giant Panda, has a "false thumb" which is really an extension of the wrist bone. Thick fur on the soles of the feet offers protection from cold and hides scent glands. The Red Panda is native to the Himalayas in India and Nepal and southern China.
Virginia Zoo officials on Monday began trimming the landscaping around a new red panda exhibit after the animal escaped for the second time in less than a month. Yin, a 1-year-old that resembles a raccoon with red, white and black fur, was discovered missing from her exhibit Saturday. On June 21, Yin made visitors wait two hours until she emerged from her habitat for her debut only to escape into a nearby tree. "She's just testing every limit that might be in the exhibit," zoo director Greg Bockheim said. After the zoo opened Saturday, zookeepers discovered Yin was missing. They located her near the bison exhibit, then she scampered to a tree near the back of the duck pond. Bockheim climbed about 30 feet up to retrieve her, but Yin scurried down to the zookeepers. She also was found hiding in a tree near the duck pond after she escaped the first time. "She's a character," said Alison Till, the zoo's director of development. How and why she escaped from her habitat, which includes an air-conditioned bamboo hut and logs for climbing, is unclear.
Birds of a feather stick together. But helpers at the Weardale Animal Sanctuary in County Durham were still astonished to find these three rare white ravens huddled close in a nearby churchyard. The birds, which have snow-white colouring and blue eyes instead of ravens' usual jet black plumage, were starving to death and showed signs of being attacked by other crows. Sanctuary manager Sally Rowley said the fledglings, named Tic, Tac and Toe, were "skin and bone and were just sitting, not moving". It is thought the trio had been abandoned by their parents. But thanks to a diet of mince and parrot food at their new home, they look to have left their ravenous days behind them.
When you hear of Hemingway and Key West, you immediately imagine a yardful of six-toed cats. But Key West was not the only town known for Hemingway cats. In Cuba, Ernest’s hilltop home, Finca Vigia [Lookout Farm], once had fifty-seven cats roaming its grounds. Among the many family letters describing his cats is one written in 1942. Ernest tells Hadley Mowrer that he had not been able to sleep the night before and had recalled a song they had composed for their cat, F. Puss, so many years earlier in Paris. It went like this, "A feather kitty’s talent lies In scratching out the other’s eyes. A feather kitty never dies Oh immortality." According to the letter, the Finca cats enjoyed Papa’s song. Hemingway's Cats: An Illustrated Biography by Carlene Fredericka Brennen, details Hemingway's love for cats. See the book's website. (via)
Gladys Clark is thinking she ought to get herself a slingshot so she'll be ready the next time a bear comes for breakfast. The 91-year-old Montana woman said she was handy with one when she was a girl. She could have used a slingshot Sunday morning, when a bear got into her log home through an open a sliding glass door. Clark found the bear rummaging through her kitchen cupboards. She said she screamed, "What are you doing in my kitchen? Get out of here." And he did. Clark said in the 50 years she's lived on Rock Creek, she's seen hundreds of black bears -- but never one bold enough to have a look in her cupboards. She said they usually take off when she yells at them.
Monday, July 16, 2007
Take a picture of a cat doing something cute. Then make up a caption--something witty that the cat would be saying if cats could talk. Bear in mind that cats can't spell all that well and that they're not so hot on subject-verb agreement either. Photoshop the caption onto the image, and post your creation on a blog. What you get is lolcats: lol for laugh out loud, cats for cats. What you also get is the reigning instance of an Internet meme, a running gag that won't stop running but instead reproduces and mutates in the petri dish of the Net's collective imagination. A Google search for lolcats returns 3.3 million results. The website icanhascheezburger.com the definitive lolcats archive, gets 200 to 500 submissions a day. "The breadth of cultures [lolcats] has spread to is mind-boggling," says one of the site's two curators, who prefer to remain anonymous. "We think it has evolved beyond Internet subculture and is hitting the mainstream."
People mistake her for a pitbull with a pinhead, but Wendy the whippet is one rare breed. Wendy is a 27-kilogram rippling mass of muscle. Forget the so-called six-pack stomach: Wendy has a 24-pack. And the muscles around her neck are so thick, they look like a lion's ruff. The uber-muscled whippets are called "bullies," not because of their nature -- Wendy likes nothing better than a good back scratch and isn't shy about sitting in your lap to ask for one -- but because of their size. She's about twice the weight of an average whippet, but with the same height and small narrow head -- and the same size heart and lungs, which means she probably won't live as long as normal whippets. (via)
Spies with a penchant for exotic poisons can add a new one to their list – snail venom. For more than 23 years, Professor Baldomero M. Olivera has been studying snail venom. This week, his team at the University of Utah reported their discovery of a completely unique neurotoxin in Conus parius, a mollusk that hunts along the coast in the Philippines. Cone snail venoms are more than an elaborate tool for assassination. In 2004, one of those toxins was approved by the FDA to treat chronic pain. Some day, they may be used to treat a variety of neurological disorders including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
A Przewalski's horse filly has been born at Toronto Zoo, the first such birth in 15 years. Solstice was born on June 22. Przewalski's horses were once declared extinct in the wild, although re-introduction efforts have taken place. At present, the Zoo's herd consists of seven animals, with a total of 150 of these horses in captivity in North America.