animals

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'Apocalypse': Tenn. Wildfires Force Aquarium to Leave 10K Animals

Flames threaten Ripley's, Dollywood as much-needed rain finally falls

(Newser) - One of at least 14 wildfires raging in Gatlinburg, Tenn., is threatening thousands of animals at Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies. Flames engulfed at least 30 buildings in the area late Monday—including a 16-story hotel outside the Dollywood theme park in Pigeon Forge—leading aquarium employees to be... More »

Man on Trial After Escaped Python Killed 2 Boys as They Slept

African rock python escaped, asphyxiated 2 young boys at sleepover

(Newser) - A Canadian man is facing trial three years after an exotic python escaped from its enclosure and killed two young boys sleeping in his apartment. Jean-Claude Savoie, 39, faces one charge of criminal negligence causing death, the CBC reports. The charge stems from the 2013 deaths of Connor Barthe, 6,... More »

Pet Pot: Medical Marijuana Finds a Market With Furkids

Sick pets are said to be benefiting from it

(Newser) - As medical marijuana becomes more accepted within American society, some people are starting to experiment with using the drug to medicate their sick pets—and they're seeing surprising results, reports the New York Times in a look at the trend. Although the FDA says there's no proof marijuana... More »

2 Activists Free Penguin, May Have Doomed Him

Park officials in South African say Buddy won't survive in the wild

(Newser) - Two South African students may have gotten in over their heads when they "liberated" a penguin from a South African marine park, the BBC reports. Surveillance video showed two still-unidentified students breaking into the enclosure at Bayworld marine park, grabbing the penguin, and driving it to the nearby shoreline,... More »

Grumpy Cat? There May Be an Easy Fix

Food puzzles make cats less needy, more active: study

(Newser) - Cat owners, prepare to be stunned: A new study suggests your cat isn't really a crabby jerk—he's just bored. And there may be a simple way to improve his mood, even his health: challenge him. Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley say food puzzles—think... More »

First Mass Extinction Likely Caused by 'Utterly Weird' Animals

Animals shaped like 'Frisbees and lumpy mattresses' may have killed early Ediacarans

(Newser) - New fossil evidence dug up in Namibia lends credence to the theory that we should blame "ecosystem engineers" for the world's first mass extinction, and that's not a euphemism for man, asteroids, or aliens. Instead, per a Vanderbilt University study published in the October issue of the... More »

Your Fish Might Recognize You

Archerfish shown to distinguish between human faces

(Newser) - Be careful who you call "fishbrain." The insult might actually be a compliment, based on a new study in Scientific Reports . For the first time, scientists have discovered that a species of fish can distinguish between human faces—something once thought possible only among primates with large, complex... More »

America Is Getting Another National Animal

Bald eagles, make way for the bison

(Newser) - The bald eagle's 234-year reign as the sole symbolic animal of the US is about to come to an end. The National Bison Legacy Act passed by Congress—and expected to pass the Senate next week, per CNN —denotes the bison as America's national mammal and a... More »

Hunter Catches 800lb Gator in Fla. Pond

Um ... wow

(Newser) - An alligator hunting company found one of the biggest alligators you'll ever see, caught by Outwest Farms owner Lee Lightsey in a pond on his ranch in Okeechobee, Fla., CNN reports. Lightsey says he was out hunting that day with his 9-year-old son, a guide, and two other hunters... More »

Scientists Await Rare 'Dragon' Birth in Slovenia

3 olm eggs show promise in Postojna Cave

(Newser) - When humans in the 15th century encountered olms—rare amphibians that have been roaming Earth's caves for 200 million years—they thought they were baby dragons. Today we know little more about the blind creatures than our ancestors did. Olms inhabit the cave rivers of the Balkans, grow up... More »

Meet 'Earth's First Animal'

Sea sponges have been around for 640M years, says MIT study

(Newser) - Way before humans, sharks, or dinosaurs, the sea sponge was very likely the first animal on Earth. That's according to a PNAS study out of MIT concluding that a molecule in 640 million-year-old rocks came from the simple creature. Assuming the researchers are right, that means the multi-celled organisms... More »

Sloth Tries to Cross Road, Gets Save From Cop

Ecuadorian adventurer was in the wrong place at the wrong time

(Newser) - We all feel a little sluggish on Mondays, but the struggle was real for this sloth trying to cross a newly opened highway in Ecuador. Per Jalopnik , a transit cop found the creature—referred to locally as an "oso perezoso," or "lazy bear," WLS-TV notes—terrified... More »

Petco Drops Small-Animal Supplier After PETA Video

PETA went undercover, documented what it says is evidence of awful conditions

(Newser) - Petco, one of the biggest pet retailers in the country, severed its relationship with a Pennsylvania small-animal dealer amid a federal investigation into conditions at the facility where it keeps thousands of hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, and other species. Petco said in a statement Tuesday that Holmes Chinchilla Ranch and... More »

Scientists Uncover Clues About Giraffe's Long Neck

Evolutionary bursts occurred 7M and 1M years ago

(Newser) - In further proof that size matters, the giraffe likely developed a long neck so males could battle each other for mates. If you've ever seen a male giraffe whip its foes , you'll know the neck can be an nasty weapon, with the added benefit that giraffes can reach... More »

Test Can Detect Every Virus to Afflict Humans, Animals

Even uncommon viruses and ones present in low levels: scientists

(Newser) - A new test developed by scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis may prove an invaluable aid to doctors who can't figure out what's wrong with their patients. The test, described in a study in the Genome Research journal, is able to detect, all at... More »

What the Dust in Your House Says About You

Our dust contains, on average, 9K unique species of microbes

(Newser) - Last year, volunteers mailed in dust samples taken from above interior and exterior door frames in 1,200 homes across the US as part of a citizen science project called Wild Life of Our Homes . Now, scientists are reporting in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B that our... More »

Chicago Zoo Accidentally Kills 54 Stingrays

Animals in shallow pool died from low oxygen levels

(Newser) - Officials say all 54 stingrays in a popular exhibit at a suburban Chicago zoo died because the oxygen levels in their tank dropped too low. The Chicago Zoological Society says the four southern stingrays and 50 cow-nose rays in the Brookfield Zoo exhibit were in a shallow pool that allows... More »

Why Seahorses Have 'Square' Tails

They help them grip coral and seaweed and protect from predator bites

(Newser) - A seahorse's tail is a bizarre one in the animal kingdom because it's square—or more precisely, it's made up of about three dozen "square plates," explains Gizmodo . Why? Researchers set out to discover just that with a method that sounds, well, pretty fun: They... More »

How This Bird Communicates Like Humans

Its calls show 'a very basic form of word generation': researcher

(Newser) - Scientists have discovered a talent never seen outside of humans in a small Australian bird: the ability to string sounds together to convey different meanings. Essentially, "it's a very basic form of word generation," researcher Andy Russell tells the BBC . The team started out by listening to... More »

The Surprising Animal Most Likely to Kill You

Give sharks a break: Bees are the real killers

(Newser) - Sharks are often considered one of humans' deadliest predators, partly because shark attacks like those this week in North Carolina and Florida are so well-publicized. As Christopher Ingraham at the Washington Post points out, it's all just a bunch of baloney. Data on animal-caused deaths in the US from... More »

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