animals: November 2010 Archives

275x250.jpgA live webcam showing penguins enjoying the recent snowfall at Edinburgh Zoo has become a surprise online hit.

Presumably destroying the productivity levels in offices across the country, hundreds of thousands are said to be logging on to see live footage.

Links to the 'Penguin Cam' page on the Edinburgh Zoo website were spread on site like Twitter and Facebook as office workers marvelled at the feathered critters.

And it's not hard to see why. After clicking this link we're surprised that any more articles have been posted to Newslite.

Ironically, the snow which send so many fans to Penguin Cam, also caused the zoo to be closed to the public.

275x250.jpgBarack Obama has performed what he described as "one of the most important" duties he has as President of the United States" -- pardoning a turkey.

With the help of daughters Sasha and Malia, Obama performed the annual presidential tradition by sparing the life of a bird.

This year the lucky bird was 'Apple' -- joined by understudy 'Cider' -- and both birds came from Foster Farms Wellsford Ranch, California.

Speaking at the event, Obama said: "There is one official duty I am sworn to uphold as leader of the most powerful nation on earth… granting a presidential pardon to a pair of turkeys."

He then added: "It feels pretty good to stop at least one shellacking this November." 

Scientists: Why dogs are smarter than cats

275x250.jpgResearchers at Oxford University say they've finally discovered which is smarter cats or dogs… and cat owners aren't going to like it.

Boffins claim dogs have developed bigger brains than cats because highly social species of mammals need more brain power than solitary animals.

The team analysed data on the brain and body size of more than 500 species of living and fossilised mammals from the past 60 million years.

It was found the brains of monkeys had grown the most over time, followed by horses, dolphins, camels and dogs.

Cats and other solitary animals had significantly less brain growth. Next researchers will look into whether dog or cat owners are smartest.

275x250.jpg A designer has created a controversial piggy-bank made from a the body of a real piglet, which has gone on sale online for £2,500.

The Piglet Bank is the creation of Belfast designer Colin Hart and is made to order by a taxidermist using the body of a deceased baby pig.

The poor porker is hollowed out and has their insides replaced a coin storage unit. They then have a coin slot cut in their back and a hole with a cork bung in there belly for removing the cash.

But while Colin is keen to stress they only use piglets which have died of natural caused, that hasn't stopped animal rights protesters sending him death threats. We can't imagine why they'd be upset.

An enraged bull had matadors and bullfighting fans running for their lives when it jumped from the ring at an event in Mexico.

The 1,000-pound bull ran straight at the barriers before jumping up and landing amongst the crowd at Plaza de Toros in Mexico City.

Suddenly fans, who'd been watching from the 'safety' of second row of seats, found themselves with a closer view than they would have liked.

One man even leaped into the ring to escape the beast… and then quickly remembered that's where the bull would be returning.

While no fans were hurt in the incident a picador -- the guy responsible for spearing the animals during the fights -- was injured. It's almost like the bull knew what it was doing.

275x250.jpgA video of a horse travelling in the back of a car along a US motorway has become an online hit -- well how could it not.

The odd footage was shot by the Potter family as they drove between Osage City and Topeka on the way to the supermarket.

Dad Rick says he'd spotted a mane of hair flowing from the window of a car and as he drove past took a closer look.

At that point he realised it belonged to a horse which was happily travelling in the back of the car on folded down seats.

As his family shouted "Smile, horsey!" the the horse turned around to look at them… presumably this distraction reduced the horsepower of the car.

275x250.jpgResearchers say they've finally discovered how cats lap up liquids elegantly and without getting wet. And it's more complex than you'd think.

Using high-speed cameras the boffins filmed cats tucking into a bowl of milk and analysed exactly what they did with their tongues.

It was found cats draw up liquid without breaking the surface by brushing smooth tip of the tongue along the surface before rapidly drawing it back up.

This causes a column of milk to form between the moving tongue and the liquid's surface allowing the cat to pinch off the top of the column and drink.

They then carefully lap at a rate of about four laps per second to maintain the balance of gravity and inertia and keep the liquid flowing… dogs just get their face in there and make a mess.

275x250.jpg A species of grasshopper has been named as the animal with the world's largest testicles -- in relation to body weight, obviously.

Researchers at the University of Derby (who we assume had a good reason for investigating the topic) say the tuberous bushcricket has testicles which amount to 14% of its body mass.

The boffins claim this makes the record-breaking testicles bigger than any other animals and takes the title from the fruit fly (Drosophila bifurca) with 10.6%.

To put this into perspective the scientists say if the same was true for humans the average testicles would weight the same as six bags of sugar.

275x250.jpg An artist and LEGO fan has created a remarkably accurate model of a frog dissection -- using nothing more than tiny bricks.

Teacher Dave Kaleta had been given the brief 'Lego anatomy' for a Lego building contest on the website

Kaleta initially planned on using the topic Rembrandt’s Anatomy Lesson, but after chatting with a fellow teacher he decided a frog dissection was a more universal experience.

He then spent seven hours over three days producing the impressive anatomically correct model… which despite consisting solely of LEGO bricks still makes us feel a little queasy.

275x250.jpgThey're slightly more macabre than the typical teddy bear, but a range of 'roadkill' soft toys are expected to be a Christmas hit.

Created by designer Adam Arber the toys look like animals which have been run over -- complete with plush blood and guts.

Currently there are three squashed-looking gruesome characters, Twitch the Racoon, Grind the Rabbit and Splodge the Hedgehog.

All come with a body bag and an identity tag and their insides can be pulled out and then packed back inside.

Makers say they make perfect gifts for sociopaths… and could be ideal for traumatising your little one on Christmas morning, though they suggest not gifting them to under 14s.

A footballer was booed by fans after picked up a pitch-invading duck and callously hurling it over the advertising boards.

The bizarre incident happened during a Belgian First Division match when Zulte-Waregem's Mahamadou Habib Habibou spotted the stray bird.

After a goal-keeper tried and failed to contain the duck, Habibou ran into action chasing the bird briefly, before grabbing it by the neck.

But while fans had cheered the chase, they soon turned on Habibou -- when the player hurled the duck over advertising hoarding and into the ground.

While the duck appeared to waddle off uninjured the footballer has been dubbed the "Cat bin lady" of Belgian football. 

275x250.jpgPostal workers will no longer be putting letters through the door of a Portsmouth family… because their pussy is evil. Maybe.

Royal Mail bosses claim Lana - a tortoiseshell coloured cat - has been attacking local postmen with vicious claw-swiping assaults.

A formal letter sent to owners Carl and Carol White, asked them to keep Lana away from the front door, or face a ban on deliveries to their home.

The problem started several weeks ago when a postman slotted a pile of letters into their letterbox and Lana scratched him - leaving him bleeding for two hours.

As a result the scared postman now knocks the door each morning to hand over the post in safety… what a pussy.

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