animals: February 2011 Archives

275x250.jpgA police officer has escorted a group of ducklings to safety after coming across them on a busy road. And become an internet hero.

Glenn Eppler had been driving in Fort Myers when he encountered the unusual suspects - ten tiny ducklings - holding up traffic.

Footage from his dash-cam shows the officer jumping out of his vehicle and trying to guide the little feathered critters to safety.

But it wasn't as easy as he expected and the birds - which had somehow dodged traffic - were uncooperative.

Luckily a passer-by helped the officer to pick up the tiny ducklings and moved them to somewhere a little safer where they were reunited with their mother.

275x250.jpgA fox with a head for heights has been discovered living at the top of a 288m tall skyscraper at London Bridge.

The animal, named Romeo by staff, was found 72 storeys off the ground in the UK's tallest skyscraper, the Shard.

It's thought he got there by climbing 71 sets of stairs and a ladder and survived for two weeks by eating food left by builders.

While the building is still under construction, the fantastic fox will have enjoyed sensational panoramic views of London before he was caught in a special cage.

The fearless intruder has now been brought down to earth after being released back on to the streets of Bermondsey.

275x250.jpg Our favourite cross-eyed sooth-sayer opossum has started making her predictions about who will win Academy Awards… and it's good news for Natalie Portman.

Heidi the cross-eyed opossum, from the Leipzig Zoo in Germany, has become a hit in the US where she is appearing on the TV show Jimmy Kimmel Live.

The confused-looking animal is being confronted by Oscar statuettes with the head of Academy Awards nominees affixed to the head and asked to touch the one she thinks will win.

After spending a considerable amount of time thinking about it, Heidi has so far predicted that Natalie Portman will win the Best Actress Oscar… though we are not sure that's the one she was looking at.

It appears zoos in Japan have an interesting way of practicing what they would do if a dangerous animal escaped. As this video conclusively shows.

One of the trainers at Tama Zoo in Tokyo recently donned a tiger costume and ran around while colleagues chase him with nets and guns.

26-year-old Shuhei Yamaguchi had to pretend to be a Siberian Tiger which had broken free during an earthquake and go on an hour-long rampage of the attraction.

Dressed in a none too convincing bright yellow costume, other staff used sticks and nets to restrain him, luckily they refrained from pulling the trigger on their tranquilliser guns.

Thunder-thighs dinosaur We love it when a new dinosaur is discovered. And when that dino is called something bizarre like 'Thunder-thighs' it's even better.

Scientists in Utah say they've discovered a new species of dinosaur which may have used it's powerful and huge legs to kick predators.

Also known as Brontomerus mcintoshi the dinosaur lived 110 million years ago during the Early Cretaceous Period was the size of a large elephant, and measured 14 meters in length.

Researchers say Thunder-thighs probably had to contend with fierce "raptors" and could have also used its huge legs to fight with love rivals… and anyone who called it Thunder-thighs.

Sheep are smarter than previously believed

275x250.jpgSheep are considerably smarter than we have previously given them credit for, researchers from Cambridge University have claimed.

Tests found sheep, which have historically been perceived as being dim-witted, are actually as smart as animals such as monkeys.

Neuroscientist Professor Jenny Morton made the baa-rmy discovery after conducing a series of tests to test their logic and memory.

These included giving sheep different coloured buckets with one colour containing food and seeing how many times they had to be presented with the buckets before knowing which contained food.

It's said the sheep were able to learn this after the same number of attempts as rodents and monkeys… and they weren't just behaving like sheep, well they were, but you know what we mean.

275x250.jpg A huge spider crab has been dubbed Crab Kong by staff at a UK aquarium, after being recognised as the biggest in captivity.

The monster from the deep - who measures 3m across and weighs 15kg - was originally caught in Japan by fishermen working from Suraga Bay, south-west of Tokyo.

However, rather than sell him to a local restaurant, the fishermen called UK-based biologist Robin James, who'd visited the village just weeks earlier.

He then arranged for the colossal crustacean to be spared the saucepan and be shipped to the Sea Life Centre in Weymouth. To go on show you understand, not to go on the menu.

A cat burglar who stole 600 items has been outed as an actual cat, after a night-vision camera was used to capture footage of the feline.

Residents in San Francisco had initially wondered what was happening when clothes, teddy-bears and other small items started disappearing.

But it soon became apparent the crook was a kleptomaniac kitty called Dusty who kept returning home with other peoples belongings.

After setting up night-vision camera they recorded footage of him going out under the cover of night and dragging back his loot.

Over the past three years the cat is said to have stole 600 items from neighbours and is partial to women's bathing costumes… naughty kitty.

275x250.jpg In a bid to ensure Downing Street becomes rat free, a four-year old tabby cat called Larry has moved into No 10 with David Cameron.

The puss had been a resident at Battersea Dogs and Cats Home until a spate of rodent sightings in Downing Street saw David Cameron look to recruit a feline rat-catcher.

After talking to his two elder children, Nancy and Arthur, the Prime Minister is said to have chosen Larry, who had been found wandering the capital in January.

A Downing Street spokesperson said Larry had already shown a "strong predatory drive" and enjoyed playing with toy mice… only time will tell what rats he catches around No 10 & No 11. We're saying nothing.

275x250.jpgA team of 25 firefighters were recently dispatched to rescue a stranded swan from a frozen pond… only to discover it was plastic.

The 999 call had come in when a passer-by in Straubing, Germany saw the bird and assumed it was trapped in frozen ice.

Attending firefighters say they then had to search for ages to find the 'bird' and get to the middle of the lake where there was dangerously thin ice.

And it was only then that discovered the bird was actualy made of plastic and had been left there by fishermen to scare away other birds.

Lucking on the bright side, officers said that no-one was hurt in the wasted rescue mission and that they were glad to have got a bit of training in.

When Evan Petkau and Luke Willms went on a tour of Kenya's Lake Naivasha, they understandably wanted to see a hippo… but probably not like this.

The Canadian holiday-makers had travelled out on a motorboat to take a look at a group of hippos (or a bloat for you collective noun fans) and were happily filming the beasts.

That was until the they realised they'd gone a little too close and startled one of the notoriously aggressive beasts which started charging at them.

Before the duo knew what was happening there were several hippos coming at the boat as they hit the engine and made a hasty retreat back to the shore.

While the pair can be heard laughing on the video, they claim this was nervous laughter rather than them mocking the hippos… well would you mock a 2,000kg beast with a bad temper.

rabbits having sexDid you know the barnacle's penis can be 30 times its body length, snakes are doubly endowed and roman snails enjoy S&M foreplay.

Neither did we, until the Natural History Museum announced their Valentine's Day exhibition looking at the sex lives of animals.

The Sexual Nature exhibition which will run from now until October offers a surprising exploration of the bizarre world of animal sex.

Bosses say it's the museum's first adult exhibition - aimed at over 16s - and shows that "anything goes in the animal kingdom."

It sounds to us like the ideal place to take your date this Valentine's Day… as long as they like discussing promiscuous chimps and looking at stuffed animals doing it.

ESPN reporter Nico Hueto thought the only thing he had to worry about was his umbrella getting blown away… until he was chased by an alpaca

The sports man had been covering a South American U21 football contest in Peru and was duly speaking to camera about the action.

And that's when it happened. An angry alpaca which had been happily standing in the background suddenly charged at him and the camera.

A panicked-looking Hueto quickly dropped his umbrella and ran screaming from the animal, which could now get signed by Manchester City as an aggressive mid-fielder.

While Hueto was convinced to give it another go the animal again disrupted the broadcast… no-one knows why there was a alpaca on the training ground.

275x250.jpg Staff at a pub in Staffordshire say they don't mind that one of their regulars always has a long face -- because it's not like Basil could do anything about it.

The nine-year-old Welsh Cob stallion has become a regular at the Meynell Ingram Arms in Burton where he is allowed to walk right in and up to the bar.

Over the past few years he's even said to have started enjoying the occasional tipple of Marson's Pedigree which is always served to him in his own glass.

Manager Guy Wallis insists locals don't mind sharing the bar with the 14.2 hands pony… though there have been complaints he doesn't ever get a round in.

275x250.jpgResearchers say they've finally solved a 44-year-old mystery of exactly how fleas are able to jump so high… it's all about their toes.

While scientists in 1967 discovered that fleas store the energy needed to catapult themselves into the air, they didn't know exactly how.

For years debate raged between academics as to how fleas harness this explosive energy, but only now has technology advanced enough for them to find out for sure.

Using high-speed recording equipment and sophisticated mathematical models, a team from the University of Cambridge took a close look at jumping fleas.

Analysing the footage they discovered the fleas use their toes to push off and propel themselves into the air… now we know that we will finally be able to sleep at night.

275x250.jpgZoo keepers in the US say they've been shocked to see a wild bald eagle repeatedly visit and make friends with one of their captive birds.

Bosses at Orange County Zoo say the bird has started spending every morning and evening perched nearby the enclosure of a female bald eagle.

They say the rare visitor, believed to be a male, can spend hours squawking with their 6-year-old who cannot be released due to an eye injury.

While many visitors insist his constant presence is a sign of true love, others claim it's simply because he's worked out there's an abundant food supply at the zoo.

In other words what they are trying to say it that he's a typical bloke.

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