animals: February 2012 Archives

275x250.jpg Here's some bad news for arachnophobes. People who are scared of spiders will actually believe creepy crawlies they encounter are bigger than they really are.

Researchers conducted a study of arachnophobes to see how the condition impacted their impression of spiders.

Psychologist Professor Michael Vasey from the Ohio State University had his team recruit 57 arachnophobes who were then subjected to five encounters with live tarantulas.

The suitably scared participants were then asked to rate their anxiety and describe how big they thought the hairy spiders were.

It was found that the more scared people were of the spiders the more they tended to overestimate the size of the beasts.

275x250.jpg Police in Norway were shocked to see a motorist driving with three reindeer sitting on the back seat of his car… and that was before they stopped him and found two more in the boot.

The driver is said to have been moving the animals around 60 miles from Karasjok to Børselv and claimed to have clearance from the Norwegian Food Safety Authority to transport them.

A spokesperson from the Norwegian Public Roads Administration is reported to have said:  "There are no limits to what people will get up to in traffic. I've stopped being surprised,"

And before you ask, no, none of the reindeer were wearing seatbelts.

275x250.jpg Norwich might not be the most likely location to find rhinos, but a gang of would-be rhino horn robbers recently struck there.

Police say the gang targeted the Norwich Castle Museum where they forced open a display case containing the head.

After failing to dislodge the horn -- which can sell for £50,000 per kilogram on the black market -- they tried to make off with the entire head.

However the heavy head slowed the four men and they were disturbed by museum staff who grabbed the rhino head and caused the men to flee.

A spokesperson for the museum said that as the robbers had paid to enter the museum and left empty-handed, they had done better of of the crime than the crooks.

Dogs teach baby how to chew toys (VIDEO)

They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks… but old dogs are perfectly capable of teaching tricks to babies, as this video shows.

Currently going viral, the video entitled 'Puggles teach baby to chew' starts off showing a dog munching on a toy, before panning over to a little boy lying on his belly.

After examining what the dog was doing the baby then proceeds to chew his toy in a very similar manner.

The video has already been viewed more than 140,000 times. It's not known if the dogs went on to teach the lad how to chase cats or pee up lamp-posts.

275x250.jpg There was us thinking goats all went "Baaaa" and then scientists go and reveal that they all have distinctive regional accents.

Not only that but goats will apparently pick up the accented bleating of the animals around them.

Boffins at Queen Mary University of London tested five-week-old goats and monitored the development of their bleating when spending time in different groups.

They investigated whether contact calls were affected by social environment and kinship during early ontogeny in goats by comparing half siblings raised in the same or different groups.

It was found that full siblings had more similar calls than half siblings -- meaning you really do get Brummie and Geordie goats.

A photographer has used his humble iPhone and a whole lot of ingenuity to record impressive footage of animals which even David Attenborough would be proud of.

Mark Rober says that on a recent trip to the zoo, he noticed how desperate people were to get the attention of the gorillas so they could get a photo.

That's when he hit upon the idea of using the screen of his iPhone to let the animals he was filming, to see themselves… and sure enough the idea worked.

In fact it worked so well he went on to produce a 'Gorilla cam' -- consisting of a  iPhone mounted behind a mirror with a hole cut in it -- to get some even more impressive footage.

Wildlife rescue teams have been called out 27 times to help save a swan in East Sussex which members of the public think has been stuck in ice.

Rescuers from the Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service say they have even sent out ambulances three times in one day over the bird -- which was actually just resting.

A spokesperson said: "Most calls have been reporting the swan to have a leg stuck in the ice. The leg is actually tucked up under their feathers to keep warm.

"The most common reports are that the swan has been sat in the same position for many hours – swans do not move around the ice much if they don't have to, in order to keep warm."

CCTV footage has been released showing the moment a man decided to propose to his girlfriend from within the penguin enclosure at London Zoo.

James Roberts -- who won the chance to make the unusual proposal -- had told his girlfriend, Michelle Rogers, he'd won a VIP tour of the zoo.

But when she was waiting for him in the penguin enclosure, he surprised her by walking in wearing a tuxedo and getting down on one knee.

Michelle said yes… and promptly carried on feeding the penguins.

Boffins at Goggle have used a complex algorithm and their computing power to discover what we already knew… a video of a cat saying 'no' is funny.

Researchers looked at the comments on videos to determine whether viewers had found them funny and identified candidates for YouTube’s Comedy Slam.

Google Researcher Sanketh Shetty, said: "We computed more text features based on words associated with amusement in comments.

"These included (a) sounds associated with laughter such as hahaha, with culture-dependent variants such as hehehe, jajaja, kekeke, (b) web acronyms such as lol, lmao, rofl, (c) funny and synonyms of funny, and (d) emoticons such as :), ;-), xP."

Forget swimming with dolphins, after seeing this video all we want to do is surf with dolphins… and after clicking play we think you will agree.

This video is said to show 15-year-old Mitchell Overton wake surfing alongside dolphins at St. Pete Beach, Florida.

Overton can be seen riding the waves as dolphins pop up and jump out of the water next to him. Pretty cool isn't it?

Woolly mammoth caught on video in Siberia

They were thought to have died out 4,000 years ago, but a video has emerged  which some people claim shows a woolly mammoth -- though others insist it's a hoax.

Shot in the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug region of Siberia -- reportedly by a government-employed engineer -- the footage shows a beast walking through an icy river.

For years there have been rumours some woolly mammoth had survived in the Siberian wilderness, but there had never been any proof, and if this video is fake there still isn't.

In Japan have an interesting way of practicing what they would do if a dangerous animal escaped… as this video conclusively shows.

Japanese police, paramedics and hundreds of zoo staff have taken part in a training exercise which saw them fending off a life-sized papier mache rhinoceros.

The odd exercise at Tokyo's Ueno Zoological Gardens was designed to see how they would cope with an emergency which resulted in an animal escape.

While many visitors duly rushed away from the faux-rhino, others stuck around and filmed the vision which was staff surrounding it with a net and pretending to tranquilise and capture it.

275x250.jpg It used to be that if you wanted to entertain a cat, you gave them a ball or a toy mouse… nowadays they apparently need an Apple iPad.

The RSPCA in Australia have developed an iPad app for cats which sees them play with a virtual ball of yarn and defend cheese from invading mice.

It's hoped the app could be used to enrich the lives of house-dwelling cats in Oz and promote the organisations 'Adopt a Cat Month'.

RSPCA man Michael Beatty said: "Basically, you place your iPad on the ground, start the game and your cat or kitten can interact with it on his/her own terms.

A cat has interrupted the action at the Liverpool v Tottenham Hotspur match by running on the Anfield pitch… and instantly becoming the highlight of the 0-0 draw.

11 minutes into the game, the kitty made an unexpected appearance, prompting the referee to call the game to a halt.

The puss then proceeded to mooch around the Spurs penalty box as keeper Brad Friedel watched on, apparently not wanting to get fur on his gloves.

After a short while, and with some gentle coaxing from stewards, the cat -- instantly dubbed "Liverpool cat' and "Anfield cat' online -- left the pitch and the game resumed.

We're just glad it was a grey and white tabby and not a black cat. Only because that would have been bad luck… not because it would have been racially abused by a Liverpool player.

There's something about videos of interspecies animal friendships which its hard not to find adorable! Don't believe us... just click play.

This video shows a pet wolf getting along terrifically with a young kitten -- in fact they're getting on so well it looks like the cat has been fostered by the wolf.

Adam Bilsing, who uploaded the video in which the two animals can be seen cuddling up to each other and then the wolf picking up the kitten gently in its mouth, did so with the simple comment "... and we were worried"

We just hope that after the camera stopped rolling this cute scene didn't take a gory turn and become something a whole less cute.

Ewe won't believe your eyes when you see this! And presumably neither could the driver in this video when he saw a flock of sheep circling him.

Footage which has gone viral online shows a motorist driving on a farm and being followed by a baa-rmy flock of sheep who run rings around his pale blue car.

After a slow start the sheep build up pace and are soon charging around the vehicle in was some viewers have described as a 'Sheep Cyclone'.

275x250.jpg A farmer in Northern Ireland was left feeling lost at sea when a lorry crashed and spilled 20 tonnes of mackerel into his field.

Gordon Flinn says the lorry clipped a grass verge before ploughing through 30 yards of hedge and emptying the thousands of fish on his land.

He added that the silver fish were at some points 2ft deep and that it had taken a team of 12 men more than seven hours to clear them up… the local cat and seagulls could have done it faster.

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