At the beginning of the summer, Queens Library Children’s Librarian Susan Scatena came up with a unique way to encourage local kids to participate in her summer reading program: if 300 kids signed up and read at least 4,000 books, she would read a story to an alligator. The wacky challenge was alluring enough to make the program a smashing success, with 344 kids enrolled and 4,595 books read. This week, Scatena made good on her promise, reading There’s An Alligator Under My Bed aloud to a 5-foot alligator named Wally while hundreds of delighted kids watched. This isn’t the first time Scatena has used a crazy dare to get kids to read. Past summer reading challenges have included sitting in a tub of jello, kissing a rabbit, and snuggling with a python. The best part? She’s had to make good on every single promise, because her summer reading programs always hit their goals. [School Library Journal]
Tag Archives: animals
We are gathered here today to honor and pay our respects to Frog, the victim of NASA’s recent rocket launch. While Frog’s dramatic mode of passing may have produced an undeniably humorous photo, we realize that getting blasted 40 feet into the air by a rocket is not particularly pleasant for any species, and therefore we must temper our laughter and internet memes with a bit of somber reflection upon Frog’s life.
Born a tadpole near NASA’s Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Virginia, Frog went through an awkward phase as a froglet (didn’t we all?) before finally reaching adulthood. Frog enjoyed leisurely evening swims, catching flies, and was never one to turn down a juicy worm. Frog was also an avid fisherman. Friends of Frog will never forget the largemouth bass incident of 2011 — you might say Frog had a tendency to bite off a little more than he could chew!
Frog was an active member of a local chorus, singing baritone and gaining a certain degree of notoriety around the pond for soulful solo croaks. Sigh. One thing’s for sure: the launch pad pool will be a much quieter place in the days to come. Keep reading »
Watch out, France. The infamous testicle-biting fish appears to be on the move.
After a fisherman discovered a pacu in the strait of Oresund earlier this year, authorities warned Scandinavian swimmers to be wary while skinny-dipping. Now that a pacu was caught near Paris, it seems the piranha relative is making its way west. Read more at Huffington Post…
This just in: Australia’s been taken over by enormous cats. Well, sort of: The country’s Northern Territory is apparently overrun with feral cats that weigh up to 45 lbs; to smaller creatures, they’re basically killing machines, Vice reports, alongside a pretty stunning image. It’s posing a threat to the area’s biodiversity. “Even a small cat will eat several birds, reptiles, or mammals in a 24-hour period,” says a land official. “So you do the math on that, one cat might be eating 2,000 animals a year.” Read more at Newser…
Colonel Meow is revered among Internet cat obsessives for his perpetually smug scowl, and now he has even more reason to sneer at his adoring public.
Guinness World Records has officially recognized the two-year-old Himalayan-Persian crossbreed as the cat with the longest fur.
In order to get the hair-raising honor, three independent vets each meticulously measured 10 strands of kitty fur and came up with an average length that was submitted to Guinness. Read more at Huffington Post…
Today in sad animal news (which, in my opinion, is often the saddest kind of sad news): Gus, the beloved polar bear who called the Central Park Zoo his home since 1988, has passed away at age 27. Arguably one of the most iconic animals of all time (he was once served tilapia by Rachael Ray), Gus first dominated news headlines in 1994 when it was discovered that boredom and depression caused him to swim endless laps back and forth in his pool. He was euthanized while undergoing a medical procedure, during which veterinarians found an inoperable tumor in his thyroid.
Said Jim Breheny, the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Vice President of Zoos and Aquariums, “Gus was an icon at the Central Park Zoo and a great source of joy for our visitors and staff. He was an important ambassador for his species bringing attention to the problems these bears face in the wild due to a changing environment.” Keep reading »
Love is a funny thing. It urges us to do things we’d never imagine possible. It is what make us open our hearts to another creature, and this trait doesn’t belong to humans alone. Sometimes animals form unusual bonds that bend our understanding of the wild kingdom. Read more at Your Tango…
I’m all for cute animals. But something about this new species, dubbed the Olinguito, and discovered in Ecuador and Colombia, is suspect. Maybe it’s his beady little eyes, or his old lady hands, but the Olinguito looks like he’s up to no good.
Of course, it can’t be easy to be an Olinguito. You’re one of the first new mammalian carnivore species discovered in the Americas in 35 years. That’s a lot of pressure to live up to! Researchers say that the Olinguito is the smallest member of the raccoon family. It had previously been mistaken for its close cousin, the Olingo, but is actually somewhat smaller, weighing around two pounds, on average.
Whatever, we know it must be annoying being constantly mistaken for your cousin. But could you tone down the intensity a little bit, dude? Your eyes are freaking me out. [CNN]