When I was about 10, I decided my favorite animal was the ocelot. I liked the exotic sound of the name, the way it made me seem infinitely more cultured and knowledgeable than my simpleton friends who were still citing “cat” as their favorite animal. Plus, how could you not love a jungle cat that’s known as the “Dwarf Leopard”?! After watching this video of a 9-week-old ocelot playing on a scratching post, I’d like to, at age 28, renew my Ocelot Fan Club Membership. Click play, and I’m pretty sure you’ll want to join me. [Laughing Squid]
Rihanna gets a lot done in a day, regardless of whether or not a proper pair of pants is involved. Her trip to South Africa this week yielded not only a history-making performance as the youngest ever female artist to sell out the Johannesburg stadium, but also — more importantly — plenty of opportunities to pose awesomely alongside animals while hitting the local zoo with her fam. Without further ado, check out Rihanna, dressed to kill, hangin’ out with baby tigers, giraffes, giant crabs, and more … [Instagram]
Jessica is out on vacation this week, and that’s left me to cover the amazingly cute panda cub beat. I don’t mind though, because these twin panda cubs, born at the Atlanta Zoo, exist somewhere on the scale between mind-blowingly cute and breathtakingly adorable. The little buggers are about a month old, and weigh just four pounds, which is huge compared to their wee size when they were born. Zoo staff have to rotate them out of their mother’s care every four hours, which means that a few lucky Atlanta Zoo staffers get to spend all their time with these little buggers. I’m so jealous. [CNN]
Talk about cowardly. The Luohe zoo in the Chinese province of Henan is in trouble after it reportedly tried to pass off a Tibetan mastiff dog as a lion. The dog, pictured, was placed in a cage labeled “African lion,” but the zoo’s visitors figured out something was amiss when they heard the animal, which resembles an oversized Chow, bark.
And that wasn’t the only animal ruse happening at the Luohe zoo. Keep reading »
How do you beat a panda or rhinoceros at its own game? If you’re zookeepers at the Taiyuan Zoo in China’s Shanxi Province, you dress up in furry costumes and pretend to be zoo creatures. Keepers at Taiyuan participated in a drill where one staff member portrayed an escaped bear. (Think: More furry sex party, less grizzly.) And while we can’t comment on the program’s effectiveness, we can say that it definitely looked hilarious. [Digital Spy]
While I was out in the Northwest, I visited the Portland Zoo and their new baby otter pup. While I was there, I discovered a new animal to bestow my love and affection on: The sun bear, a mythical creature that combines the best of the bear world, with the undeniable coolness of a sloth. The sun bear’s native habitat is Southeast Asia, but sadly, thanks to overpopulation and deforestation, the sun bear’s population has decreased by a third in the last 60 years, and they’re currently classified as an endangered species. And oh, you want to hear something horrifying? According to the Winton Foundation for the Welfare of Bears, “The bear is often boiled alive to be eaten as a delicacy at banquets. It is believed the bear’s fear tenderises the meat.” UGH. Don’t cook a sun bear alive. Don’t cook a sun bear at all.
There are more shots of the sun bear and his ginormous claws being adorable after the jump, but if you’d like to do something to help these guys, you can support Winton or the Save the Sun Bear Foundation. Keep reading »
The end of a romance usually begins with the first sly traces of resentment, jealousy or rage. For tortoise couple Bibi and Poldi, the end of their 115-year relationship began with a bite. According to their keepers at Austria’s Klagenfurt Zoo, the pair can no longer stand to be around one another, and have taken to biting and snapping at one another. Male tortoise Bibi attacked female Poldi several times — biting off a piece of her shell — before he was eventually moved to a separate enclosure. Animal experts attempted to reunite the pair by feeding them animal aphrodisiacs, but it didn’t work. “We have staff talking to and trying to engage the two in interacting, and we hope that they might find their harmony again,” says Zoo Chief Helga Happ. No luck yet, so maybe we’ve discovered that love is not forever — it’s actually for around 115 years. [The FW]
Surprisingly, swimming doesn’t necessarily come naturally to all members of the animal kingdom.
Like these baby otters, Sumalee and Kasem, who live at the Longleat Zoo in England. The pair were taught how to swim by first trying it out in a sink, before then graduating to a baby pool. Watch as they frolic and play — sans water wings — for a thrilled audience. [BuzzFeed
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Breaking cute thing news! A baby panda was born this morning to mama panda, Lun Lun, at Zoo Atlanta. Let me repeat that: A BABY PANDA!!!! Lun Lun, age 13, gave birth to a cell phone-sized cub inside a special “birthing den” in the zoo’s giant panda house. This is a huge deal because only 1,600 panda bears exist worldwide and, unfortunately, they do not seem to enjoy having sex. Artificial insemination is how Lun Lun’s gotten knocked up with her three cubs, including this one. Keep reading »
As any terrified toddler who’s been dropped into a pool cold turkey knows, swimming ain’t easy. And that’s equally true for tiger cubs. Witness these four cuties at the Smithsonian National Zoo in D.C. figure out the doggie paddle with a team of helpful zoo attendees standing by. [The Awl
] Keep reading »