Meet the Incredible Hulk of Hounds The hulky hound with double the muscle power By REBECCA CAMBER
13th July 2007
Maybe they should call her a whoppet - after all, she's a whopper of a whippet. This is Wendy, the dog whose appearance is a long way from the usual long, lean and sleek look of her breed. She was born with a genetic defect which has left her looking like the Incredible Hulk of Hounds. While her head, heart, lungs and legs are the size of those of a normal whippet, her gene defect means she is "double muscled".
She weighs 4st4lb - twice as much as she should - and has bulging neck muscles, burly shoulders and haunches like a baboon. And unlike ordinary whippets known for their lithe and narrow frame, this four-year-old pedigree doesn't just have a sixpack stomach, she has a 24-pack. Sadly, her mixed-up genes mean she may have a shorter life expectancy than most breeds. But while she may look oddly menacing, her doting owner Ingrid Hansen claims the giant pooch likes nothing better than clambering up on to your lap to have her back scratched.
"People have referred to her as Arnold Schwarzenegger," she said. "She's healthy and happy. That's all that counts. She doesn't know she's got a genetic defect. She might give you a nasty lick, that's all."
The whippet, who lives on a farm in Victoria, Canada, has been the subject of an American genetics study. Although the dogs are customarily bred for hunting, racing and showing, Wendy enjoys a slower pace of life.She spends her days prowling around the fields, chasing other dogs and horses and sleeping on her owner's bed.
We used to have a cross whippet, so to see this monster is quite something!
Stumpy, the duck born with four legs, has found love 16th July 2007
Stumpy, the duck born with four legs, is only three quarters the chap he used to be. After catching one of his feet in chicken wire, he had to have the entire limb amputated. But the accident turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The new streamlined three-legged Stumpy can waddle much faster than before, enabling him to catch up with his lady friend Alice when he is feeling amorous.
Stumpy, who arrived in February, owed his extra limbs to a rare mutation. A similar duckling hatched in Australia five years ago died soon afterwards. Mrs Janaway added: "ŹWe expected Stumpy to die within weeks so we canźt believe he has survived into adulthood.ź"
The 18-stone fish that was off the scales 17th July 2007
Few anglers complain that their catch is too large - but the man who landed this monster has reason to feel a little disappointed. The fish was so big that his scales were unable to weigh it, denying him a certain world record. The Thai fisherman, known as Kik was left to estimate that the Siamese giant carp weighed 256lb or 18st - 36lb more than his scales could bear. The world record for any member of the carp family, which includes goldfish, is 88lb.
Kik's boss, Jean-Francois Helias, who runs fishing tours in Thailand, said: "He hooked the catch of a lifetime that some anglers would sell their soul to the devil for. It is the biggest carp ever caught on rod and line and kept slapping people with its tail."
I can only imagine he was using a rope with a grappling hook on the end of it to catch this bugger!
Zoo uses Vicks VapoRub to stop meerkats fighting 26th July 2007
Zoo keepers have come up with a ingenious way to stop meerkats from fighting - hide their scent with Vicks VapoRub. Experts at Paultons Park near Romsey in Hampshire were concerned that their two existing meerkats would fight with three new arrivals when they were introduced to the family attraction. So they came up with the plan to use the decongestant - known to millions of humans who want to ease their cold symptoms.
The product is put on the animals' noses and hides their scent long enough for all of them to get used to each other without any arguments. Livestock manager Geoff Masson said: "The new meerkats arrived from Bristol and Banham Zoos. It is normally extremely difficult to integrate new meerkats into an existing group - their usual instinct is to try to attack any newcomers. However, thanks to a suggestion from our vet, Kate Chitty, we were able to neutralise all odours by using a little of the VapoRub on the nose of each meerkat. The meerkats then all smelt the same to each other and gladly accepted the new arrivals."
The new group are now getting along famously and are already showing signs of breeding. Mr Masson added: "We are very hopeful that things will continue to go well for our latest residents and that we will be celebrating the arrival of some baby meerkats before long." The sociable and highly territorial animals originally come from southern Africa and a collection of five or more meerkats is called a mob or a gang.
I thought this was quite a cool story, then read the comment posted...
I remember that my son who was a 'raver' used to inhale Vicks Vaporub to get 'high'. I wonder if the same is true of these meerkats? If animals are getting high from off the shelf drugs then the government has to step in. We cannot allow drug abuse in animals it could have unforeseen consequences. We know that MRSA came from drugged up cows and sheep, what are the implications of Vicks Vaporub on human health?
It might sound like a normal lamb, but an animal born at a farm in New Zealand has stunned vets as it has seven legs. The creature was born on the farm of Dave and Di Callaghan last Friday and has three hind legs, one of which has two hooves, and four front legs. But the lamb is to be put down as its insides have not developed properly.
The lamb, one of a twin, was walking round with its mother on Friday when its unusual features were spotted. 'I didn't think there was anything wrong until I went back later in the day and saw it struggling to get up,' Mr Callaghan told the Ashburton Guardian.
It was taken to a vets in Canterbury where veterinarian Steve Williams believed it had been a 'misprint in embryo formation' which led to it being born a polydactyl - a condition which occurs once in several million sheep. But he added: 'To keep it alive is probably inhumane really.'
The couch potato cats that are falling victim to diabetes By FIONA MacRAE
6th August 2007
Mice can relax. Even nesting birds can sing a little more cheerily. Their number one enemy, it seems, is getting so fat he can barely be bothered to get off the sofa for a night's hunting. Vets have found that cats are imitating their owners' couch potato lifestyle. As a result of eating more and exercising less, more than a third of cats are overweight and the number of cases of feline diabetes has risen five-fold in 30 years.
Edinburgh University researchers estimate that one in 230 - or up to 400,000 pet cats - is diabetic. Danielle Gunn-Moore, a professor of feline medicine, said: "The lifestyle of cats is changing. They are tending to eat too much, gain weight and take less exercise. Unfortunately, just like people, cats will over-eat if they are offered too much tasty food, particularly if they are bored and have little else to do. While cats would naturally exercise outside, many cats are now housebound - perhaps because they live in a flat or because their owners feel that it is too dangerous to let them out - so they have little to do all day but eat, sleep and gain weight."
In addition, stressed-out Britons are increasingly relying on cats for companionship. Professor Gunn-Moore said: "Cats are now the number one pet, they are more popular than dogs. People get in late and they don't want to walk the dog. They want the cat there as a companion and if it's outside chasing mice, it's not going to be there as a companion."
Vet Elaine Pendlebury said much of the problem was because of owners giving their cats calorie-laden treats. She said: "People are feeding them things like sausages from their own table. Sausages are quite high in salt and quite fatty. If you want to give your cat a treat, give it a small bit of boiled chicken or, even better, play a game with your cat."
The diabetes study, published in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, looked at the veterinary records of 14,000 cats, coupled with questionnaires filled in by owners. Cats are not the only pets to be losing the battle of the bulge. A quarter of dogs are clinically obese and overweight rabbits and even hamsters are also a common sight in vets' surgeries.
Cats are boring if you feed them too much - starve em a bit and watch them run about!
I've no idea how I missed seeing this by now, considering it's had almost 10 million hits, but it's pretty incredible. A buffalo calf is taken by lions, then fought over by a crocodile v the lions, then rescued by the buffalo against the lions!
Explorer Colonel John Blashford-Snell has had close encounters with vampire bats and angry bees, but his latest brush has been with a rather odd dog. He spotted a rare breed of Double-Nosed Andean tiger hound, which has two noses, on a recent trip to Bolivia. The chairman of the Scientific Exploration Society said the dog, named Xingu, was "not terribly handsome". He said: "This breed could be used for sniffing out mines or narcotics because they have an enhanced sense of smell."
Colonel Blashford-Snell first encountered a Double-Nosed Andean tiger hound called Bella in 2005 when he was carrying out reconnaissance for this year's expedition in the area near Ojaki. He said: "While we were there, sitting by the fire one night, I saw an extraordinary-looking dog that appeared to have two noses. I was sober at the time, and then I remembered the story that the legendary explorer Colonel Percy Fawcett came back with in 1913 of seeing such strange dogs in the Amazon jungle. Nobody believed him, they laughed him out of court."
The dog seen two years ago was Bella, and on a second trip to the area, which began in May and has just ended, the explorer discovered her son Xingu in the village of Ojaki. He had just produced a litter of puppies with a bitch that had a single nose. Two of their offspring had double noses, and two had the normal quantity, but the double-nosed pups died after three days. A veterinary expert with the group examined Xingu to see if he had a cleft palate, but this was not the case.
"There is a chance that these dogs came from a breed with double noses that's known in Spain as Pachon Navarro, which were hunting dogs at the time of the Conquistadors," said Colonel Blashford-Snell. "I think it's highly likely some of these were taken to South America and they continued to breed. They're good hunting dogs."
He added that Xingu was "quite an aggressive little chap" who stood about 16 inches in height and loved salt biscuits but "wasn't a terribly handsome dog". Xingu's best friend is apparently a wild pig called Gregory, and the two animals "rule the roost" in their village. "Other dogs snarl at Xingu, because they can sense he's different. He's the smallest dog there but he sees the other dogs off," Colonel Blashford-Snell said. "He's very intelligent and with a wonderful sense of smell, as you might think. The Bolivian Army came and took DNA samples because they're interested in the breed. He's not the only dog like this, there are others in the area."
The Scientific Exploration Society was in Bolivia to investigate a shallow crater about five miles in width. According to Colonel Blashford-Snell, he has now found evidence that this was caused by a giant meteorite, which struck the Bolivian Amazon Basin up to 30,000 years ago. He says he has found evidence of human habitation within 50 miles of the blast zone, and believes these people were wiped out as a result of the meteor's impact.
The explorers also carried with them a church organ from Dorset as a gift to local Bolivians in order to secure their help with finding the meteorite.
If I had two noses as sensitive as a dog's I'm sure I'd be slightly ratty too... haha
The shrewd art of monkey business By FIONA MACRAE
15th August 2007
They are often dismissed as the cute and cheeky mischief-makers of the animal kingdom. But monkeys, it seems, have shrewd business minds. When taught how to use coins, they can do simple sums to ensure they get the most for their money.
Researchers trained capuchin monkeys to exchange 'coins' such as poker chips and metal nuts for treats. Through repetition, the monkeys learned that coin A was worth one piece of peanut, while coin B was worth three times as much. They were then given the choice of two coin Bs, which could be exchanged for six bits of peanut, or five coin As, worth five treats. Instead of simply choosing the biggest pile of coins, some creatures plumped for the two B coins - a strategy that earned them the most for the money.
The team at the Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies in Rome said the monkeys had mastered the complex act of understanding the value of symbols. The study, in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, follows other research which showed that capuchin monkeys can learn how to shop for bargains. In that study at Yale University in the U.S., the monkeys used silver discs to buy pieces of apple and cucumber. When the apple was made 'cheaper' - meaning more was offered for the same amount of money - they opted for that choice.
So these two people raised this lion cub who they named Christian, and sadly he got too big for them to take care of so they decided to release him to live as a wild lion. Well, in this footage, a year has passed and it looks like Christian's adapted to living with a pride of lions when his old friends come back to visit him. Watch closely and you can see the look of pure disbelief that dawns on his muzzle- it's awesome. ^_^ Next thing you know, we have a heart warming reunion. Not long after, members of Christian's pride approach and even they seem to accept Christian's human friends.
Again, THIS IS NOT MINE! This footage from Christian's documentary was also kleptoed from www.kimbawlion.com- a FANTASTIC website about Kimba the White Lion. ^_^ So send all Kudos where it belongs!
New 'aliens' discovered in Atlantic August 23, 2007
It looks like the evil twin brother of the Alien from the 1979 sci-fi classic film, but this creature has just been discovered in a remote stretch of the Atlantic.
The Chauliodus sloani was found, along with a never-before-seen shrimp, by a British research team during a five-week expedition. They explored the mysterious world of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, an underwater mountain range between Iceland and the Azores. Based on the Royal Research Ship, James Cook, they explored depths from 800m (2,600ft) to 3,500m (11,500ft) using the latest deep-sea technology.
Heroin-addict 'Big Brother' elephant to rejoin herd after rehab 30th August 2007
A bull elephant that became a drug addict after being fed heroin-laced bananas has kicked the habit following a year in "rehab". The elephant - nicknamed Big Brother by vets - had been rounded up by illegal traders in the jungle near China's Burma border, along with younger members of the herd he headed.
Wanting to sell the herd, the gang began feeding Big Brother bananas laced with heroin so that it would be easier to control him. Big Brother obediently followed the traders - and in doing so led the rest of the herd - knowing it would receive another "hit" if it tagged along.
When officials took him into care he was heavily addicted and went through "cold turkey" so bad vets said "even his iron chain could not contain it". To combat his withdrawal symptoms they began injecting him with methadone, but with triple the dose given to a human addict.
Yesterday the Tropical Wildlife Park in Hainan province said he was 'clean' and ready to go back to the wild. One vet said: "The treatment required great courage by a number of us as we could never be sure how he was going to behave as he came down off his habit."
an artist's interpretation of what the chupacabra looks like (if it was in Predator!) Rancher 'Finds Mythical Bloodsucker' September 01, 2007
A Texas rancher believes she has discovered the head of a mythical bloodsucking beast known as a 'chupacabra'. Phylis Canion saved the head after she and her neighbours found the bodies of three animals outside her ranch in Cuero in July. Chupacabra means "goat sucker" in Spanish and its name comes from its reported habit of drinking the blood of livestock, especially goats.
"It is one ugly creature," Ms Canion said about the animal with big ears, large fanged teeth and grayish-blue, mostly hairless skin. She keeps it in her freezer and intends to have DNA testing carried out on it to determine exactly what type of animal it is.
The rancher thinks the animals may have killed up to 26 of her chickens in the last couple of years. She started to suspect the chupacabra was responsible because the chickens were not eaten or carried off but all the blood was drained from them.
Local vet Travis Schaar said the animal is probably a strange breed of dog. "I'm not going to tell you that's not a chupacabra. I just think in my opinion a chupacabra is a dog," said Schaar, who has seen the head. He said the chupacabras could have all been part of a mutated litter of dogs, or that they may be a new breed.
After the discovery sparked huge interest both locally and internationally, Ms Canion started selling T-shirts that read: "2007, The Summer of the Chupacabra, Cuero, Texas" accompanied by a caricature of the creature. She intends to add the head to her collection - the heads of a zebra and other exotic animals are already mounted in her home.
Hound Dracula is 'vampire dog' By VIRGINIA WHEELER
September 05, 2007
A HORRIFYING breed of VAMPIRE dog that sucks blood from farm animals was on the rampage last night. The pack of large-fanged hounds has been terrorising farms ó killing goats and chickens just to drain their blood.
Phylis Canion says her land is littered with bloodless animal corpses ó untouched except for two fang marks. Now scientists are examining three dead dogs she found near her ranch in Cuero, Texas, to see if they are a new breed or mutated from wild ones.
Phylis said: ďIíve seen a lot of nasty stuff in my life but nothing compares to what these beasts do to my animals. At first they fed on catsí blood ó then drank from chickens through a wire cage. They reached in and pulled the chickensí heads out, then latched on to the neck, sucking all the blood before leaving the bodies in the cage. More than two dozen chickens were sucked dry in this way. The birds werenít eaten or carried off ó the meat was left on the bone. Itís eerie.Ē
Phylis, who plans to get one of the dogsí heads stuffed and mounted on her wall, said a pack was seen by other locals last month. She added: ďAll of them were blue-skinned, had no hair and had strange teeth.
Some locals think the blue dogs are Chupacabras ó a legendary animal that feasts on goat blood, which was featured in TV sci-fi drama The X-Files. But expert Dr Travis Schaar, who is doing DNA tests, said: ďIt is probably just a strange breed of dog with a preference for blood.Ē
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