Apr
29
2012
0

Are there videos of clever animals?

intelligent-duckMany animals share human characteristics such as problem-solving and game-playing, and display various forms of intelligent behavior. Here are some videos that may surprise you. Skateboarding dogs Dogs who have learned how to skateboard seem to love it, and there are plenty of videos on YouTube of skateboarding dogs. I like this video, because the [&hel[more...]

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Feb
05
2012
0

What’s it like to touch a chimpanzee?

touching-chimpanzeeChimpanzees are the closest living relatives of humans, in terms of the similarity of their DNA. Although thousands of chimpanzees are held in captivity around the world, the public is rarely able to interact closely with them. However, at Tenerife’s Monkey Park (in the Canary Islands) it’s possible to touch a chimpanzee. At Monkey Park [&hel[more...]

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Dec
17
2011
1

Are wildlife documentaries faked?

polar-bearIt caused some consternation when viewers discovered that the polar bear cubs in the BBC’s “Frozen Planet: Winter” documentary were filmed in an artificial den at a zoo. While showing a snow-covered arctic hill, David Attenborough narrated: “Beneath the snow, new lives are beginning”. The scene then showed a mother polar bear with her tiny [&hel[more...]

Feb
10
2011
1

Do pigs deserve respect?

pig-sunglasses(This is a guest post) Humans are omnivorous. Meat is a pillar of our diet, that enabled our continued evolution to larger brains. But there are limits. We don't consume our kin—cannabalism incurs universal opprobrium. And we extend our kin to include great apes like the chimpanzee. Globally there is now also a veritable outrage over Japan's [&hel[more...]

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Oct
15
2010
3

Can a swan kill you or break a limb?

swan-attacks-manThere’s a widespread belief that swans can cause considerable harm. In the United Kingdom, many people “know” that a swan is strong enough to break an arm with its kick. In other places, people believe that a swan can break an arm with a whack from its wing, or with a jolt of its beak. [&hel[more...]

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Aug
06
2010
0

What are the other animal words like “canine” and “feline”?

asinine-donkeyMost people are familiar with the words canine (relating to dogs) and feline (relating to cats), but many other animals or animal groups get their own adjective. These are called collateral adjectives, and are generally derived from the genitive form of the Latin genus name. Here is a list of collateral adjectives. Ant: myrmecine. Bear: [&hel[more...]

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Oct
06
2009
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What does it feel like to touch an elephant?

Photo by H Browne - CC-BYAn elephant is a remarkable animal, and I am fortunate to have had the privilege to be able to touch one. The skin of an elephant, as you might expect, is tough and rough. It's also wrinkled into deep folds, and more than likely to be covered in parts by a thin layer of mud [&hel[more...]

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Sep
10
2009
0

What happens on a visit to a South African game reserve?

Elephant sighting on a game drive at Addo Elephant National Park (photo by H Browne - CC-BY)A game reserve combines nature conservation with travel and adventure. Some game reserves also incorporate animal tracking and hunting, but those are not the kind of game reserves we’re discussing here. We’ll take as our example the game parks run by SANParks, the South African National Parks authority. The game reserves are huge tracts of [&hel[more...]

Jun
26
2009
0

How can I visit an African game reserve without the risk of malaria?

Warning - Objects in mirror are larger than they appear! (photo by exfordy - CC-BY)Many people yearn to see large African animals in the wild—and many African countries have game reserves where elephants, rhinos, hippos, giraffes and lions roam free. But there’s a catch—how to avoid the risk of contracting malaria? Malaria is a dangeous and sometimes life-threatening disease. The cause of the disease is a parasite of the [&hel[more...]

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May
30
2009
1

Is the Labrador Retriever the most popular dog breed in the U.S.?

Labrador Retriever (Photo by OakleyOriginals - CC-BY)The Labrador Retriever is one of the most popular dog breeds worldwide. According to American Kennel Club (AKC) dog registration statistics, the Labrador Retriever has been America’s top registered breed for the last 18 years. Ranking of the most popular dogs in the U.S. (2008) 1. Labrador Retriever 2. Yorkshire Terrier 3. German Shepherd Dog 4. [&hel[more...]

Apr
07
2009
0

How does ‘Freedom Food’ compare with Free Range food?

Chickens outdoors in the grass. (Photo by woodleywonderworks - CC-BY)UK supermarkets now label some meat, fish, and eggs as “freedom food” or “freedom foods”. If this sounds pretty much the same as free range food to you, look again. You may have been confused by the similar-sounding words free and freedom. ‘Freedom Food’ is the name of a programme designed to improve the lives [&hel[more...]

Mar
12
2009
2

How much do dog and cat owners spend on gifts for their pets?

Westie Dog, presents and Christmas tree (photo by Randy son Of Robert CC-BY)According to a 2007 Harris poll (1), 88% percent of pet owners consider their pets members of their family, and as family members they also receive holiday gifts and birthday presents.  Sixty-five percent of pet owners have bought their pet a holiday present and thirty-seven percent have bought their pet a birthday present. Dogs – 71% [&hel[more...]

Mar
08
2009
0

Can a rat’s brain be transplanted into a robot?

Photo by Peter Maninski - CC-BYIn an earlier article, we looked at ways in which scientists could control the movement of rats and other animals by radio control. Those ratbots were living animals with electrodes implanted in their brain and connected to a radio control receiver. Now we look at the reverse situation – using the brain cells of a [&hel[more...]

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Feb
27
2009
1

How many dog and cat owners are there in the United States?

Photo by  Qole Pejorian - CC-BYAccording to the AVMA (1),  there are more than 72 million pet dogs in the U.S. and nearly 82 million pet cats. Ownership A little more than 43 million households own dogs and nearly 37.5 million households own cats. The average number of dogs per household is 1.7. Cat owning households have an average of [&hel[more...]

Feb
10
2009
0

Do remote controlled live rats (ratbots) really exist?

Rat Art (phboto by Infrogmation - CC-BY)Since 2002 it has been possible to remotely guide rats under human control. John Chapin and Sanjiv Tawlar achieved this at the State University of New York. The rat is fitted with a tiny backpack which contains a radio receiver. There are wires from the receiver into a part of the rat’s brain called the [&hel[more...]

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Jan
26
2009
0

Can goats climb trees?

Goats in an argan tree (photo by FrenchSelfCatering.com - CC-BY)The story of goats climbing trees sounds like a hoax, doesn’t it? But goats in Morocco can climb the argan tree, and a dozen or more goats can be found in one tree at the same time. The goats climb the trees to eat the small fruit. They either spit out, or excrete undigested, the [&hel[more...]

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Jan
17
2009
0

What is the difference between buffalo and bison?

A buffalo with two calves grazes at Yellowstone National Park. Photo by Jimbowen0306. CC-BY.Travel to Yellowstone National Park or the Black Hills of South Dakota, and chances are that you’ll run across a herd of hefty mammals known as buffalo — or are they bison? In American English they’re the same species, although some language purists would insist that you refer to the animals as bison alone. Here’s [&hel[more...]

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