Mutable Rain Frogs – Shape-Shifting Amphibians That Change Skin Texture in Minutes

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Scientists in Ecuador have discovered a new species of frog that is able to morph the texture of its skin – from spiny to smooth – within a matter of minutes. Aptly named ‘mutable rain frog’, the tiny, finger-nail sized creature is the first shape-shifting amphibian to ever be found.

According to a Livescience report, the mutable frogs were found in Reserva Las Gralarias, a protected cloud reserve forest on the western slopes of Ecuador’s Andes Mountains. The incredible discovery is credited to biologist Katherine Kryna and naturalist Tim Krynak, who have spent the past decade combing the reserve for rare frog species.

The duo first spotted the frog in 2006, when they had captured it on camera. On closer inspection of the photograph, they realised that it could be a new species. The frog’s spiny-textured skin stood out, so they started calling it ‘punk rocker’. “It wasn’t until we saw the amazing texture of its skin that we thought, ‘wow, this is something different,’” said Katherine.

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Pseudis Paradoxa – The Paradoxical Frog That Shrinks as It Grows

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The Pseudis Paradoxa is the Benjamin Button equivalent of the amphibian world. The paradoxical creature starts off as a 25-cm-long tadpole and shrinks as it grows. ending up as a small tropical frog, about a quarter of its original size.

When biologists discovered the paradoxical frog in the South American wild,they were understandably confused. At first, they thought the adult frogs were actually the babies, which later grew into giant tadpoles, exactly the opposite of how every other frog species in the world develops. They later figured out that the 11-inch tadpoles were indeed the juveniles, but still couldn’t explain the bizarre phenomenon.

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173-Pound Pit Bull Named “The Hulk” Definitely Lives Up to His Name

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A bully pitbull that’s almost the size of a miniature pony has become an internet sensation after his owners released photos and videos of him online. Aptly named ‘The Hulk’, the impressive canine weighs a massive 173 pounds and he is still growing!

At only 17 months, The Hulk is already three times bigger than other dogs of his breed, and he’s already being hailed as the ‘biggest bully pit bull on earth’. However, his owners,Marlon and Lisa Grennan, from New Hampshire, say The Hulk is a gentle soul, and even let their toddler son ride him like a horse. “These dogs are very balanced and gentle – they are nanny dogs,” Marlon said. “I don’t think it’s irresponsible for people to have pit bulls and children. They’re dogs just like any other dog. No matter what the breed it is, it is hundred per cent how you raise them.”

Still, the Grennans admit that The Hulk “could kill someone if it was in the wrong situation at the wrong time” and “snap an arm like a toothpick”.

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These Kindhearted Chinese Women Feed 1,300 Dogs Every Single Day

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Five elderly women in China have dedicated their lives to the care of nearly 1,300 stray dogs. The enterprising women run their very own custom dog asylum, where they feed the lucky canines 400 kg of tasty dog-food every single day.

The shelter, located in China’s central Shaanxi Province, was established in 2009 by 60-year-old Wang Yanfang. She said that she felt sympathetic towards strays that were taken away by regulators, so she decided to apply for permission to open the asylum, solely supported by donations.

Since then she has gained the support of four other women, and together they wake up at 4am each morning just to prepare food for the dogs. They are so dedicated to the cause that they even chose to forgo the extravagant display of fireworks on New Year’s Eve, and instead spent the day with the abandoned dogs.

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Fascinating Amazonian Bird Mimics Toxic Caterpillar to Fend Off Predators

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While most young birds rely on their parents for protection, the chicks of the Amazonian Cinereous Mourner have their own survival tactic. In order to avoid being eaten by predators, they actually mimic poisonous caterpillars!

On hatching, the chicks are covered with bright orange, spiky feathers that make them look like massive caterpillars that use bright colors to warn predators of their toxicity. And to make their camouflage even more effective, they even writhe about much like caterpillars.

“These traits give it a resemblance to a hairy, aposematic caterpillar,” said Dr. Gustavo Londoño, a biologist at the University of California. “Because predation is the main cause of avian nest failure, selection should favor strategies that reduce the probability of nest predation. The caterpillar we encountered measured 12 cm, which closely matches the size of the L. hypopyrra nesting. The striking morphological similarity is the caterpillars’ orange ‘hairs’ with white tips, which match almost exactly the nestling’s elongated orange downy feather barbs with bright white tips.”

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Tiny Pony Gets Periscope So He Can See Out of His Stall

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At 43 inches, Pedro, an adorable pint-sized Shetland pony, is so small that he can’t even see over his own stable door. Fortunately, a group of schoolchildren recently found a solution to his problem – they designed a special equine periscope just for him. The cardboard contraption, aptly named the ‘Pedroscope’, is fixed to the 60-inch gate and uses carefully placed mirrors in order to give 14-year-old Pedro a view of the world outside his stall.

Owing to his small stature, Pedro was given a home at Ebony Horse Club, a struggling charity in London that gives disadvantaged children a chance to engage with horses. But builders estimated that it would cost thousands of pounds to create a custom-made miniature stable for the cute pony. So the charity turned to local school children for help, and they rose to the occasion quite beautifully. They came up with the design for the cardboard periscope, which was later built by printing firm Print & Cut.

“We got an email from the Ebony Horse Club who were asking for our help, it was so nice, and a little bit funny, that we decided to give it a go,” said Andy Morris, owner of Print & Cut. “The sketch was sent to us and then I turned it into a 3D sketch with some software, and then it was sent to be made. It was all quite easy, and we did it for free to help Pedro. As soon as I saw it, I thought it was funny and knew it would be relatively easy for us to do, and we’d make the pony and children pretty happy.”

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Fascinating Viper Uses Its Realistic Spider-Shaped Tail to Lure Prey

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As if snakes weren’t scary enough on their own, some apparently have spiders for tails to raise the horror factor to infinity . The aptly named ‘spider-tailed viper’ has a bizarre arachnid-shaped appendage that it uses to attract unsuspecting prey.

According to science writer Ed Yong, the fearsome snake was formally described only nine years ago, in Iran. Its existence has been known since the sixties, but because only one specimen had been spotted, its tail was dismissed as a deformity. However, further investigations in the area revealed the tail was actually a defining characteristic of a whole new species of snakes.

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Amazing Alaskan Wood Frog Freezes Solid in Winter and Comes Alive in Spring

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There are several creatures that possess a certain tolerance to subzero temperatures, but none as amazing as the Alaskan Wood Frog. This tiny amphibian can survive being almost completely frozen during winter, only to miraculously come back to life as soon as spring arrives!

For days, even weeks weeks at a time during its period of winter hibernation, over 60 percent of the frog’s body freezes;  it stops breathing and its heart stops beating. Its physical processes like metabolic activity and waste production come to a halt. “For all intents and purposes, they are dead,” said Don Larson, a Ph.D. student at Fairbanks, Alaska. As per his research, wood frogs can survive long winters where temperatures range between -9C to -18C. In fact, it can go through 10 to 15 freeze/thaw cycles over the course of a single season.

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Company Specializes in Creating Cuddly Plush Clones of Your Pets

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Louisville-based online retailer Cuddle Clones Inc. is in the business of creating custom made stuffed replicas of house pets for animal lovers. Their clients are mostly people who are looking for a Cuddle Clone to replace their deceased pets. According to founder Jennifer Graham, her customers just want to hug their dog or cat again, even if it’s just an incredibly realistic replica.

Graham said she got the idea for Cuddle Clones a few years back when she was resting her head on her pet Rufus, a Great Dane. At the time, she thought it would be nice to have life-size plush version of Rufus. She submitted the idea to a few business plan competitions, and encouraged by the positive feedback, she decided to turn it into a reality.

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Japanese Company Fills Offices with Cats to Help Employees Unwind and Improve Productivity

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In a cramped city like Tokyo, where owning a pet is a luxury and most apartments have strict no-pets policies, it’s hard for cat lovers to spend quality time with their favorite animals. In response, cat cafés have cropped up all over the city, where people get to sip delicious beverages while petting a purring kitty. But even that doesn’t come close to having a cat in your own home, because the time spent with the furry creatures is quite limited.

That’s why a Japanese company has come up with a great idea to get its employees to interact with pets more often – a cat-populated workplace! The offices of Ferray Corporation, an internet solutions business, is filled with nine lovable rescued cats that are allowed to roam freely all through the day. The cats are so adorable that employees of Ferray are reporting considerably lowered stress levels.

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Chinese Zoo Puts Visitors in Metal Cages, Lets Animals Roam Free

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The Lehe Ledu Wildlife Zoo in China’s Chongqing City has put a spin on the usual zoo visit experience – people pay to be locked in cages, while hungry lions and tigers roam free around them. The thrilling experience is meant to show visitors what it’s like to come face-to-face with predators, instead of just viewing them from a safe distance.

The service has proved to be hugely popular, and tickets have been sold out for the next three months. Visitors are apparently forking over their cash just to be caged in the back of a truck as it ambles around the park. To make the experience more exciting, huge chunks of raw meat are tied to the bars of the cage on the outside, just to catch the attention of the beasts and draw them closer.

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UAE Company Creates Compression Suits for Camels

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If high quality sportswear can improve performance in human athletes, then it technically should work for animals as well. Testing this theory is UAE-based camel and horse luxury products company Al Shibla. They recently launched a line of lycra-style outfits for camels, and they claim that the bizarre product has already garnered tremendous interest among stable owners in the Middle East.

It’s true that compression suits are worn by race horses around the world to improve performance, but the owners of Al Shibla believe that camels deserve the very best in comfort clothing as well. “If it’s fitting the horse, why we don’t do it for the camel?” asked Anne Wolter, co-founder and head of research and development.

Made of soft, thick material that covers the body, the suits improve blood circulation by slightly constricting blood vessels. Worn before and after training, it increases blood and oxygen supply to the muscles, reducing the lactic acid build-up that causes cramping. The animal is covered entirely, except for the head and neck.

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Man Pays $460 for Surgery to Save Life of Constipated Pet Fish

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A devoted pet owner in England recently spent nearly $500 on a complicated surgery to save the life of his favorite goldfish. The unnamed man rushed his fish to the Toll Barn Veterinary Centre in Norfolk, when he noticed that it was struggling to eliminate waste. After a thorough examination, the staff at the center informed him that a delicate surgery costing £300 ($460) was required to save his pet. The man declined at first, but he soon changed his mind and 10 minutes later, the goldfish was wheeled into surgery.

29-year-old vet Faye Bethell was given the task of performing the 50-minute procedure, which involved carefully administering anaesthetic and using tiny instruments to carefully remove lumps from the fish’s backside. She said that the three-inch fish made a full recovery after the operation, but it could have died if left untreated.

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Scientists Use Calvin Klein Perfume to Attract Jaguars

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While camera traps have been used in ecological research for decades, luring animals towards these traps requires constant innovation. And you’ll never believe what they’re now using to attract wild jaguars – Calvin Klein Obsession for Men!

According to Miguel Ordeñana, a biologist with the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles and an expert on camera traps, the idea belongs to a Bronx Zoo researcher who tried a bunch of different scents before discovering the jaguar’s affinity for Calvin Klein. What’s special about the cologne is that its two main ingredients – civetone and vanilla extract – create a combination that’s irresistible to these big cats.
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This Adorable Bird Is Apparently a Vicious Brain-Eating Zombie in Disguise

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The Great tit might seem like just a cute little bird, but don’t let its appearance fool you for. In reality, it is one of the most vicious creatures in the world. Also known as ‘The Zombie tit’, this chirping ball of feathers is a killing machine with an insatiable hunger for brains.

Scientists generally agree that modern birds are direct descendants of fierce dinosaurs like the T-Rex and Velociraptor. Of course, most of them are so small and their feathers so pretty that it’s hard for people to actually associate them with the monstrous creatures depicted in films like Jurassic Park. However, their predatory instincts have definitely passed the test of time, and this holds true for the tiny Great tit, as well. So what’s so scary about this seemingly harmless bird? Well, just that it is known to routinely seek out other birds and bats, crush their heads and feast on their brains!

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