Rest Among the Stars – Company Will Send Your Pet’s Remains into Outer Space

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Starting this fall, a Texas company called Celestis Inc, is offering a new, one-of-a-kind pet funeral service – they will send the cremated remains of people’s pets into outer space. The new initiative is called ‘Celestis Pets’, and according to the company, it’s all about helping owners ‘celebrate the life of their pet’.

Since 1997, Celestis Inc. has been in the business of taking human remains into outer space and bringing them back, including the ashes of ‘Star Trek’ creator Gene Roddenberry. This is the first time they’re extending their services to pets, in collaboration with San Diego-based ‘Into the Sunset Pet Transition Center’ to handle the remains.

“I think we’re also creating some new cultural norms,” said Steve Eisele, Director of Houston-based Celestis Pets. “Humanity has a lot of different rituals. We think we take our rituals with us when we end up traveling to different places whether they’re on this planet or off the planet,” he explained.

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Amazing Dog Travels Four Miles Every Night to Feed Her Animal Friends

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Dogs are amazing creatures and Lilica, a Brazilian stray, is a perfect example of that. She lives in a junkyard, hangs out with a motley crew, and she makes sure her friends never go hungry. Every night, Lilica walks four miles in the dark, braving the rush hour traffic, just to bring food back to the other animals in her ‘family’ – a dog, a cat, a few chickens and a mule.

Lilica was abandoned at a junkyard in San Carlos, Brazil, when she was just a puppy. Neile Vaina Antonio, the junkyard caretaker, took her in and cared for her. As she grew, she became friends with all the other animals in the junkyard. It appears that they offer each other warmth, companionship and solidarity.

Three years ago, Lilica was pregnant and had eight puppies. As her responsibilities grew, she knew she had to find a way to provide food for her cubs, as there was little to be found at the junkyard. That’s when she started going out at night, walking for miles, in search of scraps. During one of her nightly travels, Lilica was lucky enough to meet dog-lover Lucia, who took pity on her.

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Spanish Town Installs World’s First Public Toilet for Dogs

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A small town in Spain has come up with a new way of dealing with dog waste – a canine public toilet. Located along a busy thoroughfare in El Vendrell, northeastern Spain, the stainless steel contraption consists of two sections placed side by side – a doggy potty and a doggy urinal.

The potty is a raised steel platform with a covered hole. Dog owners need to lift the lid for their pets to defecate, and later press a handle to flush. Jets of water are released, which carry the excrement through underground pipes into the sewer system. Right next to the potty is the urinal – also a raised platform with small holes over which dogs can squat. The public toilet is the brainchild of dog-lover Enric Girona, who has spent over ten years observing and photographing dogs. Through his work, he recognized the need for a toilet for dogs, so he set about creating one himself. “Over the years, I’ve seen that if you train and raise dogs well, these animals can be just like humans,” he explained.

Girona invented several variants of the toilet, modifying each one as he learned more and more about dog behavior. The present version of the urinal, for example, doesn’t clean itself perfectly when flushing, because need to pick the odor so they are lured to the toilet. He also had the location in mind while designing these toilets, so they’d naturally blend into surroundings like parks and other public places. “You can’t have something that clashes with the setting,” he pointed out. “The design was done with the concept of being attractive.”

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Indian “Snake Man” Charms the World’s Deadliest Snakes

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40-year-old wildlife conservationist Vava Suresh has a way with snakes. His life’s mission is to ‘love and guard’ even the most venomous of slithery creatures – he’s already rescued over 30,000 snakes so far. His unique talent and hobby have earned him the nickname ‘Snake Man’; people all over the South Indian state of Kerala summon his expert services when they want a snake safely removed from their homes.

Suresh, who was born into a poor family in the city of Thiruvananthapuram, has a completely different perception of snakes than most people. He says that they’re gentle, lovable creatures that need kindness and protection from humans. “Snakes are a part of my life since childhood,” he said.

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Confused Cow Thinks She Is a Dog

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Milkshake may be a perfectly normal-looking cow, but she’s ‘udderly’ confused. All her best friends are dogs, she refuses to graze like all the other cows and she wants her food to be brought to her in a bowl, just like for her canine friends.You guessed it, the eight-year-old Hereford heifer thinks she is a dog!

Beth DiCaprio of the Grace Foundation, who rescued Milkshake from an abusive animal hoarder, said: “I think a lot of people think it’s like a trick. She hung out with the dogs, so I think that’s what she assumed – that’s what she is, more than a cow. She doesn’t really know. She was never around another cow.” Beth even tried getting a cow friend for her, at the El Dorado Hills ranch in California, but Milkshake still feels comfortable with the pack. She follows Beth and her mutt Riley all over the ranch. “She follows me around all day long, just like my dogs – she comes and watches me tend to all the other animals. She’s even followed me into the bathroom before, although she was a little scared of her own reflection.” Milkshake has tried to get into the backseat of Beth’s car and has no problems hanging out in her house.

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Tiny Fish Can Pick Up 300 Times Its Own Body Weight

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The northern clingfish is a species of salt-water fish that truly lives up to its name. The remarkably strong fish has such high suction powers that it can pick up and hold on to stuff that’s almost 300 times its own body weight. It can easily outperform all sorts of man-made suction cups. Scientists are now actively studying the fish so they can mimic its design and create a new class of suction devices.

There are currently around 160 known varieties of clingfish in the world, each with its own unique characteristics. There’s a tiny one that sticks itself to the individual spines of sea urchins, a deep-sea variety with not much of a sucker, and a giant one that’s about the size of your forearm. One of the most well-known varieties is the northern clingfish, thanks to studies conducted by biologist and researcher Adam Summers, from the University of Washington.

Native to the Pacific Coast of North America, the northern clingfish lives in rocky intertidal environments, where strong waves and currents can toss them out at any moment. In order to survive in its natural habitat, the clingfish has evolved an adhesion disc that covers about a quarter of its belly. Using this disc, it can stick on to almost any surfaces.

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Brown Moor Frogs Turn Blue During Mating Season

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The moor frog certainly cannot turn into a prince with true love’s kiss. But this seemingly uninteresting amphibian is capable of something quite spectacular – it changes color from a boring brown to an azure blue, just to be able to distinguish between genders during mating season. The ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures are really quite unbelievable – it looks they’re two different frogs.

A fully grown adult male moor frog is up to seven centimeters long and reddish-brown in color. But every year, between March and June, the frog exhibits chameleon-like tendencies. During this period, the frogs emerge from their winter hibernation and are naturally in the mood to procreate. They populate the ponds in the lowlands of Central and Southern Europe, completely filling the air with their mating calls. The sounds they create are similar to the noise of air released from a bottle under water.

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Meet the Jacobin Pigeons, Probably the Most Fashionable Birds in the World

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Jacobins aren’t your average, everyday pigeons that flock on your terrace and mess it up with droppings. Take one look at them and you’ll know they are a cut above the rest. How can they not be, with a royal hood of feathers that covers them from the neck up, almost entirely hiding their pretty little heads. I like to think of them as pigeons-in-parkas, which is really high fashion as far as birds are concerned.

Jacobins are one of the oldest domestic pigeon breeds in the world – an excellent exhibition breed with relatively unknown origins. Some believe that that the original breed came from India, while others think they’re natives of Cyprus. They arrived in Europe around the 16th century, where they were put through four stages of development, by breeders, until they evolved into their current state.

Although they have been bred for centuries, Jacobin pigeons have undergone remarkable changes in the past 80 years. They started off rather small, which was popular back in the day. But the current breed of Jacobins are slender and of medium size, with long flight feathers, long legs and slim tails. The most remarkable feature, the ‘rosette’, makes up the hood that completely covers the top and sides of their tiny head. In fact, the bird’s face is only visible from the front. The bigger the hood, the higher the quality of the specimen. And they always maintain an upright posture, adding to their ‘royal airs’.

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Husky Dog Raised around Cats Actually Acts Like One

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Tally, a shy husky mix, is a dog with a difference. While most dogs chase cats, Tally prefers to behave like one. Well, she can’t be blamed for it – she was raised around cats so, you know how it goes, doggy see, doggy do.

Redditor Dong_of_justice, recently put up photographs of the insanely adorable dog. She can be seen sitting around the house with her legs tucked under her body, and hanging out under the dining table or in boxes. And she never barks – the poor thing probably doesn’t even know that she can.

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This Collection of Bat-Eating Spiders Is Probably the Scariest Thing You’ll See Today

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It’s hard to imagine a fragile spider killing and eating a full-grown bat. I mean there’s no way a tiny spider could have any sort of muscle power over a fully grown bat, right? Believe or not, there are eight-legged bugs out there that can pounce on bats and eventually devour them. And when they can’t, they rely on their superior web-spinning skills to get the job done.

One of the earliest sightings of bat-eating spiders occurred way back in 1941, when Indian scientist G.C. Bhattacharya (of the Bose Research Institute) walked into a cowshed in a village near the city of Calcutta. In a letter to an unknown publication, he wrote a detailed account of his experience: “Entering into the cowshed, I noticed a pipistrelle bat struggling to drag itself out of a crevice between two bamboo strips of a wall and a big house-spider was seen firmly gripping the former by the neck with its powerful mandibles.” No matter how much the little bat kicked, and screamed and flailed, the spider held on with a death-grip. “There was intermittent gasping and screaming of the bat,” Bhattacharya wrote.

Eventually, he focused a torch on the spot and as soon as the light fell on the pair, the bat screamed loudly and managed to drag itself through a certain distance on the matted shed wall. About 20 minutes later, the bat, thoroughly exhausted, stretched out its wing and gave in.   Bhattacharya then captured both victim and predator in a glass jar and took them home for closer observation. The next morning, he found the spider resting peacefully at the top of the jar, while the bat lay dead at the bottom, untouched. It had visible injuries to its neck and had died sometime during the night.

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Hemeroplanes Triptolemus – The Creepy Snake That’s Actually a Harmless Caterpillar

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Looking at a photo of Hemeroplanes triptolemus, nine out of ten people would swear it’s a snake. But look closer, and you’ll realize there’s something peculiar about it – the body is unusually short and ends abruptly with a large reptilian head. The truth is, it’s not a snake at all. The Hemeroplanes is actually a caterpillar pretending to be a snake. And it does a darn good impression of the deadly creature, often fooling curious travelers and predators alike.

Hemeroplanes are moths of to the Sphingidae family, found in many parts of South America, Africa and Central America. In the larval form, they are capable of expanding their anterior body segments to closely resemble a snake, complete with reptilian scales and scary eyes. To make their mimicking act even more believable, the harmless caterpillar will sometimes even snap at potential predators. Of course, they have no real fangs so they can’t really do any serious damage, but their appearance is convincing enough to scare even humans away,

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Aviation-Themed Film Studio Opens Fear of Flying School for Dogs

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For the first time ever, Air Hollywood, an aviation-themed film studio in Los Angeles, is offering a unique service for dogs – classes to help man’s best friend overcome fear of flying.

The idea for the school came to ‘Air Hollywood’ owner Talaat Captan, after he witnessed an uptight dog and an equally uptight owner struggling to pass through airport security. “There was a light bulb right on top of my head, saying, I have all these big facilities, millions of dollars’ worth of sets, why don’t I do something really useful? And that’s how it all started,” he said. So he developed the concept for the fear of flying school, and it turned out to be a big hit with pet owners.

“Getting to practice it, I would feel comfortable going on an airplane with my dog. I would know exactly what to do.” said Stacey Huckbea, one of the instructors at the school. The dogs and their owners are trained quite thoroughly on the entire aviation experience – checking in, going through the terminal, TSA screening, and boarding an airplane. The school also simulates take off turbulence and landing in a fake airplane that sits on a working sound stage used for TV and movie productions.

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Amazing Lyrebirds Can Mimic Any Sound They Hear, from Other Birds to Chainsaws, Car Alarms or Camera Shutters

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Male Lyrebirds, native to Australia, are considered the rock stars of the aviary world. These amazing creatures can imitate the sounds of at least 20 different species of birds almost to perfection as well as any other sounds they hear in their environment, from camera shutters to car alarms and chainsaws. And just like human rock stars, the lyrebirds use their best sounds to attract and impress the females.

Although beautiful in their own way, female lyrebirds aren’t exactly spectacular. They don’t take part in the imitating, nor are they particularly attractive. But the males put up an elaborate show, singing a medley of mimicry to attract the females during mating season. They even set the stage beforehand, by clearing a space on the forest floor and building a mound of earth to serve as a concert platform.

Later, they assume their positions on these mounds and the mimicry begins. As they sing, they spread out their handsome 28-inch long tail feathers, enhancing the performance a great deal. But the song is the most important part. The more varied the repertoire, the more attractive the male lyrebirds seem to their potential mates. This is important, because the females need to be persuaded to come closer to admire the pretty plumage. And what better way to do it than with a great song?

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The Tame Deer of Miyajima Island Are Starving to Death

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The deer of Japan’s Miyajima Island are quite tame – they freely roam the city’s streets and almost entirely depend on humans for food. For several years, they survived purely on the crackers and other food that tourists fed them. But in a bid to reduce their population, the government decided to ban the feeding of the deer. And now the poor animals are almost starving to death.

At one point, these small, red-brown deer were revered and worshipped by the locals. After WWII, when the number of deer had reduced greatly, people decided to invite them out of the wild and offer them food. Slowly, the deer became an international tourist attraction – people arrived by the thousands to see the tame deer of Miyajima. And of course, they wanted to feed the animals themselves. Several vendors sold rice crackers that the tourists could feed to the deer.

During this time, many reports suggested that the deer still had wild tendencies. Sign boards warned tourists that teasing the deer or getting to close to them could lead to injury. Not too long ago, a tourist blogged about her experience feeding the creatures – when her friend couldn’t get the crackers out of the packet soon enough, a deer attacked her and bit her on the knee. The girl retaliated by slapping the offender’s nose and managed to infuriate the locals, as the deer are sacred and should not be harmed.

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Recycling Tokyo Crows Build Their Nests Out of Coat Hangers

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Crows are known to be highly intelligent birds, and it looks like they can now teach us a thing or two about recycling and stealing. The Asian Jungle Crow, a large-billed crow, actually builds its nest out of coat hangers that it steals from people’s homes!

Crows make use of pretty much anything they find lying around to build their hardy nests. House Crows generally build crude structures, made of interlocking twigs gathered from surrounding trees and shrubs. They weave the twigs together with little pieces of metallic wire that strengthen the nest structure. In some nests, the clever crows incorporate knotted lengths of thick plastic instead.

But perhaps the most amazing crow nests are the ones built around Tokyo, Japan. Twigs and other natural materials are hard to come by in the busy metropolis, so the birds settle for the next best thing, and that seems to be coat hangers. You have got to see pictures to believe it! A blogger had posted some of these images way back in 2005, after solving the mystery of the missing hangers from her back yard. But it isn’t just the one nest – it seems that Japanese Jungle Crows are compulsive collectors of hangers!

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