Fascinating Orchid Mantis Mimics Flowers to Attract Unsuspecting Prey

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The orchid mantis, named after the flower it strikingly resembles, fools prey and predators alike. Its imitation of orchids is so convincing that insects are more attracted to it than the real deal.

Camouflage isn’t a strange concept; many animals and insects adopt clever disguises to avoid predators. But orchid mantises are unique. They stand out instead of blending in, beating orchids at their own game.

Most people find insects gross and disturbing. I must confess, I’m one of them. But I caught myself admiring pictures of orchid mantises. They are such beautiful creatures with their petal-shaped legs and rich pink, white and purple bodies. These features create a “tantalizing lure” for insects, says James O’Hanlon from Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia.

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Unique Archerfish Spits Jets of Water to Shoot Down Its Prey

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The water-pistol is a harmless toy for children, but apparently it can be a lethal weapon too. This particular species of fish makes use of water jets and the laws of physics to aim at and stun its prey.

The aptly named archerfish employs a unique process to hunt land based insects and small animals – it aims, spits, and stuns. It lurks under the surface of the water, waiting for unsuspecting insects to land nearby. Then, it spits out water jets at a great force, instantly killing the prey. The entire process takes just one-tenth of a second.

An archerfish can bring down insects as far as three meters above the water’s surface. Once it selects the prey, it rotates its eyes so that the prey’s image falls on a particular part of the eye. Then it presses its tongue against the groove on the roof of its mouth to form a narrow channel, and contracts its gill covers to issue a powerful jet of water through the channel. The power of this shot can be altered for prey of different sizes. The jet can be up to five meters long.

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The Unbelievably Cute Blacknose Sheep of Valais

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The Valais Blacknose sheep are some of the cutest animals I’ve ever seen. On first glance, they don’t even look real; many people have mistaken them for well-crafted felt projects. I wonder why they aren’t more popular on the internet. They do have a Facebook fan page with over 3,500 likes, butI think they ought to be more well-known.

The Blacknose sheep originate in the Valais region of Switzerland. They are a dual-purpose breed, raised for wool as well as meat. Their most notable features – a black face, black ears, black knees and legs. The rest of their coat is stringy, white and unbelievably fluffy; you’d just want to cuddle up with them. But they’re a pretty tough breed.

The Valais Blacknose are a Heritage breed. These domesticated animals are well suited to live in the extreme climatic conditions of the high mountains and are good at grazing on steep, rocky slopes. Each sheep weighs 80 to 100 kilos and produces about 4 kilos of wool a year. Their earliest mention dates back to 1400 A.D., but they were first recognized as a separate breed in 1962.

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Indian “Lady Tarzan” Talks to Elephants and They Listen

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14-year-old Nirmala Toppo is the heroine of Rourkela, an industrial city located in the Indian state of Odisha, after she talked the elephants that had invaded the settlement into returning to the forest.

The Catholic girl from Jharkland claims she began talking to elephants after her mother was killed by some pachyderms. “I then decided to learn the techniques to drive them away”. The technique Nirmala refers to involves praying and literally talking to the elephants. “First I pray and then talk to the herd. They understand what I say”. By using these simple “tricks”, the girl helped the authorities of Rourkela deal with a herd of elephants that had settled in a residential area of the city. “When the herd entered the city, we tried our best to contain its movement. We managed to make the herd go into the local football stadium, but we were not sure how we could drive them back to the forest. It was a difficult task,” forest official P. K. Dhola said. Out of options and pressed for time, they remembered that there was someone who could help them. “We knew of a tribal girl who lived in Jharkhand, who talked to elephants and was able to drive them back. We called up her father and she arrived along with some other tribal people from her village”.

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The Komondor – Nature’s Adorable Living Mop

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The Komondor is undoubtedly one of the oldest and most unique-looking dog breeds in the world. It was mentioned for the first time in the Code of Hammurabi (a set of laws created by the Babylonian king Hammurabi around 1750 BC). However, the Komondor is nowadays considered Hungary’s traditional dog.

The first thing you’ll notice about these dogs is their resemblance to giant mops: indeed, their 2000-cord coat alone weighs around 15 pounds (30 kilos) and they are approximately three feet tall (a bit over 90 centimeters). The Komondor’s cords develop during its first two years of life and their length increases with time, as the coat grows. Thankfully, the dog doesn’t need brushing, but you do have to separate the cords, which may take a while, as they tend to get tangled. If the dog’s natural look is maintained, which means letting its corded coat grow long, you’ll be able to notice its distinctive rectangular shape. These adorable leaving mops were used as livestock guard dogs, and with their corded coat acting as camouflage they were especially useful for guarding sheep. The Komondor breed is believed to have been so efficient at its task that it nearly wiped out all Hungary’s wolf population.

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The Unbelievable Story of Mike the Headless Chicken

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According to Mike the chicken, losing your head is not that bad as it’s thought to be. You better believe it since this one of a kind rooster lived headless for two years and became world-famous for it.

Mike became “the Headless Chicken” on September 10th, 1945 after being decapitated by his owner, Lloyd Olsen from Fruita, Colorado, who wanted to cook him for dinner. During Mike’s attempted decapitation, Llyod hit all the wrong (or right) spots, leaving Mike headless but still alive. Baffled, the owner had a change of heart and decided to nurse the rooster back to health. Mike shook off the upsetting incident and shortly after, started pecking around and grooming his feathers as if nothing had happened. Well, he couldn’t really do all those things because without a head the bird couldn’t eat, drink or see but that didn’t stop him from trying! After feeding him grains and quenching his thirst, Olsen took Mike to the University of Utah where flabbergasted scientists took a close look at the death-defying chicken. According to them, a blood clot prevented Mike from bleeding to death after Olsen’s ax had missed the jugular. As if by miracle, Mike was still left with his left ear and most of his brain stem intact which was enough to keep this feathered critter healthy for the following two years of his life. Apparently chicken’s reflexes lie in their brain stem which explains why Mike still attempted to peck and even sing – gurgle rather, despite his handicap.  Olsen swore to take care of him for the rest of his life, feeding him milk and water with syringes. Mike was doing so well, he even gained weight determining Lloyd to call him a “robust chicken – a fine specimen of a chicken except for not having a head.”

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Disney’s 101 Dalmatians Inspires Dog Lover to Take in as Many Spotted Canines as He Can Find

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Nelson Vergara loved the movie “101 Dalmatians” so much that after watching it, he couldn’t help himself from adopting any spotted dog that crossed his path. His love and dedication for Dalmatians is well known throughout his hometown of Santiago, Chile where he is called the “Dalmatian Man,” a name he got from the 42 liver spotted canines living in his backyard. Vergara is so obsessed with the popular breed that he even painted black dots on his white van.

“It all started because of that film,” Vergara says. “That was computer-generated. But I wanted to do the real thing.” But the true reasons behind his passion is to save the millions of stray dogs which roam Chile’s streets every day. The number rises even further during working hours when pet owners leave their dogs outside. These dogs are not very well taken care of either – they are never sprayed for fleas or neutered. Vergara’s intentions are purely humanitarian for he wants to raise awareness about the growing number of stray dogs which the country’s Humane Society considers alarming.

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China’s Bizarre Pet Craze – Puppies Painted with Toxic Varnish to Make Them Look Like Unique Breeds

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In 2010, the Year of the Tiger,  a series of pictures showing orange puppies with black stripes caused controversy in China after they were posted online. Hoping to make a profit off them, some vendors had started selling striped dogs under the false pretense that they were a new breed.  At the time, everybody questioned the authenticity of those photos, not knowing if they were photoshopped, if the puppies where genetically altered or simply painted, but now everyone knows the truth. These are “one week puppies” a name that hints at their short life expectancy due to the toxicity of the varnish they are painted with. Believe it or not, they are still very popular in China.

It seems making your canine companion look like other animals using toxic varnish has become very popular in China. Pandas and tigers are especially sought after and dogs resembling these animals have been showing up in every city. “I have seen this kind of dog more than once in China, once in ZhuHai last fall and then in the city of Guangzhou. Both times the dogs were for sale from a street vendor, they were not all the same color, but they were all striped. The only thing I can think is that the stripes are spray painted on,” a woman wrote on a forum. The coloring process used in the case of the “Bengal dogs” (tiger-skinned dogs) must have required some powerful chemicals as the people curious enough to buy a striped individual reported that the dog was very ill. “I recently bought one of these dogs in Beijing China,” another person wrote . “I got it home and it was very dehydrated. I took it to the vet today and they confirmed that its hair had been dyed. It is a black dog, that gets to be about medium size. They dye the orange part, that’s why the orange is never around the eyes, or nose, and the stripes are so uniform. The vet stated that the dye would wear off in about 2 months, and that the dog would be healthy unless we continued to dye the dog,” he detailed.

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Snoopybabe, the Cute Flat-Faced Cat Taking the Chinese Internet by Storm

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Do you think mastering social media is hard? Apparently, it’s so easy even a cat can do it. Snoopybabe is China’s new internet sensation with 275,000 followers on Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter and 190,000 fans on Instagram.  Hailing from the Sichuan Province, Snoopybabe, an American short-hair and Persian crossbreed, has taken the Chinese interwebs by storm with his cute short snout, innocent brown eyes and charming outfits.

His owner, Miss Ning started posting pictures of Snoopybabe a while back to show him off to her friends. She did not expect the huge attention the two-year old cat attracted. As she posted more videos and pictures of him in different poses and dressed in colorful clothing accessorized with elegant neck pieces, his popularity grew exponentially. He soon reached the same popularity level as already well-established felines such as Tardar Sauce aka Grumpy Cat or Maru. These adorable kitties have become irresistible even to big cat food companies such as Friskies which named Grumpy as their spokescat this month.

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Chinese Zoo Visitors Play Tug of War with Tigers Using Live Chickens

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Who would win in a fight between a man and a tiger? What about a man, a tiger and a chicken? The elusive question has now been answered thanks to some curious visitors of the Changsha Ecological Zoo who played tug of war with caged tigers using live chickens.

According to the zoo staff, when lying around with nothing to do and having food served to them, zoo animals often become lazy, overweight and even lose interest in any kind of physical or intellectual stimulation. They came up with a very interesting but controversial way of keeping the animals in shape through tug of war games. The game is as simple as it gets: the visitors pull at one end of a rope and at the other, the tiger bites and pulls at a hessian bag with a live chicken inside. The chicken is an added bonus meant to engage the tiger’s interest and keep him on his toes. Apart from training the animals, the game was designed as a mean of entertainment for the upcoming National Day Holiday. For 45 yuan ($7), anyone can play and it seems there are many courageous folks willing to measure their strength against the powerful beasts. So far, the tigers are in the lead, winning most of the tug of war games, with one 4 year old Siberian tiger demonstrating his muscle superiority by tackling 7 men at the same time.

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Feline Fashion Calendar Features Stylish Cats Wearing Runway-Ready Designer Clothes

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Do you wish that your cat was just as fashionable as you? Now you can both wear couture designs courtesy of United Bamboo’s kitty clothing line. United Bamboo, a well-known fashion brand has been making calendars for three years now featuring cats dressed up in miniature versions of their most valued designs.

Wearing exact copies of runway clothing, the felines featured in the first issue belonged to friends and family. But soon the brand felt the need to start an Instagram campaign in order to find the most fashion forward cat lovers whose companions not only looked stylish in designer clothes but also looked good on camera. A number of kitties have been selected so far but the competition is tough and not all of them are going to make it in the 2014 issue. Some cats are already popular models such as Jasper, a part Maine coon, part domestic longhair cat who wears a red duffle parka on top of a striped shirt and is featured on the first month of the calendar. Another favorite, Huxtable, a hairless gentle-tomcat who loves “to hang out on people’s shoulders and will walk on a leash!” is wearing a simple yet stylish blouse and a black wool jumper. There is also sociaholic Prince Snowflake dressed in the brand’s colored binding coat, and toothpaste-phobic Gertrude wearing a sparkly dress. All the stars of the calendar are photographed by cat enthusiast Noah Sheldon, while the calendar itself is designed by Studio Lin.

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Brazilian Man to Marry Pet Goat in Devil’s Curch

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Aparecido Castaldo, a retired stone cutter from Jundiai, Brazil has decided to marry his beloved Carmella, a goat. Because no Christian minister would agree to perform the marriage ceremony, the two will be wed by a known satanic leader, in the Church of the Devil.

People have married their pets in the past, although in most cases the marriage ceremony was just a symbolic one performed by family or friends. However, 74-year old Aparecido Castaldo, a widower and father-of-seven, apparently wanted to be united with his goat Carmela in a church, by an evangelical minister. Unfortunately, none of the churches he contacted with his unusual request wanted to perform the ceremony, so Aparecido eventually contacted Toninho do Diabo (Tom the Devil), an old friend who just happens to be one of the most famous satanists in Brazil. The wedding is scheduled to take place at midnight, on October 13, at the Devil’s Church, in Sao Paolo. ”Only our church accepted this love between man and animal because we have no prejudice,” Toninho said.

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Bugs the Size of Your Hand – The Titan Beetle

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As its name suggests, the Titanus giganteus, or Titan Beetle, is a giant of the insect world. Adults can grow up to 6.5 inches (16.7 cm) long and have incredibly strong jaws that can snap wooden pencils in half, so just imagine what they could do to your fingers. Luckily, these scary-looking bugs are quite harmless to humans.

The Titan beetle is one of the most mysterious creatures on Earth. It lives unobtrusively deep in some of the South America’s  hottest tropical rain forests and only ventures out when seeking out mates. The larvae of this amazing insect have never been found, but judging by the large boreholes found in dead trees in their natural habitat, scientists believe Titan beetle grubs feed on decaying wood below ground for several years before reaching maturity. The size of these holes suggests the grubs are around two inches in diameter and up to a foot long. Just like the Atlas Moth, the Titan beetle doesn’t feed during its adult life cycle, using the reserves gathered in its pupa stage to fly around long enough to find a mate. Because they mostly sit around waiting for males to seek them out and fertilize their eggs, females have rarely been spotted.

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Fashionable Chicken Pets Wear Diapers and Colorful Outfits

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Statistics show a growing number of American families are replacing cats and dogs with chicken as household pets, so I guess it’s no wonder we’re starting to see things like chicken outfits, diapers and saddles being sold online.

Julie Baker is the owner of Pampered Chickens, an online business that sells a variety of accessories for pet chickens. She got the idea for bird diapers when her feathered friends started spending less time in the backyard and more time inside the house. They were making a mess, so she tried sewing chicken-sized cloth diapers, added some buttons and strapped them on the birds. It worked like a charm, and before long the idea turned into a business. These days Julie sells between 50 and 100 chicken diapers, as well fashionable outfits and protective saddles to urban hen owners across the United States. ”Saddles are almost more useful than the diaper, quite frankly,” Baker told The Salt. ”A rooster isn’t particularly kind to a hen when they mate. He grabs her by the back and pulls her feathers out. The hen ends up with a completely bare back. It gets raw and bleeds a little bit.” Her family has been a part of the poultry show community for a long time, and when friends saw her pets’ colorful garments, they started asking where she got them. before she new it, orders started rolling in.

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Fluffy Cows – Models of the Bovine World

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Have you ever seen a cow that you simply couldn’t help want to cuddle? I hadn’t, until I saw these photos of extremely fluffy show calves that look like they’re modelling for some kind of bovine fashion magazine.

I first spotted these real-life plush cows on Reddit a few days ago, and I simply fell in love with them. Not in a deranged way, but I just found them irresistible and wished I had one of my own so I could sink my face in its fluffiness. Okay, enough about my weird self. These cows don’t belong to any particular breed. They are show calves, a cross between two different high-quality breeds, bred for bovine show-business. That means that apart from their genetic characteristics, owners go out of their way to make sure the cows look their best. Special feeding, basic manners training and grooming are all part of the show calf world, and believe me when I tell you a lot of effort goes into styling cattle. Just think of them as girls, but with their very own conditioners, hair sprays and lotions. Show calf trimming is also considered an art form among cattle enthusiasts, as it gives the animals that Photoshop-like boxy shape. But as you can see in the photos below, the results are nothing short of spectacular.

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