Japanese Women Are Falling Hard for a “Handsome” Gorilla Named Shabani

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Meet Shabani, a handsome male gorilla that has managed to steal the hearts of young women all over Japan. He is fondly known as ‘ikimen’, a Japanese term for ‘good-looking man’, and some have even hailed him as the animal-world equivalent of George Clooney or Hugh Jackman!

Shabani, who grew up in an Australian zoo, has been living at Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens in Nagoya, Japan, since 2007. The western lowland gorilla is blessed with a shiny black coat and a macho brooding expression that make him very photogenic. In fact, his photos have gone viral on Twitter, where fans have shared them thousands of times over with comments like: “he’s too handsome!”

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This Wasp’s Sting Is So Excruciating You can’t Help but Fall Down and Start Screaming

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The Tarantula Hawk is a type of wasp with an excruciatingly painful sting that lasts only three minutes, but feels like a lifetime. The pain, rated four (highest) on the Schmidt sting pain index,  is best described as “fiercely electric”. Bug experts and people who have been stung claim the pain is a lot like getting electrocuted. And the best strategy to deal with it is – get this – to lie down and start screaming!

According to a report in the Journal of the Kansas Entomology Society, “Tarantula hawks produce large quantities of venom and their stings produce immediate, intense, excruciating short term pain in envenomed humans.” The report adds that “the instantaneous pain of a tarantula hawk sting is the greatest recorded for any stinging insect,” but “the venom itself lacks meaningful vertebrate toxicity.” In other words, the wasp’s sting isn’t deadly, but it’s so painful that it’ll make you want to die.

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Kindhearted Woman Saves 100 Dogs From Being Eaten During Controversial Festival

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A 65-year-old dog lover from China, has gone to great lengths to save as many dogs as she possibly could from being eaten during this year’s Yulin Dog Meat Festival. She managed to pay around $1,000 for the release of 100 otherwise doomed canines. It may not sound like much, but the media attention her actions got in international media also helped raise awareness about the cruel festival, thus increasing the chances of it being banned in the near future.

Yang Xiaoyun, a retired school teacher from Tianjin, China, traveled 1,500 miles from her home to the city of Yulin, to save scores of dogs from being slaughtered and eaten during the Dog Meat Festival. Photos shared on Chinese internet portal Netease show the 65-year-old woman walking through a market where dogs were kept in cages and paying for various sums of money for their release. Reports say she ended up paying 7,000 yuan ($1,000) to save 100 dogs.

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Hero Landmine-Sniffing Rats Are Saving Human Lives in Africa

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Rats are normally classified as vermin, but they can be heroes too. Proving the fact is APOPO, a Belgian NGO that trains African giant pouched rats to sniff out landmines and tuberculosis infections. Since 2006, these ‘hero rats’ have been working on minefields in Mozambique, clearing the country of over 13,000 landmines, thus reclaiming over 11 million square meters of land. They’ve also accurately analyzed over a quarter of a million blood samples for TB infections.

Bart Weetjens, founder of APOPO, first came up with the idea of training sniffer rats a couple of decades ago, when he was a student at the University of Antwerp. He used to keep pet rodents as a boy, so he knew that they were “very trainable, sociable, and intelligent creatures.” So when he read an article about gerbils being taught to recognise the scent of explosives, it got him thinking.

Weetjens wanted to use his experience of dealing with rodents to find a locally-sourced resolution to the problem of landmines. “I was looking for an appropriate solution that communities at the bottom of the pyramid could use, independent from expensive foreign know-how and technology,” he said. So he placed himself in the situation of the people affected by the problem, and looked at the resources they had at hand.

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The Glowing Firefly Squids of Toyama Bay

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Every year, between March and June, the 14-km shoreline of Japan’s Toyama Bay is lit up in blue. The electrifying light show isn’t man-made; it’s a natural phenomenon, caused by thousands of bioluminescent cephalopods known as ‘Glowing Firefly Squids’. These fascinating creatures normally live 1,200 ft underwater, but are pushed to the surface by waves during the Hotaru Ika (firefly squid) season.

Firefly Squid, or Watasenia Scintillans, are normally about three inches long and covered with photophores. Large photophores are present around their eyes and on the tips of their tentacles, while tiny photophores cover the entire body. These photophores contain light-producing chemicals that are responsible for the squid’s bioluminescence. Fireflies have similar photophores, so the squid are named after them.

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Rare Vietnamese Chicken Breed Has the Weirdest Legs You’ve Ever Seen

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You might find its freakishly butch legs rather repulsive, but believe it or not, the Dong Tao chicken is incredibly popular in Vietnam. Once reserved for royalty and ritual offerings, the rare breed is now prized by chicken breeders and its meat is served in exclusive restaurants that cater to the wealthy.

An adult Dong Tao chicken can grow up to weigh three to six kilograms, with legs as thick as a human’s wrist. The hens are generally white, while the cocks have colorful feathers. Dong Tao meat is considered far more delicious than regular chickens, explaining its high demand and incredibly steep price tag.

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Rare Condition Gives Cat Creepy Alien Eyes

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Matilda the cat is well on her way to becoming an internet sensation, thanks to her large, glassy, ‘alien’ eyes. Her mysterious appearance has earned her over 33,000 followers on Instagram and that number is about to skyrocket now that her photos have gone viral.

Sadly, Matilda’s story isn’t as amusing as it seems. The two-year-old tabby suffers from a rare condition that’s only getting worse as she grows older. Matilda’s anonymous owners, who refer to themselves as her ‘servants’, have revealed that she used to be pretty normal as a kitten, with the exception of having a ‘squinty eye’ from time to time.

“Matilda lives with her loving servants who include The Bearded Man, The Lady and Dog,” the servants write on Matilda’s official site. “She was born on Valentine’s Day in 2013 in a hoarder house in a small town, and was quickly picked up by a rescue society. When she found her forever home she was only 12 weeks old and the cutest, teensiest thing that anyone had ever seen.”

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Harmless Caterpillar Mimics Menacing Snake Head to Fool Predators

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Meet the Dynastor darius darius, a harmless caterpillar with astounding survival skills. In order to avoid being attacked by predators during its pupal stage (when the larvae transform into butterflies or moths), the helpless creature takes on the form of a rather menacing snake!

Native to Trinidad, the shape-shifting D. darius often mimics the head of a Gaboon pit viper, successfully fooling even the toughest of its predators. After it sheds its final layer of skin, the caterpillar enters its pupal stage, and its chrysalis takes the shape of a viper’s head. The transformation lasts 13 days, during which time this mimicry is its only line of defense. To make the appearance even more believable, the scary-looking chrysalis hangs on the underside of forest leaves at a carefully selected angle.

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Patient Japanese Man Takes Pet Giant Tortoise Out for Long Walks

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A Japanese man and his adorable pet tortoise have become internet sensations after photos of them strolling along the streets of Tokyo went viral. The man – funeral director Mitani Hisao – revealed that the tortoise has been his pet for the past 19 years, taking the place of the child he never had.

Hisao added that the African spurred tortoise was a tiny baby, only five cm in diameter, when he first spotted it in a pet-store window. “I never had any children, but 19 years ago my wife caught the eyes of this little tortoise and felt an instant bond with him,” he said. “I couldn’t leave the store without it.” So they adopted the little creature, named it Bon-chan, and cared for it as they would a child.

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Roger the Kangaroo Crushes Metal Buckets with His Bare Paws, Poses Like a True Bodybuilder

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Meet Roger, the alpha male at the Kangaroo Sanctuary in Alice Springs, Australia. When he’s not too busy fighting off younger males for the title of supreme leader, Roger likes to show off his muscles and practice his kickboxing moves.

If you’re an aspiring bodybuilder desperate enough to accept tips from a kangaroo, you should know his favorite training exercise is crushing his metal feed bucket with his bare paws. Sure, it sounds extreme, but just look at Roger’s guns!

You can tell he knows he looks good, too. The way he flexes for the camera and stares menacingly into the lens, he’s a natural superstar.

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In This Brazilian Town Dolphins Have Been Helping Locals Fish for Over a Century

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Fishermen from the Brazilian town of Laguna have developed a unique symbiotic relationship with dolphins: they rely on the intelligent creatures to help them catch fish! Studies have revealed that there’s a particular group of about 20 bottlenose dolphins that work alongside the fishermen, while the rest of the local dolphins prefer to look for food on their own.

The dolphins work together to herd groups of mullet towards the fishermen. They then use head- or fin-signals to alert the fishermen as to when and where the nets should be thrown. The system works well for both parties: neither could survive without the other. The fishermen get to catch all the fish they need, while most of the stray fish that manage to escape the nets swim right into the dolphins’ mouths. The water is so murky near Laguna that the fishermen could never catch fish as efficiently without the dolphins’ help. That’s why they only fish when the marine mammals show up.

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Dogs with Perfectly Square or Round Haircuts Are All the Rage in Taiwan

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A bizarre new dog grooming trend in Taiwan has dog owners giving their pet pooches square or round haircuts. Canine hairdressers all over Taipei are up to date on the special technique required for these eccentric makeovers.

“It came about because people were always looking for more impressive haircuts, and somebody came up with the idea of shaping the dog like a hedge,” parlour owner Tain Yeh says. It started with a few people opting for these haircuts and sharing their pets’ photographs online, after which the trend caught on. Thousands of pet owners are now approaching salons, asking for their dogs’ hair to be cut in geometric patterns. Some are actually doing it simply to gain more likes and shares!

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This Famous Dutch Owl Loves to Land on People’s Heads

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A strange owl in the Dutch town of Noordeinde has become famous for its penchant for landing on people’s heads. It seems that the bird simply lands on people who happen to be walking by, for no apparent reason!

Apparently, a fence or a tree just isn’t good enough for the beautiful European eagle owl, weighing around six pounds. It only lands on people’s heads, staying perched for about a minute before flying off in search of its next target.

The residents of Noordeinde aren’t bothered by the owl one bit. In fact, they’re quite delighted with all the attention that their town is receiving, thanks to the wild bird. “I’ve seen photographers and birders from around the country, from The Hague to Spijkenisse, they come from everywhere to see the eagle owl,” a cheerful resident said. “Our village is finally on the map!”

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Stray Dog Who Followed Extreme Sports Team During Grueling Amazon Race Melts Internet Hearts

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When a team of Swedish athletes trekking through the Ecuadorian rainforest last year sat down for a meal of canned meat, they were joined by the most unusual dinner guest – a scruffy old stray dog. They felt sorry for the poor creature and gave him some of their food, but little did they expect that the small gesture of kindness would earn them a friend for life. From that moment on the dog never left their side, following them through the rough terrain for the entire duration of the trek!

The group of four trekkers happened to be navigating the final two stages of the 430-mile Adventure Racing World Championship, during the time that the dog – whom they later named Arthur – befriended them. “I had just opened a food pack when I saw a scruffy miserable dog in the corner of my eye,” said team member Mikaels Lindord. “I thought he was hungry and gave him a meatball. Then I thought no more of it.”

But the act certainly made an impression on Arthur, who refused to leave his new master’s side. Despite his ill health, he kept up with the team through every gruelling task. He swam alongside them while they kayaked down rivers, dragged himself up treacherous hills as they hiked, and even managed to pull himself through knee-deep mud during treks.

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Colorado Lake Becomes Giant Fish Bowl after Dumped Goldfish Multiply by the Thousands

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Releasing pet fish into a lake might sound like a kind thing to do, but in fact, it is quite the opposite. Teller Lake in Boulder, Colorado, is making headlines for a bizarre surge in its goldfish population, after someone apparently dumped three or four of them in its waters a couple of years ago. The lake is now home to a whopping 3,000 to 4,000 goldfish that are putting its delicate ecosystem in danger.

The fish have multiplied beyond control – they’re eating up all the resources, spreading unnatural diseases, and threatening to overrun the lake’s natural species. Colorado wildlife officials say that humans are to blame.

“Dumping your pets into a lake could bring diseases to native animals and plants as well as out-compete them for resources,” said Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) spokesperson Jennifer Churchill. “Everything can be affected. Non-native species can potentially wipe out the fishery as we’ve put it together.”

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