The Squirrel Whisperer of Penn State University

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22-year-old Mary Krupa started interacting with the squirrels living on the Penn State University campus four years ago, and became an internet sensation after posting photos of the adorable rodents wearing tiny outfits and posing with various props. Today, everyone at the university knows her as the “Squirrel Whisperer” or “Squirrel Girl”.

Mary says that she became friends with the grey squirrels during her first week at Penn State, after spotting them running around and idly wondering what one of them would look like with a tiny hat on its head. She started bringing them food, and little by little they began to trust her. She actually managed to put a hat on a squirrel and take a picture, which she then sent to her grandmother, who loved it. Thinking that her Penn State colleagues could use something to lift up their spirits, she started posting photos of the squirrels wearing funny hats and playing with props she made herself, on Facebook. The response was overwhelmingly positive, and before long Mary and her squirrels became internet sensations.

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Someone Is Meticulously Shaving Kittens and Selling Them as Hairless Sphynx

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A number of people looking to buy hairless Sphynx cats for cheap fell victim to a scammer who meticulously shaves regular kittens to make them look exactly like the exotic breed.

Genuine Sphynx cats usually sell for $1,000 or more, so when Shayla Bastarache, from Alberta, Canada, saw an ad for a Sphynx kitten for just $650, last month, she thought it was too good a deal to pass up. There was no photo attached to the ad, but the price was so enticing that she agreed to meet the seller in a gas station parking lot an hour north of Calgary, at night. She handed him the money and received two hairless kittens, one for herself and one for a friend. Bastarache says she only realized that she had been scammed two weeks later, when both felines grew a thick coat and were revealed to be regular house cats. The cat lover, who owns two genuine Sphynx cats – for one of which she had paid $1,500 – said she was amazed by how thoroughly the animals had been shaved. “I don’t know how she did it,” Bastarche told reporters.

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Heartless Family Abandons Loving Dog at Shelter, Wants to Adopt a New One

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The staff at a dog shelter in Downey, California, recently had to go through one of the most heartbreaking experiences of their lives – watching a rescued dog get all excited after seeing its family walk through the door, only to learn that they weren’t there to take the pooch home, but pick out another dog.

Zuzu, a 2-year-old German Shepherd mix had been brought to the Downey Animal Care Center after being picked up from someone’s yard. Shelter staff thought she was a stray, but they showed her the same love and affection they do all their canine residents. Still, despite their best efforts, they could tell that Zuzu was miserable, for some reason. “She is a friendly girl but I sensed sadness and confusion,” volunteer Desi Lara said. “Most dogs zoom around the yard. She treaded softly, nervous to look around.” But her attitude suddenly changed one day, when a family came through the gates. As they walked by her enclosure, Zuzu was wagging her tail, barking and looked overjoyed. At the same time, these people began to pet her and talk to her through the fence. You could tell they knew each other very well.

“With her fast wagging tail seeing her owners Zuzu lit up like a Christmas Tree. She looked like the happiest dog. Yeah, she’s going home,” Desi Lara wrote on Facebook. “But no. Talking to her owners they told me they were not here to reclaim her, they were getting another dog.”

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Company Creates World’s First Running Shoes for Horses

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For over 2000 years, the good ol’ iron horseshoe has remained the only reliable footwear for horses, but an Austrian company is ready to “take the horse out of the Iron Age” with the world’s first equine running shoes, the Megasus Horserunners.

Charly Forstner, the founder of Megasus, used to work as an animal welfare inspector for horses in Austria. He learned that over 50% of horses that needed to be put down suffered from severe hoof and leg problems. 20 years ago, he decided to dedicate his life to coming up with a better alternative to the iron horseshoe. Over the last two decades, he invented various hoof protection products made of plastic, like the ‘Dynamix’ or the ‘Easywalker’, but he recently unveiled something truly revolutionary – clip-on running shoes for horses. Forstener claims that they combine the qualities of both the common horseshoe and the hoof boot to offer horses the protection and freedom of movement that they require.

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Owning a Specimen of the World’s Rarest, Most Controversial Cat Breed Costs $23,000

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Created by crossing a wild Caracal and an Abyssinian cat, the Caracat is currently the world’s rarest and most expensive cat breed. It numbers only 30 specimens, and owning one costs 1.5 million Russian rubles, or $23,400.

Wild Caracals have long been revered for their exotic beauty and elegance. In ancient Egypt they were often embalmed and buried with pharaohs and depicted in intricate murals, while in China, emperors gave them away as special gifts. Even today, cat lovers are fascinated with this majestic feline and some companies sell them as domestic pets. But pure-breed Caracals can sometimes become aggressive, even if they have lived among humans for generations, which is why the Caracat was created, in 2007.

Caracats can grow up to 50 centimeters (19.7 inches) in height and weigh up to 15 kilograms (33 lbs). First generation Caracats have the distinctive black-tufted ears and long sharp claws of Caracals and screech instead of meowing. These traits fade away from the second generation, but some owners prefer to declaw them for safety, which most breeders don’t agree with, for ethical reasons.

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Chinese Zoo Puts Husky Dog in Wolf Pen

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A zoo in Dezhou City, east China’s Shandong Province, recently attracted criticism for placing a husky dog in a pen populated by a dozen wolves, as a way to create more fun for tourists.

Chinese animal lovers raised the alarm about the unusual member of the wolf pack after a video shot by a tourist at Dezhou zoo went viral on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter. He explained that he happened to be visiting the zoo when he saw a strange-looking wolf limping around in a pen full of actual wolves. It didn’t take him long to figure out that the animal was some kind of Husky-Alaskan-mix canine.

“As we all know, wolves like living with each other and have a strong sense of territory,” the man, surnamed Huang, wrote in the post. “Don’t you think it would be miserable for the dog to live there?” He also mentioned that the dog was obviously wounded, as it was struggling to walk on just three legs. His video attracted a lot of attention, with the vast majority of commenters accusing the zoo for acting irresponsibly.

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Ejiao – The Chinese Miracle Cure Decimating the World’s Donkey Population

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Ejiao, or donkey skin gelatin, is considered one of the three treasures of traditional Chinese medicine. It is used to treat a wide range of ailments from simple colds to insomnia and impotence, and demand in the Chinese market is soaring like never before. Millions of donkeys are slaughtered all around the world and their hides transported to China to be melted into the miracle gelatin that many believe will keep them looking youthful and even prolong their life.

Dong’e county, in northern China, is the epicenter of ejiao production. Here, over 100 factories melt thousands of donkey hides into gelatin, every week, and after running out of domestic stock, they are now relying on imports from developing countries to sustain the huge demand. China’s donkey population has dwindled from 11 million during the 1990s to just 6 million today, due to both industrialization and massive slaughtering for ejiao. With local stock of donkeys going dry at an alarming rate, some factories have opened their own farms to breed and kill up to 10,000 donkeys a year, but with some of them processing over 1 million donkey hides in the same period, it’s hardly a sustainable plan. Which is why many factories have turned their attention to the foreign market.

Various countries in Africa, Asia, South America and the Middle East are supplying millions of donkey skins for the Chinese ejiao market. With the price for donkeys having skyrocketed from around $65 a decade ago to $315 today, some livestock breeders are switching to donkeys exclusively, because the trade is so profitable. But some governments have already banned China from buying their donkeys because they realized that it would eventually decimate the animal population. In September, Nigeria announced a ban on the export of donkeys in September, after the trade increased three times in one year, mainly to Asian markets. “If the export continues the animals will be decimated,” Atte Issa, a Nigerian government official told the BBC.

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Man Allegedly Lives with Snake He Thinks Is His Dead Girlfriend Reincarnated

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According to a Facebook post that recently went viral, a man devastated by the death of his girlfriend grew very attached to a 10-foot cobra which he believes is his lost partner reincarnated. For the last couple of years, the two have been inseparable, doing everything together, from watching TV to going to the gym.

The bizarre story was originally posted on the Facebook page of one Worranan Sarasalin from Kanchanaburi, Thailand, along with a set of photos of the man and his beloved cobra in various circumstances. Sarasalin, who covers a variety of local news stories on a daily basis, claims that the unnamed man developed an unusual connection with the large reptile after noticing a “Striking resemblance” to his deceased girlfriend and becoming convinced that she had come back to life as the serpent.

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Guys Attend Bachelor Party, Come Home with Adorable Puppies

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When most guys attend bachelor parties, the only thing they come home with is a nasty hangover, but groom-to-be Mitchel Craddock and seven of his friends each returned with an adorable puppy.

Craddock of Vicksburg, Michigan, took family and friends to the woods in Tennessee for a 5-day bachelor getaway, but on their first morning there, they noticed a dog outside the front door of their cabin. “We were cooking bacon with the door open. The next thing you know, there’s this dog sitting right at the front door. She wouldn’t come inside, but she sat right there,” he recalled in an interview. “She was very friendly but very skittish— I thought maybe she had been booted out of a house before.” The dog refused their repeated invitations to come inside, but the guys noticed that she was hungry and thirsty, so they offered her food and water, both of which she wolfed down almost instantly.

The dog was so well behaved that Mitchell and his friends were sure that she belonged to someone, but after their first encounter she remained at their cabin. “We’d ride for 4-5 hours, or go into town, and every time we’d come back she would  either be sitting on our doorstep or under one of our trucks,” he told Mlive. He and his friends had noticed that the dog, which they had named Annie,after Little Orphan Annie, had had puppies, but her milk supply had apparently dried up. After three days of regular meals and lost of water, Annie started producing milk again, and seeing her running to the back of the cabin and barking in alarm every time a vehicle went down the road near the woodline, the guys decided to investigate.

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Chinese Couple Raise 3.7-Meter-Long Python as Their Child

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An elderly couple in Haikou, China’s Hainan Province, have been sharing their home with a 60 kilogram, 3.7-meter-long python for seven years, raising it as their child and even taking it for walks around their neighborhood.

68-year-old Shi Jimin, a retired meat processing worker, adopted the python in 2009, to save it from certain death. A fish and snake vendor had come by his workplace, and managed to sell his entire supply, except for a small 30-cm long snake that no one had wanted. The man had said that if no one was interested, he was just going to get rid of it, which is when stepped in and asked the vendor how much he wanted for the reptile. Shi says that he eventually got it for free, as the man was just going to kill it or throw it away somewhere anyway. So he took the young snake home to his wife, not knowing that it would grow up into a cattle-eating behemoth.

But even after realizing that they had adopted a python, the elderly couple had no problem sharing their home with their pet, which they consider more as a child. In the last seven years it has grown to an impressive 3.7 meters and weighs around 120 pounds. But experts say it’s still young and bound to get even bigger. Still Shi and his wife are not concerned for their safety, and allow the snake to freely slither around their home during the day. It often sits on their laps as they watch TV together, or just finds a comfortable spot and sits there like a good boy. In they evening, the couple give the snake a warm bath, and before going to bed, they take the python to his very own bedroom.

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Comedian to Live in Dog Shelter Kennel until All 300 Canine Residents Get Adopted

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World-famous prankster and comedian Remi Gaillard has announced that he will be locking himself away in a dog kennel at a French dog shelter and live there until all his 300 canine neighbors get adopted, or he manages to raise €50,000 ($55,700) in donations.

Gaillard is notorious for his hilarious and sometimes outrageous pranks, but for once he’s serious about raising awareness about a very sensitive problem – the plight of abandoned dogs. He recently announced that on November 11, he will be locking himself in a dog kennel at the SPA dog shelter in Montpelier, where he will remain until all 300 canine residents get adopted, or until €50,000 is raised to help make their lives better. While locked in the small cage, the prankster will “enjoy” the same amenities as the dogs living there do.

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Spanish Junkyard Owner Replaces Guard Dogs with Bullfighting Bulls

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After falling victim to no less than seven break-ins last summer, the owner of a second hand auto parts business in Montserrat, Spain, has replaced his guard dogs with a pair of ‘toro bravos’, a Spanish breed of bull used in bullfighting, to roam the property and deter potential intruders.

Emilio Cervero told Spanish reporters that his troubles began earlier this year, when local authorities in the Valencian town of Montserrat built new roundabout next to his junkyard. He was expropriated of part of his property, and the provincial government sealed off his downsized land with a flimsy wire fence to replace the original concrete wall which featured barbed wire protection. Since then, he claims thieves have broken in seven times, by snipping a hole in the wall, luring the guard dogs out of the compound, and simply walking in to take what they needed.

Señor Cervero claims that the financial cost of the break-ins wasn’t considerable, as it turns out that most of the thieves were young people looking to steal a rear-view mirror or a tire for their cars, but the frequency with which the intrusions occurred had become an inconvenience. The fence had to be fixed every time, not to mention that the alarms were set off, bothering his neighbors. And since guard dogs were proving ineffective, he decided it was time for something more extreme.

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Man Rescues Abandoned Pit Bull That Had Been Waiting Outside for His Owners for a Month

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A lonely and confused pit bull that had been waiting near a pile of garbage in the street for a whole month, after his owners moved away and left him behind, was recently rescued by a kindhearted animal lover.

Photos of Boo, a beautiful black and white pit bull, sitting on top of an old mattress and old furniture abandoned in the street, first started circulating on social media last week, after a neighbor in Mount Clemens, Michigan, posted them online. The man had watched Boo’s family pack up their belongings and driving away, leaving the dog next to a bunch of other things they didn’t want anymore. He had been feeding him for over a week, and had contacted every dog rescue in the area, but no one was willing to help the poor animal.

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Meet Daniel, the Now-Famous Emotional Support Duck

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Dogs, and sometimes cats, have long been used as support animals to help humans deal with a wide range of physical and psychiatric conditions, but ducks, not so much. That’s what makes Daniel Turducken Stinkbottom, the internet’s latest sweetheart, so darn special.

Daniel made international headlines a couple of days ago, after photos of him accompanying his human on an airplane were posted on Twitter and quickly went viral. It’s not every day that you get to see a duck on an airplane, especially one that’s wearing adorable red shoes and a Captain America diaper. So it’s no surprise that he caught people’s eye  – both those on the plane and millions others looking at his photos online. Mark Essig, the man’s whose photos of Daniel got the most attention, says that everyone on the plane was delighted to have a duck on board, and couldn’t stop snapping photos of him. And who could blame them, the little guys is simply too cute!

But it turns out there is more to Daniel than a pretty little head and a funny set of accessories. He is a support animal for his owner, Carla Fitzgerald, who is recovering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Fitzgerald adopted Daniel in 2012, when he was two days old, as a pet, but being involved in a terrible accident just a year later, he became her support animal. She was a horse-and-carriage driver in Milwaukee, when a driver texting behind the wheel crashed into her carriage from behind, injuring the horse and throwing her a metal-grated drawbridge.

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Leotards for Dogs Are Actually a Thing Now

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Believe it or not, the best answer to your dog’s shedding problem may be a pair of skin-tight leotards. Reminiscent of 1980’s aerobic outfits, the Shed-Defender is a canine leotard that is supposed to keep falling hairs from covering your entire home.

Tyson Walters, founder of Shed Defender, recently revealed  that he came up the idea for the funny-looking leotard after failing to find an effective solution to his own dog’s shedding issue. “I had this huge Saint Bernard, called Harley, and I just couldn’t control her shedding,” he said. No matter how much I brushed and groomed her, she still left tumbleweeds of hair everywhere. I looked around on the internet and dog stores and I couldn’t find a solution to my product, so I decided to make one.”

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