Only in Africa – Elephants Calmly Walk through Hotel Lobby

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What would your reaction be if were to check into this hotel in Zambia and encountered this enormous and possibly dangerous African elephant in the lobby?

This is what happens when people get in the way between an elephant and his favorite snack and the owners of the luxurious Mfuwe Lodge in Zambia found this out on the hard way, when a family group of elephants simply walked through the hotel’s lobby to get to their mango tree.

Although they are wild animals, they seem to have gotten used to having people around them and have grown a special relation with everybody at the hotel.Interestingly enough, elephants get very close to the hotels staff but guests are advised not to get to close.

Building the hotel in their path was unintended, but the owner recognizes he had no idea that the elephants would return. This has been going on for several years and the group of elephants comes back every year around the month of November, eating their favorite fruits about four times a day.

The director of the Bushcamp Company, which that runs the Mfuwe Lodge, Andy Hogg, explains: “There are ten in that herd and it is only that herd that comes through. It is a strange thing. The matriarchal in the herd is Wonky Tusk, and she brings the nine others through and they come and go as they please.”

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The Snow Monkeys of Jigokudani Yaen-koen Park

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Even though the name of this park might not sound very familiar you’ve probably heard about the Snow Monkeys of Japan.

The Jigokudani Yaen-koen (Hell Valley Wild Monkey Park) is located in the Nagano mountains and since it was opened, in 1964, this park has been the attraction of tourists from all over the world, eager to see the famous snow monkeys.

The Japanese Macaques (Macaca Fuscata) are monkeys native to northern Japan and very much used to being around people. Even so, the park’s officials recommend that you shouldn’t try  touching them or even looking directly into their eyes, as this is considered, in the monkey society, a sign of enmity.

They are the most north-living species of primate, able to survive temperatures of below -15 °C. Their bodies are covered in a brown-gray coat of fur and they have red skin on their face, hands and bottom. Although they sometimes spend their time in the mountains, they just love bathing and swimming in the hot springs. In the park you can sometimes find about 200 monkeys enjoying the hot water of Japanese onsen in the spring and especially during Japan’s extremely cold winters.

The sight of monkeys in hot water with snow falling on their heads is particularly beautiful.

The Jigokudani park is located in the center of Japan, on the valley of the Yokoyu River, in a harsh environment where snow is present for about four months, reason enough to be named Hell Valley, although the monkeys seem to love this place.


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“Fat Flap” Invented for British Overweight Cats

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Looks like humans aren’t the only ones with overweight problems.

Currently, there are 8 million pet cats in Britain, and one out of four is overweight. A recent research reveals that in ten years time 50% of Britain’s cats will have this problem, and won’t fit through a standard cat flap.

The results of this research lead to the conclusion that a modified cat flap will become somewhat of a necessity. Not only is this “Fat Flap” twice as wide as the standard one, but it also comes with a conveyor belt which will transport the cat to the door, in case it’s too tired to climb up those last few steps. And as if this wasn’t enough, the ingenious device will keep burglars and other unwelcome guests away, as it only opens when activated by a paw-recognition system.

As amazing as the Fat Flap sounds, specialists advise ” that pet owners take all the necessary steps to keep their pets fit and healthy.”

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Researchers in Panda Costumes Trick Four-Month-Old Cub

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Researchers at the Hetaoping Research and Conservation Center for the Giant Panda in Wolong National Nature Reserve in Sichuan province, China came up with a gumptious way to help a four month panda cub re-adapt  to wildlife.

For the success of the reintroduction the baby panda isn’t supposed to come in contact with humans so the researchers had to dress-up as giant pandas in order to do their job, because although the cub is being supervised with hidden cameras, some of the procedures, such as weighing or measuring his body temperature,  involve handling.

Although they aren’t very convincing to us it seems that this cute baby panda has accepted his new “family” and is making great progress.

Australian Man Marries His Dog

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Joseph Guiso has surprised his family and friends when he decided to tie the knot with his best friend, a 5-year-old labrador retriever.

The young Australian, from Toowoomba, describes himself as a “religious guy” and says he could no longer stand to live with his four-legged mate outside of wedlock. The couple decided to go through with the wedding while they were walking by one of the city parks. Joe saw another couple getting married and told his lab Honey “that could be us”. Since she didn’t say anything, her owner took it as a “yes” so he made arrangements to have their own wedding right there in Laurel Bank Park.

Thirty of the couple’s 30 friends were present at the emotional event, and of them even played the role of priest. After reading his touching vow (“You’re my best friend and you make every part of my day better”), Joseph Guiso sealed the deal with a kiss right on Honey’s wet snout. Now that’s puppy love for ya!

Guiso also assured onlookers that “it’s not sexual. It’s just pure love.”

After a German dude married his pet cat, a few months ago, something like this was to be expected.

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Chinese Woman Adopts 1,500 Stray Dogs and 200 Cats

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Ha Wenjin, a dog lover from China, has given up her job, sold her house, car and jewelry to take care of over 1,500 dogs and 200 cats.

The middle-aged woman says she started out with just a few dogs that she could tend to in her spare time, but as their number kept growing, she had to give up her career and spend her entire day caring to the dogs’ needs. Before she knew it, she practically had her personal animal shelter, complete with 10 workers who look after the dogs, and 2 more who take care of the cats.

LIFE Magazine first reported on Ha Wenjin‘s amazing animal shelter, in 2006, and the resourceful woman managed to keep the facility outside Nanjing running until now. She had a number of volunteers coming in at least once a week to check on the dogs, and people donated most of the food. But now, the 1,500 dogs and 200 cats have to move to a new home, as Chinese government officials reclaimed the land the shelter is built on, and threaten to close the place down.

Ha Wenjin had to act fast, and find a cheap but large enough space, where her beloved pets could relocate to. She managed to find it in Houyu village, far away enough from human settlements, because she admits 1,500 dogs are not quiet. Now all she has to do is find enough volunteers to help her move the dogs with the help of four buses, and clean the vehicles afterwards. Ha Wenjin definitely has her work cut out for her, but she has no intention of giving up in her fight to save as many stray dogs and cats as she can.

Back in 2006, LIFE Magazine reported it cost around $37,500 a year to take care of the dogs, but now, with more than double the number of animals, you can imagine how tough it is for Ha Wenjin to keep her animal center open, especially with no help from local authorities. Luckily, most of the food comes from donations, but there are many other things that cost a lot of money.

Just to be clear, the animals are not as crowded as the photos show. It’s only like this at feeding time.

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Incredible Dog Learns to Survive Without a Tongue

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Caine, a beautiful 2-year-old boxer/Rhodesian ridgeback mix, has learned to survive without a tongue, after he lost his in a paper shredder incident.

The adorable Caine has always been a curious pet, and that, unfortunately, cost him his tongue. It happened at the beginning of 2010, when his owner, Ashley Taylor, left him in the care of her mother, Pat, while she went away for the winter holidays. The last thing Pat remembers before the accident is hearing Caine sniffing around the kitchen, as was his habit. Then came a terrifying yell, and when she rushed into the kitchen she saw the dog’s tongue hanging around three inches, on the other side of the shredder. He had probably tried to grab a piece of kibble that had somehow fallen into the shredder, and activated the device.

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Lily’s Kitchen – A Dogs-Only Restaurant Opens in London

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Lily’s Kitchen may not be the world’s first restaurant for dogs, but it’s certainly the coolest one right now. Dogs get to eat for free, have their bellies rubbed and can even listen to a nice story. What more could they ask for?

Lily’s Kitchen recently opened on Pimlico Road, in London’s upscale Belgravia neighborhood, and dog owners were quick to have their pooches test out the menu, for free. That’s right, your four-legged friends get to sit at one of the restaurant’s three tables and fill up their bellies with organic food served by a waiter, and you don’t have to pay for it. It sounds to good to be true, but this is just a clever way a dog food company has found to promote their line of organic foods.

During the six week period Lily’s Kitchen is open, dogs will get the chance to be the stars, for a change, while their owners relax or take care of their daily chores. The dogs are served their favorite dishes in paper bowls, by waiters who actually love serving canines, because they never complain about the food, check or stuff like that. After they’ve filled their stomachs, dogs have a wide range of pleasant activities to enjoy. They can have their bellies rubbed, snooze on a comfy sofa, have their aches soothed by a holistic vet, or even enjoy a nice story, read to them by members of the restaurant staff.

While there are always those who complain this sort of things are just stupid, many London dog owners are already in love with Lily’s Kitchen. It offers them the chance to carry on with their daily activities, knowing their dear companion is well taken care of. So even though Lily’s Kitchen is just a temporary establishment, a permanent restaurant for dogs could prove quite profitable.

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Meet Tubby the Recycling Dog

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A Labrador Retriver called Tubby has helped his owner gather and recycle around 26,000 plastic bottles, in the last six years. The canine’s efforts did not go unnoticed, as Guinness offered him a spot in their famous book of records, for the most bottles recycled by a dog.

Tubby and his owners live in Pontnewydd, Wales – one of the best performing recycling authorities in the country, and it’s no wonder, considering both people and pets like to lend a hand…or paw. On every one of his two daily walks, Tubby picks up at least three plastic bottles, crushes them with his teeth, and brings them to his owner, Sandra Gilmore. She says Tubby has had a nose for plastic bottles ever since he was a young pup. He would crawl under things, jump into bushes and even leap into water to fetch the bottles.

Sandra suspects her beloved Labrador loves to collect plastic bottles because of the sound they make as he bites down on them, but regardless of the reason, Tubby has proven his commitment to making our planet greener. Come to think of it, the fact that he likes to chew on them makes recyclers’ lives a lot easier, as the bottles are already crushed.

Miss Gilmore tries to do her part as far as recycling is concerned, and she admits Tubby has helped her quite a bit. During the six years that he’s been “on the job”, he managed to collect 26,000 plastic bottles. I’d say his Guinness Records mention for the “most plastic bottles collected by a dog” is well deserved. Still, it’s pretty sad that dog does more for the environment than most humans bother to.

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Dog Beer – Because Dogs Like to Get Wasted Too

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Polish pet owners have been storming through local pet shops looking for a radical new product – dog beer. You may thinks it’s weird, but I think it’s nice owners want their beloved dogs to enjoy a nice hops-based drink.

Jerzy Dilyk, a pet-store owner from Widzew Lodz, says he was reluctant to sell Dog Beer at first, but seeing clients returning for more of the magic canine ale convinced him to stock up on it. He even offered his own dog a bottle, and he went through the whole thing in one go.

Dog Beer has a gold color and smells of hops, an odor known to appeal to canines, but what’s more important is hat it’s based on beef extract. The beer has no gas, and Dilyk believes it has a positive effect on dogs’ urinary tract. He added that clients are most thrilled that they can have their pets join them for beer on Friday and Saturday Night.

Normal beer is hazardous to dogs’ health, because of its alcohol content and its high carbohydrates value, but vets can’t yet form an opinion on the new Dog Beer, because they haven’t had a chance to test it yet.

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Finnish Bear Won’t Hibernate Unless He Is Tucked-In

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Juuso, a large brown bear from the Predator Animal Center, in Finland, only agreed to crawl into his shelter and hibernate, after his best friend tucked him in.

With winter drawing ever nearer, Juuso, a young brown bear from Finland’s Predator Center, seemed tired. All the other bears had already began their winter hibernation, and Juuso’s eyes were closing all the time, but refused to go into his man-made lair. You’d think he was suffering from insomnia, but in fact, all he really needed was to be tucked-in by his best friend, caretaker Sulo Karjalainen.

Sulo has been making sure the animals of the Predator Center have everything they need, and in turn, this ferocious creatures accepted him as a friend. To make sure Juuso gets some shut-eye during the winter months, Sulo went into the bear’s lair first, and his furry friend followed shortly. Happy and relaxed in the company of his friend, Juuso soon laid his head on his bed of straw, sighed and finally went to sleep. All I can say is: Sleep tight Juuso!

Watch a video of Juuso and Sulo, at the bottom.

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The Cats’ House – A Real Feline Paradise

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An American couple decided to drastically modify their home to fit the needs of their pet cats, transforming it into a modern-day feline temple known as The Cats’ House.

Bob Walker and Frances Mooney are both mad about cats. They proved it on their wedding day, when they adopted their first cat, who ended up sharing a bed with them that night. But that was only the beginning of their obsession with purring balls of fur. Knowing that cats love to climb to high spots, Bob first built a giant scratching column, using 395 feet of rope. The cats would just run up it at full speed and stop at ceiling. That’s when he realized that to keep his beloved pets happy, he and his wife needed to expand their installation throughout the whole house.

Bob and Frances ended up creating multi-level staircases, a 140-feet-long cat highway and a colorful catwalk, all connected by cat-shaped holes in the walls.They even fitted them with neon lights, so the cats could see where they were going, at night. I thought cats could see purfectly in the dark…but I guess some help couldn’t hurt, right? The Cats’ House also features scratching poles of various sizes, cat shaped statues, portraits and paintings of cats, and even carpets printed with leopard and tiger models.

The Cats’ House started out as the wish of two people to enrich the lives of their pet cats, but it became something much bigger than that. Cat lovers from all around the world started following Bob and Frances’ example and transformed their house into a feline paradise, and The Cats’ House soon became one of San Diego’s minor tourist attractions. The last time the couple opened up their house for visitors, they received 900 guests in four hours.

Since the unusual home became famous, Bob Walker has become an author and photographer, and has written successful books on his amazing cat abode. He admits it’s amazing how trying to change their cats’ lives for the better, ended up changing their lives completely, as well.

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Two-Legged Pig Becomes Tourist Attraction

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Zhu Jianqiang, which translates as “strong willed pig”, was born without her hind legs, but managed to survive, and is now a local celebrity.

As a piglet, Zhu Jianqiang had nine strong siblings, and neighbors told her owner it would be best to just throw her away or put her out of her misery. But farmer Wang Xihai would hear none of it, and he even refused his wife when she told him to throw the piglet away. He believes all life should be given the chance to survive, and Zhu Jianqiang managed to beat all odds.

After seeing the little piglet fight for her life, Wang Xihai decided to get more involved, and began training her to walk on her front legs, just a few days after she was born. After only 30 days, she began walking on her own, and now, even though she weighs a good 50 kg, Zhu Jianqing walks upside down quite effortlessly.

Word about the amazing two-legged pig spread rapidly, and Wang Xihai says his home is overrun by tourists, every day. “I won’t sell her no matter what the offer is”, he added.

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Dog Castle – The Coolest Dog House in Japan

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Nanami,  a playful Japanese pooch can claim to be the only dog in the world to be living in a regular castle.

Built as a small replica of Japan’s famous Matsumoto Castle, Nanami’s castle stands 2.5 meters tall and features three rooms. At the front is the main hall, where Nanami can just lay on his belly and watch out for the mailman, while at the back he has a sand-floor room, for cooling down during the hot summer days, and a rear room to hide in during thunderstorms.

Located in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture, Nanami’s castle took his owner six months to complete, and cost 50,000 yen ($583). While it may not be as old and famous as the real Matsumoto Castle, built in 1504, Nanami can be proud of his new dog castle.

If you’re a fan of over-the-top dog houses, you’re going to love this veritable dog mansion.

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Ziggy the Painting Pekingese

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Ziggy, a fluffy Pekingese dog, has taken the art world by storm, ever since his owner discovered his incredible talent for abstract painting.

Elizabeth Moncelli says her beloved Ziggy took up painting soon after he was old enough to hold a brush  between his teeth. Seeing he had a soft  spot for the arts, she encouraged him to use a brush, by attaching it to a paper roller which the dog bites on. Ziggy’s abstract paintings aren’t praised only by his owner, but also by her neighbors in Fallbrook, California, who spend up to $250 for one of his masterpieces.

But like all artists, Ziggy is pretty moody. He only picks up the brush when he is in the right frame of mind, and even then, he only paints for two minutes at most. These short bursts of artistic inspiration apparently take all the dog’s energy, so he usually takes a nap or starts looking for snacks after every painting session. That’s why Ziggy takes days, sometimes weeks to finish one of his paintings.

One of the most talented painters of the animal kingdom, Ziggy the Pekingese is an established artist.

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