Seven Flora and Fauna that Can Only Be Found in the Everglades

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The Everglades is home to many unique plant and animal species, mostly because it’s the farthest-north tropical environment in the world. It is the only true tropical forest in the northern hemisphere. The flora and fauna found in the Everglades are without peer.

Fauna

Florida Panther & Florida Black Bear – This entry gets two, since you’re not likely to see either of them. Both species are critically endangered, so count yourself lucky if you see the slight frame and tan fur of the Florida Panther, or hear the inquisitive snuffling of the Florida Black Bear. Well, count yourself lucky, back away slowly, and hope the animal isn’t hungry.

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Lonomia Obliqua – The World’s Deadliest Caterpillar

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Lonomia obliqua is just as frail as any other caterpillars you might have seen, but that doesn’t stop it from causing severe serious internal hemorrhaging and even death, if you just touch it.

This terrible Lonomia caterpillars live in the rainforests of South America, and cause a few deaths every year, especially in southern Brazil, where they’re usually found on the bark of trees. Blending perfectly in their surrounding, Lonomia obliqua caterpillars often can’t be avoided, even if people watch out for them. Most incidents occur when travelers lean against a tree and unknowingly brush against one of more caterpillars, which release a very powerful anticoagulant venom.

Symptoms of Lonomia obliqua poisoning include severe internal bleeding, renal failure and hemolysis. If the skin comes into contact with several caterpillars, death is often the outcome. The lethal dose of the toxin secreted by this terrible creature is among the lowest of all known toxins.

But there is also a bright side to the Lonomia obliqua caterpillar. Its powerful anticoagulant could be used in the prevention of life-threatening blood-clots, but research is still being conducted in the hope of somehow isolating some pharmaceutically valuable chemicals. But until that happens, all you can do is refrain yourself from leaning on trees, the next time you’re in South America.

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The Horse Tailor Helps Your Horse Play Dress-Up

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As if ridiculous costumes for cats and dogs weren’t enough, The Horse Tailor creates over-the-top outfits for horses.

Ever wondered what Harry Potter, or Scooby Doo would look like as a horse? Well, now you no longer need to imagine it, thanks to The Horse Tailor you can see it with your own eyes. Although The Horse Tailor provides all kinds of apparel, accessories and costumes for horses and riders, it’s their custom division that really impresses. You can ask for whatever you’ve always dreamed of dressing your horsey with, and Donatella and fer team will probably make it for you.

So far, the Horse Tailor has dressed horses as the Pink Panther, hamburgers, bees, college graduates, lions and I doubt they’ll stop here. Next time you get a wacky idea about playing dress-up with your horse, you know who to call.

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Brazilians Build Favela for Dogs

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So Ama, a humane organization, from Brazil, has built an entire neighborhood for around 1,600 stray dogs. This dog favela actually rivals people live in.

Located in the Southern city of Caxias do Sul, the pooch favela is probably the only one of its kind, i the whole world. Due to lack of funds to build a proper dog shelter, the volunteers of the So Ama organization were forced to build 1,000 dog houses and chain the dogs next to them.

The 1,600 dogs and 200 cats are definitely not easy to take care of, and right now the dog favela is just trying to make ends meet. The $14,000 it receives monthly, from municipal authorities, and the donations are not enough to cover all the costs, which include 13 tons of food and veterinary services.

Photos by Bruno Domingos/REUTERS via Daylife

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German Dude Marries His Cat

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A German postal worker, from Possendorf, has unofficially married his beloved cat, Cecilia.

39-year-old Uwe Mitzscherlich has shared precious moments with Cecilia, for the last 10 years. Unfortunately, the purring fur-ball is now obese and asthmatic, and the vets don’t think she has much more to live. Because they’ve had such a unique relationship, for many years, Mr. Mitzscherlich decided to make it official, and asked Cecilia’s…paw, in marriage.

Sadly, human-animal weddings aren’t recognized in Germany, so Uwe Mitzscherlich had to pay a female actor to officiate the ceremony. At first she thought it was a joke, but quickly realized this was a dream come true, for the German postal worker.

The couple dressed for the occasion, with Uwe wearing a wedding suit and top hat, and Cecilia boasting a lovely white dress. It was a beautiful ceremony, and 15-year-old Cecilia even meowed loudly, through the exchanging of the vows.

Check out a video of this unusual wedding, at the bottom.

via Bild

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Nigeria’s Fighting Rams

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The city of Lagos, in Nigeria, has hosted the 13th All-Nigerian Ram Fighting Championships. This increasingly popular sport drew an impressive crowd, eager to see the animal compete.

Ram fighting is a popular sport in countries like Algeria, Indonesia and China, but in Nigeria it even has its own Ram Lovers Association, which organizes ram fighting events. believe it or not, this sport isn’t as bloody as you might think. During the history of the championships, only one ram has lost its life, and there has rarely ever been any blood shed. According to Bashir Augusto, founder of the Ram Lovers Association, rams naturally love to fight, the only difference is here they do it for the entertainment of the crowd.

The animals, of the same weight class, are placed together in a dirt ring, with a judge and several referees closely watching them. Usually they naturally run towards each other and but heads. The fight ends when one of the rams runs away from the fight. One match normally lasts for less than 10 blows, but the longest match, this year, lasted for 98.

Just like human boxers, fighting rams go through rigorous physical training (especially running), have special diets, rich in beans and bananas, and even have their very own music, as they step into the ring. This year, in the main event, Gobe, last year’s champion, retained his title and won his master a brand new refrigerator. In Africa, I bet that’s a prize worth fighting for.

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Kitty, the World’s Most Adventurous Cat

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Kitty, an adorable gray kitten, has become an internet sensation, after her globetrotting owners posted photos of her, from their travels.

In 2008, Willian and Laetitia, a young French couple, set out to discover the Americas, on foot. Two months into their daring journey, they stumbled across a cute kitten, and took it along for the ride. Kitty, usually spends her days napping in her owner’s backpacks, or on William’s shoulders. She even has her own umbrella, to keep her dry, in case of rain, and safe from the burning sun. While most house cats never leave their apartments, Kitty has traveled half way around the globe.

I’m thinking Kitty and Oscar, the globetrotting dog, should get together, someday, and exchange travel experiences. They have both seen a lot more of the world, than any of us, but some how I don’t think they’d hit it off.

Right now, Kitty and her traveling owners are somewhere in Columbia, planning their next destination, and you can track their progress and learn more about Kitty, on their official site, Turn of the world.

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Red Dragon – King of China’s Fish Tanks

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The Red Dragon fish, also known as Arowana, is considered a good luck charm, in Chinese culture, and sells for unbelievably high prices.

The Arowana is an amazing fish that grows up to a meter in length, and can live up to 25 years. But it’s not these traits that make it so popular among China’s rich and famous, but its resemblance to a dragon. As you may know, Chinese people consider themselves descendants of dragons,  and many of them would pay big money, to own their very own dragon. The older the fish, the more expensive it is, kind of like a good wine.

Red Dragon fish are believed to bring good luck and prosperity to their owners, and some people pay as much as $8,000 to own one. Most Arowana owners prefer to keep them in secret locations, away from prying eyes, where no one else can enjoy the good fortune they bring.

The red-gold coloring and the name “Dragon” have made the Arowana fish a sought after social symbol, and have brought the species to the brink of extinction.

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7 Incredible Artists of the Animal Kingdom

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Not long ago, scientists considered the capacity to create art one of the major differences that separates man from animals. But that was only because no animal ever had the chance to use a paintbrush. The animal kingdom has plenty of artists  more than capable of handling a paintbrush, and these seven examples are undeniable proof:

The Painting Elephants of Thailand

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Pigs That Grow Wool, Who Knew?

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I know you’ve heard of a woolly mammoth, but did you know there’s actually such a thing as a woolly pig? Well, there is, and it’s called Mangalitsa.

Seen from a distance, these pigs look like sheep, and it’s only when you spot their snouts and hear their growl, that you realize they’re actually pigs. Commonly referred to as “sheep-pigs” these strange breed is called Mangalitsa, and it’s on the brink of extinction. That’s right, even though their wool makes them very resistant, both in summer and winter time, it doesn’t do a damn thing against man’s appetite.

Mangalitsa pigs originated from Austria and Hungary, and they come in three color varieties: blond, brunette and redhead. Apart from their bizarre appearance, these pigs have another trait that made them even more popular: their meat, apparently, tastes delicious and is considered a delicacy.

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The Cat Who Liked to Read

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That there must be a really interesting book, to attract the attention of a cat.

These purring fur ball has become an internet sensation, in China, after its owner took some pictures of her, reading a book. The cat seemed to be drawn to that pile of books, always trying to get a sneak peak, when her master was reading. Noticing her peculiar behavior, the man took a camera and immortalized the cat’s reading activity.

As you can see, the feline seems focused on reading every Chinese character, but that made her little brain very tired. After every reading session, the cat needed a good nap, to recover, and get back to her book.

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Cliff Penrose – The Rabbit Whisperer

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60-year-old Cliff Penrose can put even the hoppiest bunny in a trance, by using the mysterious art of hypnosis.

Cliff needs just a few seconds to subdue a rabbit. After making a squeaking sounds, to attract the animal’s attention, Britain’s only rabbit whisperer applies some pressure and gives the rodent a little massage. To make sure the hopper doesn’t feel at all threatened, Cliff lowers his head, and finally closes its eyelids.

According to this unusual animal tamer, this technique places any rabbit in a trance, with its paws in the air, for up to 10 minutes at a time. But you have to be confident when handling the animal, and never try to do it when you’re stressed, scared, or nervous. According to Cliff, rabbits are incredibly intelligent animals that react to your state of mind.

Cliff Penrose has placed hundreds of bunnies, under his spell, and even has a special phone line, for troubled owners. Because of his special gift, he is in high demand, among vets in St. Austell, Cornwall.

via Daily Mail

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Orangutan Boxing Matches Held in Thailand

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A Thai theme-park, outside Bangkok has become a popular tourist attraction by organizing orangutan boxing matches.

Huge crowds of tourists and “sport” enthusiasts gather at Safari World to watch orangutans duke it out in 30 minute-boxing matches. Forced to wear boxing gloves and shorts, the two primates have been trained to hit each other for the entertainment of man. Although organizers claim the orangutans have been trained to simulate being knocked-down, animal activists say it’s a clear case of animal cruelty.

It’s sad to see thousands of tourists cheer as two 250-pound primates pummel each other, or hear them whistling when a female orangutan, wearing a bikini, displays the round number, but it’s the world we’re living in. These peaceful creatures don’t fight because they like to, but because they’ve been trained to do so, an because they would be beaten if they didn’t.

The Thai government shut down the monkey boxing matches, in 2004, and it’s yet unclear how this bizarre and cruel show is still allowed.

Photos by Barcroft India

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Who Knew Snails Could Grow This Big

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Giant African Snails are the largest species of snails on the planet, with a shell that can grow up to 30 cm long and 15 cm in diameter.

Native to the tropical forests of Ghana, Africa, Giant African Snails live in tropical conditions, with no natural enemies. That, combined with the fact each snail can lay up to twelve hundred eggs per year, makes their large population, a problem. wherever a colony of these giant snails settles down, all other species of tree snails go extinct. Their insatiable appetite for any kind of plants and fruits, makes Giant African Snails pests, in their homeland. Just so you can get an idea, these things eat even the stucco and paint, buildings.

Like all snails, GAS are hermaphrodite and very prolific. Just one pair of snails can turn into an 8 to 10 billion colony, in their 5-7 year life span. Another half cycle like this, and we’re looking at 16 quadrillion giant crawlers. It’s a scary image, especially since they can bury themselves for up to 6 months, if the climate isn’t right for them

While they’re regarded as parasites, in Africa, in the Western World, Giant African Snails are some of the most coveted pets on the market, because of their intelligence and ability to reproduce sounds. Actually, I’m pulling your leg, people just like them because their huge, slimy and hard to come by.

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Watch Out, Here Comes the Monkey Police

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Santisuk a 5-year-old pig-tailed macaque is a proud member of the Thai police, doing his best to keep the streets crime-free.

Well, maybe I’m exaggerating a little bit, since Santisuk is really just a mascot for the police force of Saliburi district, Thailand. He was found injured, a while back, and has since then been adopted by local policemen. Every day he puts on his “Monkey Police” uniform and accompanies his colleagues on patrols. He doesn’t do arrests or stakeouts, but he does sit on top of the police car drawing attention and improving police image, in locals’ eyes.

You could say Santisuk is the best PR guy police could ever hire. And he enjoys every minute of his job, especially when he receives tasty treats.

Photos by Damir Sagolj/REUTERS via Daylife

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