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Traditional Goose Fighting in Suzdal

Every year, the people of Suzdal, a small Russian town north-east of Moscow, gather at the the Museum of Wooden Architecture, for the traditional goose fight.

Locals form a circle that acts as the circle of the fighting ring, and the geese are simply unleashed. Apparently, the colder the winter, the more aggressive the birds. This year the temperatures were way below zero,  so the geese started fighting almost instantly.

Two families are released into the ring, but only two geese take part in the actual confrontation, withe the rest of the parties doing all the cheering. But this isn’t as violent as it my look. Unlike cock fights or ouzel fights, goose fighting is a lot more gentle, resulting in only a few plucked feathers.

via toprn

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Crochetdermy Beats Taxidermy Any Day

Why kill an animal and have it stuffed with straw and stuff, when you van have artist Shauna Richardson crochet you the best trophy head you could ever dream of?

Shauna Richardson is a true crochetdermy expert. What is crochetdermy, you ask? Well it’s kind of like taxidermy, only without the dead animals. The UK based artist uses coarse wools like mohair, and glass eyes to create animal models and hunting trophies. She uses a single color and only one type of stitch for an entire crochetdermy model, changing the direction of the stitches to highlight certain anatomical features. She works with a single 3mm hook.

Although it takes Shauna over a month to complete one of her crochetdermy masterpieces, the end result is definitely worth the effort.

Crochetdermy

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The Relaxing Cat Cafes of Japan

Cats are famous for their relaxing effect on people, but in a country like Japan, where space is an issue, having a pet is problematic. That’s when cat cafes come into play.

For a modest fee of between $5 and $8 Japanese animal lovers can enjoy their usual coffee surrounded by dozens of playful cats. Spending an hour in the company of cats can work wonders on the human mind, and when you’re as stressed as Japanese business-men, even more so. Many of them can’t fit a household pet into their busy schedules, so they opt for a relaxing one-hour break in the company of purring felines.

It might seem like an oddity to us, but ever since the first cat cafe opened in 2004, in Osaka, this sort of establishment has become mainstream in Japan. While you can pet the cats and pay with them, you must obey a very simple set of rules regarding hygiene. In order to prevent infection OF THE CATS, customers have to wear disposable socks and slippers, as well as wash their hands with antiseptic.

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The Incredible Climbing Mountain Goats

You might think you have mad mountain-climbing skills, but nature’s got you beat. I don’t know how they do it, but these mountain goats climb on to the most precarious places.

Living in mountainous regions around North America, mountain goats can be found at altitudes of up to 13,000 feet, climbing cliffs all day long, in search of food. Thanks to their cloven hooves, each featuring two widely-spaced toes that provide great balance, mountain goats can challenge any seasoned climber and probably best him.

Their double-layered, thick white coats provide camouflage in snowy settings, but the altitude they can reach provides enough protection from most predators. And if they happen to run into trouble, they can jump 12 feet in one leap, and reach a safe point. Just check out the pics to get an idea of their climbing capabilities.

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Having a Giant Hamster as a Pet

Well, it looks like a giant hamster, but it’s actually a capybara, the largest rodent on the planet, and it makes a great pet,apparently.

Melanie Typaldos, from Buda, Texas first came into contact with a capybara on a trip in Venezuela. Her daughter Coral fell in love with them the moment she got to pick one up and hold it in her arms. The moment they returned home, Melanie began searching for a capybara as a pet. She found 11-day-old Caplin Rous on a rare animal farm in Texas and it instantly became a member of their family.

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Rear Gear Animal Butt Covers

Rear Gear has your pet’s butt covered, literally…

I have to admit when I first saw photos of the Rear Gear in action, I had one of those now-I’ve-seen-everything moments. But seeing it was sold out on Etsy, I started realizing its usefulness, sort of. I can see why some owners would want to cover their animals’ butt holes, and keep Mr. Brown-Eye out of sight.

Rear Gear is a simple, hand-made device that attaches to the pet’s tail and completely covers its unattractive backside with something pretty like a smiley face, a flower, a heart, cupcake and many more. It’s genius and it’s about to make a brilliant entrepreneur from Portland very rich.

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Playing with Your Food Saves Lives!

If you’re a cheetah, that is. Otherwise it’s just time consuming and silly, especially if you’re a grown man.

These incredible photos were taken by wildlife photographer Michel Denis-Huot, in Kenya’s Masai-Mara Reserve, and show three grown male cheetah’s playing and cuddling with a young Impala, instead of tearing it apart and eating it, like God intended.

The “deadly” trio were just roaming across the wilderness, when they spotted a pack of Impalas, which they decided to chase. One little antelope wasn’t fast enough and got left behind. When the cheetahs caught up with it, they simply started playing with what supposed to be their food. The three felines started licking the Impala, put their paws on its head, cuddling, but nothing threatening.

Sounds a lot like what a cat does to a mouse, but usually the rodent ends up being eaten. Not in this movie. After a playing session, the Impala ran away unharmed. The only remotely logical explanation is that the three cheetahs were already too full and tired for another kill. Still…AMAZING!

via Daily Mail

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Hercules – the Biggest of Big Cats

Hercules is a 900-pound-heavy, 6-feet-tall and 12-feet-long liger who holds the Guinness World Record for the largest cat.

Born from a lion father and tiger mother, Hercules grew into an impressive creature, able to run at speeds of up to 50 mph and eat 100 pounds of food in one sitting. Ligers have been known to be fat and unhealthy cats, but Hercules is an exceptional specimen that got the best from both feline races.

During a recent photo-shoot, Hercules’ caretakers wanted to show his enormous size by placing him against popular English symbols, like an old double-decker bus or a black cab. He was actually able to climb the bus to receive a tasty treat. It might look like the world’s biggest cat is actually in London, but he’s really quite close to home, at Freestyle Music Park in Myrtle Beach, Southern California.

Despite his gigantic size, Hercules is very tame and Dr. Bhagavan, one of the liger’s caretakers, says looking into his eyes is “like looking into God’s own eyes”.

Hercules-liger

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Man-Made Tiger, Literally

I know what you’re thinking, that’s a nicely drawn tiger. Only…Well, just check out the pics, this is one of those “a photo is worth a thousand words” post. Also check the video at the bottom to get an idea of how it came to be.

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St. Anthony’s Feast – A Fiery Celebration

Every year on January 17,the people of San Bartolome de Pinares celebrate St. Anthony by riding their horses, donkeys and mules through piles of burning tree branches.

The unique tradition of leaping over and through flames dates back 500 years, but the men and women of San Bartolome de Pinares still celebrate it religiously. They gather all the branches they find in the days leading up to the festivities, and when dusk falls on the eve of Saint Anthony’s, they light them ablaze. Riders lead their mounts through the burning piles of the village, accompanied by sounds of drums and Spanish bagpipes.

Jumping through the flames is said to bring the animals the protection of St. Anthony Abad, acknowledged as the patron of domestic animals, ever since the Middle-Ages. Locals believe the fire purifies their animals and protects them against illnesses, all year long.

Animal rights activists don’t buy the whole purification deal, but in a country like Spain, where traditions like bullfighting, Shearing of the Beasts or Day of the Geese, they don’t have too many hopes of putting an end to it. Plus, the owners say their animals remain unharmed…

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Cats Can Do Yoga Too

You didn’t think these adorable purring fur-balls were going to stand by and let dogs show off their yoga moves without proving their own flexibility, did you?

Two months ago Dan and Alejandra Borris presented the amazing Yoga Dogs Calendar and now they’re blowing the minds of animal lovers everywhere, with the 2010 Yoga Cats Calendar. Alejandra, a former yoga teacher, borrowed her neighbors’ cats and coaxed them in yoga-like positions while her husband took the photos.

Because they didn’t want to force the cats into anatomically-impossible positions, the couple got them as close as they could get to the desired positions and then Dan used his Photoshop skills to get the right effect.

Have a look at the entire Yoga Cats and Yoga Dogs Calendars on their official site.

via Daily Mail

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Oscar the Globetrotting Dog

Meet Oscar, the luckiest dog in the world. This year he and his master traveled across 5 continents and 29 countries.

Five years ago, Joanne Lefson found Oscar in a South-African kennel and took him in. In May of this year, Joanne sold her house and went on a trip around the world, accompanied, of course, by her beloved pooch. Their incredible journey was meant to inspire people everywhere to take stray dogs of the streets and offer them a home.

Here are some amazing photos of Oscar taken in some of the most amazing locations in the world. Oh, and check out the full of list of countries he visited, at the bottom.

Photos by CATERS NEWS AGENCY

via Daily Mail

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Private Owner Parts with His Pet Lion

27 -year-old Lucian Craita, from Romania, parted ways with his pet lion, Richie, after raising him in his backyard for over a year.

Lucian has always had always had a thing for lions and when he had the chance to buy one for a pet, from an animal market, he didn’t hesitate. Richie cost him just 1,000 euros and he never regretted spending the money. Over a year and a half of living together, Lucian and Richie developed a truly special relationship, so you can imagine the young man’s grief when he had to hand his pet lion over to the Vier Pfoten animal association.

The Romanian gave up his friend voluntarily, after realizing he couldn’t offer it the life it deserved. Now Richie will be taken to Lion’s Rock Lion Reservation, in South Africa, where he can be with his own kind. Because Richie spent so much time as a house pet, he will never be a real lion, but at least he’ll enjoy being free in the savanna.

Photos by REUTERS via Xinhua

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Puppy, Kitty and Rat Meats Online

Because puppy, kitty and rat steaks taste so damn good.

During one of my daily internet surfing sessions, I stumbled on one of the weirdest sites I’ve ever seen. It’s called Rat Beef.com and it’s an online rat butchery (doesn’t that sound delightful). Sure, we’ve featured photos of cooked field rats before, but to see them commercialized online struck me as a tad bizarre. RatBeef states their rats are bred and raised in 100% natural conditions and they even offer a few cooking recipes.

While I was browsing the site’s pages, looking for some suiting pics, I found Rat Beef has two sister (to be read siNIster) sites, Puppy Beef and Kitty Beef which sell…well, you can guess. I know these types of meats are very popular in some Asian countries, but to see them sold on websites containing the words puppy and kitty is just ridiculous.

In case you don’t believe this is odd in anyway, at least you know where you can buy your exotic meats from now on.

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Cody – The Barking Store Clerk

Cody, a Chocolate Labrador is one of the most valued employees of a conveniance store from Clearwater, Florida.

Karim Manour started bringing Cody to work with him about five months ago, during the early shifts. At first it was just so he could have some company, but customers that spotted the fury rascal fell in love with him instantly. Seeing his beloved pet was so popular, he decided to throw the dog a bone, as it were, and gave him a job.

Now Cody has his very own t-shirt and name tag and is up for the employee of the year award, because of his growing customer approval rating. The mutt doesn’t really work as a clerk, but he does manage to calm-down angry people and make sad people feel better simply by being his adorable self. Now if that doesn’t deserve a raise, I don’t know what does.

Photos by Jim Damaske

via Tampa Bay

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