Jersey Giants – The Gentle Giants of the ChickenWorld

Chickens have been around for about 10,000 years, and they come in all shapes and sizes, but if you want to know what the world’s biggest chicken breed is then you’re in luck, because today we’re featuring the Jersey Giant.

As the name suggests, the Jersey Giant was developed in the state of New Jersey, and it is the largest and heaviest of all chicken breeds. It was created in the late 19th century by John and Thomas Black, with the specific purpose of replacing the turkey as the most popular poultry meat at the time. The two brothers produced the impressive breed by crossing Black Javas, Black Langshans, and Dark Brahmas, three other breeds of large chickens and for a while met the goal of creating an alternative to turkey meat.

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Prized Chicken Breed Has Jet Black Skin and Dark Meat

Kadaknath is an Indian chicken breed popular for the quality of its meat and eggs, but primarily because of the black color of the skin and its dark-colored meat.

Chicken meat is the world’s most consumed form of protein, with over 98.5 million tons consumed every year. But one has to wonder if it would be as popular if the color of the meat was black. Naturally-raised, free-range chicken tends to have a darker color than the intensely-reared broilers most of us consumed, and I’ve noticed that the color alone tends to put people off. But that’s not even the kind of black meat I’m talking about. Kadaknath, a breed of chicken raised in several Indian states, has jet black feathers and skin, and truly dark meat that is allegedly of much higher quality than broilers.

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Perfectly-Camouflaged Moth Looks Like a Twig Fragment

Tsumaki Shachihoko is a rare Japanese moth that features impressive natural camouflage which allows it to perfectly mimic small twigs in order to avoid predators.

We’ve always found natural camouflage fascinating here at Oddity Central, and simply searching the term in our search box will yield over a dozen amazing examples of natural mimics. Today we are adding yet another master of camouflage to our ever-growing collection – Tsumaki Shachihoko, a moth found in various forested areas of Japan, where it manages to keep itself safe by mimicking a small twig fragment. Seen from afar, the moth is virtually impossible to tell apart from an actual twig, complete with imperfections such as chipped bark and brownish “broken” ends.

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Buddhist Monk Has Saved Tens of Thousands of Stray Dogs in the Last 27 Years

A Buddhist monk in Shanghai, China, has dedicated more than half of his life to caring for stray dogs, rescuing and taking care of tens of thousands of them since 1994.

53-year-old Zhixiang is the head monk of the Bao’en Temple in Shanghai, but nowadays his disciples take care of most of the day-to-day business, as he spends all his time taking care of the rescued animals. There are currently around 8,000 dogs, not to mention hundreds of cats, as well as chickens, geese and peacocks in Zhixiang’s care, but he’s been rescuing abandoned and stray animals since 1994, so he is used to it. Over the years, he has learned to administer medicine and give the animals shots, as taking them all to a vet would be too costly, and only recently started taking donations from other animal lovers, as a ways to make ends meet.

Zhixiang’s mission as a rescuer of stray animals began in 1994. He was riding in a car on the highway when he witnessed a cat being hit by another vehicle. It wasn’t dead, but it was left severely injured, struggling to crawl to the side of the road with only two paws. It’s an image that the Buddhist monk hates to remember and the one that pushed him to start rescuing strays.

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French Pensioner and Rescued Pigeon Are Inseparable Friends

Xavier Bouget, an 80-year-old pensioner from France’s Brittany region, and Blanchon, a majestic white pigeon, have been best friends for two years, ever since the Frenchman rescued the bird from becoming a cat’s lunch.

Xavier first met his unlikely companion two years ago, while walking to his house in the town of Gommenec’h. He noticed this small, almost featherless pigeon chick fall out of its nest, in a desperate attempt to escape a hungry cat. He didn’t think to help it at first, but when he got home and mentioned it to his wife, Marie-Françoise, she asked him why he didn’t pick it up. So he went back to get the small pigeon chick, which had miraculously managed to escape the purring predator until his return. Xavier came home with the frail bird in his bird, not knowing that it would soon become his best and closest friend.

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Tiny But Fearless Cookie-Cutter Sharks Will Bite Even Nuclear Submarines

Cookie-cutter sharks are a small species of shark about the size of a domestic cat that will attack predators several times their size, biting off conical chunks of their flesh, and even the soft parts of nuclear submarines.

The cookie-cutter shark (Isistius brasiliensis) was discovered in the early 19th century, by French naturalists, but it wasn’t until the 1970s that marine scientists realized just how brave and dangerous these small marine creatures could be. Up to that point, the conical, deep wounds that researchers often documented on all sorts of marine life, from small fish to dolphins and even great white sharks, were a mystery. It wasn’t until 1971, when Everet Jones discovered small conical pieces of flesh in the stomachs of cookie-cutter sharks that marine scientists began to realize that the deceptively small sharks could severely wound some of the ocean’s mightiest creatures.

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Pablo Escobar’s “Cocaine Hippos” Pose Serious Threat to Colombia’s Environment

Brought into Colombia as exotic pets by the most notorious drug kingpin in human history, have been breeding at an alarming pace over the last few decades and have become a serious threat to the Colombian flora and fauna.

In the 1980s, Pablo Escobar smuggled four hippos from an American zoo into Colombia, as exotic pets. They were kept at his luxurious Hacienda Napoles, in Puerto Triunfo, Antioquia, but after the collapse of his crime empire, they were set loose into the jungle. With no natural predators, plenty of water sources and suitable climate, the hippopotamuses thrived and multiplied. The initial four water giants have now ballooned to an estimated population of over 100, which scientists say could reach over 1,400 specimens by 2039.

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Wombats Produce Square-Shaped Droppings And Now We Know How

Despite having round anuses like all other mammals, bare-nosed wombats do not produce round pellets, tubular coils or messy piles; they are the only creature on Earth that poops cubes.

Wombats, marsupials native to the grassy plains and eucalyptus forests of Australia, are among the most adorable animals in the world, but to animal experts they have been a tough-to-solve mystery for a very long time. And it has all been because of their poop. You see, wombats have the unique ability to produce up to 100 distinctive, cuboid pieces of poop every day. Now, researchers say they have uncovered how the wombat intestine creates this unusually-shaped excrement.

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This Caterpillar’s Camouflage Is On a Another Level

The Common Baron Caterpillar is a true master of camouflage. When it positions itself perfectly on a mango tree leaf, it is nearly impossible to spot, even if you know it’s there.

Some animals naturally develop camouflage in order to make themselves harder to spot by predators, but some are much better than others, and some blend into their natural surroundings perfectly. The Common Baron Caterpillar (Euthalia aconthea), a critter native to India and Southeast Asia, fits in the latter category. It has evolved to blend into its preferred background so well that it is nearly impossible to see.

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Clever Bird Hunts Fish by Turning Itself Into an Umbrella

Black egrets, a species of African herons, have a very unique hunting technique – they use their wings to from an umbrella, which not only reduces glare, but also lures fish into false sense of security.

Called “canopy feeding”, the hunting technique used by black herons has to be one of the sneakiest observed in the wild. The black wading bird walks about slowly through shallow water and then spreads its wings around its body, to create an umbrella of sorts that blocks out the light. Although it’s not perfectly clear why the African heron uses this specific technique, scientists hypothesize that it has several advantages, like reducing glare and attracting the fish into a trap.

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This Spider Masquerades as a Fallen Leaf to Avoid Predators

Poltys mouhoti, aka the Rolled-up Leaf Spider, is a fascinating arachnid that uses incredible camouflage to protect itself from predators during the day.

Native to Vietnam, but also spotted in other Asian countries like Cambodia, Thailand or Malaysia, the aptly-named rolled-up leaf spider is part of the Poltys genus of spiders, which numbers 43 known sub-species, most of which have this amazing ability to mimic plant parts as a self-defense mechanism. They accomplish this by tucking their legs in towards their abdomen, and extending a long, stem-like appendage outward. Even their body has a brown and green coloration and a shape reminiscent of a broken branch, which enhances the camouflage even more.

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Woman’s Pet Micro-Pig Grows Into 150-Kg Behemoth

A Chinese woman who thought she had bought a pet micro-pig three years ago ended up with a 150-kg regular pig usually bred for its meat.

In 2018, Zhang Li, a young woman living in Shanghai, decided to get a pet animal for company. She wasn’t really a cat or dog person, so she started looking for an alternative, and thought she had found it when she saw an advertisement for a micro-pig. She did her research, and learn that the miniature pigs made great pets; they were adorable, grew only about the size of a small dog, and were very intelligent. So she decided to take the plunge and get one for herself, not knowing that she would end up with a 150kg beast as a pet.

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The Sad Story of the Last Free Macaw in Rio de Janeiro

Almost every morning for the past two decades, Juliet the macaw has been visiting the local zoo in Rio de Janeiro to interact with others of her kind through the metal enclosure. She is the only wild macaw in the Brazilian metropolis, and this is her only opportunity to socialize.

Macaws are social birds, so loneliness is a tough burden to bare for Juliet, a beautiful blue-and-yellow macaw who calls Rio home. She is the only wild specimen seen in city since 1818, and no one really knows much about her. Zoo staff named the bird Juliet, but they don’t even know if she is actually female. It’s really hard to tell with macaws, and to establish her true gender they would need to capture the bird, and either examine her gonads or take blood or feather samples. And there’s really no need to put Juliet through all that stress just to satisfy human curiosity.

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The World’s Smallest Chicken Breed Is Also the Most Pompous

Serama chickens are the smallest in the world, but you really couldn’t tell by their attitude. Seeing them pose with their head pulled back and chest sticking out, you’d think they were some sort of feathered bodybuilders.

The Serama chicken breed can be traced back all the way to the 1600s, to the Kelantan province of Malaysia, but the current strain can be attributed to Wee Yean Een, a breeder who popularized it during the 1970s and even gave the chicken the Serama name, after King Rama of Thailand. However, the breed was rendered almost extinct by the bird flu pandemic of the early 2000s. Luckily, they had already been exported to many countries around the world by that point, including the US and UK, and were able to make a comeback.

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Meet Mao Mao, a Feline Car Model That Earns More Than Most Humans

Mao Mao, a two-year-old British Shorthair from Chongqing, China, works as a professional cat model and earns between 5,000 yuan ($775) and 10,000 yuan (1,550) per appearance.

Mao Mao’s rise to fame was somewhat of an accident. Her owner, a man surnamed Zheng, works in the automotive industry, and during an auto show he had the brilliant idea of putting his pet cat into one of the cars. That immediately drew a crowd of people who couldn’t wait to snap a photo of the cute feline and share it on their social media pages. That meant more exposure for the car brands, so Zheng started promoting Mao Mao as a cat model to car brands looking for extra attention. Nowadays, the cat is a household name at auto shows and routinely lands a few appearances per month.

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