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Alligators Survive in Frozen Swamps by Sticking Their Snouts Through the Ice So They Can Keep Breathing

Alligators are infamously fierce creatures and have existed in the primary Crocodylia body form for over 180 million years, making them living dinosaurs. These massive reptiles have adapted in some unusual ways to ensure their long-term survival, and one such adaptation astounded visitors and staff at a North Carolina swamp park this week.

Shallotte River Swamp Park in Ocean Isle Beach, 200 miles east of the state’s largest city Charlotte, recently posted a video on Facebook documenting what appeared to be a pond full of dead alligators. A massive cyclone had blown through the state the week before, bringing record lows, and causing the pond to freeze over. Crocodiles aren’t exactly known for their love of icy waters, so seeing a bunch of snouts sticking out through the ice, you’d be inclined to think that the huge reptiles had died. But you’d be wrong.

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Australia’s “Firehawks” Deliberately Start Wildfires to Flush Out Prey

According to a research paper published recently in the Journal of Ethnobiology, several Australian birds of prey have the habit of starting wildfires for the soul purpose of flushing out prey from the blazing grasslands. Interestingly, aboriginals have known about this for over 40,000 years and even have a name for the fire-wielding birds – “firehawks”.

Australia’s dry climate makes it prone to wildfires. Lightnings and human activities are considered the main causes, but according to a recently-published research paper, birds may sometimes have a part to play as well. Raptors like the black kite (Milvus migrans), whistling kite (Haliastur sphenurus), and the brown falcon (Falco berigora) can allegedly start fires in the continent’s 730,000 square miles of savanna by dropping burning sticks in the dry grass to flush out prey like insects, reptiles and small mammals. What’s even more remarkable is that they seem to be doing it on purpose.

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Real-Life ” Bear Dog” Found by Siberian Animal Shelter Has a Really Sad Story

Ever wonder what a cross between a bear and a large dog would look like? Well, if you can’t even imagine it, maybe these pictures of a bear-like dog rescued by a shelter in the Russian city of Chelyabinsk will give you an idea.

Named Medvebaka, from the Russian words for ‘bear’ (Medved) and ‘dog’ (Sobaka), the unusual-looking canine was recently rescued by the Nash Dom animal shelter, whose volunteer staff have been working hard to find him a forever home. Photos of the animal, with a head resembling that of a brown bear and the body of a large dog have attracted a lot of attention on Russian social media, and even abroad, but as it turns out, this in not some mythical creature, but the result of poor mixed breeding.

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Iowa Farmer Is Selling Micro-Cows the Size of Large Dogs as Pets

Remember that time when micro pigs were all the rage and made everyone go ooh and aah? Well, now seems to be the time of micro cows and the adorable tiny cattle are proving wonderful pets. There are very few micro-cattle breeders around the world. and Dustin Pillard, who has been breeding them on his farm in Iowa, is probably the most well-known. He has been featured in newspapers and TV news specials numerous times since he began breeding micro cattle in 1995, but his miniature cows are now the smallest they’ve ever been.

Dustin Pillard, a 46-year-old father of three, grew up in the city but regularly spent time on his grandparents’ farm near Cedar Rapids. In 1992, while in college, he attended a cattle auction where he saw micro-cows for the first time. He was fascinated with them, so three years later, when he became the owner of a 10-acre ranch, he knew he had to populate it with the tiny creatures.He bought five animals and started what is known today as the Oxen Ridge Miniature Cattle farm.

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Meet Gustave, the Legendary Killer Crocodile of Burundi

On the banks of the Ruzizi River in Burundi lurks a monster of almost mythical proportions – Gustave, the man-eating crocodile. He has been around for over 60 years, and has allegedly killed over 300 people.

Since Gustave has consistently evaded capture, his exact size is unknown, but estimates from scientists and eyewitnesses place him somewhere between 18 and 25 feet long (5.5 to 7.5 meters). He weighs more than 2000 lbs (900 kg), or over half the weight of a typical car. He is the largest crocodile ever seen in Africa.  Due to his size, Gustave was initially estimated to be over 100 years old, but further observation revealed that he had a full set of teeth, which meant he was much younger than that. According to the 2004 PBS documentary Capturing the Killer Croc, he “should be nearly toothless,” and was thus estimated to be “probably no older than 60, and likely, still growing”.

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Squirrel Still Visits South Carolina Family 8 Years After They Rescued Her

A squirrel that was nearly killed eight years ago by an owl when she was just four weeks old, continues to visit the Greenville County, South Carolina family that rescued, raised and later released her into the wild.

In October 2009 the baby squirrel was left severely injured after being attacked by an owl. She would not have survived for very long in the wild, but fortunately, a wildlife rescue group happened to find her. They rescued her, treated her injuries and eventually placed her in the the care of Brantley Harrison and her family, in Greenville County. The Harrisons were no strangers to rescuing and rehabilitating wild animals, but, for some reason, they formed a very unique bond with this squirrel.

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Tiny Birds Build Communal Nests So Large They Can Pull Down Trees

While most songbirds build small, discreet nests designed to shelter one clutch of eggs, the Social Weavers (Philetairus socius) of southern Africa build communal nests so large that they can pull down mature trees. Each structure can weigh over a ton, and range upwards of 20 feet wide and 10 feet tall, with over a hundred separate nesting chambers. Successive generations refurbish and reuse these compartments, often for more than a century.

Social Weavers utilize several different building materials, starting with a basic structure of woven twigs. They then line the interior with grasses and feathers and construct a 10-inch long, one-inch wide private entrance with downward pointing spiky straws to deter snakes. While a breeding pair will have a private apartment, most chambers house three or four of the birds at a time. The benefits of this lifestyle become clear in the context of the desert where temperatures vary dramatically.

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Dog Dies of a Broken Heart After Being Abandoned by Owner

A poor dog has reportedly “died of a broken heart” after being abandoned by her owner at an airport in Colombia. She spent the last month of her life wandering around the airport in search of her master and eventually stopped eating as a result of severe depression.

The distressed dog, named Nube Viajera (Traveling Cloud) by the veterinarians who rescued her from Palonegro airport, near Bucaramanga, and looked after her until the very end, was only about two years old, but after a month of wandering around sniffing passengers and refusing to accept food and water, she had become so weak that she was barely able to stand. Witnesses said that in the last days of her life, the animal gave up her daily search and crawled into an isolated corner, refusing to accept any food that passengers and airport staff offered her. She was finally taken to a veterinarian clinic after someone alerted the Friends of Animals and Nature Foundation of Bucaramanga, but despite their best efforts, she died within 48 hours of being rescued.

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The “Gangs of Urban Turkeys” Terrorizing Massachusetts

After being nearly wiped out from New England in the 1800s, wild turkeys are apparently turning the tables on their human oppressors, wreaking havoc on the streets of Boston and other urban areas of Massachusetts. The number of residents attacked by the aggressive birds has increased dramatically in the last year, police say.

Wild turkeys once dominated the forests of the Northeast, but they seem to have taken a liking to cities and towns in Massachusetts, where finding better foraging beside dumpsters and in people’s backyards than in the woods. They’ve become so at home among humans that people have started referring to them as “urban turkeys”. They can be seen strutting their feathers on sidewalks, pecking shiny objects, blocking traffic, chasing after smaller pets and, in rare cases, even attacking people.

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Woman Checks Her Full-Grown Horse into Kentucky Hotel Room

Lindsey Partridge, a horse trainer from Canada, recently tested the pet policy of a hotel in Georgetwon, Kentucky, by trying to check her 5-year-old thoroughbred into her room. Believe it or not, she was successful, and it only cost her $10.

Partridge, from Ontario, Canada, recently traveled to the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky, to compete in the Retired Racehorse Project’s Thoroughbred Makeover, an annual competition in which retired racehorses compete in various categories. As she approached the town of Georgetown, where she had booked a room for the week, she decided to stop and drop off her luggage, before driving to the contest venue. Little did she know that one of her horses would be joining her in the room as well.

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Cambodian Farm Breeds Mutant Hulk-Like Pigs

Photos of extremely muscular pigs bred by a farm in Cambodia have been doing the rounds online, sparking controversy about genetically modified animals.

The Hulk-like pigs are apparently bred by Duroc Cambodia, a pig farm in the Asian country’s Banteay Meanchey province. The company’s Facebook page is littered with photos and videos of these freakishly muscular animals that appear to be the result of some extreme genetic tampering. Some have accused the breeder of using hormones and steroids to turn the pigs into nightmarish monsters, but seeing as Duroc Cambodia is also selling insemination kits to people wanting to grow their own, their unnatural physique is most likely caused by genetic modifications.

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You Too Can Help Secure a Safe Home for Alba, the World’s Only Known Albino Orangutan

Between deforestation, climate change, and poaching, the number of orangutans living in the wild is dropping at an alarming rate, but one orangutan in particular has made it through all this torment and her story is giving us all hope. Her name is Alba, and she is truly one of a kind. Alba is an albino – currently the only known one in the world.

The five year old ape was rescued in an Indonesian Village by the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOS). She had been illegally captured and kept in a cage without proper care for a couple of days before rescuers got to her. Researches believe Alba was orphaned at a young age and caught not long after. When they found her she was suffering from a parasitic infection, dehydration, and low body weight. However, she still displays wild behaviors, meaning she can be released in the wild.

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Unlicensed Vet Removes Noisy Dogs’ Vocal Chords on the Side of the Street

A self-proclaimed veterinarian in Chengdu, China, is currently under investigation for operating an unlicensed “clinic” on the street, and charging around 50 – 100 yuan to remove the vocal chords of noisy dogs.

Why would any dog owner want to remove their pet’s vocal chords, you ask? In this particular case, most of the shady vet’s customers told police officers that they had received complaints from their neighbors that the animals barked too loudly, so they decided to have them devocalized. That’s a gruesome thing in itself, but to have the procedure done by some random guy on the side of the street, with unclean surgical instruments is simply appalling.

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Chinese “Guardian of Dogs” Has Rescued Over 700 Strays in the Last 8 Years

Zhou Yusong is known as the “Guardian of Dogs” in his home city of Zhengzhou, China’s Henan Province. The kindhearted man has spent the last 8 years of his life rescuing stray dogs and offering them a home at  his animal protection center.

It all started in 2008, when Zhou Yusong, when he noticed an injured stray dog by the side of a road in Zhengzhou. It had been hit by a car and was fighting for his life, but everyone just ignored it. Unable to do the same, he picked up the canine and took it to a nearby pet hospital. After saving the animal’s life, he took it to a dog shelter, as he had no way of taking care of it himself, in his small apartment. Shocked by the large number of stray dogs already at the shelter, he became more involved in trying to make their lives easier, and started donating 200 yuan ($30) every month, for the animal’s food and medical treatments.

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Meet Cygnus, the Cat with the World’s Longest, Most Luscious Tail

Lauren and Will Powers, of Ferndale, Michigan, don’t need to dust their home like the rest of us. Their cat, Cygnus, does it for them just by walking around the place and wagging his incredibly long and fluffy tail.

Cygnus Regulus Powers was recently featured in the 2018 Guinness Book of Records for having the “longest tail on a domestic cat”. The official measurement put his tail at a whopping 44.66 cm (17.58 inches) from the base of his butt to the end of the “meat” of his tail, but it must have been done a while ago, because in June of last year, his owner Will Powers told Love Meow that Cygnus’ tail already measured 18.4 inches (24 inches, if you count the fluff). And considering that the cute Main Coon was only about a year old at the time, his tail must be considerably longer now.

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