Belgian Couple Share Their Home with a Wild Boar

Tiffany and Grégory, a couple from Belgium’s Wallonia region, have been sharing their home with Oscar, a rescued wild boar, for more than a year now.

It all started about a year ago, during a hunting trip, when Grégory Guiot brought home a 700-gram boar cub that his dogs had found. It was December 6th, Saint Nicholas Day, and Gregory didn’t have the heart to just leave the helpless animal in the wild, where it would have likely perished on its own Instead, he took hit home to his partner, Tiffany Pierre. Neither of them even entertained the idea of keeping the boar at first, instead focusing on caring for it until they found another arrangement. However, Tiffany and Grégory found themselves becoming more and more attached to the little bundle of joy with each passing day, so when they finally decided to take little Oscar to an educational farm where he would be well taken care of, they both had tears in their eyes…

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Parasitic Worm Manipulates Host into Drowning by Stealing Its Genetic Code

The hairworm might not look like much, but it is a sinister parasite that steals its host’s genetic code to manipulate it into deep water, so it can reproduce and start the cycle all over again.

During its larval stage, a hairworm’s first goal is to get eaten by a tadpole or a mosquito. It then lies dormant until this initial host is itself eaten by a larger creature, such as a cricket, grasshopper, or mantis. Once its Trojan horse is digested by the new host, the hairworm breaks out and begins sapping the poor insect of nutrients. This only takes about three months, after which the hairworm somehow manipulates its drained host toward water, where it would never go on its own, to drown. Hairworms breed in water, so after their host dies, they swim to the nearest ball hairworms to reproduce and start the cycle once more. Scientists have known about the worm’s ‘mindsnatcher’ trick for years, but a team of researchers claims to have finally figured out how hairworms actually brainwash their hosts.

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‘Mickey Ears’ Cosmetic Procedure for Pets Sparks Controversy in China

Chinese media reports that a growing number of pet owners are putting their animals through painful cosmetic procedures in order to give them rounded ears inspired by Mickey Mouse.

Most cats and dogs have naturally pointy or droopy ears, but a new disturbing trend sweeping through China these days has pet owners ignoring common sense and their animals’ physical and mental well-being for the promise of stylish ‘Mickey Ears’. Apparently, some shady pet clinics will slice part of the animal’s ears off to achieve the Mickey Mouse look, but there are also a variety of special clamps available online for pet owners disturbed enough to perform the procedure themselves. Recent coverage of this bizarre trend sparked controversy online, with most of the general public urging authorities to ban the ‘Mickey Ears’ procedure and punish those who would torture defenseless animals purely for cosmetic purposes.

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Scubadiver Has Been Friends with a 15-Foot-Long Tiger Shark for Over Two Decades

A Florida scuba diver claims he has been best friends with a 15-foot-shark named Emma for almost 23 years now, describing her more like a playful dog than an apex predator.

Jim Abernethy and Emma first met in 2001 when he removed a fishing hook from her mouth, and they’ve been inseparable ever since. Every time Jim goes into the water in the area of Tiger Beach, in the Bahamas, she comes around and rubs heads with him as a sign of affection. It’s not the kind of behavior most people expect from a huge, 15-foot-long tiger shark that could easily tear a human apart, and that’s exactly what makes Emma the perfect poster girl in Jim Abernathy’s ongoing mission to change people’s perceptions of sharks.

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The Picasso Moth Is Truly a Living Work of Art

Baorisa hieroglyphica, also known as the Picasso mothis a species of moth named after the famous Spanish painter Pablo Picasso because of its unusually artistic wing patterns.

First described by British entomologist Frederic Moore in 1882, the Picasso moth is native to Southeast Asia and Northern India. Like most moths, Baorisa hieroglyphica is a nocturnal insect that feeds mostly on the nectar of various plants. Arguably the most beautiful of the Noctuid moths (Noctuidae family), this stunning-looking insect has been dubbed the most interesting moth in the world. The species’ scientific name ‘hieroglyphica’ refers to the striking geometric lines and shapes on its fore wings, while its common name was inspired by the blotches, strips, and dots of color that hint at the work of a talented painter.

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Scientists Observe Mosquitoes Feeding Exclusively on Frogs’ Nostrils

A team of scientists studying freshwater ponds on an Australian island observed a rather peculiar mosquito behavior – when feeding on frogs, mosquitoes would always go for the nostrils.

John Gould and Jose Valdez – the first with the University of Newcastle, in Australia, the other the German Center for Integrative Biodiversity Research – spent three years surveying approximately 60 freshwater wetland ponds on Kooragang Island, in New South Wales, Australia. During their research, they observed and photographed a total of 3977 amphibians, but upon returning to their laboratory and laying out all of their photos, they noticed something intriguing. Out of their thousands of photos, 12 of them showed mosquitoes feeding on various species of frogs, but in all of them, the mosquitoes were sucking blood from the animals’ nostrils.

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Canada’s Feral ‘Super Pigs’ Are Virtually Impossible to Eradicate

Northern US states are preparing for an invasion of incredibly intelligent and highly adaptable ‘super pigs’ that threaten to spill over the border from Canada.

Feral pigs have been the bane of North America’s flora and fauna for many years now, but a new breed of ‘super pigs’ is threatening to take the problems they cause to a whole new level. The result of cross-breeding domestic pigs with wild boars, these new feral pigs combine the survival skills of the wild Eurasian boar with the size and high fertility of domestic swine, a combination that is apparently nigh impossible to control. Not only are they capable of surviving cold climates by tunneling under snow, but they also devastate crops, feed on animals of all sizes, from quails and wild turkeys to deer and elk, and spread deadly diseases like the African swine flu and strains of influenza that can affect humans.

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Blue-Tongued Lizard Defends Itself by Sticking Its Tongue Out to Predators

The blue-tongued skink, a lizard native to the Australian continent, has a rather bizarre defense mechanism – it sticks its bright-blue tongue out to predators and they actually run away, sometimes.

A subspecies of Tiliqua scincoides, the blue-tongued skink is one of only five animals known to have blue tongues, the other being the chow chow dog breed, the giraffe, the Impala, and the Okapi. However, it is the only one known for using this distinct physical feature to intimidate predators. When a blue-tongued skink feels threatened, it will start sticking out its blue tongue rapidly, and the contrasting blue tongue against the pink background of its mouth will actually make some animals think twice before attacking it. It sounds weird, but there is a logical explanation behind this unique defense strategy.

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Gigantic Bovine Sets Guinness Record for World’s Tallest Steer

Tommy, a 13-year-old Brown Swiss from Cheshire, in Massachusets, was recently crowned the world’s tallest living steer, measuring an impressive 1.87m(6ft 1in).

Tommy the steer has been living with the Balawender family on their farm in Cheshire since he was just one day old, after being bought for just about $10. It’s safe to say that he is worth a bit more than that today, but the Balawender see him more as a member of the family than an asset, so they are not considering selling him. Brown Swiss cattle generally have large bodies for dairy cows, but they are considered a medium-sized breed, which makes Tommy somewhat of a freak of nature. A typical Brown Swiss cow weighs between 1,300 to 1,400 pounds, while bulls can reach 2,000 pounds. Tommy weighs about 3,000 pounds, which makes him heavy even for his breed, and he has the frame to match the weight – 1.87 meters (6ft 1in).

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Stray Dog in Russia Suffers from Extreme Obesity, Weighs Almost 100 Kilograms

It’s rare for any dog to reach 100 kilograms, let alone a stray one, but Krugets, a stray dog living in the Russian city of Nizhny Novgorod, has become so fat that he can barely get up.

The Great Dane, the world’s largest dog breed, weighs between 300 (136 kg) and 400 pounds (181 kg), but for a midsize stray dog to weigh just under 220 pounds (100 kg) is somewhat of an oddity. Volunteers in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, recently found a stray dog so fat that he howled in pain every night, and barely managed to get up on all fours because of the unbearable joint pain. The dog had to be placed on a large scale by a number of people, and his weight reportedly stunned everyone. Krugets weighed a whopping 99.9 kilograms (220 lbs) and no one could understand how a stray could become so heavy.

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Firefighters Save Dog Stuck in Narrow Pipe, Then Charge Owner $10,000

A French man traveling through Switzerland was stunned to receive a bill for 9,241 Swiss francs ($10,000) from the firefighters who rescued his pet dog after she became stuck in an underground pipe while chasing a fox.

A couple of months ago, Alian Chichignoud, a 25-year-old Frenchman traveling through Europe with his three pet dogs, went through a stressful ordeal after one of his pet dogs disappeared in Switzerland. Gaia, a 12-year-old Jack Russell Terrier, ran after a fox near the town of Vaulruz and didn’t come back. Gaia went missing on a Friday, and Alian and his other two pets canines, Bocka and Zuni, spent almost two days looking for her. It was only on Sunday morning that Boycka heard Gaia’s muffled cries coming from a grate on the side of the road and alerted his master. The dog had become stuck with the fox it had been chasing in a very narrow pipe, and Alian realized very quickly that he would need help to get her out.

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14_year-Old Cat Sets Guinness Record for World’s Loudest Purr

Bella, a 14-year-old feline from Huntingdon, UK, has claimed the Guinness Record for the world’s loudest purr by a domestic cat, with a noisy purr measured at 54.59 decibels.

The Spink family has had Bella for almost 15 years, and they’ve always suspected that she might have the world’s loudest purr. Friends and family would always wonder at her loud purring, and Nicole Spink’s late husband would complain that she was louder than the TV. One day, they decided to put Bella’s purring to the test – they downloaded a smartphone app to measure the cat’s purr and were blown away by the result. She was louder than the Guinness World record for the loudest purr by a domestic cat, so they applied for an official record attempt.

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Newly-Identified ‘Alien-Looking’ Parasitic Wasp Consumes Its Host From the Inside Out

Capitojoppa amazonica is a newly-discovered genus of parasitic wasps that stabs its victims with its giant ovipositor and sucks the blood out of them before laying its eggs inside.

The terrifying insect was discovered by scientists from the University of Utah while surveying the National Reserve of Allpahuayo-Mishana in Peru. They laid large netted devices called malaise traps to capture as many flying insects as possible. Among the creatures caught in their traps was a bright yellow wasp with a giant almond-shaped head and tube-like organs sticking out of it. Scientists concluded that the specimen, an adult female, was a new ‘solitary endoparasitoid’ – meaning it lays a single egg inside the body of its host (caterpillars, beetles, and even spiders). The egg hatches in a matter of days, after which the wasp larvae start to consume the host’s inside.

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Spanish Town Experiences Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds’ in Real Life

For the past five months, the people of Pravia, a town in Spain’s Asturias Region, have been under constant siege from flocks of crows who mindlessly attack their homes and vehicles.

The town of Pravia has no less than six crows proudly displayed on its historic coat of arms, so it’s safe to say that people here have been living in harmony with the birds for centuries. That is not the case anymore, however, as large flocks of blackbirds now attack the homes and vehicles of human residents for some unknown reason. The people of Pravia started reporting groups of birds mindlessly flying into their windows repeatedly until the impact caused them to bleed in May of this year, and things have been getting worse ever since. No one knows exactly why the crows are targeting people’s homes and vehicles, but they are relentless in their attacks, pecking at and flying into windows until they start to bleed.

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The World’s Oldest Living Chicken Is Over 21 Years Old

Peanut, a chicken from a no-kill farm in Michigan, is the current Guinness Record holder for the ‘world’s oldest chicken’, at 21 years, 156 days, and counting.

Chickens have an average life expectancy of five to eight years, so Peanut is somewhat of a Methuselah of the aviary world. On January 28, 2023, she was officially crowned the world’s oldest chicken by Guinness World Records, at the ripe age of 20 years and 272 days. She has since turned 21 and is chasing the title of oldest chicken in recorded history. But the craziest thing about Peanut is that she almost never existed. 21 years ago, her owner was getting ready to throw a batch of rotten-looking eggs a hen had abandoned into an alligator pond when she heard a faint chirp from one of them.

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