The Indian Village Where Monkeys Own 32 Acres of Land

The people of Upla, a small village in India’s Maharashtra state, allegedly hold the local monkey population in such high regard that they have had land registered in the animals’ name.

Farmland is very precious in India, a country where land disputes between humans are fairly common. That only makes the situation in Upla, a village of 1,600 people and around 100 Rhesus macaques that much more intriguing. Indians have always held the monkeys in high regard, feeding them and including them in various rituals, but the people of Upla have gone beyond that, registering 32 acres of land in the monkeys’ name, a fact acknowledged by the village head.

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The ‘World’s Smallest Chicken’ Is Taking the Chinese Pet Scene by Storm

Rutin chicken, a domestic hybrid dubbed ‘the world’s smallest chicken’ has become incredibly popular in China lately, fueling a veritable pet craze.

Technically, the rutin in chicken is not a chicken. It is a cross between a quail and a partridge, but people have dubbed it the “world’s smallest chicken” and the nickname stuck. To be fair, it fits too, as the birds are about the size of an average human fist and weigh only about 50 grams. They are super cute as well, and their size makes them suitable for relatively small enclosures that come with lights, plants, stairs, and even dollhouse-like sleeping quarters.

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World’s Smallest Snake Can Easily Be Mistaken for an Earthworm

Measuring around 10 cm, with a diameter comparable to that of a cooked spaghetti, the Barbados Threadsnake (Tetracheilostoma carlae) is by far the smallest snake in the world.

Spotting a Barbados threadsnake for the first time, you could swear it was an earthworm. They are actually comparable in size and diameter, with the largest specimen ever found measuring only 10.4 centimeters, and are also blind. They also typically weigh under one gram and are small enough to coil on an American quarter. The species was officially discovered slithering beneath a rock near a patch of Barbadian forest in 2008 by evolutionary biologist S. Blair Hedges, but little has been discovered about its ecology and behavior since.

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This Adorable Little Bird Is a Real-Life Vampire

Geospiza difficilis septentrionalis, aka the Vampire Finch, is a small bird with a very unusual diet – other bird’s blood.

Found on only two small islands in the Galapagos Archipelago – Darwin and Wolf – the vampire finch is a subspecies of the sharp-beaked ground finch, a relatively small and harmless-looking bird. However, as the specie’s name suggests, it has a very sharp beak, which it sometimes uses to break through more than just fruits and nuts. The vampire finch got its name from its bizarre habit of pecking at larger birds’ skin and feeding on their blood whenever other food sources are scarce.

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This Terrifying-Looking Horned Spider Is Actually Quite Harmless

Macracantha arcuata, aka the horned orb-weaver spider or the wishbone spider, have a pair of intimidating long horns growing out of their abdomen.

Although both male and female Macracantha arcuate spiders feature spines on their abdomens, it’s the females that stand out. They have three pairs of spines coming out of their abdomens, but it’s the middle one that immediately catches your attention, as the spectacular horns that project upward and then curve toward each other are roughly three times longer than the spider itself. The other two pairs of spines are short and relatively inconspicuous in comparison. If you’re afraid of spiders in general, a female Macracantha arcuata is a terrifying sight to behold, but you should know that the species is actually harmless to humans.

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This Bird Is the Heaviest Animal Capable of Walking on Water

Using their large feet and fast stride, the Western and Clark’s grebes can run as far as 20 meters on water, making them the only bird and the heaviest animal on Earth capable of doing so.

If you exclude Jesus Christ, whose biblical feat of walking on water is literally considered a miracle of the New Testament, only a handful of creatures are known to be able to walk or run on water. Most of them are small insects, but there is also a small basilisk nicknamed the Jesus Christ lizard for very obvious reasons, but the largest of them all are two bird species – the Western and Clark’s grebes. They can run on water for up to 7 seconds and distances of about 20 minutes as part of an impressive mating ritual.

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Hooded Pitohui – The World’s First Scientifically-Confirmed Poisonous Bird

The hooded pitohui, a small bird endemic to Papua New Guinea, is the first and only scientifically-confirmed poisonous bird in the world.

The Melanesian people of Papua New Guinea have long known to keep their hands off of hooded pitohui, but to the western world, the bird’s toxic potential was only discovered by chance just over three decades ago. In 1990, ornithologist Jack Dumbacher was on the Pacific island looking for birds of paradise. He had set up delicate mist nets between the trees to catch them and ended up with some hooded pitohui birds in them as well. As he tried to grab the birds out of the traps, they scratched and bit his fingers, and he instinctively put his hands in his mouth to soothe the pain. Almost immediately, Dumbacher felt his lips and tongue go numb. They then started to burn and did so for hours. Later, suspecting that the symptoms were caused by the bird, he took a pitohui feather and put it in his mouth. The numbness and ensuing pain quickly returned. He had unknowingly discovered the world’s first poisonous bird.

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The Ladoum – Senegal’s Star Sheep Can Cost More Than a Car

The Ladoum sheep, known as the “king of sheep” in Senegal, is considered a mark of prestige and a status symbol in the African country, with prices for top specimens exceeding $85,000.

A hybrid of the Mauritanian ‘Touabire’ breed and the Malian ‘Bali-bali’, the Ladoum was first bred outside Senegal’s capital of Dakar in the early 1970s. For such a young breed, the Ladoum is incredibly popular in the West-African nation, with well-off families and breeders spending small fortunes on a specimen, and those who can’t afford one dreaming of one day having enough money to buy it. To understand just how revered the Ladoum is, in a country where about 40 percent of the population lives on $1.90 per day, some people spend tens of thousands of dollars on a single sheep.

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Africa’s Feathered Locust – These Little Birds Cause the Cutest Plague Imaginable

To most of the world, the red-billed quelea is a cute, sparrow-like bird native to Sub-Saharan Africa, but to the farmers of the regions that this little creature calls home, it is a pest capable of wiping out their crops.

Biblical plagues mention insects like locusts, lice and flies, but to the people of African countries like  Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe, birds – one species in particular – are more dangerous than any of them. There is a very good reason why the red-billed quelea is popularly known as Africa’s feathered locust. This small, adorable bird eats about four grams of plant seeds per day, which doesn’t sound like much, but when you consider that it feeds in flocks of millions of individuals, the math starts to get pretty scary for farmers and those who depend on their crops.

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Meet Dexter, the Dog That Learned to Walk Like a Human

Dexter, a 7-year-old Brittany Spaniel from Colorado, has become an inspiration for many around the world after he taught himself to stand up and walk on his hind legs after suffering an accident.

When he was only a puppy, Dexter escaped his owners’ yard in Ouray, Colorado, darted into traffic and got hit by a car. One of his front legs had to be amputated and the other was severely damaged. But he survived, and that’s all his owners cared about. They assumed he would need some kind of wheelchair to get around without his front legs, and he did use one for a while, but only until he learned he could walk much faster on his hind legs alone. Since then, he has been walking like a human, turning heads around town and inspiring the entire world.

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These Silver, Reflective Beetles Look Like Living Jewelry

Chrysina limbata is a species of beetle native to the tropical rainforests of Central America known for its metallic reflective silver color which makes specimens look like living pieces of jewelry.

Chrysina limbata is regarded as one of the most beautiful insect species on Earth, and for good reason. These beetles have a reflective silver metallic appearance that is so clear one can actually see their reflection in them. According to Wikipedia, this stunning visual effect “is achieved through thin film interference within layers of chitin. These layers of the chitin coating are chirped (in layers of differing thicknesses), forming a complex multilayer as each layer decreases in depth; as the thickness changes, so too does the optical path-length. Each chirped layer is tuned to a different wavelength of light”.

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Ukrainian Family Returns Home After Four Months of War, Finds Dog Waiting for Them

When a Ukrainian family returned to their war-ravaged home in Hostomel after four months, the last thing they expected to find was their beloved pet husky, Belyi.

In March of this year, when Russia started targeting Hostomel’s strategically important airport with its artillery, 35-year-old Kateryna Tytova and her family had to make a heartbreaking decision. Kateryna, her husband Olexandr and their two young children fled the city and left their white husky, Belyi behind. It sounds cruel, but those were desperate times. Russians were advancing, there was shelling around the airport, and there was no time to plan their escape. A photo of Kateryna holding her 5-year-old’s daughter as they run from artillery shelling has made international headlines. But despite leaving Belyi behind, the family always hoped he would be waiting for them when they came back.

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Indian Runner Ducks Stand Upright Like Penguins, Can Outrun Most Humans

The Indian Runner duck has the most distinctive body type among all the world’s duck breeds. With legs positioned further back on the body than all other duck breeds, they stand upright like penguins and run rather than waddle.

Native to the Asian continent, the Indian Runner duck is a development of the wild mallard. However, its unique evolution is believed to have been determined more by human interference than natural evolution. First encountered by European sailors during the 1800s in Indonesia, where it wasn’t uncommon for farmers to have heards of over 1,000 ducks. It stood out because of its unusual body posture and running ability, which were unusual for European duck breeds. Today, the Indian Runner is found on all the world’s continents, although it is still considered somewhat of an oddity outside of Asia.

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YouTuber Creates Custom Fish Tank So He Can Take His Goldfish on Walks

The problem with having fish as pets is that you can’t really take them with you on the go like you can land mammals like cats and dogs. Well, unless you have one of these mobile fish tanks, that is!

It all started with a series of posts on the Facebook Open Society group from members who claimed to have spotted a man walking his pet fish around Taipei in a contraption that looked like a fish tank on wheels. Some of the photos went viral, and people started commenting that the man pushing the fish tank was a popular Taiwanese DIY youtuber called Huang Xiaojie, aka ‘Jerry’. Sure enough, on April 23rd, Jerry released a video showcasing his invention, calling it one of his toughest challenges yet.

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This Marine Mollusk Has Teeth Literally as Hard as Steel

The gumboot chiton, a marine mollusk also known as the Wondering Meatloaf, has teeth made of the hardest biological material known to man.

Magnetite is a geologic mineral commonly found in the earth’s crust, but it’s also somehow produced by the gumboot chiton and synthesized into rows of small teeth hard enough to scrape algae off of rocks. The top of these teeth is layered with magnetite, which makes them literally as strong as steel, but the root is also incredibly tough, thanks to another iron-like material that has never been observed in living creatures before – santabarbaraite. This unique combination makes the chiton’s teeth the hardest biological material in the world.

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