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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Want to Take Your Pet Fish for a Walk? There’s a Bag for That!

A Japanese company is working on a quirky container-like bag for live fish, suitable both for pet owners wanting to take their favorite fish on walks, and fans of super-fresh sashimi…

Known as “katsugyo bag” this portable fish tank is shaped like a long tube with a transparent middle section, a handle and a gauge, which, if I had to guess, monitors the oxygen saturation of the water. It is being developed by “Ma Corporation”, and aims to become a more elegant, efficient and environmentally-friendly alternative to the old water-filled plastic bag.

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Thousands of Cockatoos Take Over Australian Town

The New South Wales resort town of Nowra was recently invades by thousands of corellas, a subgenus of white cockatoo, which made it look like the set of an Alfred Hitchcock movie.

Photos and videos of white birds gathered on the streets of Nowra have been doing the rounds online for about a week. The corellas can be seen hanging from lamp posts, converging on people’s lawns, roofs and digging trough their trash in search of food, and making an infernal ruckus. It’s definitely not something you see everyday, but even though media outlets around the world have described the footage as somewhat of a freak occurrence, for the people of Nowra, the events captured on camera recently on Jindalee Crescent street have become quite common. For years, people here have been sharing the town with corellas, and although many of them hate the birds, there’s not a lot they can do about it.

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Machine Gun Woodpecker Lives Up to Its Nickname

Male and female Northern Flickers are popularly known as “machine gun woodpeckers” because of the sound they make when hitting their beak on metal, which sounds a lot like the sound of a real machine gun.

The Northern Flicker is a woodpecker native to most of North America, parts of Central America, Cuba, and the Cayman Islands. It is 7 to 15 inches long , with a brown, barred back and black spotted under-parts. From early spring and into midsummer, this bird likes to make its presence felt by making a loud, evenly spaced, rapid drumming sound by hammering their beaks against metallic surfaces. This sound is both a mating call and a way to establish territory, but to the human ear it sounds just like a machinegun, hence the bird’s nickname, machine gun woodpecker.

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Russian Couple Share Their House With Full-Grown Mountain Lion

Aleksandr and Maria Dmitriev, a young couple from Penza, Russia, have been sharing their home with a mountain lion for the past three years.

Cats are in the top two most common pets worldwide, but the cat Aleksandr and Maria Dmitriev live with in their small one-bedroom apartment is a little different. Messi is a 3-year-old cougar, the second-largest feline in the Americas, after the Jaguar. In the wild, it is considered an apex predator, but Messi was born in a petting zoo and has spent most of his life as a house cat, so he basically behaves like an overgrown cat, for now. The Dmitriev’s are aware that Messi is a predator that will, at some point, test their strength to establish who is in charge of the house, but they have taken steps to keep his wild side in check.

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The Israeli City Where Humans Live Alongside Wild Boars

The people of Haifa, a city in Northern Israel, have become used to sharing the streets with wild boars, or even seeing them rummage through their trash cans. The animals have become a part of thee local culture.

No one really knows when and why the boars decided to move from the ravines around Haifa into the city, but they’ve definitely been there long enough to no longer fear the human population anymore. Boars can be seen roaming the streets as cars drive by, digging through people’s trash right under their eyes, and even sleeping in the sun as humans walk past them. They’ve just adapted to the urban lifestyle, and most of the people here have had no choice but to get used to them as well. But while some now accept the wild boars as part of the local charm of Haifa, there are those who claim that something needs to be done about them.

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Meet Spitfire, the Michael Jordan of Dock Diving Dogs

To a regular person, Spitfire the dog may look like just another Whippet, but to connoisseurs of the dock diving circuit, he is an incredible athlete in the same league as icons like Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods or Babe Ruth.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, eight year-old Spitfire and his 16-year-old handler, Sydney, dominated the dock diving circuit like never before in the history of the sport. If you’re unfamiliar with the sport of dock diving, it’s essentially canines running on a wooden dock and jumping as far or as high as possible before diving into a pool of water. And no dog does this better than Spitfire. Between 2016 and 2019, he broke a whopping 21 world records, jumping farther and higher than any other competitor and securing his status as the GOAT of dock diving.

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Political Candidates in India Are Using Stray Dogs as Walking Billboards

Elections in India’s Uttar Pradesh state are literally going to the dogs as several candidates are reportedly using stray dogs as billboards to make sure their campaign messages reach as many people as possible.

At least two candidates – one in Rae Bareli and another in Ballia district – have been attaching their campaign banners and posters to stray dogs in their areas and letting them roam around. Photos of these walking, barking advertising billboards went viral on social media this past weekend, angering animal protection activists, and inspiring all sorts of memes. But despite the negative feedback to the advertising tactic, one of the candidates who admitted to using dogs to get his message out there has no regrets.

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