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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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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This Caterpillar Mimics a Scary Skull to Keep Predators at Bay

The caterpillar of the rare pink underwing moth has a very peculiar defense mechanism. When disturbed, it suddenly arches its back to reveal a pair of large, frightening eyes and what looks like a two rows of barred teeth.

The pink underwing moth is a rare and enigmatic insect found from subtropical New South Wales through Queensland and New Guinea. It feeds on rotting fruit and, although nocturnal, doesn’t seem to be strongly attracted to light. The moth’s name was inspired by the bright pink bars on its hidden hind underwings, which some experts believe act as a defense mechanism. The theory is that a sudden display of color can startle or surprise a predator for long enough to let the moth escape. But that defense strategy pales in comparison to that used by the pink underwing moth in caterpillar form.

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Scientists Now Know Why These French Rabbits Do Handstands When Moving Fast

For over a century, animal experts have known that a certain variety of rabbits move exclusively on their front legs when trying to move fast, but they’ve only recently learned why that is.

The Sauteur d’Alfort, also known as the Alfort jumping rabbit have baffled scientists for more than a decade. Unlike other rabbit varieties, the sauteur d-Alfort have a uniquely acrobatic way of moving. Over short distances, when moving slowly, they walk on all four limbs, but their hind legs hit the floor one after another, rather than at the same time. But the truly remarkable thing happens when it needs to move faster. Rather than hopping, it quickly lifts its hind legs above its head and starts moving on its front legs alone. Experiments done decades ago showed that the sauteur was incapable of hopping, but thanks to modern technology, scientists know exactly why that is.

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Brain Condition Causes Bear Cubs to Become Unusually Friendly to Humans

A number of black bear cubs in California have been exhibiting unusually friendly, dog-like behavior around humans, and scientists believe a brain illness may be to blame.

Last month, California Department of Fish and Wildlife picked up a bear cub from a residential backyard. The animal had simply moved in there and didn’t seem to be intimidated by people at all. She picked up apples and ate them in front of the humans on the patio, and at one point jumped into a housekeeper’s open car trunk. This was not normal behavior for a brown bear cub, but the most concerning thing was that veterinarians in California had seen it before…

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The Fish That Mimics a Dead Tree Leaf to Catch Unsuspecting Prey

The South American Leaf Fish is a remarkable predator that relies on almost perfect camouflage and patience to both ambush unsuspecting prey, and escape larger predators.

Native to the Amazon basin in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Peru and Venezuela, the aptly-named leaf fish does a great job of imitating a dead leaf floating near the bottom of the river. Not only has it evolved to resemble a dead leaf almost perfectly, down to tiny details like the filament at the tip of the lower jaw that resembles a leaf stalk, but it also behaves like a leaf. The leaf fish bends and sways, but rarely moves upright, just as a floating leaf would not, and often angle themselves facing downwards, so that it looks like a dead leaf floating in the water.

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This Rare Bird Could Go Extinct Because It Has Forgotten Its Mating Song

The regent honeyeater is already one of the world’s rarest birds, but experts are worried that it could soon go extinct, because they have forgotten how to sing.

Flocks of hundreds of regent honeyeaters could once be spotted all over south-eastern Australia on a regular basis, but today the species is critically endangered, with only 300 specimens believed to exist in the entire world. They were also known for the complexity of their mating songs, but as their numbers started dwindling, ornithologists started noticing this complexity diminishing, to the point where male regent honeyeaters didn’t even sound like their species anymore. Today, there is ample evidence that regent honeyeaters have forgotten how to sing, which could render the entire species extinct.

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Galaxy Dane – Woman Uses Vegetable-Based Dye to Make Her Dog Look Out-of-This-World

Echo, a two-year-old Harlequin Dane, has been turning heads everywhere she goes after her owner dyed her coat purple, blue, pink and turquoise.

Sierra Schoon, a 22-year-old woman from Grand Junction in Colorado, has been coloring her psychiatric service dog, Echo, using pet-safe dye, ever since the dog was about six-months old. The young dog groomer said that she uses vegetable-based Arctic Fox hair dye, and that Echo loves to just sit there and be pampered for three or four hours, while she applies the dye. Apparently, the dog also loves the attention she gets when they go out for walks, as people tend to get very confused by her unusual look.

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The Malayan Leaf Frog Lives Up to Its Name

The Malayan leaf frog, a.k.a long-nosed horned frog, is one of the most remarkable creatures on Earth, at least in terms of natural camouflage.

We’ve featured some truly impressive masters of camouflage in the past, from the dead leaf butterfly to a plant that evolved to mimic the rocky terrain it grows on, but the Malayan leaf frog is definitely up there with the best of them. As an ambush hunter that waits for unsuspecting prey to cross its path, this amphibian needs to remain unnoticed for as long as possible, and what better way to do that than blend into the leaf-covered forest floor it calls home? Its unique physical features make it almost impossible to visually detect in its natural habitat, and looking at the photos below, it’s easy to see why.

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Golden Tortoise Beetles – Nature’s Living Jewels

Ever seen a tortoise the size of a fly? How about a golden one that can actually fly? Well, today’s your lucky day, as you get to discover one of nature’s shiny treasures – the golden tortoise beetle.

Before you open a fresh tab to search if these adorable critters are real or just the result of digital editing, make sure you use the species scientific name, aspidimorpha sanctaecrucis, as “golden tortoise beetle” is a really common name shared by a number of beetles, like charidotella sexpunctata, among others. What makes this species of beetle special is that the gold pattern on their transparent protective carapace actually makes them look like tiny tortoises.

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Controversial Hotel That Offers 24/7 View of Captive Polar Bears Draws Criticism

The Polar Bear Hotel, part of the Harbin Polarland theme park in Heilongjiang, China, opened its gates this week to full bookings and criticism from animal lovers, after it was reported that all the rooms offer guests round the clock viewing of a polar bear enclosure.

Marketed as the world’s first “polar bear hotel”, the newest attraction at Harbin Polarland was jointly designed by famous Russian designer Kozylenko Natalia Yefremovna and Japanese theme park designer Shuji Miyajima. It’s built around a small polar bear enclosure, allowing guests to look at two captive polar bears both from the ground floor and from any of the 21 rooms available. The concept has attracted a lot of attention, both from people willing to pay a premium to book a room, and from animal activists who accused the establishment of profiting from the animal’s misery.

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