Tag Archives: animals

Cat Ladders of Bern

Cats love climbing, and they certainly need no human help to navigate precarious-looking structures. But in the Swiss city of Bern, cat owners are extra concerned of the wellbeing of their pets. All around the city you will see structures built specially for cats to climb. They look like fire exits, but of a more dangerous kind, attached to the outer walls, creating a path from the upper floor balconies or windows down to the street.

Switzerland-based graphic designer and writer Brigitte Schuster chronicles this unique phenomenon in her new book Swiss Cat Ladders.

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Globsters: When Sea Monsters Wash Ashore

On November 30, 1896, two young boys, Herbert Coles and Dunham Coretter, were bicycling along Anastasia Island, near St. Augustine on the Atlantic coast of Florida, the United States, when they noticed an enormous carcass half buried in the sand, apparently washed from the sea. The boys thought it was a whale, and reported their discovery to the local physician, Dr. DeWitt Webb.

Dr. Webb visited the carcass the next day, and discovered that it was not a whale. But he couldn’t say what the mass of badly decomposed flesh was. There was no defining feature, no bones, no eyes, and no appendages that he could identify. Dr. Webb noted that the carcass was very pale pink, almost white, and had a rubbery consistency. Dr. Webb, … Read the rest

Hagfish: The Slimy Creature of The Deep

Hollywood horror movie monsters and aliens aren’t complete without loads of repulsive slime, mucous and saliva dripping from their mouths. But this image of a car drenched in white gelatinous mess is not a scene from a movie set. The sticky situation was created in 2017 on an Oregon (USA) highway when a truck carrying live hagfish overturned and covered passing cars in slime.

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Horse-Drawn Boats

Before diesel and electric engines made sailing convenient, boats and barges had to be either rowed or pulled. In many European countries such as the Netherlands and the UK, and to some extent in France, Germany, and Belgium, horse-drawn boats were common. Horses and sometimes mules and donkeys would walk along the canal on a towpath pulling behind a small tow-boat loaded with goods or passengers. Because the cargo moves on water, friction is minimal, allowing the horse to pull fifty times as much weight as it could pull in a traditional cart on road.

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A vintage English narrow boat being pulled by a horse, on the Cromford Canal, near Matlock, UK. Photo credit: david muscroft / Shutterstock.com

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This designer wants to turn lab-grown leather into your next jacket

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Suzanne Lee is a designer and the chief creative officer with Modern Meadow, where they are working to biofabricate leather, which means to literally grow leather in a lab without the animal. Lee and her team are working side-by-side with scientists to take these new materials and turn them into functional, beautiful pieces of clothing, furniture, and accessories. Working at the junction of biotech and design, she’s truly helping forge the future in her industry.  Read more…

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The Ramree Island Crocodile Massacre

That night was the most horrible that any member of the motor launch crews ever experienced. The scattered rifle shots in the pitch black swamp punctured by the screams of wounded men crushed in the jaws of huge reptiles, and the blurred worrying sound of spinning crocodiles made a cacophony of hell that has rarely been duplicated on earth. At dawn the vultures arrived to clean up what the crocodiles had left…. Of about one thousand Japanese soldiers that entered the swamps of Ramree, only about twenty were found alive.

The above extract, describing the horrific events of the night of February 19, 1945, is taken from the 1962 book “Wildlife Sketches Near and Far” by eyewitness Bruce Stanley Wright, who was one of the participating … Read the rest

Rat King: The Mysterious Conjoined Creature

On a cold January morning in 2005, in the village of Saru in southern Estonia, farmer Rein Kıiv and his son made a curious discovery. On the sandy floor of their shed, they found a cluster of 16 rats with their tails inexplicably tangled into a knot. The rats were squeaking and struggling to escape but the harder they pulled the tighter the knot became. The animals were apparently trying to dig themselves out of a narrow burrow but in the struggle some of them got buried under the sand. Seven of the rats in the tangle were already dead. Rein’s son decided to put the diabolic little scene to an end, and picking up a stick, killed the rest of the wretched animals.

Rein Kıiv … Read the rest

Honoring Animals Used in Research And Testing

The United States’ National Academies of Sciences estimates that as many as 22 million vertebrate animals are used every year in the United States alone for research and testing. About 85 percent of these animals are rats and mice. These tiny, furry creatures have been one of the go-to animals for biomedical researchers around the world for studies relating to everything from cancer to the effects of space travel on the human body. The scientific community is well aware of the invaluable role these rodents have played in the development of modern medicine and the lengthening of the average human lifespan from just 40 years at the turn of the 20th century to over 70 years today.

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Monument to lab mouse in Novosibirsk, Russia. Photo credit: Read the rest

The Fainting Goats of Tennessee

Unlike humans, animals rarely faint from surprise, panic attacks or any other strong emotional stress. But there is a breed of goat that appears to do so.

When startled, the so-called “fainting goat” collapses on its side. They fall over, often with legs comically raised towards the sky. After laying motionless on the ground for a few seconds, they recover and bounce back on their feet as quickly as they fell. This curious reaction to fright has made fainting goats the popular subject for many viral, and often humorous, internet videos.

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Photo credit: www.kidsdiscover.com

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These Massive Tunnels Were Dug By Giant Sloths

Across northern South America, there are hundreds of colossal tunnels large enough for humans to walk through, but they weren’t dug by men. Nor they were formed by any known geological process. But their creators have left evidence all around the walls and ceilings—giant claw marks.

Geologists call these tunnels “paleoburrow,” and they are believed to have been dug by an extinct species of giant ground sloth.

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A large paleoburrow in Brazil. Photo credit: Heinrich Frank

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