Husband saves Tree Frog

My husband was given a cactus from a colleague at work. He stuck it out on the front railing. Our resistant tree frog hopped onto it and got cactus needles sticking all over it. I noticed that it was covered with needles and ask my husband if there was something we could do. He put on a pair of these. and took the tweezers and meticulously picked out every cactus needles one by one. One needle went all the way though the frog. He was jumping away at first and so my Husband had to hold this little frog by the back legs while plucking cactus needles out of this poor little thing.
We placed the tree frog in the rosemary bush outside our front door and moved the cactus to the roof.

Hopefully I will see the frog again.

Gather ’round, kitties, for a tale from Uncle John

So why does the Austin Humane Society pet adoption center at 124 W. Anderson Lane have a program where children read to the cats?

For cryin’ out loud. The only thing a cat reacts to is a bucket of water or a 40-pound pit bull. Do these silly people really think the cats pay attention when you read them a book? Have you ever tried to whistle up a cat? They sure didn’t seem real interested when I read to them Tuesday. They just kept lounging around, playing with cat toys.

Maybe if I had picked “Old Yeller” as my reading selection, these couch muffins would have been more attentive, since the dog gets it in the end.

“It’s just a fun, positive experience for the kids and great socialization for the cats,” said Lisa Starr, the Austin Humane Society’s director of marketing. She says Austin has the only reading-to-cats program there is (where else could be goofy enough?).

So how do the cats like being read to by kids?

“Some of them just look at ’em,” Lisa said. “Some of them run away. Certainly each cat is going to have a different reaction. But the goal for the cat is that they’ll have increased exposure to children. It’s to help them to be more social and for them to be more adoptable.”

When I was out there, Matt Leighty, 9, was reading a book called “So What’s It Like to Be a Cat?” to a group of cats. So how’d that go, son? “They started fighting each other,” Matt said. “Big tails and hissing. They don’t appear to be doing it right now. I think they like this book better: ‘Monkey for Sale.’ ”

Hey, at least they didn’t yak up a hairball in the boy’s lap.

Right now, 30 6- to 12-year-olds are signed up for the reading-to-cats program. “They come in, and they have to attend a brief orientation that we hold every Saturday at 3 o’clock,” Lisa said. “Then they sign up for 30-minute time slots every Tuesday. They either bring books or (read) ASPCA-approved books about dogs, cats, horses, snakes and all kinds of animals.” On hand for the cats at the shelter are titles such as “Let’s Get a Pup,” “My First Guinea Pig and Other Small Pets,” and a book called “The Goat Lady,” with a cover photo of some bag lady-lookin’ old frau on the cover with a goat.

I’m thinking the cats would pre-fur — I mean prefer — such titles as “I’m Gonna Eat Me Some Songbird,” “Bad Dog!” and “Howzabout Some Catnip?”

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Cattle shown to align north-south

Have you ever noticed that herds of grazing animals all face the same way?

Images from Google Earth have confirmed that cattle tend to align their bodies in a north-south direction.

Wild deer also display this behaviour – a phenomenon that has apparently gone unnoticed by herdsmen and hunters for thousands of years.

In the Proceedings for the National Academy of Sciences, scientists say the Earth’s magnetic fields may influence the behaviour of these animals.

The Earth can be viewed as a huge magnet, with magnetic north and south situated close to the geographical poles.

Many species – including birds and salmon – are known to use the Earth’s magnetic fields in migration, rather like a natural GPS.

A few studies have shown that some mammals – including bats – also use a “magnetic compass” to help their sense of direction.

Dr Sabine Begall, from the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany, has mainly studied the magnetic sense of mole rats – African animals that live in underground tunnels.

“We were wondering if larger animals also have this magnetic sense,” she told BBC News.

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Piehole Comment: Herds of grazing animals? Not here in America, we see herds in feedlots

Argentine dog saves abandoned baby

An eight-year-old dog has touched the hearts of Argentines by saving the life of an abandoned baby, placing him safely alongside her own new puppies.

The country’s media are calling him “the miracle baby”.

He was born prematurely to a 14-year-old girl in a shanty town outside the capital, Buenos Aires.

She is said to have panicked and abandoned the boy in a field, surrounded by wooden boxes and rubbish.

Then along came La China, reports say, the dog which somehow picked up the baby and carried her 50m to place him alongside her own puppies.

The dog’s owner reported hearing the child crying and finding him covered with a rag.

The baby, weighing 4kg (8lb 13oz), had some slight injuries, but no bite marks.

Owner’s concern

The owner called the police and the child is now being looked after by the authorities, while a decision is taken about his future.

The frightened mother appeared shortly after her baby was found.


Gorilla grieves over death of her baby

A female gorilla has been photographed grieving over the loss of her baby, showing a strength of emotion rarely witnessed in the animal world.
Gorilla Gana, 11, was left shattered in her compound at the zoo in Muenster in northern Germany at the weekend when her three-month-old baby Claudio suddenly died.

Visitors wept as Gana held her lifeless child up in the air, vainly seeking to restore movement to his lolling head, his limp arms.

She put the baby on her back and walked around, stopping to look at him after a few paces to see if he had recovered.

“Claudio died in his mother’s arms, with think from some heart defect,” said Joerg Adler, the zoo’s director.

“On Wednesday he gave the impression to keepers that he wasn’t feeling too well.

“On Friday he wasn’t eating or drinking properly and seemed to be growing weaker.

“We were keeping a close eye on him but suddenly, on Saturday morning, he died.”

The death of Claudio is a double tragedy for Gana; for reasons unknown to scientists, she rejected her six week old daughter Mary Zwo last year.

She was moved to a zoo in Stuttgart where she is healthy and one of the star attractions.

By Monday morning the zoo keepers were still unable to get to the body of Claudio, so fiercely is Gana guarding him.

“In the wild a gorilla mother can keep hold of a dead baby for weeks,” added Herr Adler.

“We will carry out an autopsy on the body when we can.

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Penguin Granted Norwegian Knighthood

He’s been an honorary member of Norway’s elite King’s Guard since 1972. And on Friday, Nils Olav, a penguin, was knighted in a special ceremony at the Edinburgh Zoo.

Nils Olav has had a number of big days in his military career. In his over 35 years of service, the three-foot-tall soldier has steadily climbed through the ranks of Norway’s elite King’s Guard and even became honorary colonel in chief in 2005.

But Friday’s honor is certain to eclipse them all. Nils Olav became Sir Nils Olav in a morning ceremony watched by several hundred onlookers and attended by 130 guardsmen. The occasion took place at the Edinburgh Zoo — because, as it happens, Norway’s newest knight is a penguin.

“You, as a penguin, in every way qualify to receive the honor and dignity of knighthood,” said a citation from King Harald V of Norway, which was read out during the ceremony. The king’s statement also said that the country was “well-satisfied with the loyalty, courage and good endowments of our trusted and well-beloved Nils Olav.”

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