Meet the most smiley animal on earth: the quokka. A native of Australia, the quokka is a marsupial in the macropod family (along with wallabies and kangaroos) with a permanently positive outlook. Its most distinct characteristic is the appearance that it is always smiling. If you're feeling blue or just having a bad day, look no further. Click through to get an instant mood-booster and learn a few fun facts about quokkas while you're at it!
Boo! I thought it would be fun to round up spooky and scary animals of our planet to kick off the Halloween spirit. Not only will some of these make your skin crawl, but I don't think I'd want to meet any of them in a dark alley — if you know what I mean! Check out the creepiest animals ever in this slideshow.
Today is National Bird Day! I know I'm not the only one who likes to pretend the birds that come visit my windowsills are like my pets, so I've rounded up eight types of feeders, treats, and the types of feathered friends each will attract. See my high-flying suggestions to give back in your own backyard when you start this slideshow.
Any day with penguins seems rather happy to me but today's the official World Penguin Day! To celebrate the pretty black and white (and sometimes blue!) birds, check out the scoop about the 17 species of penguins worldwide. Many times, looking at their heads is the easiest way to tell them apart — makes sense because that's what we can see when they pop up from swim time — but see for yourself and get started.
Source: Jupiter Images
Although marmosets are known to be more primitive than their monkey relatives, they do have one thing in common: they both love to cuddle and snuggle! This three-week old marmoset was spotted cuddling his daddy at the Ramat Gan Zoo near Tel Aviv over the weekend.
Even though marmosets are closely related to monkeys, they have some pretty unique features on their own. They almost always give birth to fraternal twins, have variable breeding habits (females can mate with one or more males, and vice versa), and are very small, with most marmosets coming in at 7 inches long! Additionally, the males in the family carry and nurture the babies rather than the females, which is why this little guy is attached at his daddy's hip. So cute, and so tiny!
Meet Maggie, a d-o-g with a j-o-b. The German Wirehaired Pointer is on duty in Cambodia sniffing out tiger poo. That's right, this pooch is sniffing out droppings in one of the country's largest nature reserves starting this week. Six-year-old Maggie was trained in Russia and joins the Seima Biodiversity Conservation Area to track down the big cats – the last sign of one (a paw print) was in 2007 so scientists are turning to this dog's powerful nose to hopefully find evidence, and help save the diminishing tiger population.
As part of a $10 million, 10-year initiative called "Tigers Forever," New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society joins big cat group, Panthera, in spending about $30,000 to bring this pooch (and another later this year) to Asia for this search. Wildlife monitoring adviser, Hannah O'Kelly explains that the dung's data would help other researchers establish a baseline population of tigers before developing a conservation plan based on the numbers and the potential threats for the reserve.
If we cover the whole area and we don't find any tiger scat, then we can be reasonably confident there are no tigers. That would be very disappointing and I hope that doesn't happen.
I hope it doesn't happen either and I'll be following in hopes that proof of tigers' poo comes soon!
I have a good friend that will travel to great lengths to get the best sushi. Her favorite restaurant is here in SF (she lives about 25 miles outside of town), and she swears by their salmon and yellowtail. Little does she know that her raw fish obsession is one she shares with killer whales!
A recent study finds that salmon is killer whales' favorite food, and they will travel large distances to nosh on the best. Using their Ecolocators (creating an echoing sound), they can scan areas up to a half mile away to find their favorite King Salmon, which provides the high concentration of fats and lipids that these whales seem to prefer. I can see traveling 25 miles to a favorite sushi bar a couple of times a month, but scanning hundreds of miles of ocean for a particular fish? Now that's a dedication that my pal Yum could appreciate!
We all know that Hayden Panettiere wants to save the whales, but she's not the only one! Founded in 1977, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has been protecting the seas at the bottom of the Earth against Japanese whalers, and over the Winter season of 2007 to 2008, Animal Planet tagged along to document their journey.
In a seven-part series beginning tonight, we get a closeup look at how far the Sea Shepherds will go to protect the whales of the Antarctic. Not only are they intent on saving ocean dwellers, but they are also committed to protecting all wildlife, including seals that are hunted every year in Canada. Check out the clip above, and tell me: Will you be watching Whale Wars?
Like I said before, spiders give me the creepy-crawlies, but I have to give them some respect – they're among the oldest creatures around, with recently found fossils dating back at least 130 million years!
If you think that's old, wait 'til you get a load of this number: 450 million years. That's when the first arachnid was said to have appeared on Earth, based on genetic research recently published in the latest issue of Experimental and Applied Acarology.
I can't even fathom what the earth looked like back then, but seriously, spiders are pretty well equipped for almost any condition. Highly developed senses, self-constructing materials, protective outer armor, and (some) even have a pretty dangerous venom defense system. These guys can live almost anywhere. . . but I try not to think about that when I open my dark closet!