Scientists have discovered the fossilized remains of a 2-inch-long hedgehog that lived 52 million years ago. They named it Silvacola acares, which means “tiny forest dweller.” The team also found fossils from a tapir-like animal at the same site.
Image: An artist’s rendering of the tapir-like mammal, left, and the tiny hedgehog. Credit: Julius Csotonyi
Do dogs smile? Do rats laugh? Do ducks mourn lost friends?
We talked to some experts, and the answers are: Yes, yes and yes.
Photo: Sydney Brink / Sedalia Democrat / AP
Mexico City politicians have voted to prohibit the use of animals in circuses. Six Mexican states — Colima, Guerrero, Morelos, Yucatan, Chiapas and Zacatecas — have passed similar bans.
Photo: Activists from the animal rights group AnimaNaturalis protest outside the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City. Credit: Sashenka Gutierrez / European Pressphoto Agency
The California Fish and Game Commission has voted to extend endangered species protections in the state to gray wolves.
No wolves are currently known to be in the state — the wolf in the photo above, called OR7, was the most recent wolf documented here, and he was the first one since the 1920s — but biologists say their return is inevitable.
Speaking of OR7, who has returned to his home state of Oregon: Wildlife officials there have spotted two pups they believe to be his offspring.
Photo: OR7 in Oregon. Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
The gray wolf known as OR7, whose jaunts from to California made him the first member of his species documented in the state since the 1920s, has probably found a partner, according to wildlife officials. He may even have become a father. And he’s the star of a new documentary, “OR7 — The Journey.” It’s a big time for him, as reporter Maria La Ganga explains.
Photo: OR7 in southern Oregon in a remote camera photo taken May 3. Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service / Associated Press
No explanation necessary. And frankly, no explanation possible.
It’s not a duck. Turns out the “bio-duck” sound — a heretofore mysterious noise first heard in the 1960s by submarine personnel and subsequently recorded all over the Southern Ocean — is actually made by minke whales.
Audio by Denise Risch, Northeast Fisheries Science Center / National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
This is P-22, a mountain lion who has been living in L.A.’s Griffith Park for about two years. When Times reporter Martha Groves wrote about him in October, he was a healthy animal. The photo above was taken in March, after he’d been captured so he could be treated for mange. (Scientists learned he had the condition thanks to an image taken by a remote camera.)
After he was captured, P-22 was sedated and blood samples were taken; they showed evidence of exposure to rat poison. From Groves’ latest report:
Now, researchers say they suspect a link between the poisons and the mange, a parasitic skin disease that causes crusting and skin lesions and has contributed to the deaths of scores of bobcats and coyotes. A National Park Service biologist applied a topical treatment for mange and injected Vitamin K to offset the effects of poisoning.
The condition of California’s famous cougar is likely to intensify the debate over the use of rat poisons in areas of the state where urban living collides with nature.
There have been efforts to discourage the use of so-called “second-generation” rodenticides in California, and recently the state’s Department of Pesticide Regulation moved to disallow their sale to the general public. But P-22 was afflicted by two older “first-generation” rat poisons, Groves notes.
Below, P-22 in happier times:
Photo: National Park Service. Video: Los Angeles Times
"Truly, he was one of the sickest dogs I’ve ever seen," L.A. dog rescuer Annie Hart of the Bill Foundation says of Gideon, a pit bull who was abandoned near the Coachella desert. Reporter Anh Do tells the story of Gideon’s rescue, rehabilitation and subsequent brush with Internet fame (the video above has been viewed more than 830,000 times so far) in The Times today:
The pit bull’s road to recovery has been long and involved after suffering from a highly resistant bacterial infection, as well as ringworm — a skin infection caused by a fungus, affecting his face, paws and nails, according to Dr. Annie Harvilicz, owner of Animal Wellness Centers in Marina del Rey, who’s been treating the pit bull.
She believes the dog contracted the illness living in a junkyard, where Hart found him, sporting deep lacerations around his neck, typical of dogs tied up over a long period.
“Some dogs who are hurt or fearful would bite or show aggression. But from the start, Gideon was the opposite. He would actually be very loving, wanting to cuddle up with you,” said Harvilicz, whose clinic has a nonprofit, the Animal Wellness Foundation, funding the dog’s medical care.
Of note about Gideon’s story: His rescuer had him scanned for a microchip (an important thing to remember if you find a lost pet!) and learned that he did indeed have one. But when the owner listed in the microchip registry was notified that he’d been found, “[t]hey told me, ‘We don’t want him anymore,’ and hung up,” Hart recalls.
While Gideon has thousands of fans, he doesn’t yet have a permanent home. He’s currently in foster care and will be ready to be adopted once he’s fully recovered.
Meet Semirostrum ceruttii, the owner of the largest underbite ever found on a mammal. These now-extinct porpoises lived off the coast of California, and fossils have been found dating from 1.5 million to 5.3 million years ago.
Images: Artists’ reconstructions of the Semirostrum ceruttii. Top image: Pat Lynch / Yale. Bottom image: Bobby Boessenecker
This is the true story of 14 tiger sharks, six Galapagos sharks, five sandbar sharks, five bluntnose sixgill sharks and a prickly shark, picked to swim in the ocean and have their lives taped to find out what happens when sharks stop being polite and start getting real.
Video: American Geophysical Union
Happy International Polar Bear Day!
Science reporter Deborah Netburn talked to the chief scientist for Polar Bears International, the conservation group that founded International Polar Bear Day, about ways people can help polar bears. Number one on the group’s list: turn your thermostat down a few degrees.
Video: A polar bear cub experiences snow for the first time. Credit: Toronto Zoo
You’re nearly through Monday. Don’t you deserve a zebra foal?
This is Davu, a six-week-old mountain zebra who lives at the zoo in Hanover, Germany.
Photo: Holger Hollemann / European Pressphoto Agency
Meet Roo, a two-legged Chihuahua, and Penny, a silky chicken who was relinquished by a veterinary school where she had been used in experiments. They’re best friends who spend their days at an animal hospital in Duluth, Georgia.
And don’t worry about Roo: “He hops around really well,” clinic staffer Barbara Jennings told The Times, and he also uses the special wheelchair you see here.
Photos: Duluth Animal Hospital
How many snakes can you fit into one house?
Maybe one if you’re a little squeamish about them? A few dozen if you don’t particularly care about seeing a bunch peek out from your laundry hamper or pantry?
Now try and imagine having as many as 400 snakes in your house. That’s just what police found at a home in Santa Ana earlier today while serving a police warrant. Officers reportedly could smell the stench of the snakes, many of which were in terrible condition, if not dead, from up to 300 feet away.
Read the full, sad story over at L.A. Now.
Photo: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times