Written by Michelle Kretzer
Winter Olympics, make way for Apolo Crowno. An enterprising bird
turned a jar lid and a snowy roof into a thrilling winter sport.
the cow doesn't need Pop-A-Lock. When she wants to go for a stroll, she just unlatches
the barn gate with her tongue.
After being swept away in an avalanche
that claimed the life of one of his guardians, a dog in Montana used his wits to find his way back through 4 miles of snow to the exact hotel
room where his family had been staying before the incident. A search-and-rescue
team member drove the dog home to his grateful family.
Another intrepid dog's rescue was caught on
tape when he swam up to a kayaker (whose boat was equipped with a video camera)
a half-mile out into the Gulf of Mexico. The dog and his guardian had been hit
by a drunken driver, and after seeing his guardian die, the terrified dog ran
blindly into the sea. The kayaker was eventually able to track down the dog's
Perhaps the injured dog could tell that the
kayaker would know what to do, thanks to dogs' uncanny ability to read human intent.
Many people, including scientists, hold
that animals have a "sixth
sense." One researcher has compiled thousands of cases in which animals sensed events such
as an impending natural disaster or the imminent arrival of a family member.
Of course, anyone who has ever loved an
animal knows how intelligent and sensitive each one is.
Bananas? We don't need no stinkin'
bananas. At least Kanzi
the bonobo doesn't. He taught himself how to make fire and
have their own emergency broadcast system. They use special sounds to warn
their unaware friends about danger, but they don't send out a warning when the
other chimpanzees already see it. This turns the belief that only humans
recognize that others are not informed on its head.
Shiny Things | cc by 2.0
pigeons are once again showing
why "birdbrain" is a compliment. The birds are proving that they can
count by putting groups of items in order by quantity.
We all read City Mouse, Country Mouse,
but what about city bird, country bird? When flirting, urban birds
adjust their voices to be heard over the din of the city, so they sing
differently from their country cousins.
and cows certainly
aren't cousins, but they can become best friends. When a cow named Wanda
escaped from a farm, she eluded capture for five months, living with a herd of
deer who would stomp on the ground to let Wanda know that their acute senses
detected people approaching. Wanda now has a home on a farm and is not in
danger of being slaughtered.
Of course, for a best friend whose
loyalty is unmatched, one need look no further than a dog. A Russian dog
stood guard over the body of his deceased canine companion for two weeks in
temperatures of negative-58 degrees Fahrenheit. Animal advocates caught him and
took him to a local animal shelter, where he will stay while they search for a
For more amazing animal stories, check
out an article on the new
book Animal Tool Behavior.
Written by PETA
One of the year's top viral
videos features hilariously narrated video footage of running, burrowing, and foraging
honey badgers. To date, more than 27 million
people have watched the unstoppable honey badger's antics. (Warning:
graphic language and images NSFW.) Louisiana State University cornerback Tyrann Mathieu was subsequently dubbed the "Honey
Badger" because of his scrappy, aggressive play this season.
Just who is the honey
badger and why don't he
Read on to learn more about this cunning and resourceful member of the weasel
Written by Monica Alexander
into Grand Theft Auto? These brainy birds steal windshield wiper blades for
reasons known only to themselves, although having fun with them might be the
Ravens seem more interested in
studying sign language. Like primates and humans, the birds use gestures to communicate—in
this case, pointing with their beaks.
have bird brains (read "big brains") too. Some octopuses in captivity make toys and games out
of items in their tanks. Some let the people they like stroke their heads,
while a person on an octopus's bad side may get squirted.
the calming effects of touch, too, but not from people. They will allow small fish
who work as full-time cleaners to nibble at their scales even when they don't
have parasites because they like the gentle massage.
Dogs, of course, love affection from
people, and their devotion to their guardians doesn't usually fade when that
guardian passes away. A faithful
in China refuses to leave his guardian's grave, and the townspeople plan to
build a doghouse there for the grieving canine.
After being stolen from his home, held
for five years, and then apparently dumped after he developed a medical
problem, a precocious pup
who loves to travel hopped on a bus. When he was spotted by the driver and
taken to a vet, his microchip guaranteed that the
next trip he took was back home to his family.
Another clever canine is a hero
after she grabbed a bag of kittens someone had tossed onto the highway, pulled
it off the road, dragged it home, and cried until her guardian opened it.
Resourceful deer, raccoons, blue herons, and
other animals have figured out how to safely cross the road
(without instructions from chickens).
scientists in Dallas may have come up with an invisibility cloak, but octopuses and squid beat them to the punch.
Masters of disguise, among the tricks up their tentacle sleeves is this one: They
manipulate sacs of black pigment on their skin to either shroud them in
darkness to match the water or reveal their transparent flesh so that light
shines through, making others think that they aren't there.
Millipedes are covert operators
too. Certain species toss moss or other plants over their backs while they
biological anthropologist is confirming what many cat people already know—cats grieve over the loss of
a loved one much like humans do. And much like humans, letting animals see (and,
in a cat's case, smell) the body of their deceased loved one can help give them
"closure" and come to terms with the loss.
ravi khemka | cc by 2.0
do the leg- (or wing-) work when you can ride? In Stockholm, Sweden, a flock of pigeons has begun taking the
subway for its daily trips to a crowded shopping center where the animals like
to forage for food. Pigeons have been doing the same thing on the London
Underground for years!
dog takes care of business. After a southwest Ohio couple adopted a dog from an animal shelter, it took only six hours
for him to return the favor. The aptly named Hercules chased a burglar from the
couple's basement, biting him on the ankle for good measure.
of canine good deeds—Titan, a beloved dog from Lawrenceville,
Georgia, became the first canine recipient of the Neighbor of the Year Award after
he got help for his guardian when she suffered from a brain aneurysm and fell,
fracturing her skull.
weekend, audiences will be practically tripping over their own two feet rushing
to see Happy Feet Two. We just can't seem to
get enough of these charming penguins. Sure, they're always dressed to the
nines, and they star in some of the best videos on YouTube. But there are plenty
more reasons to fall head over flippers for penguins:
© Digital Vision/Just
penguin species are in decline, partly because of overfishing by humans of the fish they rely on for
food. By leaving cod and
other fish off our plates, we can help our penguin pals.
Written by Michelle Sherrow
The first thing that comes to mind for many when
they think about hyenas is that their vocalization sounds like uncontrollable
laughter. But the hyena repertoire also includes bellowing, rumbling, lowing,
squeaking, groaning, and whooping. What do hyenas have to talk about? Read on:
Lip Kee | CC by 2.0
Written by Heather Faraid Drennan
As a special Halloween
treat, we've cooked up a factoid scarefest about some of the world's creepiest—and
not so creepy—animals:
© kevdog818 | iStockphoto.com
I might open the door to
my burrow in a tarantula costume when this year's trick-or-treaters knock, but check
out some other last-minute costume
by Heather Faraid Drennan
I read Dracula when I was 8 or 9 (yes, I was one of those kids), which didn't exactly help get
rid of my fear of the bats who lived in our attic and occasionally needed to be
guided out a window.
As it turns out, the bats created by horror writers and children's imaginations
aren't nearly as interesting as real bats are:
To learn more about
bats, help control insects, and provide a home for these fascinating animals,
consider putting up a bat
You can prevent bats from finding their way into your
house by sealing up holes near the roof after any existing colony has left for
an animal fact that is not at all surprising if you've ever seen a hawk soar
through the sky or a flock of pigeons settling in to roost together for the
night: Caged birds suffer from a severe
form of post-traumatic stress disorder and exhibit symptoms identical to those
of prisoners of war and concentration camp survivors, including self-mutilation
and persistent sadness. Even when they are rescued and taken to reputable
sanctuaries, parrots, cockatoos, and
macaws—who in the wild are extremely social—sometimes are never able to adjust
to socializing with other birds and opt to remain alone, staring into space. So
please don't patronize pet stores that sell birds into a prison sentence from
which they may never recover, even if they are lucky enough to be "paroled."
Eliya | cc by 2.0
it was crickets who inspired Miguel de Cervantes'
famously chivalrous, albeit inept, character Don Quixote. Researchers have found
that male crickets graciously allow their mates to enter the burrow first—although this leaves the
well-intentioned males more vulnerable to predation, sometimes with tragic
results. (Another interesting note from the study is that observing animals in
their natural environment, rather than studying them in labs, provides more accurate
admit … while writing this, I had to look up what an anvil is, but a type of
wrasse known as the orange
dotted tusk fish knows precisely how an
anvil works. An evolutionary biologist at the Great Barrier Reef filmed a wrasse who carried a
clam some distance, then repeatedly threw the clam at a rock to break open the
shell. The scientist points out that this behavior shows that fish are capable
of thinking ahead and reasoning. (All the more reason not to eat them.)
you have a general question for PETA and would like a response, please e-mail Info@peta.org. If you need to report cruelty to
an animal, please click
here. If you are reporting an animal in imminent danger and know where to find the
animal and if the abuse is taking place right now, please call your local
police department. If the police are unresponsive, please call PETA
immediately at 757-622-7382 and press 2.
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Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.