A news site about animals

Maryland Zoo Welcomes New River Otter

The Maryland Zoo welcomed a new North American river otter to the Otter Stream Habitat in the Maryland Wilderness Exhibit. He came to the zoo from the Oregon Zoo in Portland and his name is Hudson.

“Hudson was somehow orphaned as an infant,” said Mike McClure, general curator at The Maryland Zoo in a statement. “He was found in June of 2015 walking alone along Highway 58 SE in Eugene, Oregon, which runs along the Middle Fork Willamette River.”

He was cared for at the Chintimini Wildlife center before being moved to the Oregon Zoo. He came to the Maryland Zoo in March of this year and is now ready to meet the public.

Hudson joins Piper, an otter the zoo received earlier this year, in the exhibit. The Maryland Zoo says the two otters get along well.

“Piper enjoys chasing Hudson and they are really interesting to watch together,” continued McClure. “They are both exploring every aspect of the stream habitat and seem to especially like popping out of the hollow tree trunk near the first viewing window to surprise guests.”

Hudson and Piper can be seen together in the the river stream habitat in the morning. Mary, the Zoo’s older female river otter, prefers to be alone so she will alternate with them. You can see Mary in the afternoon.

Happy Ottersday :#)


Capybaras Loose in Toronto!

At Toronto’s High Park Zoo, two capybaras, the world’s largest rodents, have escaped into the city. Despite being actually fairly massive, the partners in crime – actually named Bonnie and Clyde – have yet to be captured by authorities, who have spent the last three weeks(!) trying to hunt them down.


They’ve settled into big city living well, and haven taken to Twitter to share their exploits. One of the escapees was caught in a trap, at one point, but was able to wiggle free. The pair of capybaras have occasionally been spotted by pedestrians but are, at present, still on the lam.


“Capybaras are pretty adaptive animals,” Luciano Verdade, a wildlife ecologist at the University of Sao Paolo in Brazil, told National Geographic. “Although they are relatively large animals, they can be deceptive in the proximity of humans.”


They normally eat grasses native to their South American habitats, but they’re able to eat other vegetation. They can even switch between being active during the day and night, and they are semi-aquatic, which means they could evade capture by quickly diving deep underwater. The most immediate threat to the AWOL capybaras is dodging vehicles while crossing roads.


We’ll try to keep track of Bonnie & Clyde, Capybaras at large.


Happy Bunday (|^_^|)


The Cheetah & The Hyena

Safari guide, Onesmus Irungu, photographed an unusual scene on a morning out in Kenya’s Maasai Mara National Reserve: a spotted hyena getting chased off its kill by a mother cheetah and her three cubs.

These three snapshots maybe the first time that such behavior has ever been caught on camera, and they upend stubborn misconceptions about Africa’s carnivores.




The hyena is often unfairly branded as nature’s cackling thieves and scavengers, but hyenas are actually very capable predators. Research suggests they kill up to 95% of the food they eat, and in this particular case, he had managed to take down a topi, one of Africa’s speediest antelopes.

Then, a female cheetah approached the carcass with her three 15-month-old cubs in tow. Outnumbered, the hyena had no choice but to abandon the topi, and the feline family ate for two hours.

Seeing the cheetah, famous for the high-speed chase, take the hyena’s food instead is surprising. ”Cheetahs have been seen stealing kills from other cheetahs, but to my knowledge there are no published reports of cheetahs actively stealing from any other predators,” says Femke Broekhuis, who, along with Irungu, described the event in a recent paper in the African Journal of Ecology.


When it comes to carcass theft, it’s usually the cheetahs who lose out. Their smaller size and mostly solitary habits make them vulnerable, and in some parts of Africa, more than 12% of their kills are commandeered by larger rival carnivores.


Such thieving tactics have earned lions and spotted hyenas a share of the blame for the serious decline in cheetah numbers, yet sightings like Irungu’s add to other evidence that these lithe spotted cats can cope with losing the occasional meal, and are flexible enough to adapt their behavior in order to survive. Scavenging, it turns out, might be one way they get by. Appropriating an unguarded carcass is one thing, but stealing it from a larger predator is a risky move, and it’s possible this cheetah mother took her chances because she had three extra mouths to feed.


For Broekhuis, who is the director of the Mara Cheetah Project in Nairobi, Kenya, the behavior helps us to see the predators in a different light. “Cheetahs are always portrayed as being very vulnerable, but the sighting of cheetah taking a kill from a hyena not only shows that they will scavenge, but also that they can confront other predators to obtain resources,” she says.

It also helps researchers tease out the real threats facing these cats, most of which can be linked to human activity: from habitat loss and disappearing prey to the illegal pet trade. ”Both lions and spotted hyenas are known to kill cheetahs and to steal their kills, but these three species have always coexisted and these interactions are all part of a natural system,” adds Broekhuis.


This might be the first time that a carcass-stealing cheetah has been caught on camera, but the team behind the Mara Cheetah Project hopes future observations will tell them whether it was more than just a fluke. The long-term project sees researchers tracking cats out in the field each day and recording their behavior.

“We currently have approximately 75 different cheetahs in our database, which allows us to follow individuals over time, so it is possible that we might observe this behavior again at some point,” Broekhuis says.


Happy Caturday =^_^=


The Notortoise BIG

Henry the Tortoise, known on Facebook as The Notortoise BIG , has become the most famous tortoise in New York City. Why? Because as he is pushed in a stroller to Central Park, for his daily outing, he turns more than a few heads.


The 17 pound (7.7 kg) sulcata tortoise is the pet of 24-year-old Amanda Green who lives in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan. He led a reclusive existence until Green took to Craigslist to advertise for a tortoise walker.

New Yorkers are accustomed to dog walkers but no so much tortoise walkers, so Green expected only a few responses. Instead, the listing went viral and hundreds of people from all over the world applied for the $10-an-hour job.

“Just like a person who has a dog would hire a dog walker, I figured why not a tortoise walker?” Green said in an interview with Reuters TV. “It took on a life of its own … I heard from about 500,” said Green, a copywriter for a style and beauty website.


The job went to Amalia McCallister, who has experience from having worked in a pet store. “You honestly do have to keep your eye on him,” McCallister said, describing the job as fun and not too taxing. “I could, maybe, read a book, but you’ve got to make sure he doesn’t eat the wrong thing.”

Sulcata tortoises are native to north central Africa but they adapt well to different environments. Land-dwelling reptiles with a shell, they are mainly herbivores. Henry, who is taken to the park by stroller and then allowed to roam free, particularly likes dandelions and grass.


He has amassed an online fanbase with more than 5,000 Instagram followers and over 400 likes on Facebook. The profile’s name is, of course, a play on the stage name used by the late rapper Christopher Wallace, who called himself The Notorious B.I.G.


Green adopted Henry a couple of years ago from a woman who was unable to manage her growing family and the tortoise. She said Henry is friendly and curious but needs lots of attention.


Green said she knows that Henry will one day outgrow her apartment. Male sulcata tortoises can reach a length of more than 30 inches (76 cm) and tip the scales at up to 200 pounds (90 kg).

“Am I going to somehow get a backyard in New York City?” Green asked. “These animals do need exercise so it is really great that I have a walker now.”


There’s some good “thinking outside of the shell”, Ms. Green.


Happy Humpday (^_^)


Wild Otters T-Shirts for Conservation

Wild Otters is a conservation research organization based in India, focusing on the conservation of their native otters species (smooth coated, Asian Small-clawed, and Eurasian otters). They were founded in September 2014. They focus on better understanding otters, use this understanding to take proactive conservation actions, disseminate  information, and spread awareness about otters to create long lasting conservation support. They also have a facebook page.
They reached out to In Otter News, as they are trying to raise funds by selling T-shirts with a super-cute otter design.


The Otter T-Shirt. Get yours at

They need to get at least 100 orders for the t-shirt to be printed. All proceeds benefit the otter conservation work that Wild Otters does.


In Otter News does not sell products, but in this case I felt it worthy to share this particular T-Shirt opportunity with my fellow otter lovers.

May we all find a way to better support the planet and all of its creatures.


Happy Ottersday :#)


One Notorious Crow

You might have seen on the news recently that one bad-ass crow stole a knife from a crime scene in Vancouver, Canada (which was eventually recovered by police). The crow’s name is Canuck, and he is Vancouver’s most notorious bird. He has quite a reputation there and his antics are regularly chronicled on his Facebook Page. Canuck’s been known to steal small items from pedestrians in the past, including keys, cigarettes, and loose change, and he’s easy to identify by the bright red band on his ankle.


While Canuck may be painted as a “bad bird”, thieving the good people of Vancouver, he actually has a heartwarming back story and homelife. Thank-you The Dodo for reporting on it.


Long before Canuck was meddling in police affairs, he was a hatchling who had fallen out of his nest as a baby. Canuck’s “dad” is a man named Shawn Bergman.

“I’m not thrilled that he tampered with a crime scene, but what … [can] you do?” Bergman said. “He’s a wild crow.”

“He was found and raised by my landlord’s son,” Bergman wrote. ”He was no bigger than a tennis ball and was not able to fly due to his age. He more than likely would’ve died if he hadn’t been taken in, in my opinion.”

Canuck was cared for by the landlord’s son until he was able to fly and survive on his own. He was released in July 2015, but not before receiving a red band on his left foot that made him easily identifiable and signaled to others who came across him that he’d had human contact.


But even though Canuck was free to go, he never left the neighborhood, choosing instead to loiter in the yard of the building he knew as home.

“On approximately day three of his release we noticed that he was not around the house,” Bergman told The Dodo. Bergman decided to go looking for the crow himself, to see if the bird was still within the parameters of the neighborhood.

“I ended up coming across him in an open grassy area looking very confused and scared,” Bergman said. “As soon as he saw me, he ran up to me. I put up my arm and he flew up and landed on it.” ”That was the first time I had ever walked through the neighborhood with a crow on my arm. Little did I realize it would be far from the last. Now it’s an everyday thing,” he said.


While Canuck is friendly — for the most part — toward other people, he shares a special bond with Bergman, whom he greets in the mornings and follows to his bus stop when he heads off to work. As soon as Bergman steps off the bus each evening, Canuck is there to say “hello” after a long day.


Despite Canuck being used to humans, Bergman aims to keep the crow’s experience as close to the wild as possible. ”I want him to experience life naturally,” Bergman said. Well, as naturally as a bird who’s become a bit of a celebrity both locally and internationally can experience.

“He’s very mischievous and a prolific thief, but he can also be quite comical,” Bergman said. “He’s not shy.”

But no matter how far Canuck strays, he knows that he’ll always have a partner in Bergman: the person who came for him just when he needed him most.


Happy Flyday ~^v^~


Happy World Otter Day!

Today is World Otter Day. This is a day we draw attention to the plight of the world’s otters and raise awareness for their conservation needs.


There are 13 species of otter worldwide, and they are all listed in the IUCN Red List and 12 are still declining in number.


Otters are very special animals. They are wonderful to watch, they are indicators of a healthy ecosystem, and at least with the Sea Otter, they shape the very environment they live in.


How you can help:

  • Make a donation to the many otter conservation organizations
  • Support your local zoo or aquarium and watch the otters there
  • Host an otter-themed party of your own
  • Buy some lovely otter-themed goods that support otter conservation
  • Spread the word about the importance of otters


Together, we can be the driving force that saves the otters from the threats of this world.


Happy World Otter Day!

Happy National Sea Monkey Day

Today is National Sea Monkey Day. I’m not making this up, those classic pets of childhood have their own celebration day.


In honor of this holiday, here is some history and factoids about sea monkeys:

1. Sea monkeys aren’t monkeys. According to livescience, they’re a hybrid breed of brine shrimp called Artemia NYOS.


2. The “inventor” of sea monkeys, Harold von Braunhut, held almost 200 patents, including the famous novelty X-Ray Specs sold in comic books. He passed away in 2003.


3. Legendary comic book artist Joe Orlando played a huge role in transforming sea monkeys into must-have pets. Sea monkeys were initially called “Instant-Life” and sales weren’t great, even with a 49-cent purchase price. Orlando rebranded them, and illustrated a series of “Sea Monkeys” advertisements and a successful comic book ad campaign, launched in 1964.


4. The website for all things sea monkey-related is According to a 2003 USA Today article, it’s run by Susan Barclay, a Canadian woman who is referred to as “The Sea Monkey Lady.” Barclay is also the author of “The Ultimate Guide to Sea Monkeys.”


5. The name “Instant-Life” seemed appropriate for the creatures since you just add water to packet dust and you get sea monkeys. Their super power is that they can survive for long periods of time in suspended animation. They hatch when you empty the packet and get them wet.

6. Sea monkeys breathe through their feet. They can also reproduce sexually or asexually.


7. Thanks to Howie Mandel, sea monkeys once starred in a live-action TV show. “The Amazing Live Sea Monkeys” premiered on CBS in 1992 and lasted 11 episodes. “The idea came when my daughter wanted sea monkeys,” Mandel said. “All of her friends had them. And I had them as a child. I said, ‘This is great. This could be bigger than the Ninja Turtles.’ ” The premise was that a professor (played by Mandel) accidentally enlarged three sea monkeys to human size.

12. Sea monkeys aren’t a thing of the past. If you missed out when you were a kid, don’t fret. You can still buy them here.



Happy (Sea) Monkday! :_)-~-~


Mother Goose Asks Police Officers to Save her Baby

In Cincinnati, Ohio, police officer James Givens was sitting in his patrol car when he heard what sounded like a little knock on his vehicle’s door.

It turned out that knock was from a goose.


“It kept pecking and pecking and normally they don’t come near us,” Givens told WKRC Cincinnati. ”Then it walked away and then it stopped and looked back so I followed it and it led me right over to the baby that was tangled up in all that string.”

The string was attached to a discarded Mother’s Day balloon, giving an unfortunate and ironic spin to this mother goose’s story.


Givens used his cell phone to take video of the incident along with specialist Cecilia Charron. The two called the local chapter of SPCA but they were unable to send someone out quickly enough, so Charron stepped up and saved the baby herself.

“[Charron] has a couple of kids of her own and I guess that motherly instinct must’ve kicked in because it was like they communicated,” Givens told WRKC. “The mother goose didn’t bother her, so Specialist Charron came and untangled it. It took her awhile because it was all wrapped up.”


But eventually, the human mom was able to help the goose mom to save her baby gosling.


Happy Flyday ~^v^~