Baby pandas make it hard to get work done

May 17, 2016 • 3:20 pm

. . . and I mean that in two ways: not only eating up your time on the Internet, but interrupting this cleaner at the Panda breeding sanctuary in Szechuan. I actually visited the place some years ago and got to touch a giant panda.

I doubt this worker was upset at the interruption!

Is there any baby animal cuter than a panda? I can’t think of one.

Friday squee: three rescued animals in love with their mentors

March 11, 2016 • 3:00 pm

It’s the end of most people’s work week, and I like to finish it off with some heartwarming squee. This week I’ve been sent, or found, four items.

Let’s start with this:

And then go to Ozzie the Desk Weasel. Don’t get any ideas about adopting one, as this is a rescued orphan and weasels can be really bite-y pets. But Ozzie seems tame, and it’s nice he was rescued. His staff’s notes:

Yup, he loves to play. So do I. But before I get to go online and start killing, I’m being camped by this fearless fighter. But then again; his ping is so much lower than mine…

Disclaimer: A weasel is not a pet. They hate being locked up, they’re not friendly when hungry. Don’t get one. Seriously. Ozzy is a special case rescue baby. Cute, but deadly. 😉

Another cute video of Ozzie is here.


And meet Cujoe, a kangaroo whose mom was hit by a car. He’s been adopted by a policeman in Cue, a small town north of Perth, and you can read about it in the PuffHo piece, “Cop saves orphaned baby kangaroo“.

Click on the screenshot to see Cujoe’s savior, Constable Scott Mason, and watch the joey try to find a pouch in Mason’s teeshirt:

Screen Shot 2016-03-11 at 12.03.41 PM


Finally, here’s the lovely story of an oil-soaked penguin, Dindim rescued by a kindly Brazilian man who cleaned it up. The Magellanic penguin (Spheniscus magellanicus) apparently bonded with the man and so, every June the penguin shows up near Rio and spends eight months with Mr. Pereira de Souza before departing to breed in southern South America.

Here are two videos:

and this one:

h/t: Malcolm, John, Hempenstein, Gethyn

Tuesday: Hili dialogue

March 8, 2016 • 6:15 am

It’s March 8: International Women’s Day (see next post), so women should be demanding cakes and goodies and stuff along with their rights. On this day in history, Johannes Kepler discovered his third law of planetary motion: “The square of the orbital period of a planet is proportional to the cube of thes emi-major axis of its orbit.” In 1910, French flyer Raymonde de Laroche became the first woman to receive a pilot’s license. In 1971, this was the day of the famous Joe Frazier/Muhammad Ali fight, won after 15 rounds by Frazier. In 1974, the execrable Charles de Gaulle airport opened outside Paris, and, five years later, the first CD was publicly demonstrated. Two years ago on this day (was it that long?), Malaysia Flight 370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing disappeared, presumably crashing into the Indian Ocean, where debris has since been found. Births on this day include Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (1841), Otto Hahn (1879), John McPhee (1931), Lynn Redgrave (1943), Carole Bayer Sager (1947), and Rabbi Sacks, Templeton Prize Winner and gay marriage opponent (1948). Those who died on this day include William Howard Taft (1930), Billy Eckstine (1993), and Joe DiMaggio (1999).

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili has read the translation on Listy from Faith Versus Fact about whether the evolution of humans was inevitable:

Hili: Did humans had to appear in the process of evolution?
A: Probably not.
Hili: See? And cats had to.
(Photo: Sarah Lawson)
In Polish:
Hili: Czy w procesie ewolucji człowiek musiał się pojawić?
Ja: Prawdopodobnie nie.
Hili: No widzisz, a kot musiał.
(Zdjęcie: Sarah Lawson)

As lagniappe, here, courtesy of reader Sue Rosenthal, is a sea otter giving birth—a wild sea otter (Enhydra lutris) that clambered onto the rocks outside the Monterey Bay Aquarium, dropping a baby otter just last Saturday:

Their notes:

A wild otter mom, seeking shelter from stormy seas, gave birth to her pup in our Great Tide Pool with guests and staff looking on. It was an amazing moment. Not that long ago, southern sea otters were hunted to near extinction but now, thanks to legislative protection and a change of heart toward these furriest of sea creatures, the otter population in Monterey Bay has rebounded.

Our sea otter researchers have been watching wild otters for years and have never seen a birth close up like this. We’re amazed and awed to have had a chance to witness this Monterey Bay conservation success story first hand in our own backyard. Welcome to the world, little otter!


Monday kitten

March 7, 2016 • 7:30 am

Among domestic animals, there’s nothing—nothing—cuter than a kitten at about 7 weeks of age. I brook no dissent here. Here’s a tw**t from Whiskas Ireland (sent, of course, by Grania) that makes me want to get a cat now. 

It’s a short video, so be sure to press the arrow.

Breakfast in bed

January 29, 2016 • 2:30 pm

It’s time for end-of-the-week squee. This Japanese video of a carrot-nomming hamster comes with the translated title, “Mike’s favorite food is carrot.” I believe it! Matthew sent me a link to this video a while back.

Speaking of anthropomorphizing animals, this Guardian article will show you how low the Internet has fallen.

Woman and her Doppelgänger marionette feed a squirrel

November 24, 2015 • 2:00 pm

The week is effectively over for most Americans, I think: even my department is largely empty, and tomorrow will be even emptier. So, as an end-of-the-week treat, here’s a short story from Neatorama about an activist woman who had an affinity for marionettes and squirrels, resulting in this adorable photo:


The whole story, and be sure to check at least the first link:

You may have seen this photo of 85-year-old civic activist Doris Diether of West Village, New York City, feeding a squirrel with a marionette that looks like herself.

The story behind the old lady and her “mini me” marionette is actually an interesting one. It all started one day at the park, where puppeteer Ricky Syers was performing with his handmade marionette, according to Nina Golgowski of NY Daily News:

“One day she comes up to me and whispers, ‘I have something for you,'” he recalled.

Opening a scrap book she revealed old newspaper clippings and articles she had written on marionettes back in 1974. Articles more recently added to her collection were ones she had seen on Syers’ work, which she cut out and saved for him.

The gesture floored him.

Syers proceeded to build Diether her own marionette, made to look just like her “featuring Diether’s short, white hair and rosy cheeks … complete with handbag, cane and floral blouse and skirt.”

“She’s … known as the woman who feeds the squirrels,” Syers said to NY Daily News, “Now, her little marionette feeds the squirrels.”

h/t: Ant

Motorcyclist saves orange kitten from traffic

October 30, 2015 • 3:10 pm

End-of-the week feel-good felid from Cycle World: a motorcyclist saves a kitten about to get flattened in a busy street. Kitten, eventually adopted and named Skidmark, is ineffably cute. And the whole thing was captured on a GoPro video affixed to the female rider’s helmet.  Cycle World’s text is indented.

In a video self-effacingly titled “I sound stupid, but I saved a kitten”—a video that’s now gone viral enough that even GoPro took notice, calling the rider in question a “hero” and offering her a care package in appreciation of the deed—Reddit user Your_Brain_On_Pizza (seriously, I like everything about this woman) suddenly stops swearing at traffic and starts steering her bike toward a tiny, fuzzy lump in the middle of an intersection. After hopping off to wave cars away and scoop the petrified kitten up, she runs the little bundle over to a bystander before going back for her bike.

It’s an efficiently executed (if somewhat scary to watch) rescue of tawny cuteness, and in the two days since the incident, rider and kitten have fallen in love. Your_Brain_On_Pizza adopted the cat, had him cleared of ringworms, named him Skidmark (“Skids” for short), and posted the update below. In the sage words of Editor-in-Chief Mark Hoyer, “motorcyclists are kind of awesome.”

An eleven-second update on Skidmark in his Forever Home. There’s hope for humanity after all!

Man rescues and rehabilitates injured fawn, reunites it with family

October 29, 2015 • 2:37 pm

Let’s end the posts today with a feel-good piece, just as the evening news always ends on something upbeat after dishing out a buffet of bad news. This story, from The Dodo, is about a man named Darius who rescued a limping, one-day-old fawn (surely doomed to die), rehabilitated it, and put it back with its mother. It was accepted.

The Dodo link shows the whole thing quickly in a series of gifs, or you can watch it on this 16-minute video. The end of the post gives some extra information:

“Since day one I was hoping to release baby deer back to the wild,” Darius said. Over the course of her two-week stay, the deer went unnamed — Darius wanted to avoid becoming too close to her, since he knew he’d have to let her go.

“I really hoped that she did not get attached to me too much,” he said, “because that would make [it] very hard for her to survive in the wild. She would become [an] easy target for hunters and predators.” The wild is full of very real dangers for a deer, but Darius knew that the wild was also where the fawn belonged.

“[I’ve] seen [the family] many times after release, also seen them recently in the fall,” he said. “The mother deer usually does not go too far from the place where she feels safe, so she stays around the area.”

He concluded in his email, “It is [a] very, very good feeling seeing them safe roaming around.”