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Friday, January 18, 2013

Just grin and baaaa it! Mysterious 'smiley face' symbol sparks internet debate after appearing on hundreds of sheep across the country

-Hundreds of sheep up and down the country branded with smiley face
-Faces seen in areas including Leicestershire, Devon and Perthshire
-One farmer said phenomenon was 'like crop circles-but on sheep'

By James Rush

Hundreds of sheep have been painted with a bizarre 'smiley face' symbol in fields across the country.

The strange image has sparked debate on social networking sites after it was first reported on 20 animals in a field in Melton Mowbray, in Leicestershire.

There have since been sightings in a further five fields across the UK, including Perthshire in Scotland, and 500 miles south in Exeter, Devon.

Not impressed: Hundreds of sheep have been branded with the mysterious 'smiley face' symbol at sites up and down the country, including these unimpressed-looking sheep in Exeter

Early sighting: These sheep in Melton Mowbray were among the first to be spotted. There are now more than 100 sheep believed to have been marked in this way

Smile for the camera: The strange markings have been spotted on sheep hundreds of miles apart, including in Devon and Scotland

And people have taken to Twitter to share pictures of the unexplained phenomenon, using the hashtag #creepysheep.

Many are questioning how the eerie symbol came to be etched on the animals - with some talking of 'supernatural powers' and 'UFOs'.

Even farmers appear baffled, with one saying: 'It is like crop circles - but on sheep.'

The symbol appears to have been painted on both sides of randomly chosen animals at each of the affected farms.

It looks like a smiley face, with two spiralling eyes and a long, connecting, mouth.

Unexplained: These branded sheep in Middlesborough appear a little startled as they have their picture taken

Branded: The symbol appears to have been painted on both sides of randomly chosen animals at each of the affected farms

More than 100 sheep are thought to have been targeted in total.

Farmer Ros Turner, whose sheep have been 'tagged' in Melton Mowbray, said: 'Passing motorists and walkers have had to double take.

'They can't quite believe what they are seeing and I've had a few people stop me and ask what is going on.

Further sightings: These sheep on a farm in Camarthenshire, Wales, have also fallen victim to the unexplained phenomenon

'They seem to think it is some supernatural power or the work of passing aliens or UFOs.

'It's like crop circles - but on sheep.

'The animals do not seem to have been affected in any way. They are still grazing and going about their day to day lives in the usual way.'

One Twitter user, @liamgeoghegan, said: 'What's going on with these weird looking sheep? What's the smiley face thing all about? #CreepySheep.'

Melton Mowbray farmer Ros Turner, whose sheep, pictured, have been branded said: 'It's like crop circles - but on sheep.'

And another, @Ben-Mulock, said: 'Ha! Some sheep in The Borough look like they've been tattooed! Maybe it's for some kind of show?'

Ellie Stokeld, another affected farmer, from Great Ayton, near Middlesborough, said: 'The symbol looks bizarre but it makes a nice change to the sheeps' usual plain white coats.'

'You can't help but laugh when you see the sheep in the field with the smiley faces on the side.'

A tweet from @carlasilverman said: 'Just walked past these random sheep! What on earth is going on here?'

And @champychampy said: 'Someone's given these sheep a makeover.'

Bizarre: Many are questioning how the eerie symbol came to be etched on the animals - with some talking of 'supernatural powers' and 'UFOs'


Ouch! Newborn monkey gives a painful looking tug on mum but he's just too cute for her to be cross

By Sara Malm

With big brown eyes wide open, newborn macaques discover the world around them in their first days on earth in Bali, Indonesia.

Living with their mothers in a sanctuary known as the Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud, they play up in front of the cameras making faces and striking poses worthy of a Vogue model.

One youngster is particularly brave, putting up his little fists in defence of the piece of wood he has turned into a plaything.

Planning mischief: This day-old baby monkey appears to be pondering what adventures to get up to next whilst nestled in his mothers arms in Bali

Another is clearly amused by the photographer’s lens as he hides a cheeky smile behind his hand.

The picture perfect primates provided an ideal photo opportunity for photographer Natalia Paklina who shot some of the newborns while on holiday in Bali.

Ms Paklina, 52, said: ‘It was really interesting to watch these monkeys.

‘Usually their life is hidden under the tropic forest canopy. And here there is a unique possibility to watch and photograph them from a short distance.

‘Monkeys are absolutely free and wild but at the same time they are not afraid of people at all.'

Baby's first toy: A newborn explores what the forest has to offer and has found an interesting piece of wood

Mummy's boy: Baby and mother monkey share a treat in the forest in Bali, Indonesia

Little joker: The baby monkey seem to find something amusing as he hides a grin behind his tiny hand

Hungry one: The cheeky chappie enjoys one of his first meals, although it does not look like a particularly comfortable experience for mama monkey

She added: ‘The photography process was pretty difficult because it was quite dark in the forest and the baby monkey kept wriggling.

‘The monkey are moving all the time. Jumping from the light to the shadow and back again. There are so many of them so you don't know which one to photograph.

‘But as soon as I saw this baby, I just had to take a photo, he was probably only a couple of days old and very cute.’

Prime primate: Performing some top-end modelling poses fit for Vogue, the baby is loving the camera

Pucker up! Hidden in the forest, yet the centre of attention, a little monkey blows a kiss at the camera

Safe haven: When a life of fame gets too exhausting, it is good to know that the warm embrace of mummy is never far away

The Sacred Monkey Forest is currently home to over 600 Balinese long-tailed macaques living in four troops across the tourist attraction

The infants are completely black during their first six months, after which they slowly turn to grey until they are about 12 months old.

Males are considered adult at the age of five and sport characteristic ‘moustache’ facial hair and women become adult after they give birth to their first baby.

Put 'em up! The baby monkey is a budding boxer, ready to defend his turf

Happy home: These monkeys live in a sanctuary known as the Monkey Forest in Bali


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Forget dogs learning new tricks! The cat who can play the shell game and guesses right EVERY TIME

By Daily Mail Reporter

A cat named Kido has a talent beyond just sleeping as his owners discovered that he is a whiz at the shell game.

The Brooklyn-based cat has a knack for keeping his eyes on the prize when it comes to following the path of a bell when it is placed under metal thimbles.

In a video posted to YouTube, the cat lazily watches as its owner moves three- and later, four- small metal caps around in quick succession to distract the cat and lose its focus from the one with a bell underneath.


Going for the win: Kido correctly guesses which metal cap contains the bell each time

In spite of the speed, Kido successfully picks the right cap each of the three times it is tested.

Though it appears to be living the life right now, Kido had a much rougher life early on.

According to the Facebook page that it's owners set up, Kido was abandoned twice 'by two different but equally awful families' in the cat's first six months.

'When I was about to be listed on a shelter's kill-list, my parents rescued me and now I live with them happily after,' the page reads.

Cat-like speed: The trick would be too tough for many humans, but not for this feline

Clear winner: Kido has gotten good at this game after being adopted by a loving family in Brooklyn

Now the cat leads a much happier life, reportedly spending about 18 hours a day sleeping and rotating between his favorite nap spots.

'I can be as good as a teddy bear, but can be as bad as a heartbreaker. I am an attention seeker. I am good at getting what I want as well as getting revenge, so I can often outsmart my parents,' the Facebook page alleges.

VIDEO Adorable! Three time re-homed Kido learns to play cups


Sunday, January 13, 2013

What a dog's dinner! Watch puppy try (and fail) to eat an orange with hysterical results

By John Hutchinson

Maymo the lemon beagle has delighted his fans with yet another hilarious video that has gone viral.

Following on from 'lemon beagle vs lemon' and 'dog loves toy mouse', both of which had almost a million views on YouTube, the cute pooch faces another tricky challenge as he tries to eat an orange.

And this offering has already been viewed nearly 200,000 times in three days since it was put on the video-sharing site.

Scroll down for video

Maymo sizes up the opposition...

Before leaning in an tackling the fruit

He then goes to get his jaws around the citrus surprise

The start of the clip sees the orange begin on the table with Maymo eying up the best way to tackle the fruit.

He flips it over, reaches up the table, and eventually knocks the citrus from the top and onto the floor.

Then a mad scramble ensues so as to not lose out on this tricky treat as Maymo digs it out from under the shelves where it had nestled.

Pawing at the orange, it seems man's best friend is weighing up his next move.

He proceeds to try and pick it up in his mouth, before it falls from the canine's jaws, and spins out to another area of the property.

The orange flies off the table and underneath some shelving and Maymo desperately scrabbles around for the foe

And there is success as he comes to face to face with the enemy

Maymo paws at the orange as he works out his next move

And of course, Maymo rushes after the slippery customer.

It appears as if the acidic nature of the orange is what keeps making the dog recoil, as he goes forward a number of times to snare his prey, before springing back. It is almost as if there is some kind of force-field around the fruit.

Looking defeated, a tired Maymo lies down a few inches from his play thing, it's cute puppy-dog eyes sure to make the watcher feel sorry for his all-in-vain efforts.

But wait. Up he springs with one final effort to defeat the foe, only to be once again held out by this invisible force-field before crashing into the camera.

The dog's handling skills aren't the best, and the orange skids off to another part of the room

Maymo gives it one last go in attempt to either eat, or destroy the orange

But it's tiring work for the lemon beagle

Almost immediately the video is cut to a shot of the hapless pooch wearing the orange as some kind of hat, his mood clearly calmer.

This dog obviously let his troubles get on top of him.

In a video put online in 2011, Maymo had a similar battle with a lemon, finding the acidity too much to handle as he plundered back and forth trying to eat the fruit, before skulking off.

And last year his owners posted a clip of him getting grief from a wind-up mouse.

Again it appears as if there is a force-field around the pretend rodent as Maymo tries to look his jaws around the plastic.

As the wind runs out on the mouse, the dog settle back down, tired out by his frantic efforts.

Maymo's popularity has risen which has led to him having his own Facebook page, which has over 3,000 likes.

And the final shot shows Maymo appears to have at last found a use for the orange - as a hat!


Sunday, December 30, 2012

Panda-style: Giant bear gets in on the Gangnam craze as he dances on his back legs

-Qin Chuan strikes up pose that looks just like Psy's hit routine
-Playmate LeLe unimpressed and chews bamboo instead

By Steve Robson

It's the most successful Youtube video of all time, now even giant pandas are doing their own version of the famous Gangnam dance.

Zoo keepers watched in amazement as Qin Chuan stood up on his hind legs and assumed a pose with an uncanny resemblance to Psy's smash hit routine.

Unfortunately his playmate LeLe seemed more interested in chewing on bamboo leaves.

Dancing on ice: Qin Chuan jumps up and assumes the now famous Gangnam pose

Cool moves: Qin Chuan gets into the groove at China's Jinbao Amusement Park in Weifang, Shandong

Parodies of the Korean dance have been popping up all over the world as it recently surpassed 1 billion hits.

So it shouldn't come as a surprise that those in the animal kingdom are getting in on the act.

The pair of giant pandas, who moved to China's Jinbao Amusement Park in Weifang, Shandong two years ago, have been spotted copying human behaviour before.

At the sight of the first snow of the year, LeLe also jumped up on his hind quarters and started running forward as if looking for a hug.

This time it was Qin Chuan who, after twirling around his enclosure several times, padded off looking fairly pleased with himself.

Spectators were delighted by the show and judging by this performance, Qin Chuan will be expecting the lead bear's role.

Cold feet: Qin Chuan limbers up, right, before taking a twirl during his impromptu routine, left

Qin Chuan pads off after strutting his stuff in front of LeLe looking satisfied with the performance


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Just wait until I get you home: Lion cubs covered in mud after playtime at Longleat (but mom's clearly not looking forward to doing the washing)

-The group couldn't resist rolling in the dirt on first trip out
-First-time mothers Nikata and Louisa seemed unimpressed
-Four males and four females born at Longleat Safari park in August

By Steve Robson

After finally being let out to play for the first time, these impatient lion cubs couldn't wait to get rolling around the dirt with a playful game of stuck in the mud.

The eight cubs - four males and four females - were born in August but they had not been allowed to join the rest of the pride at Longleat Safari and Adventure Park in Wiltshire until now.

The pouring rain didn't deter them from enjoying themselves and in fact made playing in the leaves and dirt all the more fun under the disapproving gaze of mothers Nikata and Louise.

The four-month cubs ventured out into the cold at Longleat Safari park for the first time today

The cubs appeared to enjoy getting muddy and taking it in turns to play on a fallen tree

The eight cubs- four male and four female - were born in August to lionesses Nikata and Louisa

Keepers say both the first-time mothers have been very attentive to their offspring, although they are less patient when it comes to humans.

'Nikata and Louisa don't seem to have any problem joining in the rough and tumble games with their cubs,' said keeper Bob Trollope.

'However, they are extremely protective and are nowhere near as accommodating with us.'

Within minutes of being released, the cubs were covered in mud and leaves and were taking it in turns to try to balance their way along a slippery fallen tree trunk.

Several of the braver individuals even began perfecting their ambush skills on their mother, although they were rather more cautious when father Hugo came over to say hello.

'Both mums have four cubs, with two of each sex, and Hugo is also a first-time father. However, he is considerably less interested in the youngsters and soon went back to what male lions do best - sleeping,' said Mr Trollope.

Two of the adorable cubs hide underneath their mother after the rough and tumble gets too much for them

The cubs were undaunted by their first trip outside and enjoyed playing around in the leaves and mud

Lionesses Nikata and Louise keep a watchful eye on the cubs as they play

Longleat is famed for its lions, which are kept in two separate prides, but this is the first time the 'woodland' pride has had cubs.

At birth, the cubs weighed just 2lb but now tip the scales at 18lb.

Male lions usually reach their full size by the age of two, while females will be about three years old before they are fully grown.

Adult lions can weigh up to 440lb and grow to lengths in excess of 10ft.


Monday, December 24, 2012

The cute Christmas pictures that will melt even the coldest heart: Adorable snaps of kittens, puppies, and lambs in festive hats

-Photographer Mark Taylor, from Guildford, has earned himself the title 'Master of Cuteness' for snaps like these
-He follows in the footsteps of his renowned photographer mother Jane Burton who passed away in 2007

By Amanda Williams

Even the coldest-hearted Scrooge would be melted by these adorable Christmas animals.

Dressed in Santa hats or playing with tinsel the merry models start their careers early - aged just six weeks old.

And it's a fine art for photographer Mark Taylor, from Guildford, who has to distract the kittens and puppies just enough so they don't eat the props.

Hey, that's my hat! Photographer Mark Taylor supplies card companies and calendar makers all over the world with his cute snaps

Time for a nap: Even the coldest-hearted Scrooge would have their heart melted by these adorable Christmas animals

What a little cracker: The photographer manages to distract his subjects just long enough to get the perfect shot

Card companies and calendar makers all over the world use his work which he does following in the footsteps of his renowned photographer mother Jane Burton who passed away in 2007.

Growing up in Surrey Mr Taylor said he was surrounded by some very unusual animals his mother used to photograph.

Mr Taylor, 48, who together with dad Kim Taylor run the family firm Warren Photographic, in Guildford, said continuing his mother's work was a lovely experience.

He said: 'Growing up in Albury in Surrey as a child we used to have a tame fox, a badger, an iguana and even a type of crocodile called a caiman. The kids would love to come to our house because it was like a zoo.

Give us a slice! The photographer has mastered the art of getting different animals to work together

Baa Humbug: This little lamb does not seem to think much of his Santa hat

Dog tired: Dressed in Santa hats or playing with tinsel the animals start their merry modelling careers aged just six weeks old

Peekaboo! The photographer is following in the footsteps of his renowned photographer mum Jane Burton who passed away in 2007

'I'm not sure this suits me': The photgapher said continuing his mother's work was 'a lovely experience'... although this chap doesn't look so sure

'At first I wasn't as keen on photography, we spent some time as a family in Kenya.

My sister Hazel and I would spend what seemed like hours in the back of a Land Rover while mum waited to get a picture of a lion or something.

'But I actually picked up a camera about 15 years ago when I was in Canada while my ex-wife taught there, mum said to me as something to do why don't I do landscape pictures for them.

Where are the huskies when you need them? Mark Taylor has now become known as 'the master of cuteness' for his work with animals

Nuts about Christmas: This cheeky little chap won't be telling anyone where he has squirreled his presents away until the big day

'The Canadian landscape is stunning on the western coast and I think I got the bug from there. Doing the cute animal pictures now is a great privilege and I am proud to continue mum's work.'

Mark said using Christmas hats and props with his furry subjects was a challenge especially as most of the time they tried to eat them.

It wasn't us: These two look like they may been caught up in some trouble as they play with Christmas decorations

He said: 'The natural reaction of a kitten is to lift its paw up and try and take the hat off and eat the bobble.

'Luckily as well as inheriting mum's talent for cute animal pictures I also have her assistant Britta who is great at keeping them distracted just long enough to get the picture.'


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