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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Open ... wide: The astonishing gathering of manta rays to feast on plankton


Monsters of the deep: Swooping gracefully through the water like giant bats, these huge manta rays gather to feed on microscopic plankton

Swooping gracefully through the water like giant bats, these huge manta rays gather to feed on microscopic plankton.

These amazing pictures were taken by British photographer Warren Baverstock who spent nine days on the Maldives to capture these beautiful creatures.

Up to 200 mantas gather in Hanifaru Bay which is just the size of a football pitch to feed and be cleaned of parasites by smaller fish.

Swimming with giants: The pictures were taken by British photographer Warren Baverstock who spent nine days on the Maldives to capture these beautiful creatures

Mr Baverstock, 42, from Plymouth, Devon, said: 'I slowly approached a 10ft-wide manta. I floated mesmerised by its graceful swimming pattern.

'Snapping out of my daze, I began to photograph the manta as it circled just under the surface whilst deeper down more mantas fed.'

Mr Baverstock added: 'Another manta ray glided alongside the small reef to be cleaned.

'Moments later two more arrived and as the density of plankton increased, so did the manta activity.

'Waiting patiently I peered down at the cleaning station, wondering what would happen next.

'I did not have to wait long and before I knew it, several mantas suddenly started to circle towards the surface, feeding on the soup of plankton all around me.

'The experience was incredible and as the the group synchronised so that they could all feed together, I watched with amazement as 25 large manta rays circled and barrel-rolled with mouths wide open less than a metre away from my camera.

Working up an appetite: Manta rays are the world's largest ray and this one is 10ft wide. They filter their food from the water passing through their gills as they swim

'I had never felt so overwhelmed about such an amazing animal encounter.'

Manta rays are the world's largest ray and have the biggest brain to body weight ratio of their cousins the skates and sharks.

They feed on plankton and fish larvae either on the ocean floor or in open water.
They filter their food from the water passing through their gills as they swim.

Mantas frequently visit cleaning stations where small fish such as wrasse, remora, and angelfish swim in their gills and over their skin to feed.

This rids it of parasites and dead tissue.
Their main predator are large sharks and very occasionally, killer whales.

Underwater feast: Up to 200 mantas gather in Hanifaru Bay which is the size of a football pitch to feed on plankton and be cleaned of parasites by smaller fish

source :dailymail

The pony that can prance again: Horse born blind can see for the first time after vets perform ‘miracle’ £6,000 operation


Sight and sound: Shire horse Mary Anne launches herself through her paddock after regaining her sight

This is the moment an endangered rare-breed shire horse regained her sight after six hours of pioneering veterinary surgery and became the first horse in Britain to undergo the ground-breaking operation.

Shire foal, Mary Anne, faced being put down by vets after she was born unable to see.

Owners Donald and Jane McIntyre were told that the mare was worthless and faced a miserable existence unable to negotiate even the easiest of obstacles.

But the 62-year-old farmer and his 54-year-old wife from Bristol wouldn't give up on the foal - one of only 1500 left in the country - even when her mother, Faith, abandoned her moments after she was born.

After carrying out extensive research on the internet the couple discovered that new equipment had been developed to allow vets to perform cataract surgery on horses.

And when they were told that the foal would have an 80 per cent chance of curing her blindness the couple spent £6,000 for the sight and life saving operation.

Donald recalled the moment he saw Mary Anne alone in the paddock: 'We walked up to her and realised she was alive. We put her on the mare's teets and she started sucking like normal.

Life-saver: Farmer Donald McIntyre with shire horse foal Mary Anne, the horse he spent £6,000 on to save her sight

'But it wasn't until we got her into the stable when Mary Anne started to walk around and bump into everything that we suspected there was something wrong.

'The vet came out and examined her eyes and found she was totally blind. He advised us to have her put down because she wouldn't be able to guide herself around hazards.'

They even padded out her paddock and placed a bell on her mother's neck so that she could guide herself around the field without injury.

Before: Mary Anne's cloudy unseeing lens After: The newly fitted lens which allows her to see

Lens solution: Vet Tim Knott with the equipment he was to use on the foal to save her sight and her life

He added: 'Jane then did some research and found out about this ground-breaking piece of equipment that had been developed in Germany and was now being used by British vets.'

The couple made contact with vet Tim Knott, based at Thornbury, near Bristol, and he told them there was an 80 per cent chance of Mary Anne regaining her sight.

He said: 'It didn't make any financial sense but I guess we are big softies at heart.

'The operation cost about £6,000 and Jane had inherited some money from her late father so we used some of that.'

But it was the moment that Mary Anne was let out after the operation that they knew it had been a success.

Touching moment: Jane nurses Mary Anne shortly after she was born with mare Faith by her side

Struggling: Mary Anne found life very difficult after she was born and before the £6000 operation to save her sight

Donald added: 'She was quite literally dancing around and jumping for joy. There was no stopping her.'

Before, she would bump into hedges and fences but this time she was able to see them and stop in time.

'It was also the first time she could see her mother and it was obvious that made her very happy.

'She can now see up to ten metres in front of her which is quite adequate and means she is perfectly functional.'

That's my girl: mother Faith looks on as Mary Anne enjoys being able to see after her £6,000 operation

Mary Anne's eyes were underdeveloped during her 11 month gestation period which meant she had white lenses in her eyes instead of transparent ones.

Vet Mr Knott made a two millimetre incision on the foal's corneas and used the revolutionary tiny, mini jack-hammer needle to turn the white lens into liquid and then drained it.

The transparent, artificial lens that has concentric rings and is like a lighthouse lens, was then inserted into the eyes and opened up like a flower to 22 millimetres across.

Mr Knott explained: 'Cataract surgery on animals has been around for 20 or 30 years but it has always been unsuccessful on horses.

'But due to research and investment, equipment to carry out micro-surgery on horses has now been developed in Germany and there are three vets in the UK using it.

'Mary Anne was one of the first, if not the first, to have this brand new lens fitted using the new equipment.'

Donald said: 'Mary Anne has settled down really well and she now has a strong relationship with her mum. You couldn't separate them now.

'We have no regrets about it, we did it purely as it was a nice thing to do.'

He said that they will not work Mary Anne or breed from her but will break her in to ride her.

Shire horses have been placed on the Rare Breeds Survival Trust list of endangered breeds. The population is believed to be less than 1,500.

source: dailymail

Gymnastic Mr Fox! Cubs sneak into garden to have a bounce on children's trampoline


Boing! One of the fox cubs leaps into the air on a trampoline in a garden in Colorado, U.S., as his sibling watches on

They're more used to bounding about, chasing each others' tails and steering clear of humans.

But for these fox cubs, the chance to enjoy a bounce on a trampoline in a back garden was clearly too much to deter their natural caution.

The two were captured on video playfighting in the garden of a home in Colorado, before curiosity got the better of them and they decided to investigate the trampoline.

Outfoxed: But the cub hasn't quite got the hang of this bouncing lark as he sniffs suspiciously at the surface of the trampoline

Perhaps the wild cubs had spotted a child having a go on the trampoline and thought they would have had a try.

But the footage - posted on YouTube by user Samron - shows they hadn't quite got the hang of bouncing as they leapt around on the springy surface.

One of the cubs repeatedly jumps into the air, but forgets to 'bounce' as it lands down again and looks bemused at the top of the trampoline.

Larking about: The two cubs playfight after climbing on to the trampoline, before jumping around in delight

Cunning: One of the foxes leaps into the air, perhaps copying children the animal had seen jumping on the trampoline

source :dailymail

The cat that's NOT afraid of the water: Meet the Siberian tiger who'll risk getting wet for food


Fangs out: The tiger pounced after a hunk of meat was thrown towards him

It's a fearsome sight - enough to send a shudder down the spine of even the most foolhardy photographer.

And this incredible photo of a 400lb Siberian tiger leaping out of a river shows the bigger beasts of the feline world are certainly not scaredy cats when it comes to food.

Finnish photographer Arno Enzerink captured the magnificent moment during a wildlife close-up workshop at a U.S. game reserve in Kalispell, Montana.

Terrifying: The Siberian tiger captured as he leaps out of the water

At first glance it seems as if the tiger is worried about the water or has had a nasty surprise from something lurking beneath.

Shake down: The tiger dries himself off after his exploits

But Arno admitted that in fact the giant pounce, which saw the tiger standing almost 9ft tall, came as it leapt into the air to catch a piece of meat.

The 37-year-old said: 'The tiger just leapt out of the water to catch a piece of meat the caretaker threw up in the air.

'We were told it might happen but to actually see it leap out of the water is a whole different thing.

'And the real surprise, to me at least, was the size of the animal when rearing up like that.

'You don't really realise the size of it when you see it prancing around on all fours.'

Snapper: Arno Enzerink captured the magnificent moment a Siberian tiger jumped 9ft tall into the air

source :dailymail

'My king cobras would never hurt me': Snake breeder dies after being bitten by deadly reptile he boasted would never turn on him


Brave: Luke Yeomans bends down to kiss the snake on the head. He died after being bitten by one at home in Eastwood, Nottinghamshire

A snake breeder who boasted that his snakes would never harm him has died after being attacked by one of his deadly cobras.

Luke Yeomans, 47, suffered a heart attack after the snake bit him injecting its poisonous venom into his blood.

In a recent interview, the conservationist with 30 years experience insisted the reptiles would never harm him. He was even pictured bending down to kiss one king cobra on the back of the head.

The snake breeder - dubbed the local 'Steve Irwin' after the Australian wildlife presenter who was killed by a stingray - kept 24 reptiles in a 'sanctuary' compound behind his home in Eastwood, Nottinghamshire, which he was planning on opening to the public this weekend.

Nottinghamshire Police said officers were called at around 2pm yesterday to a property in Eastwood but Mr Yeomans was pronounced dead at the scene.

Mr Yeomans was dubbed the local 'Steve Irwin' after the Australian wildlife presenter who was killed by a stingray. He kept 24 reptiles in a 'sanctuary' compound behind his house

His body was found in the compound where he kept the reptiles behind his house.
The snake was contained and the RSPCA, Health and Safety Executive and Broxtowe Borough Council were informed of the incident.

The King Cobra is the longest of all venomous snakes in the world, with the venom from a single bite being enough to kill an elephant.

Police seal off the entrance to the King Cobra Sanctuary in Eastwood, Nottinghamshire, where Mr Yeomans died yesterday

In the local BBC television interview just days ago Mr Yeoman, 47, revealed his trust in his cobras and recalled previously being bitten.

He said: 'These king cobras know that I provide them with food, they know that I provide them with fresh water, so they are not going to go out of their way to do harm to me when I do no harm to them whatsoever.

'After being bitten once, on the way to the hospital I quite casually rang up the school of tropical medicine and spoke to the experts on anti venom, so when I got out of the car at the poisons unit I completely lost my legs, fell out of the car, but luckily there were two nurses waiting for me with the anti-venom, and they said don't worry.

'People do say that I'm mad, but it's better than people saying that you're bad, and I think everything I do is good.

'My life is about the conservation of the king cobra. Our breeding colony here is a safety net in case the king cobra becomes extinct.'

A local resident said: 'It's a complete shock. Everyone knew Luke kept cobras, but he so much experience we never expected anything like this to happen. He was a wonderful guy who was dedicated to snakes, and their welfare.'

Mr Yeomans started his King Cobra Sanctuary - which he claimed was the 'only one in the world' dedicated to the King Cobra - in 2008, in reaction to the depletion of the snake's natural habitat in the forests of south-east Asia and India.

'The King Cobra (Ophiophagus hannah), an end of the line apex predator, is certainly one of them.

'With 30 years experience of the King Cobra, myself and my daughter Nicole - now in our third year of the project, will maintain a breeding colony of this large and dangerous, but also misunderstood venomous snake.'

source :dailymail

Don't worry, it just means he loves me: Polar bear trainer's jaw-dropping photos

By Daily Mail Reporter

Mouthy: Agee clamps her jaws around Mark's neck in an amazing demonstration of just how much he trusts the huge bear

Grizzly man Mark Abbot Dumas is the only man in the world who can touch a polar bear.

The fearless animal trainer even goes for dip in a swimming pool where he and 16-year-old polar bear Agee enjoy a watery cuddle together.

Back on dry land he wrestles with the 60-stone (800lb) beast in her enclosure and bravely lets Agee clamp her huge jaws around his head.

And when the wrestling has tired both the animal expert and huge Agee out, they both enjoy a nap together inside Agee's enclosure.

Mark, 60, and wife Dawn, 49, from Abbotsford, British Columbia (BC), Canada, train the polar bear - the world's largest land predator - to star in high-budget TV adverts.

She even appeared in movies like Alaska in 1995 when she was just a few weeks old.

With their incredibly intimate bond Agee even bear hugs owner Mark as she rears up on her hind legs to over seven feet.

Dream life: Mark nestles up to Agee and takes a nap

‘If anyone else tried this they would end up as Agee's dinner,’ said Mark.

‘The only people in the whole world she likes are me and my wife.

‘I have worked with bears in this way for over 40 years, so I can read Agee's body language and know how to behave safely around her.

‘Agee has rules and we are always working inside those.’

Snap happy: Mark takes a picture of his ginormous pal as they take a swim together

Mark and Dawn took Agee on when she was just eight weeks old.

With links to Hollywood through previous work with animals, Mark was approached by director Fraser Heston - the son of screen legend Charlton - 16 years ago.

Heston needed a polar bear cub for his forthcoming film Alaska and Mark found Agee - a surplus cub at Kolmarden Zoo, Sweden.

Mark and Dawn went through a lengthy application to show they had the facilities to care for her.

After being approved they transported the tiny cub - seen here at their old family home in Mission, BC, just after her arrival - to Canada.

Breather: Mark and Agee take some time out from training and relax on the grass

‘She lived inside our home for the first few weeks and we hand-reared her,’ said Mark.

‘Eventually a time came when she was so big we had to move her outside into her own enclosure.’

Now Agee spends her time living in her new enclosure on rented land near Mark and Dawn's home in Abbotsford, and on the road working on TV and film sets.

At home, Mark enjoys 'play time' with her.

‘Earlier in the morning she's more playful and relaxed and she lets me roll around with her.

‘We wrestle for fun and sometimes we fall asleep on her grassy lawn together. It's a great way to unwind after a bad day.

Cuddle: Mark turns the tables on Agee and gives her a bear hug

‘I feel pretty privileged to be able to nap with my head resting on a fully-grown polar bear.’

Later in the day - when they are preparing for filming - Mark 'works' her, training Agee for the requested script requirements.

Agee performs a variety of commands in exchange for her favourite treats - steak, cookies, salmon and chocolates.

On cue from Mark, she rears up on her hind legs and will even pretend she's roaring when instructed to 'smile'.

‘She doesn't actually roar but she makes the action,’ said animal handler Dawn. ‘Film crews will later add in the sound of the roar if that's what they need for their production.’

Agee will also lie down, crawl and sit up in returnfor reward foods.

Affection: Agee licks Mark's face as they play around on the grass

‘She loves her work,’ said Mark. ‘They are extremely intelligent animals and you can see she gets enjoyment out of being stimulated through her work.

‘She could never have lived wild so it's important to us that we keep her active and thinking.

‘That's why I like swimming with her and playing on the lawn.’

In the evenings Agee is fed on mountains of protein-rich salmon, chicken or other meats, along with carbohydrates she gets from high-quality dog food and vitamin supplements.

‘In the wild she would be eating seal but we can't buy that so we have to try and replicate a fat-rich diet,’ said Mark.

‘Because they scavenge in the summer - when they are off the sea ice and on dry land - they have very adaptable diets.

Amazingly, Agee seems to have favourites between men and women.

‘She gets very jealous of other women talking to Mark,’ said Dawn.

‘She's happy with me doing it but if any other women are around she gets very possessive of him.’


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The incredible X-ray that showed how cat named Hope survives being blasted by THIRTY airgun pellets


The incredible X-ray that showed how cat named Hope survives being blasted by THIRTY airgun pellets  1
Evidence: The vet's X-ray shows Hope's body filled with the bullets

A cat called Hope has miraculously survived being blasted by around 30 airgun pellets, during a wave of senseless shootings across the UK.

The RSPCA has launched a hunt for the evil shooter and has released X-rays of some of the pellets inside Hope's body.

Hope's owner found her bleeding and near to death in Great Walsingham, Norfolk, and at first it was thought she'd been attacked by a dog because her body was ripped and torn.

But when she was transferred to the All Creature Healthcare centre in Norwich, X-rays showed that she had been peppered by around 30 shotgun pellets.

They were mostly in the back of her body but four were lodged in her head.

The incredible X-ray that showed how cat named Hope survives being blasted by THIRTY airgun pellets  2
Miracle survivor: Hope the cat was shot with 20 metal pellets from an airgun but thankfully survived

Vets' staff managed to remove about 10 pellets but some were left in case worse damage was caused removing them.

Hope is also suffering from a fractured toe as a result of the shooting.

The five-year-old moggy is recovering from her ordeal and is being treated at the Paws Centre in Norwich, which is run by the RSPCA Norwich and Mid Norfolk branch.

Her owner could not afford the veterinary treatment and she has been signed over to the care of the RSPCA.

‘Modern air guns have immense power and the pellets are not being embedded on the surface of the cat, as I used to regularly deal with, but are now passing through the body and smashing bones to smithereens.'

source: dailymail

The snake with a sssplit personality: Meet the python born with two heads


snake 1
Twice the bite: This python regius, or ball python, was born with two heads in Villingen-Schwennigen, Germany

This is one snake who is likely to be more than a little snappy if provoked.

The mutant black and gold python regius - royal python or ball python - was born in Villingen-Schwenningen, southern Germany, with two heads.

snake 2 Which way next? The one-year-old snake is now 20in long and appears to be coping well with its mutation

Snake breeder Stefan Broghammer said the slippery customer is around one years old and has grown to around 20 inches.

He said the creature is only the second python known to be born with two heads.
The snake is non-venomous, found in Africa and are a popular pet.

Adults generally grow up to around 4ft and when threatened their instinctively curl into a ball to defend themselves.

snake 3
Rare: Snake breeder Stefan Broghammer, pictured, said it was only the second time on record of a python being born with two heads

source: dailymail

Hide 'n' peek! The damselfly who thought he was hidden... but was given away by his bug eyes


Hide 'n' peek! The damselfly who thought he was hidden... but was given away by his bug eyes  1
Peek-a-bug: This little Damselfly was caught hiding behind a blade of grass in Fordwich Lakes, near Kent

This little damselfly thought it was cleverly hiding behind a blade of grass at a British lake, but didn’t realise its big bug eyes gave away its disguise.

The tiny insect concealed its two-inch body and transparent wings by clinging onto the grass with its black legs.

But instead of being incognito, photographer Tony Flashman captured the common blue damselfly’s piercing eyes with his camera at Fordwich Lakes, near Kent.

Mr Flashman crawled around the lake’s meadows at 5am to try and photograph the flies before they become too active at sunrise.

And the Kent-born photographer said: ‘This little fly thought it was being clever by hiding behind the grass in a game of hide and seek but he didn’t do a very good job.

‘I could see his eyes peeking out from either side and its legs wrapped around the grass.
‘It needs to move from the thin long grass to the reeds, where it will have a bit more cover.’

Hide 'n' peek! The damselfly who thought he was hidden... but was given away by his bug eyes  2
We can see you! The long blue damselfly was captured by photographer Tony Flashman, from Kent

He added: ‘This fly behaved himself and allowed me to get a good photograph but I had to get there early.

‘As soon as it warms up, they start to move around too much.’

From another angle the slender damselfly is seen holding itself up against the grass as morning dew drops trickle down onto its wings.

Damselflies are similar to dragonflies but the adults differ by holding their wings long and parallel to the body when resting.

They are also usually smaller and weaker fliers than dragonflies and their eyes are wide apart – as seen poking out from behind this blade of grass.

Damselflies eat flies, mosquitoes and other small insects.

source: dailymail

A guy and his gorilla: Huge beast treated like one of the family by zoo owner

By Emily Allen

Big love: Pierre Thivillon, owner of the zoo of Saint-Martin-la-Plaine, gets a kiss from adopted gorilla Digit

To describe your child as a gorilla is a bit rude to say the least.

But for French zoologists Pierre and Elaine Thivillon, who own a zoo in Saint-Martin la-Plaine near Lyon, this is exactly what their 'little one' is.

They have fostered a gorilla called Digit who was rejected by her mother and they now treat her as their own.

Right at home: Pierre and Elaine Thivillon pose with Digit at their bedroom window

In these adorable pictures she is pictured spending time with her 'parents' and even giving her 'father' a loving peck on the lips.

She is clearly very comfortable in their company and despite her enormous size and strength, the couple obviously have not the slightest fear of her.

The unusual addition to their family was born at the zoo in 1998, but her mother did not know how to breastfeed her.

The couple stepped in to bottle feed her but her health took a turn for the worse and she underwent two life-saving operations.

Digit, who weighs 80 kilos, could live for up to 50 years.

Time for a chat: A male gorilla at the zoo called Euro looks longingly at Mr Thivillon

Chilling: Mr Thivillon and Digit appear to be deep in conversation. The Thivillons adopted the gorilla when her mother was unable to feed her


Could this moody moggy be Britain's grumpiest cat? Bad tempered Mr Pip scowls for his close-up


Do not disturb: Mr Pip glowers from the doorway to his little igloo

Could this moody moggy be Britain's grumpiest cat?

Scowling at the camera with more than hint of discontentment, this irritable puss is constantly in a grump.

According to his owner, Rose Oughton, Mr Pip does not like noise, bad weather and especially hates football.

The Persian Burmese breed's favourite past-time is 'staring at dogs' and sitting quietly in his favourite bush in the back garden.

But even when he's at his happiest, you wouldn't think it to look at the sour-faced feline.

Mrs Oughton, 65, from Kings Lynn, Norfolk, a part-time dinner lady and cleaner, has owned the eight-year-old for a year and a half.

She said: 'He always looks that grumpy and acts it as well.

'He doesn't like any noise in the house, he doesn't like football, what he does seem to like is just staring at dogs with that look he's got.

'Whenever it's windy or cold he will just come into the house and into his little igloo.

I don't like dogs! Mr Pip spends much of his time staring malevolently at hounds who dare to pass his field of view

'He doesn't like cold weather, he's been waiting for summer but he's still got that look on his face.

'But it means he can get out the house a bit more and sit in his favourite bush.

'My two daughters are always saying how fed-up he always looks, but he's an affectionate cat really.'

The widow, and mother of two, says she was concerned there might be something wrong with Mr Pip, due to his grumpy looks, and even took him to the vets.

But grumpiness is just part of his nature. 'The reason he looks so glum is because of the Burmese in him,' Mrs Oughton said.

'I was a little bit worried to start with because I didn't know if he was in pain or unhappy or something like that.

'But when we took him to the vet they said his face is perfectly normal and there's nothing to worry about.

'He is far from being a lap-cat, but we get on OK.'

source: dailymail

Flipper meets trout pout: Sharon Osbourne gets up close and personal with a dolphin during Hawaiian holiday


Kissy: Sharon Osbourne takes a dip and gets a smooch from a dolphin whilst on holiday in Hawaii with her daughter Kelly

She has long been known as a lover of animals having famously paraded her menagerie and pack of dogs on her reality show The Osbournes.

But TV host Sharon Osbourne, who has been outspoken about her surgically enhanced face, recently got well acquainted with a different sort of beast as she joined daughter Aimee on a dolphin experience during their Hawaiian vacation.

X Factor judge Sharon, 58, took to the water to swim and play with the amphibious mammals even planting a big kiss on the nose of one lucky friend.

Wearing a life vest and a cover-up to protect her from the sun, Sharon seemed completely at ease in the water alongside the wild life.

source: dailymail

Two horses drown and two die from shock after being attacked by angry swarm of bees

By Richard Hartley-parkinson

The four horses are believed to have been attacked by a swarm of bees before two drowned and another two suffered from anaphylactic shock

Four horses have died after they were attacked by an angry swarm of bees.

Two of them are believed to have suffered from anaphylactic shock and heart failure while the other pair drowned in a pond as they tried to run away from the insects in Nutley, East Sussex.

Owner Anne Gerrard kept the hives in a field near her paddocks and said she was devastated by what had happened.

'It is absolutely heartbreaking. It has been ghastly,' she said. 'We have had the Beekeepers Society here and they say this is unprecedented.

'To lose one horse would have been bad enough, but to lose all four of my horses has been ghastly.

'The bees must have been vicious, it was a horrific attack. I found two of my horses in the pond. It was utterly devastating.'

There were nine hives near Mrs Gerrard's paddock and one of the horses that died from anaphylaxis was found dead on the day of the attack. The other died the next day.

According to Horse and Hound magazine another horse was killed by bees.

Karen Thursfield, from Cheshire, described her horse as being 'out of control' after a suspected bee attack from a hive that had been in her field for 10 years and the next morning he was found dead.

Vet consultant Karen Coumbe told the magazine: 'An incident like this is incredibly rare. I've never encountered anything like it, despite being a beekeeper myself.

'Readers should not be alarmed as individual stings are unlikely to cause major problems. In this case, the huge number of angry bees would have triggered a "fight or flight" reaction.'

Mrs Gerrard, whose horses were aged between two and 20, added: 'We can only guess at what has happened.

'Something disturbed the bees, perhaps one horse jumped out and knocked a hive.

'We've never had any problems before. The hives were in a well-fenced field.'

The Beekeepers Society told her that bees can be upset by the smell of horses and should be kept at least a field away.

She added: 'I have had the bees for about two years and they have never even stung anyone before.'

The bees that attacked the horses have now been taken away and Sergeant Michael Keeler from Sussex Police said: 'I would like to stress that this was a freak accident.'

Beekeper Colin Turner said: 'Bees are at their most docile when they are swarming and there is very little danger of being stung if people take sensible precautions and avoid disturbing them.


Mirror image: Kingfisher barely causes a ripple as he dives into the water

By Daily Mail Reporter

Seeing double: The kingfisher produced a perfect mirror image when it dived headfirst into the River Alde in Suffolk

Diving effortlessly head first in to the water, this kingfisher appears to become two as its reflection is revealed in breathtaking detail.

Photogapher Paul Sawer spent five weeks watching a family of Britain's most fascinating birds at the River Alde in Rendham, Suffolk.

The 39-year-old captured this extraordinary sight after setting up a glass tank full of fish in the water to attract the birds, with their images reflected in the glass as they dived into the river.

His shot shows the kingfisher's reflection with such clarity that, at first glance, it appears as if the bird has collided with another in the water.

Mr Sawer, from Saxmundham, Suffolk, said, 'Reflections are a particular favourite of mine and I wanted to capture the dive in reflection.

'For this I submerged a glass tank in the river, popped in some fish, set up the flashes and focused the camera on the centre of the tank.

Feeding time: Photographer Paul Sawer set up a glass tank containing fish to attract the birds

Heading for the water: Photographer Sawer captured the kingfisher's every move as it prepared to plunge into the river

'I pressed the shutter just before the bird entered the water.

'There is a lot of luck involved as to the position of the bird and I had several near misses.

'But opportunities were frequent and it wasn't too long before I had secured the image I had hoped for.

On reflection: The kingfisher's image was mirrored in the glass of the fish tank Sawer had placed in the river

'I spent around 150 hours on the project during 5 weeks and didn't tire of the kingfishers once.

'Not only are they one of the UK's most colourful birds they are among the most fascinating to watch and I feel privileged to have observed this family at close quarters.

'I am thrilled to finally have the dive added to my portfolio.'

Time-consuming: Sawer spent over 150 hours capturing the perfect photos of the kingfishers

Stunning shots: The reflections of the birds are captured in breathtaking detail


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