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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Hamstand: 'Gymnast' piglet born without hind legs learns to walk on two front trotters

By Daily Mail Reporter

Hogging the limelight: The piglet carefully balances itself while walking on its two front legs

A two-legged pig born without its hind legs has amazingly been taught to walk on its own.

The handicapped beast was born in July in eastern China's Anhui Province and could have struggled to make it through its first few weeks as a piglet, according to its owner.

But farmer Ge Xinping said he managed to nurse the piglet through its early life before helping it stand on its own (and only) two feet.

Farmer Ge Xinping gives the piglet a helping hand at the farm in China's Anhui Province

He has now managed to coax the unnamed young creature outside more often and has helped it get about.

The young pig can carefully balance itself on its front two trotters and can walk around unaided.

The pig now also weighs a healthy 30kg, accoring to its owner.

The young pig had struggled in early life but has grown up and learned to walk on its own

Farmer Ge Xinping said: 'Villagers all love it as it walks like an upside down gymnast.'

The amazing sight is not the first time a Chinese farmer has managed to train a young pig with no hind legs to walk on its own.

Last year a 10-month-old animal, known by villagers in Henan Province, China as Zhu Jianqiang, which means Strong-Willed Pig, was born with only two front legs, which it now uses to walk on.


The five-week-old baby elephant who just loves being stuck in the mud

By James White

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Oops! The tiny elephant baby falls over and struggles to get to its feet under its mother's legs

It appears to be a tiring and futile battle for this newborn baby elephant to stay on its four unsteady feet.

But look a little closer and it appears the youngster is enjoying its apparent misfortune, returning to the same spot over and over again.

Video of the animal staggering to his feet was captured by amused keepers at Whipsnade Zoo, Bedfordshire.

Still down: The five-week-old rolls around in the mud at Whipsnade Zoo in Bedfordshire

The five-week-old Asian elephant can be seen slipping in the mud under the towering legs of his four-ton mother.

In the clip the elephant's mother and another adult are completely unconcerned by the baby's difficulties.

Zoo spokeswoman Emma Edwards said: 'He is a very bold considering he is only five weeks old.

'He always goes to that same patch but seems to enjoy getting stuck in the mud.

On its feet: The youngster manages to compose itself and regain its balance

All feet on deck: The Asian elephant baby rolls back down, apparently enjoying itself

'I don't think we have ever had such a feisty elephant at any of our zoos he will definitely be the leader of his group when he reaches adulthood.

'At one point onlookers were in stitches as his legs gave way and he fell face first into the mud.'


She's not for the chop: Tinsel the turkey survives being hurled from a moving lorry – and then falls in love with a DEER

By Jessica Satherley

The look of love: Tinsel, the Turkey and her friend Bramble the Roe Deer who have become the best of friends at a Warwickshire Wildlife Sanctuary

Britain's luckiest turkey has been saved from the chop this Christmas after falling in love with a deer.

Plucky bird Tinsel was rescued after she was thrown on to the motorway from a moving lorry.

She was nursed back to health and has now fallen head over claws for a rescued Roe Deer called Bramble.

The pair were brought to the Nuneaton and Warwickshire Wildlife Sanctuary and are now ‘inseparable’.

Tinsel even gives Bramble a ‘peck’ on the cheek before they go to sleep at night.

Sanctuary owner Geoff Grewcock, 61, said: ‘They are completely inseparable.

‘Both of them live in the same barn and Tinsel always gives Bramble a little peck on the cheek before they go to sleep. It's very sweet.

‘We've grown very attached to Tinsel.

‘She must be one of the luckiest turkey's in Britain because she's not going anywhere near any dinner plate this Christmas.’

Best of friends: Plucky bird Tinsel was rescued after she was thrown on to the motorway from a moving lorry before meeting Bramble

Inseperable: The pair were brought to the Nuneaton and Warwickshire Wildlife Sanctuary and are now 'inseparable'

Tinsel was rescued by a driver nine months ago after she was hurled out of a lorry on the M6 motorway near Manchester.

Grandfather-of-one Geoff said: ‘We didn't think she was going to make it.

‘Her feathers were badly damaged and she was malnourished but we fed her up and looked after her.

‘She took an instant shine to Bramble and he seems to like the attention.

‘They walk around the animal sanctuary together, eat together and even have the odd tiff.

‘But Tinsel is very protective and squawks and flaps her wings if anyone goes anywhere near Bramble.’

Bramble was just two weeks old when he was found by walkers unconscious in a field in 2008.

Geoff added: ‘Bramble was very poorly when he came to us but after three years he's back to full health.

‘He close bond with Tinsel has certainly helped his recovery.’

Bramble's story: Bramble was just two weeks old when he was found by walkers unconscious in a field in 2008


Tear-jerking moment lab beagles see sunlight for the first time as they are released from cages

By Wil Longbottom

Freedom: This male beagle takes a tentative step outside his cage for the first time in his life after he was freed from laboratory testing

This is the heart-breaking moment male beagles kept in captivity inside a laboratory were released from their cages for the first time.

Scared and visibly unsure of leaving the confines of their cages, the dogs were among many being used for lab testing in Spain before it went out of business.

A total of 72 beagles were rescued by members of Animal Rescue Media Education (ARME) during the operation - most of whom had never been outside their cages.

Terrified: The face of this beagle says it all as he contemplates freedom for the first time

Timid: After setting foot on grass, this male beagle is unsure of his new surroundings

Gary Smith, ARME's Beagle Freedom Project spokesman, said: 'We've been told they lived on per cage in rooms of 10 beagles, but they never had any physical interaction with one another.

'They've been in kennels since they were rescued about a week ago, but aside from that, they've spent most of their lives locked up.'

The rescue operation took place in June, and the animals' first steps of freedom were posted on YouTube after they were recovered.

Forty of the beagles arrived in Los Angeles, U.S., last week where they will be put up for adoption.

Cruel: The male dogs, aged between four and seven, were among 72 rescued from the laboratory in Spain after it went bust

Set free: Beagles have been used in laboratory testing of products in the past because they are docile and forgiving

Confined: The dogs may never have been outside or on grass before, and most were understandably reluctant to step outside their cages

The remainder of the dogs, all aged between four and seven and bred in captivity, have already been adopted in Europe.

Beagles are often used in lab testing of products, including cosmetics, because of their 'docile and trusting' personalities.

Mr Smith added: 'Beagles are incredibly sweet, docile, companion animals.

'The downfall is, the same reason the beagle is a perfect companion animal, is the same reason they're used for testing.'


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Feline festive? Musical cats strike a chord in 2012 calendar

By Nadia Gilani

You've got to be kitten: Two cats strum out a tune on electrical guitars in a make-shift studio with an amplifier

These tow-tapping felines look like they are getting into the party spirit in a calendar that will make the purr-fect Christmas present for any cat lover.

Musical Moggs shows several cats getting into their groove as they turn their paws to playing a selection of different instruments.

In one picture, a pair of cool cats appear to be having a musical jam as they rock it out together on electric guitars.

Up to scratch? These three cool cats seem to have plenty of puff

Another picture shows them turn to brass as they pump out a tune on a trombone and tuba.

A clarinet-playing cat pelts out a tune while his companion holds up the music for it to read, while in another photograph an accordion player appears to be lost in the music as it plays a piece pressing its paws on the keyboard while squeezing the box.

Another picture shows a ginger tom playing a saxophone while standing beside a neon sign for a jazz club.

Steve Bicknell, from Maverick Arts, which produced the calendar, used a friend’s cats to pose for the pictures, manipulated them on a computer to give the illusion that they are really playing instruments.

Sound of mewsic: One cat plays the clarinet while the other helps out by holding up the music

Narrow squeak: A grey and white moggy squeezes a tune out of an accordion

He told the Sunday Express: 'We are very experienced shooting with cats and make sure they are not overworked.'

Maverick Arts, based in Pulborough, West Sussex, which specialises in publishing humorous calendars, greetings cards and children's books, has also produced a calendar called Ballroom Bunnies, featuring two rabbits performing an impressive range of dance styles.

Classical cat: A feline flautist appears to be playing on a concert stage

Cool for cats: A ginger tom cat purrs over a saxophone in an underground jazz club


Monday, November 28, 2011

Bubbled-up! Video of baby laughing hysterically as her pet dog tries to catch bubbles in the air becomes a YouTube hit

By Simon Tomlinson

Scroll down for the video

Bursting onto the scene: Bennie, the German Shepherd, catches bubbles to the delight of baby Molly in the clip which has gone viral

A baby laughs infectiously as her pet dog pops bubbles in a clip that has become an internet sensation.

The nine-month-old tot begins by looking inquisitively at her mother who is holding a bubble gun from behind the camera.

Then, as she fires it, their dog comes bounding into the picture feverishly bursting the bubbles with its mouth, much to the youngster's hysterics.

Infectious: Molly creases up with laughter as Bennie waits for the next round of bubbles to be fired from her mother

Molly, who is sitting among her toys in the living room, finds the whole episode hilarious as her canine companion attempts to eat as many as possible, licking his lips with delight after each one.

Needless to say, the video has gone viral and now you can even get Molly's laugh as a ringtone.

Her mother has posted the video and others of Molly on YouTube under the username JessOrT.

Pop-ular: Molly beams from ear to ear as Bennie clamps his jaws round another bubble. The tot's laugh has now become a ringtone

Cute: Bennie waits eagerly for more bubbles to be shot out from behind the camera. Molly can't wait for more action either

Sweet: At first, Molly was confused as to what was happening. Until Bennie came bounding into the picture, that is. Her mother said Molly wasn't that interested in bubbles until their pet showed her how fun they could be

The 29-year-old, who describes herself as a stay-at-home mum, said: 'On a lazy day, I decided to try blowing bubbles for my daughter, Molly.

'At first, she didn't think they were all that, but then Bennie, the dog, showed Molly how much fun bubbles can be.

'Molly thought Bennie's bubble popping was the funniest thing she has seen in her 9-1/2 months!'

She said the family adopted Bennie from a shelter in Illinois in 2008. He is a German Shepherd and Beagle mix.


Let's get outta here! Impatient labradoodle honks the horn to tell his family it's time to go

By Mike O'brien

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Now hear this: The angry labradoodle repeatedly hits the horn

They say labradoodles are both intelligent and unpredictable ... and this pet pooch seems to fit the bill.

On an outing with the family he managed to make his feelings quite clear.

He was stuck in the car while mom, dad, the children and others got out to get a breath of fresh air.

Patience is a virtue, but suddenly his ran out.

Beckoning the family to 'get in and get outta here,' the 18-month-old pup simultaneously honked the car's horn and barked.

He can hardly be blamed - tensions can run high during the family car ride season.

Party Pippa and the £400,000 book deal: The never-seen-before images of Miss Middleton before the wedding hurricane hit

If looks could kill: As the patriarch heads for the driving seat, the labradoodle shows his disgust

Thanksgiving has passed, the sales are on, there's Christmas presents to be bought and there's no really no time to be hanging around a public park.

The honking pup, it appears, has become something of an instant celebrity.

The hilarious 20 second video was uploaded on YouTube on Saturday and got 1,500 hits in a day.


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Oskar vs the world: Touching videos of a playful kitten born without eyes

By Richard Hartley-parkinson

Scroll down to see some of Oskar's videos

Intrigue: Oskar the cat has all the interest of a regular cat and plays with a ball despite not being able to see it

These touching images and videos show that it is possible to have a life despite not having the power of sight... even when you're a cat.

This blind feline is just as mischievous, playful and loving as any regular cat.

Oskar has become a hit online and has already attracted almost 3million views on YouTube since his first upload in mid-October.

His capers include an argument with a hair dryer, fascination with bell-filled balls and climbing his owner to get to his food.

He looks like any other contented cat, purring with his eyes closed, but Oskar was born without eyeballs

The one with the hair dryer

When he was born, Oskar's eyeballs failed to form and his owners were worried that he would not fit in with their other cat, Klaus.

They kept the pair separate until Oskar was eight weeks old, but he quickly formed a bond with eight-year-old Klaus and now they are inseparable.

Oskar has all the playfulness of a kitten and frequently attacks long-suffering Klaus, but the older one knows who's boss so lets him get on with it.

They also share moments of heart-warming affection and can be seen in one of the videos grooming one another as they role around on the floor.

Standing on his hind quarters, Oskar appears to be fighting against the stream of air emitting from a hair dryer

Klaus looks on as a hungry Oskar climbs his owner's leg as he makes a dash for the food

The one with the 'fighting' and cuddles

Long suffering Klaus is pounced on by Oskar who stumbled across the older cat as he walked across the lounge floor

After all that playing, Oskar is given a 'bath' by Klaus. The pair regularly groom one another

The one with the hair dryer:


Room for two more little ones? Four and 20 freezing swallows huddle up on a single brrrranch

By Richard Hartley-parkinson

Stay close: As they battle the elements of a Canadian snowstorm, these 24 swallows huddle to keep warm

Like the hilarious Pixar animation 'for the birds', these swallows huddle together to shelter from the cold.

But, instead of pecking the feet of a larger bird until the wire twangs, these little creatures are snuggling up against the harsh winter weather along the Yukon River in Canada.

Struggling to stay warm as temperatures plummet below freezing in a bitter snow storm, they clamour onto a single branch to conserve heat. And because of their ingenuity, every single one of them survived.

They were pictured on a tree on the banks of the Yukon River as they fluffed up their feathers to stay warm

Photographer Keith Williams, 59, spotted the remarkable scenes while out walking his dog, Brandy.

He said: 'I noticed several hundreds of swallows taking cover in the trees during the storm and immediately recognized how rare it was to see so many clinging together.

'I was amazed because I had never seen them in such large numbers and at such close range.

'They coped by crowding together on branches to conserve body heat and forming a pile, something I have never heard any bird do before.

'They also created their own warm jackets by fluffing their feathers and tucked their heads under their wings to conserve heat.

'Perhaps one of the reasons why I was able to get so close may have been because they had lowered their metabolism to conserve precious calories, so were in slowed-state called torpor, similar to hibernation.

'Extreme cold and snowstorms don't allow for flying insects their main food, but they did seem to be trying to pick some sort of aquatic insect off the surface of the river.

Photographer Keith Williams captured the images while he was out taking a walk with his dog, Brandy

The scene was like something from the Pixar animation 'for the birds' but without a larger bird coming to disturb them

'I'm not sure how successful they were but I saw no dead birds.'

Mr Williams added: 'I returned early the following morning to check up on the birds, as I feared many might have died from cold, hunger and exhaustion. All seemed fine.

'They allowed me to take photos from close range, which is unusual for this species.

'I was wearing camouflage gear and had been standing still for a quite a while.

'I was blown-away by some of the photos, especially the colourful close-ups which revealed the blue, metallic plumage.

'Normally when I think of swallows, it's little brown and white birds swooping about in the sky at a distance, because that is all I usually get to see of them.'


Loneliest seal in the world, shunned by her colony for being ginger, is now the centre of attention at Russian zoo... and loving it

By Will Stewart

Star attraction: Happy in her new home at the Akvatoria 'dolphinarium' in Russia, ginger seal Nafanya is quickly becoming a hit with tourists

Things are looking up for the little ginger-coloured seal pup whose fate touched the world after being rejected by the rest of its sleek black family.

Left as an outcast, the vulnerable creature was found huddling under a pile of logs on Tyuleniy Island in the far east of Russia.

Photographer Anatoly Strakhov, 61, took heartbreaking pictures of the world's loneliest seal, which would have been unable to survive in the wild.

Heartbreaker: Anatoly Strakhov's shot of the shunned seal melted the hearts of animal lovers worldwide

Two months on and Russians have taken the rare albino seal - who turns out to be female - to their hearts.

Named Nafanya - after a lookalike Soviet cartoon character - the seal was given VIP treatment and has now moved into a plush new home at the country's leading aqauarium.

Nafanya was taken on a 7,890-mile odyssey to the Russian mainland and then by special plane to Adler, near Sochi on the Black Sea coast, where she is rapidly becoming a star attraction.

Yulia Frolova, head of the Akvatoria dolphinarium - Nafanya's new home, said: 'She now has a special enclosure with a pool, and two weeks after her arrival, people are already coming to see her.

And, quickly adapting to life among humans, the seal has her own live webcam so her worldwide fans can follow her - http://www.nafanya-sochi.ru/ - which broadcasts between 7am and 1pm UK time.

Miss Frolova said: 'She has a good appetite, and always seems in a happy mood. She is such an unusual seal with very beautiful bright blue eyes. When she arrived, she was tired after the long flight, but soon picked up her appetite.'

What's in a name? The seal bears a striking resemblance to Nafanya, a Soviet-era cartoon character

Still lonely: Nafanya can't shrug off the title as 'loneliest seal in the world' yet, as she has to be kept in quarantine for a month before joining other seals at the aquarium

Experts at the dolphinarium say Nafanya's eyesight is not as poor as at first feared. Originally thought to be almost blind, it turns out she only has trouble seeing in bright sunlight. And, given her celebrity status, some dark sunglasses may not be a bad idea.

Her keepers say she loves being the centre of attention, and Ms Frolova added: 'She has a playful nature. She loves to play with her toy - a small blue ball.

'But what she likes the most its to play with a fish at feeding time. She will follow it, catch it, put it in her mouth, release it and finally eat it.

'Nafanya is such a lovely animal and is certainly not afraid of people.'

But she might have to wait a little longer before she finally shrugs off the 'loneliest seal in the worl' monicker.

Ms Frolova explained: 'We cannot yet let her swim with our other creatures as she is on a month-long quarantine, but we will do later. We will make sure she has a happy life in our dolphinarium.'


Hey, watch where you're going! Brave (or crazy) snorkeller plays chicken with a sperm whale in the Caribbean


Up close and personal: A lucky snorkeller takes whale-watching to a new level by nudging heads. The amazing photo was taken of Dominica in the Caribbean

If you're planning to go head-to-head with a sea creature, it's probably best to start small.

Only the very brave, or very stupid, would begin a headbutting competition with a 50-ton sperm whale... after all, its head is one third of its overall size.

Nevertheless, here are pictures of a snorkeller doing just that - swimming with his head down right up to a massive whale.

Swimming with giants: The whales, attracted to the area because of the unique feeding opportunity, put on a breathtaking show when they are in a playful mood

The amazing pictures were taken off the coast of Dominica in the Caribbean.

Of course, you can't make a 60ft animal do anything against its will, so it's up to the whales to decide if they are in the mood to play. But, when they are feeling sociable, the results lead to amazing pictures like these.

Dominica has become known as the whale-watching capital of the Caribbean. Sperm whales can be seen year-round and - because the ocean floors drops to thousands of feet deep just off the coast - the whales are within easy reach of humans.

Size comparison: Despite the clear height and weight advantage, these gentle giants of the see seem to be happy with the social interaction

Whale of a time: The snapping snorkeller keeps his distance from the giant whale to capture more intimate shots


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