TIME animal

Woman’s Pickup Truck Stalls Due to an Unexpected Case of Python

"How much horsepower you got?" "Nah, man. Pythons."

A woman in New Mexico found a surprise after her pickup truck stalled in Santa Fe. When she and local chef Jackson Ault (who stopped to help) popped the hood, they were greeted by a 20lb brown-and-yellow python in the engine block, the Associated Press reports:

The python was taken to the Santa Fe Animal Shelter, where spokesman Ben Swan says the reptile has minor injuries but otherwise is in good shape.

Police say the snake likely crawled into the pickup at the motorist’s home several blocks from where the vehicle stalled. And Ault says he thinks the truck stalled because the snake dislodged an electrical wire.

Authorities say the owner hasn’t turned up yet.

TIME celebrity

Billy Joel Wants People to Stop Killing Elephants and Rhinos for Pianos

Billy Joel And Gavin DeGraw In Concert At The MGM Grand
Singer/songwriter Billy Joel performs at the MGM Grand Garden Arena Ethan Miller—Getty Images

The Piano Man has had enough

“Piano Man” Billy Joel has seen an ivory key or two in his day, but the musician has a message to piano aficionados: Stop killing elephants and rhinos to make instruments.

In support of a New York bill that aims to ban illegal ivory trade, Joel posted this message on his website:

To whom it may concern:
I wholeheartedly support the ivory sales ban bill pending in New York State.
I am a piano player. And I realize that ivory piano keys are preferred by some pianists.
But a preference for ivory keys does not justify the slaughter of 96 elephants every day.
There are other materials which can be substituted for piano keys.
But magnificent creatures like these can never be replaced.
Music must never be used as an excuse to destroy an endangered species.
Music should be a celebration of life – not an instrument of death.
Billy Joel

Listen to the piano man, everybody. Elephants are friends not musical instruments.

 

TIME animal

‘Extinct’ Bat Isn’t Actually Extinct

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Flying Brown Long-eared Bat (Plecotus auritus) Yves Adams—Getty Images

The bat reappeared in Papua New Guinea, according to a new study

When the New Guinea big-eared bat, which hadn’t been seen for over a century, was captured, it hadn’t even been hiding.

In fact, student researchers Catherine Hughes and Julie Broken-Brow from the University of Queensland trapped the bat in Papua New Guinea in July 2012 while it was flying in an open area by a logged rainforest now overrun by grasslands, according to their study published in Records of the Australian Museum.

The bat remained an unidentified species for nearly two years at the Papua New Guinea National Museum and Art Gallery until Dr. Harry Parnaby, a researcher at the Australian Museum, requested to loan the mystery mammal. He subsequently identified it as Pharotis imogene, a critically endangered species according to the IUCN Red List. With ears nearly twice the size of its face, the insectivore—so tiny you could lift it with a pair of chopsticks—had last been seen in 1890, said researcher Dr. Luke Leung in a statement.

It’s not the first time a species has seemingly risen from the dead: the La Palma giant lizard, for example, was rediscovered in 2007 after its 500-year long “extinction.”

TIME animal

And the World’s New Fastest Land Animal Is…

Paratarsotomus macropalpis
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Researchers have used film to determine that the world's fastest land animal is not a cheetah but a mite no larger than a sesame seed. The paratarsotomus macropalpis trounces the big cat by moving a crazy 322 body lengths per second to the cheetah's 16

A tiny mite no larger than a sesame seed holds the record as the fastest land animal in the world, according to new research, when measured in proportion to its size.

While the cheetah is commonly thought of as one of the speediest creatures in the animal kingdom, and moves at 16 body lengths per second, the Paratarsotomus macropalpis trounces the big cat with a whopping 322 body lengths per second, according to a study by Pomona College in Claremont, Calif. This is almost twice as quick as what was previously believed to be the fastest animal, the Australian Tiger Beetle, which moves at 171 body lengths per second.

Because of the mite’s minuscule proportions and inordinately fast pace, the research team was unable to use traditional means of measuring its velocity. “We can’t actually chase after a mite because they move much too quickly for that,” said Jonathan Wright, lead researcher of the study. “We’re actually filming them running on a concrete driveway.”

After gathering the footage, the researchers then replayed the film to find that the mite’s speed exceeded their expectations and that it was also able to quickly switch its direction.

The findings were presented at the Experimental Biology 2014 meeting in San Diego on Sunday.

TIME animals

Heroic Corgi Defends Grass Against Menacing Goats

What she lacks in stature, she makes up in valor

+ READ ARTICLE

When a pair of goats clearly attempted to gang up on this poor innocent corgi, well, let’s just say she stood her ground and fought back.

Her name is Mini and she happens to be the same pooch who bravely took on a sour lemon candy a few months back. Look how far she’s come in such a short time! Then, she battled a tiny inanimate object, and now, she’s taking on two whole goats!

Be sure to watch 27 seconds in as the goats awkwardly maneuver their way out of an adirondack chair. Shortly afterwards, it becomes clear that this corgi is a formidable foe, stumpy legs and all.

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