TIME

WATCH: Man Followed by Adorable Entourage of Ducklings

Make way.

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The Entourage movie is still being hatched somewhere in Hollywood, but this man’s all-duckling entourage is already out in the world, ready to play, and way cuter than Vince, Eric, Turtle or Drama.

An unnamed Good Samaritan stepped in when a mother duck was killed, rescuing her 13 eggs and keeping them warm in an incubator until they hatched. When the brand-new ducklings emerged from their shells, they imprinted on the man and claimed him as their parent.

Now the 13 ducklings stick close to their ersatz parent, following him everywhere he goes. As the ducklings grow older, they will start to follow him less and less, until they become fully independent. Just like in the last season of Entourage.

MORE: WATCH: Dog and Disabled Kitten Play Like Best Friends

MORE: Inmates Train Dogs to Be Service Animals for Autistic Children

TIME animals

These Scientists Want to Breed Animals That Can Survive Climate Change

New breeds won't fry as quickly, researchers hope.

Scientists at the University of Delaware are working to breed more heat-resistant chickens to better survive climate change, specifically at the African naked-neck chicken. The bird’s lack of neck feathers helps keep it cool — a model for what it might take for an animal to thrive in higher temperatures. Theoretically, incorporating some of the characteristics of the African chicken in U.S. breeds could create a more adaptable bird—and more food in the long run.

“We have to start now to anticipate what changes we have to make in order to feed 9 billion people,” Carl Schmidt, one of the researchers, told the Los Angeles Times. According to Schmidt, the hardier chickens could begin to be mass-produced within 15 years. As America warms up, they’ll certainly be useful, but the new animals are also relevant in the short-term for small-scale farming in Africa.

The experiment is one of the first attempts to kickstart evolution’s reaction to the climate catastrophe we find ourselves in. Too bad humans aren’t changing quite as quickly.

TIME animals

WATCH: Dog and Disabled Kitten Play Like Best Friends

They seem to get along purrfectly.

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The latest animal friendship to go viral is one between an Australian cattle dog named Max and a kitten named Ralphee that wobbles because of a neurological condition called cerebellar hypoplasia (CH), which is caused by a cerebellum that is not completely developed. Watch the animals walk around in circles together — the dog seems to follow the cat everywhere — in a video produced by Wakaleo, which now boasts more than 1 million views on YouTube.

WATCH: This Disabled Piglet Named Leon Trotsky Gets High Marx For His Bravery

WATCH: How Internet Celebrity Lil Bub Lives with Her Bone Condition

TIME animals

Bear Cub Meant to Relax Students Before Finals Ends Up Biting Them and Sparking a Rabies Scare

Handout picture of a two-month-old bear cub named Boo Boo held by a student at Washington University in St. Louis
A two-month-old bear cub named Boo Boo is held by a student at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri in this handout picture taken April 26, 2014. Mary Gail Richardson—Reuters

Boo Boo the two-month-old cub recently visited Washington University in St. Louis. Luckily, it turns out the cub doesn't pose a rabies threat after all.

A Missouri petting zoo brought a group of animals to Washington University in St. Louis to help students de-stress and relax before their final exams. But one of those animals — an adorable two-month-old bear cub named Boo Boo — kind of defeated the purpose of the whole thing by biting and scratching several students. Because nothing facilitates relaxation like a good old-fashioned rabies scare!

The university had previously said that the cub would have to be euthanized in order to test him for rabies, but school officials now say that won’t be necessary, Reuters reports. Local, state and federal health officials determined that Boo Boo posed no rabies threat, and the students will not need treatments, according to a statement that the university released Friday.

Boo Boo either bit or scratched at least 18 students, university spokeswoman Susan Killenberg McGinn confirmed Monday.

But really, it’s no wonder so many students wanted to hold and cuddle Boo Boo in order to relax in time for their exams. Look at the cub:

Handout picture of a two-month-old bear cub named Boo Boo led on a leash by a student at Washington University in St. Louis
Mary Gail Richardson / Reuters

 

TIME animals

Bears Go Rock Climbing, No Harnesses Required

No Lycra in sight.

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Unless you’re the Dread Pirate Robert, if you want to rock climb up the Cliffs of Insanity — or similar vertical incline — you’re going to need some gear.

That is, if you’re not a bear.

An eagle-eyed kayaker was paddling down Santa Elena Canyon when she spotted two bears shimmying up a rock wall without harnesses, helmets or ropes, proving that for the ursine set, it is possible to hit the mountain without stopping at REI first.

The YouTube poster identified the climbers as “endangered Mexican Black Bears (momma and cub)”. The mother bear managed the vertical climb with ease, but the cub had to make some impressive and daring spread eagle moves to scale the steep rock face. Give him a few years, though, and he will undoubtedly be able to make the climb with a picnic basket in one hand.

MORE: See One Man Perfectly Imitate 30 Different Animals

MORE: Giving Names to Cute Baby Animals Can Save a Species: Jane Goodall Explains

TIME animals

This Giant, Pink Goblin Shark Caught in Gulf of Mexico Will Haunt Your Dreams

This creature was caught on April 19 off the coast of Key West, Florida. Carl Moore—Courtesy of NOAA

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water

Last month, while working in the Gulf of Mexico, a crew of fishermen accidentally caught a very rare (and very terrifying) beast.

The crew had cast a net 2,000 feet into the water just off the coast of Key West, Fla., and noticed a peculiar creature mixed in with their usual load of shrimp, the Houston Chronicle reports.

“I didn’t even know what it was,” lifelong fisherman Carl Moore told the Chronicle. “I didn’t get the tape measure out because that thing’s got some wicked teeth, they could do some damage.”

This creature, it turned out, was a rare goblin shark, estimated to be about 18 feet long. Moore snapped a few photos before hoisting the creature back into the sea (yes, it’s still out there). Though More and his crew caught the shark on Apr. 19, they didn’t report it to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration until last week.

“This is great news,” John Carlson, NOAA shark expert, told the Chronicle. “This is only the second confirmed sighting in the Gulf, the majority of specimens are found off Japan or in the Indian Ocean and around South Africa.”

So when that razor-toothed pink monster haunts your dreams tonight, at least you can console yourself with a reminder that this is good news for science.

TIME

This Video Compilation Shows The Complicated Relationship between Cats and Bubbles

Friend or foe?

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Cats don’t only have complicated relationships with laser pointers. This video compilation by Fabulous Mr. Pug, yes that is the YouTube user’s real name, explores what happens when cats get socialized with bubbles.

(h/t: Tastefully Offensive)

TIME animals

Teens Deny Felony Animal Torture Charges After Microwaving Kitten

The two girls appeared in front of a judge in Portland Thursday and denied they meant any real harm to the kitten

Two Portland teens told a judge Thursday they didn’t mean to torture a kitten when they microwaved it earlier this year. The teens, who were then 15, posted a video of the ordeal on the social media site Vine and are facing federal charges as a result.

The girls’ attorney told the Portland Press Herald they thought it would be a funny joke for social media, but after their Vine went viral the swift response was proof the prank left few people laughing.

The teens received threats via social media, are reportedly the victims of bullying at school, and are facing felony counts of animal cruelty—a charge that is punishable by 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine for adults. Because the girls are juveniles their punishment likely won’t be that severe. The Portland Press Herald reports the girls must also undergo a psychological evaluation before their next court appearance.

“Torturing an animal is a marker for some serious behavioral problems but we don’t know if these defendants fit that profile,” said Cumberland County District Attorney Stephanie Anderson.

The girls were originally charged with misdemeanors, but the charge was lifted when the health of the kitten began to deteriorate. Animal Rescue workers and a local veterinarian that has dealt with microwaved pets in the past said the kitten’s condition could have been the result of either the microwave incident or a intense flea infestation. The kitten, named Miracle, survived and is currently “thriving” and under the watchful eye of its adopted owner.

[Portland Press Herald]

TIME animals

Some Insects Drink Animals’ Tears

Think of the tears as a sports drink for insects

“Crocodile tears” usually refers to fake sympathy—expressing sorrow when you’re actually experiencing schadenfreude. But actual crocodile tears can prove very useful for the insects that drink the liquid from the reptile’s faces.

It might sound gross, not to mention dangerous (landing on a croc’s face can’t be easy), but both bees and butterflies are known to drink the tears of the caiman crocodile in Costa Rica. In fact, the tears are like “sports drinks” for the insects.

That’s because the tears contain tons of salt and other minerals, rare nutrients in land environments. Insects take any source they can get—in Thailand, bees have even been known to drink human tears. (Yes, animals do cry.)

So next time you’re tearing up over a late-night movie, remember—that liquid could be going to a better purpose.

TIME animals

This Disabled Piglet Named Leon Trotsky Gets High Marx For His Bravery

Quit Stalin, and watch the video already

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Everyone, meet Leon Trotsky. He’s a three-week-old piglet who became injured a few days after his birth when his mom accidentally fell on him. Luckily, the folks at Edgar’s Mission Farm Sanctuary in Willowmavin, Australia, took him in. Soon, a vet fashioned a special miniature wheelchair for him so he could get around with ease.

Maybe one day Leon Trotsky can move to a new Animal Farm with some like-minded comrades. As long as the farm bans ice picks, that is.

(h/t BuzzFeed)

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