TIME animals

Sex Life of Vampire Squids Hints at Why They Outlive Shallower Peers

vampire squid
Getty Images A Vampire Squid, (Vampyroteuthis infernalis)

It's about energy, or perhaps a lack of it

Ever wondered how vampire squids reproduce? Some researchers were, too, and they found something surprising.

Unlike other squids, which spawn once, vampire squids can spawn many times—perhaps more than 100, according to a new study in Current Biology. The difference may be the result of a low-energy lifestyle in deep seas, where there is almost no light.

As Henk-Jan Hoving, of the Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, explained to the Christian Science Monitor, it’s possible that vampire squids simply don’t have enough energy to spawn all of their eggs at once.

Since they don’t live long in captivity, Hoving says it’s difficult to know what their lifespan may be. But since animals that spawn multiple times often live longer than those that spawn only once, the discovery means it’s possible that the vampire squid may live much longer than its coleoid cephalopod counterparts.

[CSM]

TIME animals

These Baby Opossums Eating Fruit Will Mesmerize You With Their Cuteness

They're particularly adorable as they munch on grapes in unison

You are going to feel so much better about everything after watching this 30-second clip of baby opossums enjoying a nice fruit salad. Seriously, it’s so unexpectedly adorable that it will solve basically all of your problems.

These hungry little creatures were spotted at a wildlife rehabilitation center in Pennsylvania. Did anyone know how cute baby opossums were? Why don’t more people know about this? Watch as they munch happily on some freshly cut fruit. Make sure to turn up the volume for maximum cuteness.

 

TIME animals

Grumpy Goose Terrorizes New York High School

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Getty Images Fast-forward to the first day of high school

A pair of Canada geese decided to spend their spring break at a high school in Westchester, N.Y.

WCBS 880 Newsradio reports that the two made themselves at home in the parking lot of White Plains High School during the vacation period. The male has ruffled the community’s feathers, honking and chasing passersby in order to protect his mate, which is nesting atop a storage garage.

Besides the occasional wild goose chase, no serious injuries have been reported. “We probably had a dozen or more attacks the first few days, although it’s not as bad now,” the school’s principal Ellen Doherty told LoHud.com.

The birds have inspired science lessons and journalism class assignments, but no word on whether the geese will be going to prom.

TIME animals

These Endangered Penguins Are Getting ‘Honeymoon Suites’

Biologists hope privacy will encourage endangered African penguins to breed

Things are about to get a little racy between the animals at the New England Aquarium.

Aquarium experts are building “honeymoon suites” for eight pairs of endangered African penguins, as a way of encouraging them to breed more chicks, the Associated Press reports. The aquarium hopes to grow the population of the birds, which are expected to be extinct in the wild by 2025.

The honeymoon suites will be plastic igloo-like homes and private nooks built off of the main exhibit to protect the penguins’ modesty from the prying eyes of the aquarium’s visitors.

 

TIME Environment

Millions of Jellyfish Invade Pacific Northwest Beaches

Jellyfish are washing up on shore in Oregon and Washington

Beach-goers beware.

Millions of jellyfish are washing up on the shores of beaches in Washington and Oregon, CNN reports.

It is not unusual for the bluish-purple species called Velella velalla to turn up in the spring, but a sail fin on their body usually keeps them away from the shore. This spring, though, their sails were no match for the wind.

The species, also known as “purple sailor,” has stinging cells that are not seriously harmful to humans, but the Oregon State website warns it’s best to avoid rubbing your eyes after touching them or walking barefoot through them on the beach.

TIME animals

Watch 3 Escaped Zebras Run Through Brussels

A video captures three zebras galloping calmly through the city


Three zebras were caught on video running through the streets of Brussels on Friday, after escaping from a ranch in Vilvorde near the city, the Guardian reports. The city dispatched two police crews and a traffic team to apprehend them. The zebras ran loose for about an hour. The best part is the sound of their hooves clopping on the street.

TIME animals

Watch This Gorilla Test a Zoo’s Shatter-Proof Glass With His Fists

Captivity, shmaptivity

A family at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium cut their visit to the gorilla exhibition short after one silverback, evidently in no mood for guests, charged the glass partition, putting several cracks in the pane.

The footage of the close encounter has racked up almost 1.7 million views since it was uploaded to YouTube on Thursday.

Zoo officials told the Omaha World-Herald that the gorilla’s behavior was nothing out of the ordinary, and that the glass was triple-layered, “so there was no danger it would fall out.”

So it only resembled the worst nightmare of zoo goers everywhere.

Read next: 40-Pound Wolverine Chews Through Cage at Airport

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME animals

Dog Flu Is Spreading In The Midwest

'It’s believed that the H3N2 strain was introduced here from Asia, but how it happened is not known'

Pet owners beware: dog flu exists and it’s spreading. At least 1,000 dogs in Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana were infected in the last month, according to research from the University of Wisconsin and Cornell University.

Doctors at the two schools identified the virus as a strain of H3N2, a branch of the disease commonly found in Chinese and South Korean dog populations. The virus is not believed to spread to humans.

“It’s believed that the H3N2 strain was introduced here from Asia, but how it happened is not known,” said Keith Poulsen, a University of Wisconsin veterinarian, in a press release.

Veterinarians suggest pet owners largely approach dog flu the way they approach human influenza. Dogs should be vaccinated and avoid contact with other dogs in areas with flu outbreaks. Additionally, dogs’ human handlers should wash their hands before touching other dogs.

TIME animals

Here Is the Biggest Reason You Love Your Dog

Getty Images

Never mind the petting or playing; it's all about the eyes

Humans are irrational in a whole lot of ways, but nothing quite compares to our love for our dogs. They provide us neither food nor conversation nor, in most cases, protection. What’s more, they cost us a fortune—a big share of the $60 billion Americans spend on all pets per year goes to the 70 million dogs living in 43 million U.S. households.

But never mind. Dogs and humans have created an improbable bond that is nearly as close as the one we share with our own kind. Now, a study in Science reveals one of the reasons the two species love each other so: the secret, it turns out, is in the eyes.

The average dog spends a lot of its time gazing at it owner adoringly, and owners—whether they know it or not—spend a lot of time gazing back. That’s very different from the way things work with other species—particularly the dog’s close cousin, the wolf—which typically use eye contact as a threat display or a means of domination.

To test the effect of the human-dog gaze, a team of researchers headed by Miho Nagasawa of Japan’s Azabu University conducted a pair of experiments, both of which involved the hormone oxytocin, nicknamed the cuddle chemical because it facilitates bonding in humans and many other species. Oxytocin levels skyrocket in people who are in love and in new parents, and breastfeeding blows the doors off the concentrations of the stuff in the mother’s blood and milk, which means it goes straight to the babies, making them feel the love too.

In the first part of Nagasawa’s study, urine samples were collected from 21 pairs of dogs and owners, both before and after experimental sessions in which the owners petted the dogs, talked to the dogs, and often simply gazed at the dogs. As a control group, 11 pairs of owners and hand-raised wolves also provided samples and also performed the interactions.

Consistently, the oxytocin levels of both the dogs and the humans were higher at the end of the sessions—and usually by about the same percentage for each owner-dog pair. But it was among the pairs in which there was a lot more gazing and a lot less touching and talking that the levels were highest—high enough to cross the threshold of statistical significance. None of this was true in the wolf-human pairs.

“The duration of the dog-to-owner gaze…significantly explained the oxytocin-change ratio,” the investigators wrote.

In the second experiment, the investigators similarly collected before-and-after urine samples from dog-human pairs. But this time, either oxytocin or an inert solution was administered to the dogs nasally before the interactions began. Each dog was then released into a room with its owner and two strangers, and though the dogs typically approached their owners and nuzzled them, the humans were instructed neither to talk to the dogs nor touch them back, but simply to meet their gaze.

Of all the dogs, the females that had received the oxytocin gazed at their owners most—and it was those females’ owners whose oxytocin levels were the highest afterwards. Female dogs, the researchers believe, are simply more susceptible to the effects of oxytocin than males—no surprise since they’re the ones who bear and nurse puppies. To the extent that the males were affected by the intranasal dosing at all, the impact might have been blunted by the mere fact that there were strangers in the room.

“The results of experiment 2 may indicate that male dogs were attending to both their owners and to unfamiliar people as a form of vigilance,” the researchers wrote.

Whatever the explanation for the dogs’ behavior, it’s clear that it works. It’s been many thousands of years since dogs climbed aboard the human caravan—guarding our campfires and protecting our livestock in exchange for food and a warm place to sleep. But as with all good friends, the relationship deepened, and as with all good friends too, the right chemistry—literally—is one of the reasons.

TIME animals

40-Pound Wolverine Chews Through Cage at Airport

Maybe he needed more leg room?

Being on a plane for hours can feel like being inside a cage. So it’s not too surprising that a 40-pound male wolverine named Kasper chewed through his metal cage at Newark International Airport Tuesday.

The New York Times reports that the animal flew in from Norway’s Kristiansand Zoo and was passing through Newark to go through U.S. customs and connect flights en route to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center.

While the animal did not actually escape (phew!), its growling did spook a representative from the wildlife conservation center, the Times reports.

But after all that fuss, when the Bronx Zoo provided a new cage, the wolverine did not want to make the switch, and had to be tranquilized for the transfer to happen.

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