TIME animals

Survival of the Sneakiest: Animal Smuggling Attempts at Airport Security

Airport security is perhaps the world's harshest, most competitive ecosystem, with the latest species — 67 live giant African snails — intercepted Monday at the Los Angeles International Airport. Take a look at some shocking attempts at wildlife smuggling, a dangerous and notorious practice that often results in animals dying from inhumane or improper care

TIME animals

This Dog Surfing Competition is Totally Gnarly

Get ready for some ruff waves

What’s cooler than surfing? Surfing with your dog. And not just riding the same board as your pet, but pushing your pup to ride a wave on their own. That’s what the dogs in Unleashed, the largest dog surfing competition the U.S., do, and they rock at it.

Hanging 20, the dogs perch on top of the boards as the waves sweep toward the beach. When the wave collapses, the canine surfers hop off, no harm done (some are wearing adorable life jackets, just in case).

But are the dogs scared to go on the surfboards? Are their owners forcing them into unwanted roles as surf bros? Eric Felland, owner of the champion of the large dog heat, tells The Guardian that his dog “loves what he does.” Fellow owner James Wall says “it’s hard to say it’s cruel; some dogs like it some dogs don’t.” One thing’s for sure—it’s great for everyone watching.

TIME animals

Not Just Penguins: Many Animals Partner With Same Sex

A homosexual penguin couple from New York’s Central Park Zoo are back in the news now that a book about their relationship has been banned in Singapore. Keith Wagstaff looks at the core question about homosexual behavior in animals.

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

TIME animals

This Guy Went to Alaska and Caught a 482-Pound Halibut

An old man and the sea

After a 40-minute struggle, 76-year-old Californian Jack McGuire recently caught the world’s largest halibut, the Associated Press reports.

McGuire’s monster fish weighed a whopping 482 pounds and was 95 inches long, smashing the previous record set in 1996 (a very respectable 459lbs). Unfortunately his catch will go unrecognized by the International Game Fish Association, because McGuire’s boat captain shot the fish before it was brought onboard to keep it from flopping about and hurting someone.

According to the AP, McGuire “applauded the decision” to kill the fish despite his disqualification from record-holder status.

TIME animals

WATCH: A Ridiculous Number of Hummingbirds Just, Like, Hanging Out

I won't make an Angry Birds pun for you, dear reader

I’ve never seen so many cute things at once. Have you?

TIME animals

Cheetah and Dog BFFs Celebrate Their First Birthday With a Giant Popsicle

Cathy Burkey / Dallas Zoo

Paws-itively precious.

The Dallas Zoo hosted a first birthday party for its cheetah Winspear and black labrador Amani. Born three days apart, the two animals have been inseparable since they were two months old. To stay cool in the Texas heat, the two savored a red-white-and-blue popsicle made of “30 gallons of water, 2% milk, and low-sodium chicken broth for flavoring.”

Cathy Burkey / Dallas Zoo

(h/t Dallas News)

MORE: Dallas Gorilla Will Get Some Therapy

WATCH: Do Not Bug This Gorilla

TIME animals

Watch This Puppy Comfort an Older Dog Who’s Having a Nightmare

Ugh, dogs are so perfect

Not only is this puppy really cute, he’s also incredibly compassionate. Watch as he attempts to comfort an older dog who he notices is having a bad dream.

TIME animals

Man Finds Venomous Snake Slithering Out of Office Toilet

Not an April Fools Day gag

Ever been tempted to prank a colleague with a rubber snake on April Fools Day? Turns out an Alabama construction worker found a real snake crawling out of his office’s toilet over the weekend, WBRC reports.

A member of the Hueytown Police Department grabbed the snake, believed to be a cottonmouth, and then drove to a place where she could “release it into the wild.”

It could have been worse. A Texas woman found a 12-foot African rock python hugging the toilet in her bathroom a couple of months ago.

MORE: 75,000 Snakes Gather at The Most Terrifying Animal Meetup Ever



TIME animals

Behind the Picture: Hansel Mieth’s Wet, Unhappy Monkey

Photographer Hansel Mieth's own attitude toward her famous 1938 portrait of a soaking wet rhesus monkey was, to put it bluntly, conflicted

It is, without question, one of the most famous, most frequently reproduced animal photographs ever made. But photographer Hansel Mieth’s own attitude toward her 1938 portrait of a sodden rhesus monkey hunched in the water off of Puerto Rico was, to put it bluntly, conflicted. In fact, the German-born Mieth (1909–1998) memorably called the creature in the picture “the monkey on my back.”

As Mieth explained in a 1993 interview with John Loengard, published in his book, LIFE Photographers: What They Saw, she made the photograph while covering a Harvard Medical School primate study on tiny Cayo Santiago, off the east coast of Puerto Rico:

One afternoon all the doctors were away [Mieth told Loengard], and a little kid came running to me and said, “A monkey’s in the water.”

I came down, and that monkey was really going hell-bent for something. . . . I threw my Rolleiflex on my back and swam out. Finally, I was facing the monkey. I don’t think he liked me, but he sat on that coral reef, and I took about a dozen shots.

When she got back to New York, Mieth learned that the joke around the LIFE offices was that she’d produced a striking portrait of Henry Luce, the founder and publisher of TIME, LIFE, Fortune and other magazines: evidently, some of her colleagues felt that the rhesus in the water looked like their boss. When asked by Loengard, six decades later, if she felt the portrait did resemble Luce, Mieth was diplomatic.

I didn’t see Luce that much. He had lots of other things to do rather than talk with photographers. . . . But I suppose it does, in a way. It all depends on what kind of mood you are in. To me it looks like the monkey’s depicting the state of the world at the time. It was dark and somber and angry. There were a lot of dark clouds swirling around. I heard from many people that they were scared when they looked at it.

Today, the monkey on Mieth’s back still commands our gaze, inviting us—perhaps challenging us—to project our own fears, anxieties and speculations on to a picture, and a primate, that never gets old.

FINAL NOTE: While a half-dozen lesser pictures from the assignment in Puerto Rico were published in the Jan. 2, 1939, issue of LIFE, Mieth’s now-iconic monkey photo appeared a few weeks later, in the Jan. 16 issue—accompanied by the caption, “A misogynist seeks solitude in the Caribbean off Puerto Rico.”

According to the magazine, a primatologist explained that “the chatter of innumerable female monkeys had impelled this neurotic bachelor to seek escape from the din” by fleeing the jungle and making his way into the waves.

Seventy-five years later, that particular theory about how and why the rhesus was out there in the water still sounds as reasonable as any other.

Ben Cosgrove is the Editor of LIFE.com

TIME animals

Here’s an Adorable Tiny Hedgehog Having an Adorable Tiny Birthday Party

Featuring tiny cakes, tiny party hats and two tiny hamster friends

The heroes who gave us a video of tiny hamsters eating tiny burritos are back with another gem. This one also features hamsters, but this time around, they’re guests at a birthday party being thrown for a hedgehog. This soirée has everything: tiny cakes, tiny chairs, tiny balloons, tiny polka-dotted party hats, and, of course, impossibly cute tiny animals.

If you’ve still got appetite for tiny animals eating tiny things, check out this tiny hamster eating a tiny slice of pizza.

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