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

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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 U.S. Department of Agriculture

Giant African Snails Seized at Los Angeles Airport

Giant Snails Seized
This photo provided by United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) shows a person using two hands to hold a single snail from an air cargo shipment of 67 live snails that arrived at Los Angeles International Airport on July 1, 2014. Officials said that the 35 pounds of snails arrived from Nigeria along with paperwork stating they were for human consumption. Greg Bartman—AP

The U.S. Department of Agriculture incinerated a package of 67 giant snails from Nigeria that inspectors seized from the Los Angeles National Airport because the snails are prohibited in the U.S.

(LOS ANGELES) — Inspectors at Los Angeles International Airport seized an unusually slimy package — 67 live giant African snails that are a popular delicacy across West Africa.

The snails — which are prohibited in the U.S. — arrived from Nigeria and were being sent to a person in San Dimas, said Lee Harty, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Customs and Border protection.

The snails were confiscated July 1 and a sample was sent the next day to a federal mollusk specialist in Washington, D.C., who identified them as a prohibited species, Harty said.

The mollusks are among the largest land snails in the world and can grow to be up to 8 inches long. They are native to Africa and can live for up to 10 years.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture incinerated the snails after they were inspected, Harty said. The animals are prohibited in the U.S. because they can carry parasites that are harmful to humans, including one that can lead to meningitis.

The snails are also agricultural pests, said Maveeda Mirza, the CBP program manager for agriculture.

“These snails are seriously harmful to local plants because they will eat any kind of crop they can get to,” Mirza said.

The person the snails were destined for is not expected to face any penalties, Mirza said. She said authorities are investigating why a single person would want so many snails.

“We’re investigating what happened, but it doesn’t seem like there was smuggling involved. When someone doesn’t know a commodity is prohibited under USDA regulations there is usually no punishment,” she said.

Although the agency has found one or two snails that may have accidentally gotten into a traveler’s luggage in Los Angeles, this is the first time that they have confiscated the snails in such a large quantity, Mirza said.

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

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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

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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

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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

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

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

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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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