TIME animals

Sheep in Christmas Sweater Found Wandering the Streets of Omaha

Nebraska Humane Society

Little Bo Peep can call off her search.

It’s not every day you see a sheep roaming free in a city with nearly half a million people. It’s even rarer — unprecedented, really — to see one dressed in an ugly Christmas sweater. But that’s exactly what Omaha animal control came across this weekend, and now the animal is all dressed up with nowhere to go but the Nebraska Humane Society.

The Humane Society is hoping to find the sheep’s owner via Facebook, where the organization announced, “If you’re missing a sheep that enjoys wearing Christmas sweaters he’s here at NHS.” The message seems to indicate that if no owner steps forward, the sheep might become available for adoption. Here’s hoping he’ll make it home for the holidays.

TIME animals

Visionary Bride-to-Be Hopes to Rent Corgis for Her Bridesmaids to Use as Bouquets

These corgis are very important. Getty Images

Finally, a wedding we'd actually want to attend

In a traditional American wedding, a bunch of bridesmaids, usually in matching dumb dresses, clutch matching dumb bouquets. But one bride-to-be in Boston wants to change things up and task her bridesmaids with holding corgis instead.

Brilliant or beyond brilliant?

Here’s the problem, though: she needs to rent the corgis for this specific purpose — thus, she did what any of us would do. She took to Craigslist. “This next April, I will be getting married to the man of my dreams and we will be having the most wonderful storybook wedding that Boston has ever seen,” she explains in her ad. Then she goes on to explain the whole corgis-as-bouquets idea.

She elaborates a bit more about the logistics of this plan:

Unfortunately, I do not have enough corgis for my bridesmaids. I require six more in order to make this dream come true. I’m looking to rent six corgis for roughly two and a half hours during the ceremony. Because this a my dream wedding, price is negotiable and I appreciate your understanding. Please reach out to me if you have six sociable corgis which you would be willing to rent out. These animals would be treated perfectly, and I would love to get us all together to familiarize ourselves with each other.

Note that she says she needs six more corgis, but fails to mention how many she already has. A reasonable number like one or two? Or does this woman already have, like, eight or nine corgis? Do all six new corgis need to come from the same family? Is she flexible in terms of size/shape/coloring/level of derpiness? And would the ASPCA and Humane Society consider holding the pups as bouquets to be treating them “perfectly?” This ad leaves several questions unanswered — but we’re still dying to attend this ceremony.

(h/t Jezebel)

TIME nature

Minnesota Man Fights Off 525-Pound Bear With a 5-Inch Knife

Asian black bear standing in the forest (Ursus thibetanus)
Asian black bear standing in the forest (Ursus thibetanus) I.JESKE—De Agostini/Getty Images

"It's just going to town on my hand and I just keep stabbing"

A Minnesotan hunter claims to have survived a bear attack by fending off the 525-pound animal with a 5-inch knife.

Brandon Johnson told USA Today that he was tracking a black bear that his friend had shot in a densely forested hunting ground earlier in the day. It was nightfall by the time the bear had caught Johnson off guard. The bear charged, knocking him unconscious. But Johnson awoke moments later and fought back with his hunting knife, he said.

“It’s just going to town on my hand and I just keep stabbing it and stabbing it and stabbing away and I am screaming and yelling,” Johnson told USA Today.

The bear left and charged him on three separate occasions, until Johnson says he stabbed the knife into its open mouth.

He survived with extensive injuries and a slew of medical bills. His friends have set up a fundraising website with the goal of raising $10,000 to help defray the costs.

Read more at USA Today.


TIME animals

Grumpy Cat Has Made Way More Money Than You

Grumpy Cat Worth $100 Million
Grumpy Cat appears on NBC News' "Today" show . NBC NewsWire—NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Internet-famous cat has made over $100M in commercial deals

Not even a multi-million dollar fortune is enough to make Grumpy Cat smile.

The Internet-famous cat, known for her perpetually unamused, angry expression, has raked in $100 million over the past two years, Express reported Sunday — though the cat’s owner, Tabatha Bundesen of Morristown, Ariz. has since refuted that figure. Still, Bundesen said she is astounded by the commercial success of her cat — actually named Tardar Sauce — who has been featured in books, media appearances and a movie ever since she shot to fame in 2012 via Reddit and YouTube.

Grumpy Cat’s latest commercial project is an iced coffee line called Grumppuccino:

“What she’s achieved in such a short time is unimaginable and absolutely mind-blowing,” Bundesen told Express. “I was able to quit my job as a waitress within days of her first appearance on social media and the phone simply hasn’t stopped ringing since.”

Bundesen said the reason Tardar Sauce has a permanent scowl is because she was born with an underbite and dwarfism.


TIME animals

2-Faced Cat Named Frank and Louie Dies at Age 15

Two Faced Cat
Frank and Louie, a two-faced cat, is held by its owner in Worcester, Mass., Sept. 28, 2011. Steven Senne—AP

Janus cats, so-called after the two-faced Roman god, usually live for only a few days

The two-faced cat, named Frank and Louie, has died at the ripe old age of 15.

Frank and Louie was rushed to the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, where he was diagnosed with a “really bad cancer,” said the cat’s owner, Marty Stevens. Stevens then agreed to have Frank and Louie euthanized, the Telegram of Worcester reported Thursday.

Janus cats, so-called after the two-faced Roman god, usually live for only a few days. The phenomenon doesn’t actually result from what causes conjoined twins — the incomplete separation of two embryos — but instead from the abnormal activity of a protein, which leads to duplication of parts or all of the face.

[Telegram of Worcester]

TIME animals

Here’s Why Wild Giraffes Could Go Extinct

Portrait of Thornicroft's Giraffes (giraffa camelopardalis
Giraffes in South Luangwa National Park in eastern Zambia. Wolfgang Kaehler—LightRocket/Getty Images

Population down 40% in 15 years, new study shows

Wild giraffes are not just dropping in numbers at an alarmingly high rate–they’re doing so without much attention from governments and other protective agencies, according to a new report.

The population of wild giraffes has dropped by 40% over the last 15 years, according to a new survey by the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF). The organization calls the problem a potentially “silent extinction” due to a lack of public awareness, which revolves around African elephants, rhinos and gorillas, Mother Nature Network reports.

“Giraffes are the forgotten megafauna,” GCF executive director Julian Fennessy told Scientific American. “They’re really not getting the attention they deserve.”

The giraffe population has fallen due to habitat destruction by humans repurposing land for agricultural uses, according to MNN. Giraffes have also historically been hunted for their durable, patterned skin, a process that has reportedly increased in Tanzania due to a myth that giraffe brains and bone marrow can cure HIV.

But giraffe conservationists hope the wild giraffe population can be restored with some intervention. When the West African giraffe nearly went extinct in the 1990s due to human causes and droughts, conservationists won legal protection for the animals, and their population has since increased five-fold.


TIME animals

Tiny Beauties: Visions From Under the Microscope

A global photography contest produces stunning images from an invisible world

The folks at Olympus know a thing or two about what makes a pretty picture. One thing they appreciate is that the most striking images are often the ones that are too small to see. That’s why they sponsor the Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging competition, soliciting photographs captured under the microscope by competitors from around the world. Of the thousands of images they received in 2012, they chose 10 winners. The first place finisher receives either an Olympus microscope or camera equipment, both valued at $5,000. The rest of us get some of the most improbably beautiful sights we’d otherwise never hope to see.

TIME animals

Killing Wolves Increases Cattle and Sheep Deaths, Study Finds

Getty Images

Increased wolf control meant more dead livestock, study found

Killing wolves that prey on sheep and cattle leads to the death of more livestock, according to a new study.

Prior to the Washington State University study, the practice of culling wolves to save livestock had been a “widely accepted, but untested, hypothesis,” according to the authors. But it may be that killing wolves disrupts wolf packs in a way that leads them to hunt for livestock, which are relatively stationary, rather than the more mobile deer and elk.

“The odds of livestock depredations increased 4% for sheep and 5–6% for cattle with increased wolf control,” the study found.

The study, which looks at 25 years of government data, found that killing wolves only helps protect livestock after 25% of a wolf population has been killed. But regulations designed to protect wildlife make it unfeasible to kill that many of the animal.

“The only way you’re going to completely eliminate livestock depredations is to get rid of all the wolves,” said study author Rob Wielgus, a Washington State University wildlife biologist. “Society has told us that that’s not going to happen.”

TIME animals

The 11 Most Influential Animals of 2014

Here are the animal stories that defined the year and sparked the most discussion and debate.

  • 11. Giant Green Anaconda

    Discovery Channel
    Paul Rosolie is seen with an anaconda. Discovery Channel

    Eaten Alive doesn’t air on the Discovery Channel until Dec. 7, but PETA already started protesting it a month ago. For the special, naturalist and author Paul Rosolie is supposed to be “consumed” in some way by a giant green anaconda while wearing a “snake-proof” suit built to withstand the anaconda’s natural constriction. In a statement, PETA argued Discovery “tormented” the reptile for ratings. Rosolie told EW he hopes the stunt, which took 60 days to film over the summer, will raise awareness about conserving the Amazon rainforest.

  • 10. Westminster Best in Show Winner

    The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show - 2014
    Sky the Wire Fox Terrier is seen at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Monday, February 11, 2014. Ben Hider—USA Network/NBC/Getty Images

    Sky, a wire fox terrier, was named “best in show” at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show on Feb. 11. The victory speaks to the pedigree of the breed, which has won the honor 14 times, more than any other breed.

  • 9. Tortoises With iPads

    On Aug. 9, the Aspen Art Museum in Colorado premiered “Moving Ghost Towns,” an exhibit by Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang featuring three African sulcata tortoises with iPads mounted on their backs that played video footage of abandoned areas. While the curators said the tortoises are supposed to symbolize longevity in Chinese culture, animal rights advocates said the iPads attached to their backs were symbols of animal cruelty and in “bad taste.” A petition racking up more than 18,000 signatures, plus inclement weather, forced the museum to transfer the reptiles to a conservation area.

  • 8. World Cup Animals

    The armadillo called Norman, Germany's World Cup oracle, approaches the soccer ball representing Germany as he makes his prediction for the team's opening World Cup match against Portugal on June 16, at the zoo in the western city of Muenster
    This armadillo named Norman, Germany's World Cup oracle, approaches the soccer ball representing Germany as he makes his prediction for the team's opening World Cup match against Portugal on June 16, at the zoo in Muenster, Germany on June 13, 2014. Ina Fassbender—Reuters

    “Psychic” animals at zoos and aquariums worldwide “predicted” 2014 World Cup games by gravitating toward a ball or box of food with stickers of different countries’ flags. Oracles included an elephant, lions, donkeys, penguins, an armadillo, a loggerhead turtle and dolphin. Bob, a sloth at the Toronto zoo, correctly “predicted” Germany would beat Argentina in the final, but no single animal became a household name as the late Paul the Octopus did for his 2010 World Cup predictions.

    Correction appended, December 8, 2014: The original version of this article misstated Germany’s opponent in the final match of the 2014 World Cup. It was Argentina.

  • 7. Tara the ‘Hero Cat’

    Surveillance video shows a cat named Tara chasing off a dog that was harassing her human, four-year-old Jeremy Triantafilo, in Bakersfield, Calif., on May 13. The story went viral after the boy’s family uploaded the footage to YouTube (more than 23 million views to date), and Scrappy, the eight-month-old labrador-chow mix, was put down. Lauded as “The Hero Cat,” the feline was invited to “throw” the first pitch during a minor league baseball game, and Kern County declared June 3, 2014, as “Tara ‘The Hero Cat’ Day.”

  • 6. Jiff

    Guinness World Records

    Jiff, a Pomeranian known for his cameo in Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse” music video and for being Kesha’s “new boyfriend,” became the fastest dog on two paws. He set world records for fastest 10 meters on hind legs (6.56 seconds) and fastest 5 meters on front paws (7.76 seconds) at an Illinois kennel in September.

  • 5. California Chrome

    california chrome kentucky derby
    Victor Espinoza rides California Chrome to a victory during the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby horse race at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky, May 3, 2014 Morry Gash—AP

    On May 3, California Chrome became the first California-bred horse to win the Kentucky Derby since Decidedly in 1962. Bred off a $10,000 investment, Chrome was off to the races, set to become the first horse to win the Triple Crown since 1978, but he finished tied for fourth at the Belmont Stakes in June.

  • 4. Giant Panda Triplets

    Panda triplet cubs on display to celebrate their 100-day milestone at the Chimelong Safari Park in Guangzhou in south China's Guangdong province, November 5, 2014 AP

    Rare giant panda triplets born July 29 at China’s Chimelong Safari Park in Guangzhou made their public debut at the beginning of November after reaching a 100-day milestone. Their mother Ju Xiao, impregnated with sperm from a panda at a Guangzhou zoo in March, gave birth to the two male and one female cubs — reportedly the fourth set of panda triplets born through an artificial breeding program. This set is believed to be the first known to survive.

  • 3. Marius the Giraffe

    Marius the Giraffe is seen at the Copenhagen Zoo in Copenhagen, Denmark on Feb. 7, 2014. Keld Navntoft—AFP/Getty Images

    The Copenhagen Zoo outraged animal lovers when it euthanized a two-year-old giraffe named Marius on Feb. 9, performing the autopsy and feeding his remains to lions as children looked on. While it’s not uncommon for culls to take place at zoos to prevent inbreeding, doing it so publicly may have been uncharacteristic, arguably sparking numerous petitions to save Marius, death threats and calls for boycotts of the zoo, TIME reported. Defending the decision, the zoo’s scientific director Bengt Holst told TIME, “If we’re serious about science, we can’t be led by emotion.”

  • 2. Marnie the Dog

    Small Business Saturday Night
    Marnie the dog attends Small Business Saturday Night at Warm Boutique on November 29, 2014 in New York City. Craig Barritt—Getty Images

    Marnie, a 12-year-old Shih Tzu rescue with a tilted head and an outstretched tongue, only pounced onto the viral scene six months ago, but already boasts nearly 700,000 Instagram followers and photo ops with James Franco, Jonah Hill, Tina Fey and Demi Lovato. Based in New York City, this rising star is the Internet celebrity to watch in 2015.

  • 1. Grumpy Cat

    Today - Season 63
    Grumpy Cat appears on NBC News' "Today" show on Nov. 24, 2014. Peter Kramer—NBC/Getty Images

    Grumpy Cat (real name Tardar Sauce) tops the list for the second year in a row. While most of the animals on this list have already had their 15 minutes of fame, Grumpy Cat’s permanent frown (caused by feline dwarfism) is still making the Internet smile two years after her photo went viral. With the help of Ben Lashes (aka, the ‘world’s first meme manager’) she has gone from Reddit to red carpet—hamming it up at the MTV Movie Awards with a miniature version of Pharrell’s infamous brown hat (ironically, of course), posing with Ryan Seacrest and Jennifer Lopez on American Idol, and “hosting” an episode of WWE Raw. Now boasting corporate sponsorship, two books, a toy line, coffee brand (“Grumppuchino”), a Lifetime movie, and a possible Hollywood movie deal, she won’t be going away anytime soon. After all, she’s supposed to have nine lives, right?

TIME animals

This Is How Electric Eels Shock Their Victims

Electric Eel
Getty Images

The predators have a two-pronged tactic to "remotely control" their prey

In the battle of electric eel vs. prey, it turns out electric eels have an even greater advantage than we thought.

A new study published in the journal Science reveals the mechanics of the eel’s electric discharge, showing how the predators use this biological weapon to “remotely control their target.”

When an eel is pursuing a fish and doesn’t want it to get away it can emit an electric charge from its organs that stuns its victim, according to research by Vanderbilt University’s Kenneth Catania. The elongated fish uses “high-frequency volleys to induce immobilizing whole-body muscle contraction.”

MORE: The Top 10 New Species of 2014

And when an eel is looking for prey and cannot find any, it uses a different tactic: the eel releases electricity in two or three batches, which actually causes nearby fish to twitch, revealing their hiding place.

It’s an electric eel’s world and tiny fish are just living in it.

Read next: And Then Here’s an Owl Going for a Swim in Lake Michigan

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