TIME animals

The Salmon Cannon Helps These Flying Fish Cross Dams

Salmon Rush...Whee

Dammed if they do, dammed if they don’t. Humans have made it awfully hard for salmon to migrate by building dams in their paths. As penance, people have spent years carrying salmon by hand, by truck and even by airplane upstream. But now we’re trying a new, more efficient means of transportation: the cannon.

A company called Whooshh Innovations (yes, that’s their real name) has invented the Salmon Cannon (yes, that’s it’s real name). Despite its ominous moniker, the device actually carries the fish very gently to their destination: A tube is used to suck up fish from the water and slide them a 22 miles per hour to their destination, where they return to the water unscathed. This weekend, the device will be employed at the Columbia River in Washington.

Whooshh Innovations also invented a vacuum to harvest and transport fruits without bruising them, which basically makes the inventors at this company the Martha Stewarts of animal conservation.

Sounds great for the fruit, but imagine bing a fish suddenly sucked up into a tube: that would be terrifying! Could be a plot point in Finding Dory. You’re welcome, Pixar.

TIME animals

All This Goat Has Ever Dreamed Of Is to One Day Be Able to Skateboard

With just a little more practice she'll totally be the next Tony Hawk

Props to this baby goat named Lily, which is working hard to make her dreams come true. Those dreams are to ride a skateboard, in a fully functional manner, getting all four legs on the board. Her humans try to help her a little bit, but it’s clear that they want to let her achieve this goal on her own, which is admirable.

When you’re done watching Lily work hard to accomplish her goals, check out these other baby goats just doing baby goat things.

(h/t Laughing Squid)

TIME animals

43.5 Socks Removed from Dog’s Stomach During Surgery

Sock Eating Dog
This Feb. 2014 photo provided by DoveLewis Emergency Animal Hospital shows socks that were removed from a dogs stomach in Portland, Ore. DoveLewis Emergency Animal Hospital/Associated Press

The dog came in only second in a contest for the strangest objects eaten by pets

After owners rushed their dog to an animal hospital because their 3-year-old Great Dane was retching in pain, doctors noticed something unusual in his X-rays.

The dog’s stomach was full of “a large quantity of foreign material,” which after two hours of surgery—plus time spent carefully counting—turned out to be 43 and a half socks, according to the Associated Press.

A spokeswoman from the Portland, Oregon, animal hospital that treated the dog said the pet is alive and still kicking, and that it was perhaps the strangest case in the hospital’s history, according to The Oregonian.

But apparently it wasn’t strange enough to win the “They Ate WHAT?” contest sponsored by the Veterinary Practice News magazine, which solicits each year entries of the weirdest objects eaten by pets. The Great Dane’s case placed only in second.

The grand prize winner? An exotic frog that had eaten 30 ornamental marbles from its cage.

 

TIME viral

None of Us Will Ever Know Joy Like This Pug Playing in a Ball Pit

He completely loses his mind — in the best way

Things are looking pretty good for Grover the pug right now. His humans graciously filled his playpen with a bunch of plastic balls and all his favorite toys and then hung back to see what would happen. Well, Grover was really excited about it. Like, completely over the moon.

Once you’re done watching Grover romp around his ball pit, be sure to check out this compilation of him yawning while wearing adorable sweaters.

Oh, Grover. To me, you are perfect.

MORE: Man Proposes With 16 Pugs Wearing Heart-Shaped Balloons

TIME animals

The Asian Camel Cricket and 10 Other Invasive Species You Might Not Know

TIME takes a look at species that have overstayed their welcome

This is the camel cricket. You hate it, don’t you? You should. Let’s start with the fact that it’s—how to put this nicely?—repulsive. Add the fact that it’s big, by bug standards at least, measuring up to two inches (5 cm) long; that it resembles a spider more than a cricket; and that it will eat nearly anything—including other camel crickets, which is just plain bad form.

Now to all that, add the additional fact that camel crickets are here. And by “here,” we mean everywhere. An Asian species originally, it has now turned up in more than 90% of cricket sightings across the U.S. It wasn’t as if we needed the import, thank you very much. The North American continent already had its own species of camel cricket. But the Asian variety arrived and appears to be crowding out the native species. There are, at current estimates, more than twice as many camel crickets of all species in America as there are actual Americans, with the bugs outnumbering us 700 million to 314 million.

In fairness, camel crickets don’t bite or pose any other particular threat to people. And since they’re scavengers, they also help keep ecosystems in balance. So really, we should be glad to have them–even welcome them, right? Nah. Sorry science, this time we’re going with our guts: camel cricket, here’s your tiny hat. Please go home.

TIME animals

Invasive Spider-Like Cricket Spreads Across East Coast

A single yard in North Carolina turned up 52 specimens over the course of two days

A survey of cricket sightings across the United States has found an invasive and, for arachnophobes, unsightly new species proliferating across the East Coast.

The Asian camel cricket, a plump-bodied and spindly-legged species which can grow up to four inches in length and is known to eat just about everything—including its own kind—was present in upwards of 90% of cricket sightings across the U.S., according to the survey results. A single yard in North Carolina, baited with plastic cups with a mixture of molasses and water, turned up 52 specimens over the course of two days.

Researchers were also surprised to identify a second Asian species, Diestrammena japanica, never formally reported in the U.S., turning up in photographs sent in by citizen scientists.

“The good news is that camel crickets don’t bite or pose any kind of threat to humans,” said study author Mary Jane Epps, a researcher at North Carolina State University. “Because they are scavengers, camel crickets may actually provide an important service in our basements or garages, eating the dead stuff that accumulates there.”

The study notes that crickets and humans have shared habitats since at least paleolithic era. One cave painting in France depicts what appears to be a camel cricket, Trogophilus, that was known to dwell in caves alongside human ancestors.

TIME animals

Giant Hippo Splashes Into River Thames

Giant Floating Hippo River Thames
Steve Stills

The artist's latest creation following his giant floating rubber duck

Along London’s River Thames are some notable landmarks: the London Bridge, the Millennium Bridge, and now, a giant floating hippo.

The nearly 70-foot-long replica of the water mammal—named “HippopoThames”—is the latest project of Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman, according to CNN. The work was commissioned by the Thames Festival Trust, which had approached Hofman earlier this year to design artwork for Totally Thames, an annual festival celebrating the river.

Hofman, who debuted the “world’s largest rubber duck” last month, is known for his humor, sensation and maximum impact, In line with his artistic vision, HippopoThames was inspired by everyday objects, especially those that time warp people to their childhoods. It’s also designed to force viewers to appreciate public spaces, even after the installations are removed.

“I wanted to use the hippo to get people out of their homes, away from the Internet and the TV, and to explore London with a new perspective,” Hofman told CNN.

HippopoThames will be on display until Sept. 28.

TIME viral

Cat and Toddler Team Up to Take on a Laser Pointer

They're so convinced they're eventually going to catch it

This video shows a black cat desperately trying to pounce on the elusive red dot of a laser pointer, with a toddler joining in to assist with the task. The cat is named Muon and is one year old, and the child, Phineas, is two and a half, the poster explains. He adds that they “are on the same wavelength.”

The pair are so, so convinced that the dot is a real, physical being, and sadly, the video cuts off before they come to the realization that it’s not. Maybe a video of their shared existential crisis could be a good follow-up.

TIME Science

Russia’s Zero-G Sex Geckos Died Before Returning to Earth

Gecko
Getty Images

Russia's attempt to find out how organisms reproduce in space did not end with a bang

Russia’s troubled experiment to study how geckos, fruit flies and other organisms reproduce in weightlessness ended with a huge downer: When the Foton M-4 satellite containing the creatures returned to Earth on Monday and the hatch was opened, researchers found that all five geckos had died.

“We can’t say yet at which stage of Foton’s space flight it happened,” the RIA Novosti news agency quoted a source at the Russian Academy of Sciences as saying. Interfax quoted an unnamed source as saying the geckos were mummified and may have frozen to death.

Read more from our partners at NBC News

TIME animals

A Dog Started a House Fire By Turning on the Stove

A dog: man's best friend. A smart dog: firefighter's worst enemy

A dog is the culprit in a Friday night house fire in New Jersey that began when a pooch turned on a stove.

Local firefighters responded to a call in Lacey township and saw fire coming out of the roof of the home, the Asbury Park Press reports. The Forked River Fire Department entered the home and extinguished the fire.

The Ocean County Fire Marshal investigated the fire and found that a dog inside the house turned on the stove, which had then burned through a laptop that was sitting on the stovetop.

No word yet on whether the dog believed there were unattractive photos of it on the incinerated laptop.

[Asbury Park Press]

 

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