TIME Humor

Greatest Prank Ever? These Jokers Put a Giant Spider Outfit on a Dog

Check out this cute puppy dressed up as a giant mutant spider

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This article originally appeared on Lost at E Minor.

This has to be the most brutal prank we’ve seen. Well, this or the undead elevator girl. But that’s another story altogether. For this prank, the jokers at SA Wardega dressed a cute puppy up as a giant mutant spider and then went to great lengths to unleash (get it?) the ‘spider’ in a variety of scenarios on the unsuspecting public. Terrifying? TERRIFYING! We aged 5 years just watching it. (This is officially the most viral post run on Lost At E Minor.)

How would’ve you acted if you were in their horrified shoes? (Also check out this awesomely terrifying elevator prank!)

TIME animals

This Video Shows What It’s Like to Go Hunting as a Lion in the Wilds of Africa

It's almost like it's YOUR teeth sinking into the neck of a wild buck!

Self-proclaimed “Lion Whisperer” Kevin Richardson decided to take a GoPro camera and strap it to the back of a daring lioness named Meg as she prowls through the wild plains of South Africa. He trails a few feet behind her, offering commentary (in his awesome South African accent) as she stalks her prey.

Don’t worry, the video isn’t too graphic — but it does show the lioness taking down a wild back around 2 and a half minutes in, so be aware.

(h/t io9)

TIME animals

See Adorable Puppies Shaking Their Fur

Shake, shake, shake

Shake Puppies by photographer Carli Davidson features more than 60 puppies as they adorably flop around ringing out their fuzzy fur.

The photographs crisply capture the puppies mid-shake, revealing the almost surreal range of motions that normally only exist as a blur to the naked eye, while the brightly colored backgrounds help provide a sharp contrast to the puppies’ motions.

Who knew shaking puppies could be so cute?

Shake Puppies is on sale Oct. 28.

TIME animals

African Lions Are Facing Extinction

A lions yawns at Nairobi's National Park
A lions yawns at Nairobi's National Park on March 11, 2013 Marko Djurica—Reuters

The U.S. moves to list them as “threatened”

African lions are headed toward extinction and may be wiped out soon, according to an analysis from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that on Monday proposed categorizing them as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act.

A statement from the service listed the main threats to the big cats as loss of habitat, a diminishing availability of prey and increased conflict with humans. It noted that around 70% of Africa’s lion population is concentrated in just 10 areas on the continent.

By listing a species as endangered, the service said it could offer benefits “primarily by prohibiting certain activities including import, export, commercial activity, interstate commerce and foreign commerce.” This, it said, would ensure “that people under the jurisdiction of the United States do not contribute to the further decline of listed species.”

Fish and Wildlife Service director Dan Ashe said that “the full protection of U.S. law” would be brought to the endangered animals. “It is up to all of us, not just the people of Africa, to ensure that healthy, wild populations continue to roam the savannah for generations to come,” he said.

TIME animals

See the Most Amazing Biology Photos of the Year

The Society of Biology, a British group dedicated to the life sciences, holds an annual amateur photography competition. The theme this year was home, habitat and shelter

TIME animals

Pet Costumes: Non-Toxic Paint Turned This Pup Into a Cute Skeleton

Check out the canine's Halloween costume

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This article originally appeared on Lost at E Minor.

Well isn’t this the cutest skeleton we’ve ever seen! Bellevue, Washington-based artist Bryn Anderson found a cool and easy way to dress up her 13-month-old German Shepherd, named Nixe, for Halloween — or should we say, HOWLoween?

By using white non-toxic water-based face paint, she was able to transform the SAR (search and rescue) training pup into nothing but bones and eternal darkness. You can see more of Nixe’s photos here.

(Via Laughing Squid)

TIME society

Inside the Weird World of Sexy Halloween Costumes for Dogs

And you thought sexy human costumes were strange

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Ye olde “hot” dog costume Getty images

The era of a “hot” dog costume consisting of a dachshund wrapped up in a bun is over. Welcome to an age in which people dress up their pets in sexy Halloween costumes.

For Pumpkin, a Labradoodle, his risqué 2013 ensemble came complete with fake human cleavage.

Pumpkin the dog flaunting his sexy Snooki Halloween costume Michelle Husserl

A Snooki costume might seem blasé for a person, but the tightly fitted leopard print top secured Pumpkin the first place prize for “most creative costume” at a local London pub, according to owner Michelle Husserl. “I didn’t think about it being sexy, more funny if anything, but I guess sexy costumes [for dogs] are the way forward!” she says. “He’s used to being dressed up since he was a puppy, but the cleavage he kept clawing at. He was very confused about it.”

According to the National Retail Federation, Americans will spend $350 million on their pets’ Halloween costumes in 2014, which is up from $220 million in 2010. Unfortunately the NRF doesn’t calculate how many of those pet costumes show a little extra leg.

“I don’ think we have any plans to go that specific,” says NRF senior director Kathy Grannis. “I’ll be honest, I had no idea that that existed in this world. I was shocked.”

But, as Grannis notes, there is a person-to-pet consumer trickle-down effect, providing pups with blueberry facials and other human-only luxuries. So, considering the sexy Halloween costume complex has mostly jumped the shark — there are actual sexy shark, crustacean and even whale costumes — maybe it was only a matter of time until dogs got their sexy Halloween costumes, too.

“[Our sexy] pet costumes are just an extension of what the consumer was already doing on social networks, we saw that gap, and we jumped on it,” says Alicia Brockwell of California Costume, the manufacturer of Pumpkin the Labradoodle’s Snooki outfit.

“The costume is actually called ‘The Lady is a Tramp,’ and people really love putting that on a pitbull,” she says. “One thing about the sexy costumes, is that people love putting them on the most rugged, tough dogs.”

Dog Costumes
“Pop Queen” California Costumes

California Costume’s Pup-A-Razzi line has other sexy offerings, including a gold-cone bra called the”Pop Queen” (just think Madonna) and a “Silver Screen Siren” (Marilyn Monroe).

“It’s no secret that sex sells and Hollywood is the capital of plastic surgery so it made sense to include those features where we could,” vice president of marketing and design Christopher Guzman says. “Why not give your pet what he or she has secretly been craving, at least temporarily, fake boobies!”

Costumes that feature fake cleavage come in four different sizes, ranging from extra small to large.

“The hardest part about the breastplate is maintaining the integrity of it when shipping,” Brockewell says. “So we have little tutorials and give product training where if you take a warm hairdryer, it can actually warm it up and get it to the right roundness and buoyancy as needed. Because it is a soft material so it can sit comfortably on the dog.”

Brockwell believes that the company manages to be ridiculous without crossing the line to insulting: “No one looks at it and says ‘oh I can’t believe you’re degrading this dog’s honor!'”

Grannis, of the National Retail Federation, agrees.

“Halloween is a holiday based on discretionary fun,” she says. “If there are a lot of creative people out there who think that Fido and Fluffy would look great as a sexy maid, you know, God bless ‘em for it.”

And they do:

Even Walmart stocks French Maid costumes for dogs.

Garrett Rosso, founder of New York City’s 24-year-old Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade, has seen the full evolution of the sexy dog costume. The 1990’s were a simpler time. “It was all about the three M’s: Marilyn, Marlene and Madonna — oh and maybe a Chip ‘n Dale,” he says. In the last decade, however, people have upped their game.

“We had a bull dog dressed up as Katy Perry with boobs and a wig — it was a little startling,” says Rosso, who was a TIME design director before opening dog obedience training facilities. “Last year, I saw a Great Dane as Lady Gaga doing the twerking dance and a whole convention of 50 Shades of Grey.”

Matching owner/pet companion costumes are a big hit. He has seen dressed dogs in thousands of dollars worth of leather clothing, made to match their owner.

“Dogs have kind of become our giant companions, our best friends, our entrée into a healthier lifestyle,” Rosso says. “And I think Halloween is just a day when you can show off your best friend.”

And who doesn’t love a best friend who knows how to show some leg? All four of them.

Read next: 2014 Could Be the Year of the ‘Sexy Lobster’ Halloween Costume

TIME animals

Scientists Trace Back the First Sexual Act Ever, to Weird Ancient Fish

Ancient fish were the first to copulate. And according to a world renowned paleontologist, it looked a lot like square dancing

Scientists have discovered the origins of sex, and like anyone’s first time it sounds pretty awkward.

Now light some candles and let’s set the scene: The first act of copulation occurred in the nippy Scottish sea some 385 million years ago. The fornicators in question were a set of primitive jawed, bony fish aptly called Microbrachius dicki. The dirty details? Well, according to Australian paleontologist John Long, “With their arms interlocked, these fish looked more like they are square dancing the do-se-do rather than mating.”

Not only had scientists previously thought that the first sex act occurred on land at a later date, but Long says, “We didn’t expect these little suckers to have reproductive organs.”

But the M. Dicki were endowed, as is explained by Long and his colleagues in a paper that was published in Nature Monday. Although their genitalia are not described in romantic terms.

Long, a professor at Flinders University, explained to the BBC that the fish’s arms linked them together, “so the male can get this large L-shaped sexual organ into position to dock with the female’s genital plates, which are very rough like cheese graters. They act like Velcro, locking the male organ into position to transfer sperm.”

This is also the first species that displayed a different appearance between the male and female.

TIME animals

Dogs Can Be Pessimists, Too

Sad dog
Patricia Doyle—Getty Images

Dogs may seem happy-go-lucky, but according to a new study some pooches might actually be cynics

This article originally appeared on RealSimple.com.

With their tongues out, tails wagging, and hearts full of seemingly unconditional love, it’s easy to assume man’s best friend is happy by nature. But a new study suggests that, just like their human counterparts, certain dogs may see their bowls half empty.

It seems some canines are born optimists, while others are pessimists, according to the research from Dr. Melissa Starling, a faculty member of Veterinary Science at the University of Sydney.

(MORE: How to Make Positive Changes in Your Life)

To determine which dogs were happy-go-lucky and which were generally down in the dumps, the researchers set up a test: First, they taught the study animals to touch a target after hearing a tone associated with a more favorable lactose-free milk reward and refrain from touching the target after hearing a tone associated with plain water. Once the dogs learned the sound associations, researchers presented them with unfamiliar tones to see how they would respond.

(MORE: How to Look Good in Pictures)

Animals that did not respond to the tones were considered pessimists, while dogs that touched the target after hearing the unknown sounds were categorized as optimists, because they expected a favorable reward. Since optimistic canines hoped for a positive outcome, they’re more likely to take risks and try again—even if the initial result isn’t favorable.

Pessimistic dogs, on the other hand, are more cautious because they’re hardwired to expect a negative outcome. A darker disposition doesn’t necessarily mean those dogs are unhappy though—they’re just less willing to try new things, as failure can be distressing.

(MORE: 6 Office Wardrobe Malfunctions to Avoid)

The findings are particularly useful for determining which dogs may be better suited for certain service roles: “A pessimistic dog that avoids risks would be better as a guide dog while an optimistic, persistent dog would be more suited to detecting drugs or explosives,” Starling said in a statement.

(MORE: Banishing Life’s Little Annoyances)

“The remarkable power of this is the opportunity to essentially ask a dog ‘How are you feeling?’ and get an answer,” she said. “It could be used to monitor their welfare in any environment, to assess how effective enrichment activities might be in improving welfare, and pinpoint exactly what a dog finds emotionally distressing.”

(MORE: 5 Ways to Win People Over)

TIME animals

Stunning Photos Taken by Animals Equipped With Cameras

Captured by a dog, a cat, a cow, and a pair of pigs

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This article originally appeared on Lost at E Minor.

Photographer Chris Keeney usually calls the shots for his images, but for his PetCam project, he took the unusual route of relegating the work of documenting everyday life according to 20 four-legged animals instead.

These include a Galloway cow from the Swiss Alps, a pair of miniature pot belly pig siblings from San Diego, and a tabby cat living in the Ore Mountains of Germany. For the series, he hung lightweight cameras on the animals’ collars and cowbells, with a shutter that went off at specified intervals of time ranging from split-seconds to many seconds.

One thing is for sure: looking at the world from the animals’ point of view, the world is really quite beautiful.

(via Feature Shoot)

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