TIME animals

This Adorable Cat Looks Just Like a Vampire

Her name is Loki

Move over Bunnicula, there’s a new cuddly vampire pet in town. Loki the kitten has taken the Internet by storm, thanks to an owner who set up a few social media accounts dedicated to showing off the feline’s most surprising feature — teeny, tiny fangs. While most cats have sharp teeth, Loki has real fangs, albeit small ones, that hang out the side of her mouth making her look like the cutest little bloodsucker ever. Naturally, she’s earned the nickname of Little Vampire and she has hypnotized a whole legion of loyal followers eager to see what the little kitty will do next. Befriend Bunnicula, hopefully.

[H/T Woman’s Day]

TIME animals

Watch This Baby Mini Horse Have the Time of Its Life Chasing People Around

Giddy up!

A video uploaded by YouTube user “Sterling Bartow” appears to show a three-day-old miniature horse chasing a man named Sterling around a pen on a farm to the delight of its owners. In the second video, the baby horse chases the camera and hides between its owners’ legs.

Miniature horses are said to date back to the 1600s in Europe, where some were bred as pets for members of the nobility class, while others were sent to work in the coal mines, according to the International Museum of the Horse, in Lexington, Kentucky.

This little one just seems content to prance around, living its best mini horse life.

TIME animals

Meet the Rescued Lion Who Became a National Sensation

At the age of 19, Frasier the lion escaped certain death to become the "first x-rated zoo attraction in history"

The story of Frasier the lion might have ended gruesomely. At the age of 19—the human equivalent of 75—and no longer of use to the Mexican circus that owned him, he faced a preemptive death. But fate twisted kindly for the aging lion. In 1972, he ended up south of Los Angeles at Lion Country Safari, along with a group of other wild cats that had been sent north for a new life.

From the way LIFE Magazine described him, the staff at Lion Country likely expected Frasier to live out his days in a lazy retirement. “He is underweight and splay-footed,” the editors wrote. “His fur resembles an old moth-balled coat, and he sleeps 19 hours a day. The muscles in his tongue are so shot that it unreels from his mouth like a slobbery red carpet.”

But, as LIFE interjected, “appearances aren’t everything.” Frasier was quickly placed on a special diet replete with vitamins, and he began to put on some weight. Much to his handlers’ surprise, he then became a hit with the lionesses. Within one day of meeting him, the same lionesses that refused to mate with several young guns “were sprawled protectively around Frasier,” bringing him choice meats at mealtime and waiting to eat until he was finished. Seven weeks later, they were all pregnant. Within 16 months, he had fathered 33 cubs.

LIFE called him “the country’s reigning sex simba.” One observer noted that he was “the first x-rated zoo attraction in history.” Frasier fan clubs sprung up, sending the lion more than 1,500 letters each month and purchasing t-shirts and bumper stickers emblazoned with his face.

Frasier’s virility was not entirely unusual for a lion, and its continuation into old age may be explained, at least in part, by a life in the circus, where there were no other lions to compete with. When Frasier died of pneumonia in July, 1972, members of the Scottish Fraser clan performed traditional funeral rites, donning kilts and playing dirges on the bagpipes. He was buried beneath a cross on the grounds of Lion Country.

Liz Ronk, who edited this gallery, is the Photo Editor for LIFE.com. Follow her on Twitter @lizabethronk.

TIME animals

Dental Office of Cecil the Lion’s Shooter Reopens

Cecil the lion
Andy Loveridge—Wildlife Conservation Research Unit/AP Cecil the lion rests in Hwange National Park, in Hwange, Zimbabwe.

But the dentist has not returned

The dental office of the man who shot and killed Cecil the lion has reopened—but the dentist himself is not in.

Walter Palmer has been laying low for weeks since it was reported that he had killed the beloved lion in Zimbabwe, and his business in Bloomington, Minn. closed down as a precaution. Though the hunter was not present at the Monday reopening, a security guard stood at the door of River Bluff Dental, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.

Reporters were apparently told to stay on a sidewalk, and received a handout stating that Dr. Palmer was not on site and that the staffers “wish to get to business as usual to serve our clients and patients, and maintain the jobs of dedicated professionals.”

[Star Tribune]

TIME animals

Tiger Gets Loose During Photoshoot in Ruins of Detroit Factory

Authorities shut the photoshoot down quickly

A British photographer organizing a photoshoot in the ruins of Detroit’s Packard Plant may have left out one small detail when he booked the space: he was bringing some very fierce models.

David Yarrow was reportedly looking to snap pictures of a bobcat, two wolves and a tiger, which briefly got loose and hid out in a staircase, until authorities shut the shoot down, the Detroit Free Press reports. Yarrow, whose website describes him as a conservationist, often features wildlife, including tigers, in his work. (TIME’s requests for comment from Yarrow were not immediately returned.)

“We arranged for a photography group of humans to be on site for two days,” Kari Smith, project manager for the Packard Plant Project told the newspaper. “We never approved any animals being on the site, and we had the matter taken care of in the first hour. We do not condone animals being on the site here, and the shoot was canceled. This is nothing we signed on for.” Smith said no animals were harmed and that trainers were on hand to get the tiger back in its cage.

Local resident Andy Didorosi tried to help get the tiger out of the staircase after a friend called him seeking assistance. Didorosi used a noisy weedwhacker and a blue tarp to try and scare the tiger back to where it was supposed to be, but he moved away after noticing the animal “got tiger rage.” His attempt was captured in a video uploaded to his Facebook:

But overall Didorosi wasn’t impressed with the photoshoot. “People think it’s OK to bring super dangerous animals into the city without alerting the authorities because they think people don’t care, because they think it’s a cesspool and that they can do whatever [they] want,” he told the Free Press. “That is not cool.”

[Detroit Free Press]

TIME animals

This Sleepy Fox Found the Perfect Place to Take a Nap

Just like British author Roald Dahl's Fantastic Mr. Fox, this fox was unafraid of humans

Foxes are usually great at finding spots to hide, which is why many Londoners were taken aback when one was found dozing on a second-floor window ledge of a Notting Hill home this week.

Author Rachel Johnson, the sister of London’s mayor Boris Johnson, was the first to spot the drowsy fox.

“It must have got up via the scaffolding on the house next door,” she told the Standard. “There are lots of them in the neighborhood, always in the gardens—they seem to own the place. But when I saw this one it was hard to feel the same sense of rage.”

[The Standard]

TIME animals

This Bear Got Trapped Inside a Car and Totally Destroyed It

Bear In Car
Greg Creasy—AP Damage caused to a Toyota Camry after a black bear broke into the car and became trapped, near Red Lodge, Mont. on Aug. 13, 2015.

The bear broke in and then panicked

(HELENA, Mont.) — A retired Pittsburgh schoolteacher could do nothing but laugh after a black bear broke into her car in Montana, destroyed the interior while trying to escape, and finally busted out through the windshield.

The bear became trapped Thursday inside Ellen Stolpe’s Toyota Camry at a lodge near Yellowstone National Park.

Stolpe laughed because the incident was so bizarre and she was relieved that nobody was hurt. Still, she worries that the bear’s persistent search for food from humans likely will end with it being killed.

“The bear is addicted to food that will put it in danger,” said Stolpe, who taught middle school English for 25 years.

Stolpe was in Montana to visit her father, who volunteers at the Yellowstone Bighorn Research Association lodge — a base camp for students doing geology research.

She had been warned about bears in the area so she cleaned the food and trash out of her car but didn’t think to lock the doors.

The car was parked on a slope and she believes the bear climbed inside and the door closed behind it, setting off a panic. Someone heard a car horn about 5:30 a.m.

The bear pulled on the driver’s door so hard the metal bent. Interior plastic and fabric also was damaged.

“There was definitely a panicked loosening of all bodily functions in the front passenger seat,” Stolpe added.

People walking by two hours later apparently spooked the bear and it broke out through the windshield.

Other bear activity has been reported in the Red Lodge area. Earlier this week, two motorcycles were chewed up when bears smelled food inside the saddlebags. A bear also broke into two houses, The Billings Gazette reported.

A bear broke into another vehicle at the lodge to get beef jerky, Stolpe said, and earlier a bear got into a stash of granola bars, leaving the wrappers in a neat pile.

During the late summer and fall, bears begin adding fat reserves as they prepare for hibernation.

Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials recommend residents store garbage and animal food in a locked building, remove bird feeders from their yards and clean up apples and other potential food sources.

TIME animals

Watch What This Pet Sheep Does When a Little Boy Climbs on Top of It

Baaaaa-ck off

More than 2.8 million people have watched a video of two New Zealand boys trying to ride their pet sheep on Facebook since their mother Sally Steiner uploaded the viral footage earlier this week. In the clip, her son Oliver tries to ride a sheep named Dotty, while her son James tries to ride a sheep named Sinead:

In this second clip, however, the youngster Oliver gets really excited about hitching a ride on Dotty, but the animal bolts (the kid looks like he had a blast anyway):

Maybe the sheep got camera shy? Maybe it felt sheepish?

TIME health

This Is America’s Most Lethal Animal

bees climate change
Getty Images

It is estimated that about two million Americans have allergies to insect stings

Animal attacks have been in the news a lot. Late last year, a 22-year-old student in New Jersey was killed by a black bear he had been photographing. This summer, swimmers off the coast of North Carolina have suffered a record number of shark attacks, several of which resulted in amputations. And early in July, a 28-year-old Texas swimmer who ignored warning signs was killed by an alligator.

Of course, not all human-killing animals are so large. Each year, dozens of Americans die due to bites by venomous snakes, lizards and spiders. Other small animals such as ticks and fleas, though not naturally outfitted with their own lethal weaponry, can nonetheless kill by transmitting deadly infections, such as Powassan virus.

Worldwide, the animal responsible for by far the greatest number of human deaths is just such an insect that transmits a deadly infection: the mosquito. The World Health Organization estimates that over 600,000 people die each year after being bitten by mosquitoes bearing the deadly malaria parasite. Happily, however, deaths from mosquito-borne diseases are much rarer in the U.S.

Operating with a biologist’s definition of an animal – an organism with specialized sense organs that responds rapidly to stimuli – one creature has proved to be far more lethal to Americans than all other animal species combined: human beings. Each year in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control counts over 16,000 homicides and over 41,000 deaths from suicide and self-inflicted injury.

Yet among nonhuman animals, the creatures that cause more American deaths than any other are bees and wasps. In a typical year, nearly 100 American deaths are caused by bee stings. In fact, this number probably represents an underestimate, since some bee sting deaths are erroneously attributed to heart attacks, sun stroke and other causes.

The impacts of bee stings can differ widely. Two weeks ago, a five-year-old girl attending a birthday party in my backyard was stung three times, leading to tears but no permanent damage. Last week, an acquaintance of mine from work, a man in his 50’s with a known allergy to bee stings, lost his life after being stung by a bee.

To the vast majority of people, a bee sting is not life-threatening. Experts say that the average adult can safely withstand more than 1,000 bee stings. Of course, fewer stings could prove dangerous to an infant or small child. What makes stings deadly is generally not the toxicity of bee venom itself but an allergy developed as a result of prior stings.

It is estimated that about two million Americans have allergies to insect stings. Signs of a severe allergic reaction include difficulty breathing, hives, swelling of the face, throat, or mouth, anxiety, rapid pulse, and a drop in blood pressure. Death can result in as little as 10 minutes. Individuals with severe allergies are often advised to carry injectable epinephrine (commonly called an EpiPen), to be administered immediately after a sting.

Anyone who has ever been stung knows how painful it can be. The pain is due primarily to a component of bee venom known as melittin, a small protein that interferes with the normal function of cell membranes. Another component of bee venom, histamine, can cause the affected area to become swollen, red, warm and itchy.

Some have speculated that melittin may someday be used for therapeutic purposes. For example, it inhibits the bacterium that causes Lyme disease and can suppress the infectious agents involved in a number of sexually transmitted diseases. For the moment, however, most human encounters with melittin are strictly painful.

Some bees cannot sting. Male bees, for example, do not have stingers, which makes sense when you know that a bee’s stinger is in fact a modified form of an organ insects use to deposit eggs. And in most situations, bees are unlikely to attack. Generally they do so only when provoked, such as when a lawn mower disturbs a hive.

One reason bees are disinclined to sting is the fact that, at least among honey bees, doing so often kills the bee. Their stingers are barbed, and the deeper then penetrate into the skin, the more likely they are to become lodged there. When the bee pulls away, it tears away part of its abdomen, typically causing death within minutes.

On the other hand, when the hive is threatened, bees may launch what appears to be a coordinated attack. This is facilitated by the release of alarm pheromones, which attract other bees to the location. Once such an attack commences, they may continue to sting until the offender has left the scene or died.

A routine bee sting requires no specific treatment, although there are a number of approaches that can provide symptom relief. The first order of business is to remove the stinger, in order to limit the amount of venom received. The best way to do this is by scraping it off with a fingernail. Squeezing the sac will only inject more venom.

Generally speaking, it is a good idea to wash the affected area with soap and water. If the hand is involved, rings should be removed prior to the development of swelling. Swelling can be reduced with an icepack and over-the-counter antihistamines, which can also help with itching. Medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen can relieve pain, though it is important to heed their warning labels.

Though bees take the crown as America’s most lethal animal, they are not naturally aggressive creatures, and when they attack, they do so in defense against a perceived threat. The key to avoiding bee stings is to steer clear of hives and nests, operate motorized equipment such as lawnmowers with care and avoid swatting at them when they are in the vicinity.The Conversation

Richard Gunderman is Chancellor’s Professor of Medicine, Liberal Arts, and Philanthropy at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.The Conversation

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME local

122 Cats Rescued From Squalid Pennsylvania Home

The cats were found living in "filthy, flea-infested conditions" with untreated injuries

(HENRYVILLE, Pa.) — Animal control officials say they have rescued 122 cats and kittens from a squalid Pennsylvania home and transported them to a North Philadelphia facility for medical evaluations.

Sgt. Nicole Wilson says officers with the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and authorities in Henryville were tipped off to the home where cats were found living in “filthy, flea-infested conditions” with untreated injuries.

Officials say the homeowners had planned on opening a sanctuary but were unable to keep up with the cats’ rapid rate of reproduction.

PSPCA CEO Jerry Buckley says it’s admirable that the homeowners wanted to help homeless animals but they were clearly overwhelmed.

The owners voluntarily surrendered the animals.

The cats, most of which are kittens, will be made available for adoption after their health checks.

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