TIME animals

These Spiders Eat Fish Twice Their Size

Fish Eating Spider
Pisauridae spider, dolomedes sp, catching fish Alastair Macewen—Getty Images

And they live on every continent except Antarctica. Be afraid.

Didn’t think spiders were terrifying enough already? Guess what: now scientists have discovered that a ton of spiders can eat things over twice their size. Swimming things.

These pescatarian spiders live on every continent except Antarctica, according to research published in PLoS ONE on Wednesday.

Researchers in Australia and Switzerland reviewed reports on fish predation and found that these aggressive spiders are much more common than scientists originally believed. Fish-eating spiders belong to eight different taxonomic families and only one of the spiders lives underwater. The rest hang out (or “lurk,” if you will) by the water and usually eat insects but occasionally go for a larger appetizer, killing fish 2-6 cm in length, about 2.2 times the size of the spider.

Their kill method is to wait on a rock for a fish to touch one of their legs before diving into the water and biting the neck of their prey, killing them. Then they drag the fish to land and devour it.

So now we know how an epic battle between Spider-Man and Aqua Man would go down.

TIME animals

Sorry New Yorkers, You Can No Longer Tattoo Your Pets

State legislature passes bill forbidding the tattooing and piercing of pets, after lawmaker spotted "gothic kittens" for sale

New York state lawmakers passed a bill on Wednesday forbidding the tattooing and piercings of pets.

Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal introduced the animal rights bill in 2011 after she discovered “gothic kittens” with tattoos and piercings for sale online, according to the New York Daily News. The proposal will now head to Governor Andrew Cuomo, who is expected to sign the law.

The bill, co-sponsored by Senator Mark Grisanti, was designed to prevent animals from unnecessary body modification, which many believe is a form of animal cruelty. The only exceptions are piercings for medical purposes and tattoos for medical or identification purposes, according to the bill’s text.

In March, photos circulated online of a dog inked by a Brooklyn tattoo artist.

TIME animals

Discerning Cat Walks 12 Miles Back to Old Home Because He Didn’t Like His New One

Getty Images

Curious George?

A cat ran away and walked 12 miles back to its old home after its owners moved to a different neighborhood in Portland, Oregon, The Oregonian reports.

The new renters reportedly called and said they thought they found the two-year-old tabby named George, which showed up and kept wanting to be pet.

Last year, a tortoiseshell cat named Holly made headlines for trekking 200 miles back home to West Palm Beach, Florida, after running away from the family vacation at a R.V. rally in Daytona Beach. While scientists don’t know for sure how a cat could find its way home from a long distance, they say cats navigate in familiar areas via sight and smell. Patrick Bateson, a behavioral biologist at Cambridge University, told the New York Times, it’s possible that cats can sense “the smell of pine with wind coming from the north, so they move in a southerly direction.”

 

TIME viral

A Duck Stampede May Sound Cute, But It’s Actually Horrifying

See a disturbing number of ducks blocking traffic in Thailand

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In theory, a large number of ducks all running and quacking in unison is cute, right? Well, in practice, it turns out that it’s the kind of thing that will likely plague you with Hitchcockian nightmares for two years, minimum.

A Thai YouTube user uploaded the above video that captures the utter chaos of a duck stampede. An estimated 100,000 ducks are just running madly, wildly, uninhibitedly through a Thai street, blocking traffic and leaving psychological destruction in their wake. Where could they possibly be headed, besides straight to your bedroom to murder you in your sleep?

 

TIME animals

This Stray Cat Broke Into a Zoo and Became Best Friends With a Lynx

A very important new animal friendship

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A few months ago, we got really excited when an amicable meerkat befriended a husky, because unlikely animal friendships are what we live for. Today, we’d like to highlight a new animal friendship. It’s not quite as surprising as a husky and a meerkat, but we promise it’s just as adorable and heartwarming.

It all began when a homeless calico cat made her way into the Leningrad (St. Petersburg) Zoo, according to KFOR. The stray found food in a lynx’s enclosure, and the lynx accepted the cat into her life. Soon enough, they became besties. Watch the video above to see this dynamic duo in action.

And here’s a gallery of adorable pictures:

TIME China

5 Things You Need to Know About China’s Dog-Eating Festival

Winter Solstice Became Dog Slaughter Day in Guizhou
A dog is caged before slaughter in Guizhou, China, where many locals consume dog meat during the winter. TPG—Getty Images

As the annual festival sparks unprecedented backlash, here’s what you need to know beyond the howling protests

1. It’s real.

In Yulin, summer solstice marks the coming of the hottest days for the Chinese city. The remote, woody city (literally “jade forest”) celebrates the astronomical event—this year, June 21 in the Northern Hemisphere—with its annual dog-eating festival. The local tradition reportedly began in the 1990s, but the local practice of eating dog meat outdates written history.

According to Chinese lore, eating dog meat stimulates internal heat, making it a food that wards off winters’ cold. But on this inaugural day of summer, it’s a superstition that’s driving dog consumption: the meat is believed to bring good luck and health. At the festival, hotpots are fired up, lychees peeled and liquors poured. Animal activists estimate over 10,000 dogs are killed for the festival, according to China Daily, the government’s English-language mouthpiece.

2. China doesn’t have an animal protection law, but experts still claim the festival is illegal.

A draft law was proposed in 2009 to punish animal abusers with a 6000 yuan (over $900) fine and two weeks of detention. It also proposed that organizations found guilty of selling dog or cat meat be charged with a fine between 10,000 yuan ($1600) and 500,000 yuan ($80,000). To date, the National People’s Congress has not signed the law; it has yet to issue a statement on it.

Still, some legal experts argue the festival is illegal under regulations passed by the Ministry of Agriculture in 2013 which require laboratory quarantine for animals before transportation, a practice that’s “rare to see,” animal rights lawyer An Xiang told China Daily. Even more, many dogs are stolen, abducted, raised in households, making dog trade difficult to document (there are also dog farms, too). In 2011, though, Chinese activists stopped a truck transporting dogs to a restaurant and paid 115,000 yuan (then, around $17,000) to free the animals.

3. Outrage on social media over this year’s festival is unprecedented.

For years, hundreds of thousands of Chinese netizens have been vocal in opposing dog-eating festivals. Though keeping dogs as pets was banned during the Cultural Revolution, dog ownership has become popular among China’s growing middle-class.

This year, in addition to a petition, puppy rescues and editorials, many celebrities have joined in protesting Yulin’s festival on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter. Actress Sun Li uploaded photos of her son with their adopted stray dog, and singer-actress Yang Mi posted a plea to end dog eating with an anti-Yulin festival poster that’s flooding Chinese social media. In the poster, a dog sheds a red tear, saying, “Please don’t eat us. We’re your friends.”

4. The festival may have begun early to avoid protestors.

Yulin locals have reportedly kicked-off the celebrations a week early to avoid activists and journalists, according to the state-run Xinhua news agency. Street vendors and restaurants selling dog meat have covered up the Chinese character for dog, too, in an effort to mitigate controversy.

5. Dog-eating festivals have been banned in the past, but Yulin officials claim the festival does not exist.

In 2011, Chinese authorities banned the Jinhua Hutou Dog Meat Festival after a widespread social media campaign launched by animal rights activists. The 600-year tradition, held annually in September, commemorated a fourteenth-century battle victory when a rebel leader ordered dogs in Jinhua to be slaughtered because their barking warned the city of his army’s approach.

In contrast, the Yulin Municipal People’s Government issued a statement on June 7 in response to the social media outrage, stating that while locals in recent years have hosted small gatherings to consume dog meat and lychees, a widespread festival for these activities has never existed.

“The so-called summer solstice lychee dog meat festival does not exist,” it reads. “Neither Yulin government nor social organizations have ever held such activities.”

TIME animals

Animals Dancing to ‘Push It’ Is the Cutest Video You’ll See Today

A tribute to the '80s classic

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The Internet is filled with videos with misleading titles. YouTube offers everything from the “Funniest Video Everrrrr” that turns out to be merely tweens throwing Pepsi cans at each other while playing video games to “Most Dramatic Save in the History of the World,” which is just some dude almost dropping a cantaloupe.

This video, though, is exactly what it claims to be: animals dancing to Salt-N-Pepa’s “Push It.” The carefully curated collection of clips were edited together by the folks at Tastefully Offensive. The video shows animals ranging from a walrus to a parrot to a variety of cats and dogs all busting a move to the ’80s classic. Crank up the volume, and get ready to do your best running man in your cubicle or, at least, crack a smile.

MORE: There’s a New ‘How Animals Eat Their Food’ Video

MORE: Meet the Adorable Husky Who Thinks She’s a Cat

TIME animals

There’s a Kickstarter to Help People Experience Life as a Cat

Celebrate by knocking over a houseplant

For all those who have stretched out on the patch of sunlight your window illuminated on your living room floor, all-the-while wondering what life would be like if you were a cat: Have we got news for you.

Catlateral Damage—a first-person, destructive cat simulator, obviously—premiered last year and after receiving a positive response, it launched a Kickstarter to expand to become a full-fledged game. The project aims to earn $40,000 by July 11, and it is already more than $15,000 into its goal.

So what is Catlateral Damage? As the Kickstarter video explains, “Here’s you. You’re a cat! Go be a cat.”

That means human you gets to live a virtual existence as a catnip eating feline who runs around and knocks things over. Like books. And shoes. And plants. A more explicit explanation is as follows:

“Your goal is to reach the fancy mansion down the street and destroy the super secret, super valuable object hidden within its locked safe. You start in your home apartment, traversing and trashing various houses on the street until your reach the mansion. In each house, you start in a locked room and make messes in rooms to unlock adjacent ones.”

And the donation perks? With a $9,999 donation, founder Eitan Glinert will adopt a cat from a local animal shelter. “There is no limit! Make him adopt ALL THE CATS,” the Kickstarter reads. “He’ll periodically send you pitches of the cat, and you are invited to come and hang out with him or her when you are in Boston.”

The game will be available of Windows, Mac, Linux, and Ouya.

TIME Companies

Here’s the Huge Amazon News Nobody Is Talking About

Amazon Japan doubles goat workforce
Two goats eat weeds at a Tokyo condominium complex, where owners opted for a quieter, more natural lawn mowing. Toshifumi Kitamura —AFP/Getty Images

Amazon Japan is reportedly doubling its goat workforce

While Amazon’s recent ventures include music streaming and an online payment system, the latest is a new batch of goat hires in Japan.

Amazon Japan’s goats—now nearly 40 of them—were first hired last summer to manicure the company’s lawns, according to Kotaku, one of Gawker Media’s blogs. Every Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., the new-and-improved crew will graze the Amazon green, chomping away at weeds, grasses and other plants.

Amazon isn’t the first company to employ goats. In 2009, Google announced that a herder would bring 200 goats to spend a week eating and fertilizing their grass. In 2013, even Capitol Hill used goats to mow its lawns.

And though goat helpers aren’t a new invention, the ones at Amazon receive a special perk—each of them has their own employee badge.

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