TIME animals

Charlie the Beagle Will Trade You His Toy for Your Breakfast

It's only fair.

Charlie gets it.

He may be a dog, but he understands that in this life, nothing is free and good things — like a human-sized breakfast — only come to those who work for it. After all, everyone, even pets, need to contribute. (Hence with Charlie’s whole helping change the baby’s diaper thing.)

In the latest video from the lovable canine YouTube sensation, Charlie quickly realizes that if he wants his human’s sausage and egg breakfast, he’s going to have to do some serious bartering. Luckily, he has a plan and quickly suggests a trade.

This isn’t Charlie’s first time at the swap meet, after all. A few months back, the usually well-mannered pup tried to entice his human sister into a generous, if guilt-ridden, trade when he swiped the toy she was playing with at the time.

TIME animals

What’s This? Just a Tiny Kitten Napping in a Bed That Looks Like a Cherry Pie

You've had a hard day. You deserve this.

It’s only Tuesday. The weekend is still so far away. So, to help tide you over, here’s something really, really ridiculously cute. It’s a little black kitten named Bella napping with her favorite toy inside a bed that looks like a cherry pie. Don’t over-think it. Just enjoy it. You deserve this.

TIME animals

Deer Spotted With Doughnut on Antlers

The unusual sight was captured on video

When nature calls, sometimes it brings doughnuts.

A camper in the Wyoming part of Snake River Canyon was surprised when a mule deer casually walked up to him across a creek. The animal had a mini powdered doughnut hanging off of its antler, much like the fuzzy dice on the rear view mirror of a Camaro.

The deer did not seem to react to the camper’s pointing and laughing.

In the YouTube video description, the camper surmises that another generous camper shared the doughnut with the deer.

WATCH: Hovercraft Rescues Deer Stranded on Frozen Lake

WATCH: Adorable deer Demands Constant Belly Rubs

TIME animals

Watch This Guy ‘Surf’ a Whale Carcass Encircled by Feeding Sharks

"Mum thinks I'm an idiot, dad's not too proud either"

An Australian man who leapt into shark-infested waters and climbed atop a floating whale carcass, so he could balance on it like a surfboard, now admits it probably wasn’t the brightest idea.

Harrison Williams spotted the sharks — including a great white — before he jumped into the water, he told a reporter from the Seven Network, a CNN affiliate. Video of the bizarre incident shows Williams, 26, swimming up to the whale carcass as the silhouettes of two massive sharks circle nearby.

“He was too busy chomping on the whale so wasn’t too bad,” Williams explained.

Asked if he thought he might be a “bloody idiot,” Williams said, “Yeah” and added that his family wasn’t too thrilled with the decision either. “Mum thinks I’m an idiot, dad’s not too proud either.”

[CNN]

TIME space

The Sad Story of Laika, the First Dog Launched Into Orbit

Laika, Russian cosmonaut dog, 1957.
Laika, Russian cosmonaut dog, in 1957. Heritage Images / Getty Images

Nov. 3, 1957: The Soviet Union sends the first living creature into orbit

It was a Space Race victory that would have broken Sarah McLachlan’s heart. On this day, Nov. 3, in 1957, the Soviet Union launched the first-ever living animal into orbit: a dog named Laika. The flight was meant to test the safety of space travel for humans, but it was a guaranteed suicide mission for the dog, since technology hadn’t advanced as far as the return trip.

Laika was a stray, picked up from the Moscow streets just over a week before the rocket was set to launch. She was promoted to cosmonaut based partly on her size (small) and demeanor (calm), according to the Associated Press. All of the 36 dogs the Soviets sent into space — before Yuri Gagarin became the first human to orbit Earth — were strays, chosen for their scrappiness. (Other dogs had gone into space before Laika, but only for sub-orbital launches.) The mission was another in a series of coups for the Soviet Union, which was then leading the way in space exploration while the United States lagged. Just a month earlier, they had launched Sputnik, the world’s first satellite. When Laika’s vessel, Sputnik 2, shot into orbit, the U.S. fell even further behind.

News media alternated between mockery and pity for the dog sent into space. According to a 1957 TIME report on how the press was covering the event, “headlines yelped such barbaric new words as pupnik and pooch-nik, sputpup and woofnik,” before ultimately settling on “Muttnik.”

“The Chicago American noted: ‘The Russian sputpup isn’t the first dog in the sky. That honor belongs to the dog star. But we’re getting too Sirius,’” the piece adds.

Other headline-writers treated Laika with more compassion. According to another story in the same issue, the Brits were especially full of feeling for the dog — and outrage toward the Russians. “THE DOG WILL DIE, WE CAN’T SAVE IT, wailed London’s mass-minded Daily Mirror,” the story declares. The Soviet embassy in London was forced to switch from celebration mode to damage control.

“The Russians love dogs,” a Soviet official protested, per TIME. “This has been done not for the sake of cruelty but for the benefit of humanity.”

Nearly a half-century later, Russian officials found themselves handling PR fallout once again after it was revealed that reports of Laika’s humane death were greatly exaggerated.

Although they had long insisted that Laika expired painlessly after about a week in orbit, an official with Moscow’s Institute for Biological Problems leaked the true story in 2002: She died within hours of takeoff from panic and overheating, according to the BBC. Sputnik 2 continued to orbit the Earth for five months, then burned up when it reentered the atmosphere in April 1958.

One of Laika’s human counterparts in the Soviet space program recalled her as a good dog. He even brought her home to play with his children before she began her space odyssey.

“Laika was quiet and charming,” Dr. Vladimir Yazdovsky wrote in a book about Soviet space medicine, as quoted by the AP. “I wanted to do something nice for her: She had so little time left to live.”

Read TIME’s 1957 take on Laika’s launch, here in the archives: The She-Hound of Heaven

TIME Environment

Scientists Get a Little More Creative to Study Penguins Up-Close

Antarctica, Antarctic Peninsula, Paulet Island, Adelie
Penguins jump into the water on Paulet Island in Antarctica. Wolfgang Kaehler—LightRocket/Getty Images

They made four-wheel rovers look like baby emperor penguins

Scientists may have discovered a way to study animals without disturbing their natural behavior, according to a new study, and it involves dressing up.

Observing animals without disturbing their state of being has long been an issue, the researchers wrote in Nature Methods. So, in an effort to fix that, an international team of scientists made four-wheel rovers look like baby emperor penguins and drove them over to colonies of the animals to gauge their reactions and collect data.

The scientists implanted microchips in about 34 king penguins to monitor the animals’ heart rates when they were approached by the rovers, according to CNET. Turns out, they were slightly less stressed (and notably for shorter periods of time) when approached by the rovers than when near humans. The animals were so comfortable around the robotic penguin that adult ones sang to it and the babies huddled around it as if it were their own.

TIME animals

This Rare Chicken’s Body is Entirely Black—Including Its Organs, Meat and Bones

Just one chicken costs around $2,500

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This article originally appeared on Lost at E Minor.

Prepare to meet the so-called Lamborghini of Poultry. This is the Ayam Cemani Chicken of Indonesia. It’s a rare breed of chicken, and you can probably see why. Everything about it is black: plumage, beak, tongue, legs, toe nails, even its meat, bones and organs! The only thing that is not black is it’s blood – though it comes in a very dark shade.

The word ‘Ayam’ means ‘chicken’ in Indonesian, and ‘Cemani’ translates as ‘completely black’ in Javanese. They get their black coloring from a genetic trait known as ‘fibromelanosis’. Don’t ever make the mistake of slaughtering it for a quick snack, because one chicken costs around $2,500! For comparison, 15 average chickens would cost you just $85, while other special breeds cost about $149, making the Ayam Cemani well-deserving of its nickname.

(Via Viral Forest)

TIME animals

Celebrate National Cat Day With the Most Ridiculous Cover in TIME History

Dec. 7, 1981, cover of TIME
The Dec. 7, 1981, cover of TIME Neil Leifer

Yes, a sassy feline once sat inside the magazine's red border

Today is National Cat Day — even though it kind of feels like every day is National Cat Day on the Internet. To celebrate this momentous occasion, we decided to take a look back at a key moment in TIME’s history: that time in 1981 when cats were the most important news of the week.

It’s true. On Dec. 7, 1981, TIME’s cover featured a green-eyed feline model paired with the cover line “CATS: Love ‘em! Hate ‘em!” The corresponding story, called “Crazy Over Cats,” declared the animals a “national mania.” Fun fact: Maureen Dowd, then a young TIME correspondent, was a reporter and researcher on the story, which outlined humans’ complex relationship with felines. As J.D. Reed wrote:

From deification to demonization, and every stage in between, attitudes toward cats have been confused, variable, peculiar, consuming, jittery and, ultimately, baffling. Those sinuous forms represented in Egyptian art, valued as rodent-chasers by farmers, or draped luxuriously over an apartment radiator have elicited the best and worst from mankind in the 5,000 years since their domestication. The dog may be man’s best friend, but the cat is his most perplexing one, if, indeed, he is one at all.

Though this cover was obviously a very silly one, it should be noted that plenty of other TIME covers have been just as ridiculous — especially in 1981, for some reason. (See: this one about ice cream, and this one about fitness.) Few, however, have been quite so prescient. More than three decades ago, TIME knew that cats were nothing to LOL about.

The Dec. 7, 1981, cover story is now available free of charge in TIME’s archives. Click here to read it in its entirety: Crazy Over Cats

TIME animals

Giant Tortoises Are Back From Near Extinction

A giant turtle is pictured at the zoo in Duisburg on Sept. 24, 2007.
A giant turtle is pictured at the zoo in Duisburg on Sept. 24, 2007. Ina Fassbender—Reuters

They were down to only 15 about 50 years ago

Giant tortoises endemic to the Galapagos Islands are back from near extinction, according to a study published Tuesday in PLOS One.

The Espanola giant tortoises, a species that can live for over 100 years, had numbered in the thousands but dropped to 15 by 1960 due to human exploitation, the study said. Between 1963 and 1974, conservationists brought the 12 female and three male surviving giant tortoises into captivity. Over 1,500 of their offspring have since been released onto the island, and the species’ survival no longer requires human intervention, scientists said.

“The population is secure. It’s a rare example of how biologists and managers can collaborate to recover a species from the brink of extinction,” said James P. Gibbs, the study’s lead author and a professor of at the State University of New York’s Environmental Science and Forestry, in a press release.

Reintroducing the giant tortoise population not only promotes biodiversity but also restores their position as “ecosystem engineers” who disperse seeds and other organisms, according to the report. While the population is stable, the number of Espanola giant tortoises is not likely to increase substantially until other problems in the environment, such as the overgrowth of woody plants, are resolved.

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

lost-at-e-minor_logo

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!)

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