Rent a dog

FLEXPETZ is a unique concept for dog lovers who are unable to own a full-time doggy pal, but miss spending time with a canine friend.

FLEXPETZ provides members with local access to a variety of dogs, all of whom are rescued or rehomed, very lovable and fully trained. FLEXPETZ members can spend from just a few hours to a number of days with the dogs. FLEXPETZ dogs are available in varied breed sizes to ensure compatibility with their member's individual lifestyles and unique circumstances. Local drop-off and collection to home or office is available in some locations.


Man’s best bud may be first to try ‘ingrown’ leg

In trial that could aid humans, fake limb would be grafted to injured pooch.

DENVER - A puppy found hobbling in the Kuwaiti desert has ended up at Colorado State University, where she might be a candidate for an experimental prosthesis that could one day help humans.

Sally, a Saluki, was spotted in the desert several months ago by a volunteer with animal welfare group PAWS and taken to a shelter in Kuwait City. It’s unclear how the dog was injured.

Part of the dog’s left hind leg had been severed and a veterinarian in Kuwait wanted to amputate the remaining leg. PAWS volunteer Steve Holden e-mailed his alma mater, CSU, and its veterinary hospital to ask whether that was sound advice.

CSU animal surgeon Erick Egger responded that it was, but that Sally, who he estimated was about a year old, might make a good candidate for new research on grafting prosthetics to bone, which would prevent her from losing more of her leg.

PAWS then flew Sally with Holden to Fort Collins, arriving Tuesday.

While humans can be fitted with a prosthetic limb to be strapped on, dogs don’t take to them well. Egger wants to try an “ingrowth” prosthesis.

One concept involves inserting a metallic implant at the bone, attaching an artificial limb to the implant, and then allowing bone to grow around it.

“The real critical part that will make it work or not is whether we can get soft tissues like skin and muscle to grow into the metal that extends into the body,” he said.

Veterinarian Robert Taylor in Denver has been working on the concept, which perhaps one day could be transferred to humans, Egger said.

It could be a month or two before Sally gets her new leg, he said. He is looking at ways to raise funds to pay for materials, which he estimates could cost about $5,000.


It's a Zorse!

Something is not quite white about this animal. It has two bizarre patches of stripes on its head and flank thanks to a strange parentage.

Dad was a zebra stallion, mum was a horse . . . so their odd-looking offspring is known as a zorse.

The animal, called Eclyse, can be seen at a safari park in Schloss Holte-Stukenbrock, Germany.


Perils in Push to Perfect Canine Gene Pool

Free of the ethical concerns — and practical difficulties — that impede the practice of eugenics in humans, dog breeders are seizing on new genetic research to exert dominion over the canine gene pool. Companies with names like Vetgen and Healthgene have begun offering dozens of DNA tests to tailor the way dogs look, improve their health, and, perhaps soon, enhance their athletic performance.

But as dog breeders apply scientific precision to their age-old art, they find that the quest for genetic perfection comes with unforeseen consequences. And with DNA tests on their way for humans, the lessons of intervening in the nature of dogs may ultimately bear as much on us as on our best friends.

The tiny moth that travelled across the ocean to eat California

California’s most troublesome tourist, a tiny, mud-coloured moth from Australia with a taste for Napa valley’s finest grapes – not to mention all other crops and the state’s fir trees – is generating panic.

Theories as to how the moth reached the Golden State abound; the most likely is that the first entered the country on a plant imported from Australia.

By the time a retired entomologist from Berkeley found one in a trap behind his house, it was too late. The invasion was under way – resulting in a $100 million (£50 million) crisis for California’s farmers and a political battle in Washington over how future invasions of exotic pests might be prevented.

As California’s farmers have found out, the Australian light brown apple moth is a very hungry creature. It might have a passion for grapes but it will happily eat anything else grown by California’s farmers. Its caterpillars will eat everything from corn and tomatoes to cherries, peaches and plums. It is able to procreate at an astonishing pace even if its life-span is shorter than the average summer holiday.

Fish Genders

Unfortunately, fish are not like mammals. Whereas most mammals have fairly distinctive sex organs and gender traits, the same is not true of tropical fish.
Depending on the species, determining the sex can be fairly easy or is can be near impossible. Some of the more difficult fish to sex include freshwater angelfish, catfish, and gouramis.

Other fish, such as the Betta (Japanese Fighting Fish), are easy to separate by gender. Males have long, flowing fins and bright, brilliant colors, while the females are drabber and have shorter, almost stubby looking, fins.

If you are interested in breeding fish, for most species the best way is to purchase a half-dozen or more young fish of the same species and raise them together. When they mature, they will pair off, and then you can try to breed them and raise the fry (babies).

Before buying any fish, however, it is best to do research to make sure you have the proper set-up (including proper tank size, proper PH, proper water hardnes) for the fish you wish to keep. Within this research, you can find out the best way to sex and breed your favorite fish. Different species have different needs and have different traits for trying to determine the gender.

Swimming pool safety in the sweet summertime

If you or someone you know has the luxury of a swimming pool or nearby watering hole, your dog is likely to take an interest, too. Swimming may well be one of the healthiest and most entertaining exercises a canine will ever encounter. But it’s not without its hazards. So responsible parents would do well to take note: not all dogs take gracefully to the water. They and others, like geriatrics and epileptics, need special attention while poolside.

Rare "Smiling" Bird Photographed for First Time

The rare recurve-billed bushbird, recently rediscovered by scientists in Colombia after a 40-year absence, sports a curving beak that gives the illusion of an enigmatic smile.

This photograph, taken by a conservationist with the Colombia-based nonprofit FundaciĆ³n ProAves, is the first ever taken of a live bushbird.

The elusive species had not been spotted between 1965 and 2004, due to its limited range and remote habitats. It was seen recently in Venezuela and in a region of northeastern Colombia, where it was photographed.

Albino Mountain Goat Spotted in Italy

Forest rangers in the northern Italian Alps have confirmed for the first time the existence of an albino mountain goat - and named him "Snowflake."

Rangers took photos of the albino capra ibex climbing with its mother at about 10,000 feet above the Les Laures valley in the northwestern Val d'Aosta region, said Christian Chioso, a regional wildlife official.

"This is the only one ever documented, the only one ever seen," Chioso said. Albinism is rare in any species and has not been previously documented among the capra ibex, a type of wild mountain goat with large curved horns that lives in mountainous areas.

Chioso estimated the albino animal is about a year old.

2 officers injured while firing at dogs

Good shooting, guys!

A Wilkinsburg police officer and an animal control officer were injured Tuesday evening when bullet fragments ricocheted off the pavement as police fired at a trio of pit bulls along Ella Street that were trying to attack them, Wilkinsburg police said.

The animal control officer, David Keller, was struck in the leg below the knee and taken to Mercy Hospital, Uptown, for treatment, said Paul McIntyre, chief at Triangle Pets in McKees Rocks, which provides animal control services for Wilkinsburg.

Rescued Romanian dogs brought to local shelter

Aren't there enough homeless dogs in the USA? Do we really need to import more?

12 dogs were rescued from a Romanian forest, where wolves and bears roam, and brought to the Helen Woodward Animal Center in Rancho Santa Fe. Eight were still waiting to find new homes yesterday.

The puppies had been loose in the Snagov Forest north of Bucharest, home of Vlad the Impaler, on whom the book “Dracula” was based.

The actress Frances Conroy had visited the forest and noticed the stray dogs. She alerted a local rescue group, FPCC Romania, run by a British man named Robert Smith.

Smith had the dogs sterilized before arranging to have Romania Animal Rescue of Livermore, Calif., take the dogs to the United States. Conroy paid for their care and travel. Including an escort, the travel bill was about $1,400.

Campaign for a Good Cause

Burger King is asking their customers in Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Louisiana to decide how they donate $100,000 in each metropolitan area.

Launched in the spring of 2007, Campaign For Your Cause provides you with the chance to vote for the cause you believe is making a difference to improve your community.

Whether you're passionate about education, the environment, medical research or any other cause, BURGER KING® invites you to choose how they donate and HAVE IT YOUR WAY®.

All ten finalists from each of the metropolitan areas receive a piece of the $100,000, based on the number of votes they receive - 1st Place: $50,000, 2nd Place:
$25,000, 3rd Place: $11,000 and 4th through 10th Places: $2,000 each.

The Capital Area Animal Welfare Society is one of the finalists in the Baton Rouge community.

Vote for The Capital Area Animal Welfare Society to win $50,000!

Click here,

select "Click here to Vote for Baton Rouge", then select "Capitol Area Animal Welfare Society".

Vote once per day at or text your vote to 287437 (BURGER). Voting starts Tuesday, June 5, 2007 at 12:00 AM CST and ends on Friday, July 13, 2007 at 11:59 PM CST.

Posing Dog

It's like he was posing for this picture.

Trackposted to Outside the Beltway, The Amboy Times, Big Dog's Weblog, and, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

Bizarre Horseshoe Bat Photographed for First Time

This bizarre-looking bat got rave reviews when it recently posed for the camera for the first time.

Scientists found the twisted-faced creature, called the Maclaud's horseshoe bat, while surveying the highland forests of Guinea in West Africa this spring.

German biologist Natalie Weber took this picture after finding 16 members of the species in a series of remote caves. The bat had never been photographed before and had not been seen in the wild in nearly 40 years.

The Maclaud's bat is one of about 70 known species of horseshoe bats, so named for their distinctive—some might say grotesque—facial features called noseleafs.

Scientists aren't certain what the skin flaps are for, but they're thought to aid in echolocation—the process bats use to navigate by emitting and receiving high-frequency sound waves.

Dog drama in West Hartford, CT

(West Hartford-WTNH ( _ A West Hartford woman has filed a lawsuit against the town of West Hartford to keep her precious pups in her home.

Faith Kilburn lives in West Hartford with her 21-Shih Tzu dogs. But a complaint from a neighbor has led to a 3-year battle with the town. A town ordinance says that residents may only have 2-dogs in a home.

"I'm hoping that the zoning board will realize that this isn't really a problem, they are making it a problem," said Kilburn.

Back in 2004, the town gave her a special use permit providing she reduce the number of dogs in her home. In that time, only one of the dogs has died and she does not want to get rid of the others. Now that the permit has expired, the case will go to court next month. Kilburn is planning to hold a rally in the center of town on Saturday to raise support for her case.

"Don't try and stop me from loving my dogs. I will not stop," said Kilburn.

The dog warden says her house is immaculate and all the dogs are well cared for but she is still 19-dogs over the limit.

"I only want a temporary permit until my dogs die. In fact, one died last week, my youngest one. I never expected it and you don't know what it has done to me," said Kilburn.

----------My take on this....21 dogs are a bit much, but at the same time, she's living in a clean environment and the dogs are all healthy. It's a lot more then others who abuse and neglect their dogs. At least this person is caring for them and treating them well. Here's hoping the town will let her keep her pups.

Great news for rare Poitou donkeys

The news just doesn't get any better for a rare breed of donkeys that grow to be taller than most horses.

A British stud farm dedicated to preserving the rare Poitou donkey has managed to breed four foals within a 20-day period - two colts and two fillies.

Just 44 Poitou donkeys were known to exist in 1976. Their numbers have since increased to an estimated 600 to 800 worldwide.

The four newcomers, Tilda, Tomas, Tarka and Tizer, have proved to be a big hit for Woodford Farm, in Hampshire.

Polar Bear News

Polar Bear News is a blog meant to keep people in touch with the polar bear and what's happening to them around the world. It includes photos and information on their natural habitat and the efforts to save this magnificent marine mammal.

Alaskan man pleads guilty to sale of seal penises

An Alaska man has pleaded guilty to selling more than 100 fur seal "oosiks" -- or penises -- to a local gift shop that intended to sell the items as an aphrodisiac.

Federal law forbids the sale of any raw marine mammal parts unless they have been crafted into pieces of Alaska Native artwork.

The case of the uninvited visitor

Hillarious story ...

Anyone missing a bull?


And The World's Ugliest Dog Is ...

Elwood, a 2-year-old Chinese Crested and Chihuahua mix, was crowned the world's ugliest dog, a distinction that delighted the mutt's owners.

Elwood, dark colored and hairless — save for a mohawk-like puff of white fur on his head — is often referred to as “Yoda,” or “ET,” for his resemblance to those famous science fiction characters.

“I think he's the cutest thing that ever lived,” said Elwood's owner, Karen Quigley, a resident of Sewell, New Jersey.

Quigley brought Elwood out to compete for the second year at the annual ugly dog contest at the Marin-Sonoma County Fair on Friday. Elwood placed second last year.

They Take the Bounce Out of Bowser

At a time when affluent dog owners coddle their pets with massage, antidepressants and spa vacations, it’s not surprising that dogs have the equivalent of personal trainers.

Hiring a dog runner isn’t merely fashionable. “Many people have come to understand that their dog needs more exercise than they can provide,” said Dr. Monica Clare, a critical care specialist at the Animal Surgical and Emergency Center in Los Angeles. “Dog walking is fine, but some dogs need more exercise. Dog runners provide it.”

Some deskbound owners dispatch their pets to run miles that they can’t. “In some cases people do for their dogs what they don’t do for themselves,” said Josh Schermer, the founder of, in Manhattan. “They know they should go to the gym. They should eat better. They should run. So they have their dog do it.”

Photo credit: NYC Dog Runners

Cat Butt Candy

Cat Butt Candy
You don't have to be an expert on Cat Butts to sound like one. This box of yummy All Natural Raspberry Tarts has a handy Cat Butt Glossary on the back of the box.


Kattbank is a creative solution to one of the more challenging space-sharing issues for cat-owners and the animals they love. Kattbank is a modern bench designed especially to conceal the cat litter box. The litter box is hidden within the contemporary lines of kattbank, which is cleverly vented to provide adequate airflow for the cat's health, yet does not give up any offending odors.

Itch for Scratching Cats

Itch’s modern design and eco-friendliness is wall mountable for secure vertical cat scratching or place it on the floor for those smaller horizontal scratchers.

Birds in the picture

Fort Collins - A tourist-filled raft slammed into the Class 3 rapid Sarah's Hole on the Cache la Poudre River one morning this week.

Some rafters grimaced, others screamed or laughed as they punched through the waves. Their faces were captured by photographer Charlie Malone.

When Malone was done shooting, he pulled the memory stick out of his Nikon camera and slipped it into a tiny Lycra backpack worn by a gray pigeon named Lucky.

Malone gently released the bird riverside, and Lucky took wing.

Malone and the company he works for, Rocky Mountain Adventures, were relying on the uncanny - and scientifically mysterious - ability of homing pigeons to fly for tens and even hundreds of miles and find their way home.
No one knows how they do it, said pigeon expert Charles Wolcott, a professor of neurobiology and behavior at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y.

Wolcott believes pigeons rely on "multiple, redundant systems" to navigate accurately - using vision, smell and even the Earth's magnetic field to orient.

Researchers have covered pigeons' eyes or capped them with magnetically active hats to try to disorient the birds. Still, they locate their home base more often than not.

"It's like wearing belts and suspenders - you can disable any one thing, and they still find their way home," Wolcott said.

Dave Costlow, owner of Rocky Mountain Adventures, estimated that last year, 91 percent of the time, his pigeons delivered film or memory sticks fast enough to print and display rafting pictures before clients, still dripping from their ride, walked back into the store.

They get more and more reliable as the season goes by, Malone said.

"I've had people watch me release the birds, and they still don't believe me," Malone said. "They think it's a stunt."

So while other rafting companies race their film back by car or kayak, Rocky Mountain

Rafters, Fred and Shirley Kremer, from Holland, pick out photos from their white water adventure June 21. (Special to the Post / Nathan W. Armes)takes it on the wing. He is, Costlow said, the only one that does it that way.
"We may not increase our profits because of the attraction of the birds themselves," Costlow said, "but we do increase our profits by having our photos ready."

The pigeons, which fly about 60 mph, make that possible. Most of the time.

This year's rafting and pigeon-training seasons began late, slowed by a chilly spring. Costlow's 16 birds still haven't completely adjusted to their work, he said.

Lucky flew just 15 feet from Malone's hands and landed on a pine branch.

"Go, Lucky! You're the one with the film today," the 27-year-old Malone called.

The bird looked calmly down at the photographer and then gazed across the river.

Three of her nest mates - released with her for company - were soaring in wide, high circles, gaining altitude and their bearings before heading back down the canyon.

Lucky stayed put.

"Come on, Lucky," Malone urged. He needed to get back in his car to shoot pictures of another rafting group on a longer trip upstream.

During homing-pigeon races, birds may fly hundreds of miles in a day, and they almost always make it, Cornell's Wolcott said.

"And then there are these strange occasions - called smashes - where for reasons unknown, you'll let 20,000 go and three appear at the home loft," Wolcott said. "We don't know why."

This day, Lucky wasn't racing - or even in a hurry.

At about noon, back in Fort Collins, the morning's soggy rafters returned to the Rocky Mountain Adventures store.

The photos of the rafters and flailing paddles were there, thanks to a backup driver and car.

Lucky arrived later.

"It's early in the season," Costlow said. "They'll get better."

Video: Stinky Housekeeper

Peaches is a pet skunk. She likes to keep a very clean house.

Video: Gus likes watermelon

An 11-month-old bulldog puppy enjoys his first taste of watermelon.

Cat Rescue
Click the link above for the source of the article. Great stuff about a kitten being rescued.

Question: What does it take to rescue a kitten?
Answer: Two fire trucks, 5 firefighters and 250 gallons of water
PARKERSBURG, W. Va. - It took two fire trucks, five firefighters, several animal rescuers and about 250 gallons of water to rescue a 2-pound kitten.

Animal control officers tried coaxing the gray tabby out of a storm sewer drain with encouraging words and food Monday before giving up after about an hour and a half.

Firefighters tried banging tools on one end of the pipe and flashing lights Monday night in hopes of driving him out the other end — but that didn’t work either.

Mac's Houston Zoo Blog

Houston Zoo has a blog dedicated to baby elephant, Mac, who was born October 1, 2006.
At birth, he weighed 384 pounds, measured 40 inches from his head to his rump, and stood 40 inches tall.


When Mac was born on October 1st, he already weighed 384 pounds—the biggest Asian elephant born in an AZA Zoo. His growth has continued and today he weighs 764 pounds! Here’s a weighty issue - when will he weigh 1,000 lbs?

Why Is the Pet Food Industry Killing Our Pets?

A very disturbing article ...

The commercial pet foods industry rakes in billions of dollars annually. In exchange for our dollars, we trust the companies to provide our pets with quality nutrition. The recent pet food recall demonstrated that our trust has been misplaced. But while many were shocked by the tragic deaths of beloved pets, many more would be shocked to know that the pet food industry has a long history of mistreating our pets.

Gorilla guardians

The last 100 mountain gorillas still alive in the Democratic Republic of Congo after years of fighting, live in the 8,000 sq km Virunga National Park, in eastern DR Congo. Around 1,100 wildlife rangers work in the parks of eastern DR Congo, protecting not only mountain gorillas, but also chimpanzees, forest elephants, rhinos and lowland gorillas.

The rangers, who work for the Congolese wildlife authority (ICCN), risk their lives to protect the gorillas, despite small and irregular wages.


Bye, Bye Birdies?

20 Common Bird Species Are In Dramatic Decline, According To Audubon Study

New data show the populations of some of America's well-known birds in a tailspin, thanks to the one-two punch of habitat fragmentation and, increasingly, global warming.

From the heartland's whippoorwills and meadowlarks to the Northern bobwhite and common terns of the nation's coasts, 20 common bird species tracked by the National Audubon Society have seen their numbers fall 54 percent overall since 1967, with some down about 80 percent, the group reported.

Why We Love Dogs

Dogs are one of the most popular pets in the world. Here are some thoughts on why we love our pups so much:
• A dog ordinarily remains loyal to a considerate master, and because of this the dog has been called man's best friend.
• Class distinctions between people have no part in a dog's life. It can be a faithful companion to either rich or poor.
• Dogs have been domesticated for most of human history and have thus endeared themselves to many over the years.
• A dog fits easily into family life. It thrives on praise and affection. When a master tells a dog that it is good, the animal happily wags its tail. But when a master scolds a dog, it skulks away with a sheepish look and with its tail tucked between its legs.
• People in the city as well as those in other areas can enjoy a dog. Medium-size or small dogs are best suited for the confines of the city. Large dogs need considerable exercise over a large area.
• Dogs exist in a wide range of sizes, colors, and temperaments. Some serve as alert and aggressive watchdogs. Others are playful family pets, even though they were bred for hunting. Still others can herd farm or range animals.
• Dogs have been with humans since prehistoric times. Over the years they have performed various services. They have pulled sleds over snowy tracts. They have delivered messages, herded sheep and cattle, and even rescued persons trapped in the snow.
• Dogs are trained as guard dogs in peacetime by the United States Army and other military services.
• Because of their keen sense of smell, dogs are used by police at times to track down escaped prisoners. Law enforcement agencies also rely on the dog's acute sense of smell to uncover illegal drugs. And specially trained dogs serve as the "eyes" of the blind, guiding the steps of their sightless masters around obstacles and hazards.

Trackposted to Outside the Beltway, The Amboy Times, Conservative Cat, The Crazy Rants of Samantha Burns, Right Truth, and Gone Hollywood, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

Iguana Causes Power Outage In Florida Keys

BIG PINE KEY, Fla. -- An iguana walking across a high-voltage electrical transformer caused a brief power outage for 27,000 Lower Keys and Key West electrical customers Tuesday.

A spokesman for Keys Energy Services said the iguana plopped down on a transformer at the Big Pine Key electrical substation. That caused a main transmission line circuit breaker to open.

Power was restored to most customers in 20-minutes.

Keys Energy Services says the iguana survived, but lost some of its tail.

Photo credit: Melissa Kaplan's Herp Care Collection

Walk Your Dog to Stay Healthy

Taking your dog for a regular walk can improve her health – and yours.

Walking your dog can make you healthier. According to a recent study by the American College of Sports Medicine in New Orleans, owners who walk their dogs are more active and have less body fat than non-owners and non-walkers.

The study included nearly 2,200 participants from 32 neighborhoods in the Seattle and Baltimore areas. Neighborhoods represented both high- and low-income households and were rated for walkability. Overall physical activity was measured by seven days of step counting and participants reported their time spent walking for leisure each day.

About 28 percent of the sample consisted of dog owners who were divided into groups of those who walked their dogs and those who did not. Nearly 27 percent met physical activity guidelines of 150 minutes per week because of dog walking, while 30 percent of owners spent no time walking. Dog walkers were more likely to live in highly walkable areas than non-dog walkers.

According to Dori E. Rosenberg, lead author of the study, encouraging dog walking among owners who don’t normally walk their dogs can promote improved health.

"More dog walking appears to be a health benefit of living in walkable neighborhoods" says Rosenberg.


Trackposted to Outside the Beltway, Blue Star Chronicles, Webloggin, The Bullwinkle Blog, Big Dog's Weblog, and OTB Sports, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

Cute Baby Foxes

South African bat-eared fox kits.

Photo: Ken Bohn / AP

Cute Baby Hippo

Hippopotamus mother “Debby” is outside for the first time with her one-month old baby “Paul” in Berlin’s zoo on Jun 15, 2007.
(AFP/Getty photo by Michael Kappeler)

Pick up the Poop

I've written about this in past posts, but it still irks me at times. I was out walking Rocco this morning and of course, he finds some poop that some other dog left in the neighborhood. Luckily I got him away from it before it got in his fur. It wasn't like it was in someone's yard, I was in a public area.

As a "responsible" dog owner, it always amazes me when people don't clean up after their pets when walking outside. There continue to be articles about public parks and walking trails looking to ban dogs. The main reason? Because of the mess dogs leave. The problem is, it's not the dog's fault, it's the owners.

And now, responsible dog owners are suffering because others aren't cleaning up after their pets. If you don't want to clean up a little dog poop, why get the dog in the first place? That's one of the very simple responsibilities of having a pet. And for those of us who do clean up, we're stuck suffering the consequences of those who leave a mess behind.

Man Stealing Snakes Ends Up With Life-Threatening Bite

BUSHNELL, Fla. -- A Sumter County man was in an Orlando hospital, Monday, with a poisonous snake bite. Deputies said a rattlesnake, which the man stole, was the one that bit him.

One snake expert said, before you steal something, read the sign on the cage: "Danger, venomous reptiles. Authorized personnel only. Do not enter."

You can't get much simpler than that. But, Sumter County deputies said, 20-year old Jonathon Lafever ignored the warning. They said he broke into a shed behind a home along Northwest Street in Bushnell and stole five snakes, but one of them, a banded rock rattlesnake, bit him.

Clown Loach Pic

Pics of the clown loaches under the natural arch in my community aquarium. (The pink fish is a "Blind Cave Tetra")

It's hard to imagine that this beautiful fish is eaten as food fish in Indonesia and Borneo, where it grows to over a foot in length. Fortunately for the clown loach, among aquarium enthusiasts it's a staple in the community tank rather than on the dining table. Its orange and black striped body, red fins, and active behavior has made it one of the most popular loaches. At times, the fish will lay on its side, almost looking sick. But as soon as you approach the tank, it starts moving around again.

Unlike many loaches who are only active at night, the clown loach is very active during the daytime hours. Peaceful with its own and other species, it prefers to have companions with which it will form a school. Water quality is critical for keeping clown loaches healthy. Care should be take to keep water very clean, well aerated, and warm.

Caption This:

Image Credit: thelearnr [Flickr] - via Polarbearaware

There's a new caption contest feature on Neatorama.

Contest rule is simple: one caption per comment, make it funny but please keep it civil (bonus point: if you can work "Neatorama" into the caption). You can submit multiple comments.

This week’s prize is graciously offered by Adam Koford of Apelad (who drew Neatorama Monkey): Funniest will receive 1 free monkey drawing - you name the monkey and Adam will draw you one. If you don’t win, but still want a monkey, you can buy one directly from him. It’s worth it!

Last Pair of Pygmy Rabbits Breed Successfully

The only surviving pair of endangered pygmy rabbits released as part of a program to increase their numbers in the wild have dodged coyotes, badgers, hawks and owls and found time for love.

Proud scientists announced Thursday that the rabbits have successfully bred.

The rabbits, slightly larger than a man's hand, eat sagebrush and are the only rabbits in the United States that dig their own burrows.

Hare Traffic Control: Rabbits Shut Airport

Milan's Linate airport was closed early Sunday while 200 hunters tried to outfox scores of hares infesting its runways.

The operation was ordered after hares became tangled in aircraft landing gear twice in recent weeks.

Officials say at least 80 hares are living on the airport grounds, confusing radar equipment and endangering flights taking off and landing.

Cheetah cubs have a slow, gentle start in life

The cheetah is known as the fastest and one of the most beautiful animals on earth.

A mother cheetah's maternal role is critical to the survival of the species, which has been considered endangered since the Sixties. For 18 months, mothers must raise their cubs from tiny, helpless creatures - only ten ounces in weight and less than 12 inches long - into grown animals capable of taking care of themselves.

My Dog Days

Wonderful, poignant article by Arthur Phillips in the New York Times.

"MY little guy is growing up fast. He’s toilet-trained, he goes uncomplainingly to sleep and he no longer chews on his playmates’ faces until they bleed. He is 8 months old, and I know, years from now, that I will always remember this summer as the time he and I fell in love."

Felt Froggies for Felines

Felt Froggies for Felines
Frogs with RickRack legs made especially for your feline friends.

Each one is stuffed with a healthy dose of Cosmic Catnip, sure to drive your kitty crazy!

Tested and approved by Big Bill, Tucker, Humphrey, Truman, Bubba, Sam, Ashe, Atta, Buddy, Mittens and Paws. Their stamps of approval are all over these little froggies.

Black Cat Cocktail Buddy

Perfect for your Party Punch Glasses!

Slightly spooky and very cute, these 1-1/2" (3.8 cm) tall, plastic Black Cat Cocktail Buddies will add an extra layer of cool to any cocktail party. Their long black tails act as a hook over the rim of the glass as they dangle on the side just daring anyone else to touch your drink.

Happy Father's Day

Rocco would like to wish everyone a happy Father's Day.

Catnip Cat Toys Zoo Pals

Catnip Cat Toys Zoo Pals

Tired of hot pink, glittery cat toys strewn about your house? Catnip Toys Zoo Pals are better!

* Hand-knitted in detail with luxuriously soft real Alpaca wool
* Cat toys are stuffed with delicious premium organic catnip
* Toys are stitched with a length of silk yarn string (perfect for dangling and twitching seductively or hanging from a doorknob
* Zoo Pal Catnip Cat Toys are lovingly hand made in the USA

Size: 2.5" - 3" 12 inch silk string with loop for dangling

Video: Rare elephant birth captured on camera

Elephants are secretive about giving birth in the wild and witnessing such an extraordinary event is rare even for conservationists.

The extraordinary moment an elephant gave birth in the wild has been captured on camera by a couple on honeymoon.

The thrilling amateur footage was recorded by newlyweds Debbie and Jon Smith at Ulusaba private game reserve in the Kruger national park in South Africa.

Video: Lazy Cat on a Treadmill

You can lead a cat to treadmill, but you just can't make him work out.

Video: Get out of my bed, cat

As always, a cat where it's not supposed to be.

Video: Singing Rabbit

Now this is a very talented rabbit.

Video: Teasing A Monkey

Monkey trying to get a banana.

Dogs in the Military

Ron Aiello, credits his canine partner, Stormy, for saving his life during the Vietnam War. Stormy was one of nearly 5000 dogs that served as patrol and scouts during that conflict.

After he returned home, Ron founded the United States War Dog Association, and even built a memorial to honor dogs that served in the military.

There are still dogs serving in the military and fighting the war on terror. To offer support for them, one woman, Amy Nichols, founded K-9 Support. She's held several fundraisers in her hometown, Baltimore, and has been sending care packages overseas. In the packages are grooming aids, protective gear, special toys and snacks for the military dogs and their human handlers.

New Drug Can Help Fat Fido Shed Pounds

A new diet drug for dogs is now available through your veterinarian that may help your pet win the war on weight.

Slentrol is formulated specifically for dogs. It works by telling the dog's brain it is not hungry. Therefore he eats less.

My suggestion: Why not just feed the dog LESS?

Cow Takes Dip In Swimming Pool

It was a strange sight in western Massachusetts when a family in Pittsfield came home to find a cow in their swimming pool.

Several cows had wandered off from a nearby farm and apparently one of the cows decided to take dip in the family's in-ground pool.

The homeowners called Pittsfield police, who called a nearby farmer.

The cow was harnessed and pulled out.

Canine Neighbors

On a recent morning walk with my dog, Rocco, I ran into a friendly neighbor.
“He’s been voted one of the cutest dogs in the neighborhood,” she said to me.
“Thanks,” I reply.
“Hi Rocco, how are you? You’re such a cute dog,” as she pets his head.
“He’s a crazy puppy,” I reply jokingly. “He has more energy then I do.”
The small talk continues as she asks me various questions about the dog, his breed, age, etc.

Now, I don’t mind chatting with the neighbors and it’s good to know people are generally friendly and enjoy pets. Except there is one thing that bothers me…she knows my dog’s name, so obviously we’ve met before… but I don’t think she knows my name. And I don’t know her name either.

As I’ve lived in this area now for almost two years, I’ve noticed this is a common trait among the neighborhood. People who are out with their dogs on a regular basis get to know each other….or should I say each dog.

So, I’ve met several dogs in the neighborhood, and only recognize the owners by their dogs. There is Angus, Reilly, Haley, Laz, and Kasper who are regulars on my walking route. The names of the people walking them??? I have no idea! Granted, it’s my fault too for not introducing myself either; but I suddenly feel unimportant once the dogs are introduced. I guess it really is a dog’s world.

Thinking back, I’ve never really met any of my neighbors until I got a dog. Rocco is a conversation starter and people will stop to greet him and say hello. However, in some ways I still don’t feel like I’ve met any of my human neighbors. But at least Rocco has met his canine neighbors!

Tiny pet turtles could make a comeback

The red-eared slider was the "it" pet for generations of kids until tiny turtles were banned more than 30 years ago because they shed salmonella. Later this week, Congress will decide if these baby reptiles are ready for a comeback.

The sale of turtles with shells smaller than 4 inches was banned in 1975 because the sweet-faced reptiles harbored a dirty little secret: They shed salmonella. Kids became infected with the dangerous germ after putting their turtle-tainted fingers — or the turtles themselves — in their mouths. Regulators figured by banning turtles smaller than 4 inches, they’d curb the pet’s popularity, and at least bigger shells wouldn’t be able to fit into kids’ mouths.

Before the ban went into place in 1975, an estimated 100,000 cases of salmonella sickness occurred each year as the result of baby turtles and other pet reptiles, Sundlof says. Since the tiny-turtle prohibition, that number has gone down by about a quarter.

Animal personality is now taken seriously.

In recent years, evidence has begun to show that animals have personalities after all. Chimps, for example, can be conscientious: they think before they act, they plan and they control their impulses, says Samuel Gosling, a Texas-based psychologist. Research has identified similar personality traits in many other species.

The implications of these findings for research on human personality are powerful. Scientists can look to animal studies for insight into humans the same way they now look to animal testing for insight into drugs. Animal research has already begun to shed light on how different types of people respond to medications and treatments—aggressive and passive rats respond differently to antidepressants, for example. The hope is that animals can illuminate the murky interplay of genes and the environment on people's personalities.

Pet Industry Growth

According to a blurb in Kiplinger's Personal Finance:

"The pet industry is growing twice as fast as the economy...Americans pamper their little friends. Dog and Cat hotels are one of...(an) expanding business."

I admit, I'm guilty of pampering. I've written posts about this in the past as I'm not always sure if the clothes are helpful to the pet, but it sure makes me feel better when my dog has a nice coat on in the winter. And of course, the Halloween costume!

There are so many aspects to this industry, and it just keeps getting bigger and bigger.

Trackposted to The Random Yak, Maggie's Notebook, Pursuing Holiness, The World According to Carl, and OTB Sports, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

Sloths are cute!

Uploaded by Praziquantel

Gorilla Orphaned After Mom Shot "Execution Style"

A baby mountain gorilla has been left orphaned and fighting for its life after its mother was shot and killed in eastern Congo.

Rangers discovered the two-month-old gorilla clinging to the breast of its slain mother in Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Rebel militias in the area have been accused of slaughtering and eating the critically endangered apes.

Angelfish pics

Angelfish have been my favorites for a long time. Here are some pics of the ones I keep in my community tank.

Video: 17 year cicadas outbreak

Amazingly well filmed & set to Enya's music, the life cycle of the 17-year cicada.

Dog Breed Info Website

I found a great resource site that gives detailed information and pictures for almost every breed of dog imaginable. The site,, is a great reference for learning about dog breeds and their traits. It includes a breed description, living conditions, average height & weight, origin, and more. Also great for dog pictures.


Illinois Boy Finds Rare, Blue-Eyed Cicada

DOWNERS GROVE, Ill. -- Those pesky little bugs, cicadas, have been making their return in recent weeks in parts of the Midwest.

They pop out of the ground like clockwork every 17 years.

Looking something like angry versions of crickets, cicadas are known for their bright red eyes.

Nicholas Wagner, 6, of the Chicago suburb of Downers Grove learned in kindergarten that about one in every million of the bugs has blue eyes. When the cicadas finally showed up, Nicholas was ready. And last Friday he spotted that one-in-a-million.

His mother, Maria, said Nicholas shouted, "Mommy, I found a blue-eyed cicada!"


Sorry, I personally didn't find any blue-eyed cicadas, but have more than enough of the red-eyed variety.

Here's my collection:
Aren't I cute?

Californians may be forced to neuter pets

California may become the only U.S. state to require the sterilization of pets under a bill passed by the state Assembly, pitting dog and cat lovers against animal rights activists.

The bill would require pet owners to spay and neuter their dogs and cats, or face a $500 fine for each animal.

Breeders, as well as owners of guide dogs, could obtain exemptions.

Adoption Group: Cat Invasion Due to Global Warming

Droves of cats and kittens are swarming into animal shelters nationwide, and global warming is to blame, according to one pet adoption group.

Several shelters operated by a national adoption organization called Pets Across America reported a 30 percent increase in intakes of cats and kittens from 2005 to 2006, and other shelters across the nation have reported similar spikes of stray, owned and feral cats.

The cause of this feline flood is an extended cat breeding season thanks to the world’s warming temperatures, according to the group, which is one of the country’s oldest and largest animal welfare organizations.

Common New Aquarium Mistakes

I've been talking to several people who have an interest in starting a new fish tank. Having tanks my whole life, I've learned from my mistakes. Although you can't avoid all mistakes when starting a tank, here are some of the more common problems.

Starting Too Small
In some ways, having a small aquarium is more difficult then a bigger one. When the water volume is small, key water parameters change very quickly, leaving no room for error. However, you need to find an aquarium that fits your budget and space. Just keep in mind, the bigger the tank, the less impact a mistake will have on your fish.

Adding Fish Too Soon and too fast
Any newly set up aquariums will suffer from “new-tank syndrome.” The entire reason for this is somewhat complex, but basically, there are good bacteria that grow in the tank. As fish swim and excrete wastes, these wastes turn into ammonia. The ammonia is basically removed by the “good” bacteria. Unfortunately, these bacteria need time to grown and establish naturally during the break-in cycle of a new tank.

In addition, the water in a new tank hasn't stabilized yet. The water should be treated to neutralize harmful materials, and allowed to stand for several days to allow dissolved gases to escape and the pH to stabilize. Only then is it safe to introduce fish to the aquarium.

For the same reason, you shouldn't add too many fish at once. Until the “good” bacterial colonies have fully established, the aquarium cannot safely support a full load of fish. Only add a couple of small hardy fish initially. Wait until both the ammonia and nitrite levels have risen, then fallen to zero, before adding more fish.

Keeping incompatible fish
New aquarium owners often choose fish that look appealing to them, without knowing their environmental needs. Some fish may fight with one another, or require very different water conditions. Either way, they should not be kept together. Before adding any fish to the aquarium, do plenty of research on the species to determine if they are compatible and work within your current water parameters including PH and water hardness.

Failure to do research
As mentioned above, it is important to know as much about the fish as possible before taking it home. Improper care of any fish will lead to death (and a waste of your money)

The top mistake made by all fish owners is overfeeding their fish. Fish are opportunistic and will seek food at all times. They will always appear to be begging for food. However, it is important not to feed them more then what they can consume in about two minutes. Feeding this way once or twice a day is sufficient.

Uneaten food will decay in the tank causing an increase in ammonia (Ammonia will burn the gills of the fish, and could lead to fish death.

Insufficient Filtration
An aquarium filter should run all the water in the tank through it at least three times per hour. If it doesn't, you don't have adequate filtration. If in doubt about filter size, go to the next size up. You can't over-filter, but you can definitely under-filter, and the results can be harmful to your fish.

Failure to test water
When the tank is first set up, it should be allowed to run for a couple of days, then the pH, hardness, ammonia, and nitrite levels should be tested. During the startup cycle it is important to test the ammonia and nitrites often. Once the tank is well established, test the water monthly to be aware of unseen problems that may be brewing. If fish suddenly die, test the water to see if anything has changed.

Failure to do water changes
Just because you are filtering the water, doesn’t mean every bit of waste will be picked up by the filter. It is important to do regular water changes (about 20% of the water every two weeks is sufficient). Wastes build up in the tank that can only be removed by vacuuming the gravel and removing some of water and replacing it with fresh water.

Trackposted to Pet's Garden Blog, Pirate's Cove, Webloggin, The Amboy Times, The Bullwinkle Blog, Big Dog's Weblog, and High Desert Wanderer, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

Mother and child (2)


Mother and child

by Robin Davies

Leopard Attacks Halted by Cell Phone Ring"

According to this story on by National Geographic, Villagers in India are now using "clucking," "bleating," and "mooing" ring tones to distract the big cats and lure them away from human settlements.

By attaching a mobile phone to a cage and playing one of the animal ringtones continuously, local forest guards can lure the leopard into the trap without harm.

"The moos of a cow or bleating of a goat from the phone has proved effective," D. Vasani, a senior forest official, told the Reuters news service.

Since the new ringtone method was introduced a month ago, guards have captured five leopards and released them successfully back into forests.

Yankee Dog

Rocco decided to lounge on my Yankees blanket.

Mini-leopard cat comes with $22,000 price tag

An exotic cat with the looks of a mini-leopard and a whopping $22,000 (11,000 pound) price tag has joined a crowded designer pet market that also features hypoallergenic kittens.

The Ashera is the result of blending the African Serval and the Asian Leopard Cat with a domestic cat, creating what Los Angeles-based Lifestyle Pets described this week as "the world's largest, rarest and most exotic domestic cat."

With tiger stripes and leopard-like spots, Ashera is pictured on the company's Web site wearing a diamond studded collar.

It grows up to 30 pounds and sports fearsome teeth but the company says it gets along with other pets and children and takes well to being walked on a leash.