Saturday, June 28, 2008

Critter News June 25, 2008

Hi guys, it's Loki! And you're watching Critter News for June 25, 2008.

Later in this broadcast, a game show is looking for cat-testants and mussels are growing in Ohio,and Chinese Crested Trivia on True or Tail

But first:

Tails of Rescue

In California yet another Chinese Crested has won the increasingly popular Sonoma-Marin annual World's Ugliest Dog contest. Gus, a pedigreed dog rescued from a life in a crate by a Florida mother and daughter, competed against 12 finalists from around the US. Gus won purely based on his looks, having lost one eye and leg in addition to having the unconventional semi-hairless appearance typical of the Chinese Crested breed.

Gus is currently being treated for skin cancer and his primates are putting the $1600 prize toward radiation treatments.

World Watch

Mussels are growing in Ohio. 1,700 endangered northern riffleshell mussels from Pennsylvania are being electronically tagged and released into Big Darby Creek. The mussels live in less than 5% of their former range, much of their natural habitat having been destroyed by dams and reservoirs and many remaining mussels being suffocated by silt from strip mining, logging and farming operations.

Monitoring is being paid for by a federal grant.

CNC Entertainment

Attention kitties! Ever wanted to be on a game or reality show like your primates? Now you can!

Meow Mix is holding auditions for cat and human teams for their "Think Like a Cat" game show. Cats will be tested on camera-friendliness, presumably after a long trip in a cat carrier. Humans will be tested on how much they think like their cats. Upcoming audition areas include Tampa, Dallas, Denver, Portland, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Think like a cat will air on the Game Show Network on November 15.


And now it's time for true or tail, Chinese Crested Trivia! Which statement is false?

The same litter can produce the Chinese Crested Hairless and the Chinese Crested Powderpuff.

The Chinese Crested Hairless is related to the Chihuahua.

The Chinese Crested known as "Sam" was so popular his death made CNN.

********* *********

The second statement is false. Although both breeds have no hair, they are not related. Hairless and powderpuff Chinese Cresteds often appear in the same litter, and Sam, who survived being branded "unadoptable" to win the contest several times, did have his death reported on CNN. Sam and Suzie's story is credited with inspiring others to adopt unadoptable animals.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

(BTW, I'm getting a little fed up with Revver videos taking 24 hours to process only to get an error. I can't use Livevideo because the ads have too many people in their underpants and I can't use CNN because they are autoplay and often don't process completely and I can't use because they are wmv files and I will not use You Tube, even if they were iTunes compatible. I am posting the Catster file today but I can't do auto podcasting from there. If there are any other suggestions for iTunes-compatible instant podcasts, please let me know. On with the show!)

Hi guys, it's Loki! And this is Critter News for June 19, 2008.

Later in this broadcast, Researchers are still baffled by the disappearance of US honeybees, Beauty gets a new beak, and All About Eyes on True or Tail, but first:

Tails of Rescue:

Residents of Battle Creek, Michigan were surprised to see what they thought was a young leopard wandering through their neighborhood on Tuesday. Animal Control trapped the animal, which turned out to be an injured and malnourished 5 year old African wildcat called a Serval. A Serval of this age should weigh about 30-45 pounds but only weighed 15. Experts report he is likely an escaped or abandoned pet as he was neutered and had been declawed.

While the owner has not stepped forward, Servals are crossed with Bengal cats to create the popular hybrid, the Savannah, a good-natured cat with a pack animal mentality that takes to the leash well and even enjoys swimming. Because Michigan state law does not regulate exotic animals there are several catteries in the state specializing in Savannahs, Servals and Bengals. I personally hope the owners will be able to provide authorities with some clues as to who may be missing their pet Serval.

If no owner is found Mr. Serval will receive care and a new home at an animal sanctuary.

Little Critters:

A USDA report states that although some causes have been ruled out, there are still no conclusive leads as to the cause of Colony Collapse Disorder.

CCD is the generic name given to the mysterious illness that causes the sudden deaths of all mature honeybees in a colony. Immature bees are not affected. Although honeybee health has been on the decline for about a quarter of a century it has been only recently that complete collapse of a colony has been commonplace. Theories have included increased pesticide use, increased packing and trucking of colonies to agricultural sites during pollination time, the Israeli acute paralysis virus and Varroa mites. As no single cause has been identified, researchers are now looking at fatal combinations.

Honeybees have succumbed to colony collapses in the past but there is no historical data to support or refute the possibility CCD is a cyclical ailment. Honeybees are directly responsible for 15 billion dollars worth of berries, nuts, fruits and vegetables annually.

World Watch:

Although Bald Eagles are no longer on the Endangered Species list, Jane Fink Cantwell of Birds of Prey Northwest is going to great extremes to save Beauty, an eagle found starving in a garbage dump after a poacher shot off her top beak 3 years ago. Beauty cannot preen her feathers and has to be hand-fed to survive.

Nate Calvin, a mechanical engineer, was moved by a lecture about Beauty and offered to create a prosthetic beak for her. Beauty was fitted with a computer-designed prototype last month, slipped onto pins glued to her remaining beak. Although the final beak will not be strong enough to allow Beauty to return to the wild the prototype has already allowed her to grip her food more easily and drink on her own.

The Beauty and the Beak project accepts donations via Paypal. Visit the websites for details.


And now it's time for True or Tail, All About Eyes: Each of the following statements is both true and false. Which fact is true and which is the tail?

1. Honeybees can see in the infra red and ultra violet spectrums.

Honeybees can see in Ultra violet, but not Infra red. Bees can't see red at all and will not pollinate red flowers.

2. Pet food manufacturers put color in cat food to make it more palatable to humans because cats are colorblind.

True, color is added to cat food to fool humans, but not because cats are colorblind. Cats can see color, we just don't care. We'll eat anything that smells good!

3. An eagle's eyes contain about 5 times as many cones in the fovea that make eagles better at detecting small movements than humans.

True, then false. Although eagles have more rods and cones overall, it is the rods that are responsible for motion detection.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Friday, June 13, 2008

Critter News June 12, 2008

Hi guys, it's Loki! And you're watching Critter news for Thursday June 12, 2008.

National Geographic's Explorer is exploring felines. Dr. Leslie Lyons, no pun intended, heads the domestic cat genetic research program at
the Davis School of Veterinary Medicine of the University of California
. Lyons collected samples of feline DNA from volunteers from all over the world. While genetic mapping will have major applications in feline and human medicine, another goal of the study is to find out how and where Felis silvestris became Felis Cattus. The program also features researchers in the field tagging wild cats to observe how they might domesticate themselves and various ways different breeds are related.

Explorer: Science of Cats airs again the evening of June 14th on the National Geographic Channel.

America's oldest African elephant died suddenly on Monday morning. Petal was a longtime resident of the Philadelphia Zoo and was due to be moved to the International Conservation Center late this summer. Video footage revealed she stumbled and lay down early in the morning, unusual behavior for her as she usually slept standing up. All of her vital signs were normal as she slipped away. Officials at the zoo are still uncertain as to the cause of her death but she did live over a decade longer than she likely would have in the wild. Petal was 52.

Happy Birfday! Methuselah, star attraction of the largest single collection of reptiles in the world, turns 127 years old this weekend and Reptile Gardens is having a celebration. Reptile Gardens is located on 30 acres just south of Rapid City, South Dakota, and features 200 species of reptiles, including Maniac, the largest crocodile in the Western Hemisphere, the only display of rough-scaled pythons outside Australia, and a fully enclosed jungle in the sky dome. Methuselah the Giant Turtle will be giving out free birthday cake and coke for kids, but he will be celebrating with watermelon. He was born on the Galapagos Islands in 1881.

The Society of Vertebrate Paleontology reports possible evidence of a land-dwelling vertebrate that created burrows in Antarctica 250 million years ago. While not warm, Antarctica was at the time presumably ice-free. The first burrows were found in the Beardmore Glacier region about 400 miles from the pole. No animal remains have been discovered but the nature of the shelters makes the Thrinaxodon of South Africa a good candidate according to Cris Sidor, one of the project's researchers. The Thrinaxodon has the skeleton of a reptile and laid eggs but there is much evidence that the creature was warm-blooded, sported whiskers and was covered in fur.

Additional burrows have been found in the Victoria Land region and point to a mole-sized reptile known as a procolophonid.

**********TRUE OR TAIL ANSWER BELOW*****************************

And now it's time for True or Tail? Close Relatives. Which animal is most closely related to the South American saber-toothed tiger Thylacosmilus?

The dog.
The lion.
The platypus.
The domesticated cat.
The kangaroo. or
The bear.

Answer: Kangaroos. Thylacosmilus, meaning "pouched blade", was a marsupial and carried young in a pouch. Fossils are often found in Argentina. It is believed they became extinct after Smilodon, a sabre-toothed tiger from North America, invaded when a land bridge was created between North and South America.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Monday, June 2, 2008

Critter News for June 5, 2008

Hi guys! It's Loki and you're watching Critter News for Thursday, June 05, 2008. Later in this episode we'll talk about a model search in Hawaii and a new national bird for Israel, and we'll also tell you why you need to keep your vet's medications out of your primate's reach, but first,

$24 million dollars has been set aside for compensation in the Pet Food Litigation case. It has received preliminary approval in New Jersey and Canadian courts are expected to approve the settlement by the end of June. If it is judged fair to the class, any pet owner who has lost money as a result will be eligible for compensation. The settlement covers all veterinary bills related to the case, including bills covering testing even if the pets turned out not to be affected. Receipts are not required but will help pet owners get the most compensation possible. Moist products by Menu Foods, Walmart, Eukanuba and others were affected by the fraudulent introduction of melamine into wheat gluten imported from China during the winter of 2007. The poison caused kidney problems and failure in thousands of pets.

Aloha! Make your pet a star in Hawaii! Hawaii Pet Magazine is looking fur their next cover model. All pets living in Hawaii are invited to submit photos, regardless of species. The winner will be featured in their July and August issue. Deadline is June 7 and online voting begins June 9th.

Pets are warned to hide their medication or make sure it is in human-proof containers and stored out of reach after an Iowa man took phenobarbitol prescribed for Saturn, his Jack Russel Terrier. Clarence Fenton of Des Moines crashed his SUV last November under the influence of the drug and was in court May 29th for driving while intoxicated. He claims he doesn't remember taking the pills. Veterinarians usually prescribe phenobarbitol for canine epilepsy.

The Hoopoe is now officially the national bird of Israel. President Shimon Peres made the announcement Thursday after a nationwide election held by the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel. Over 150,000 people voted and the hoopoe won with 35% of the vote against several other contenters. While the Hoopoe figures prominently in both Jewish and Islamic culture, primarily associated with King Solomon, it is not Kosher.

**********SPOILERS: Answers to True or Tail follow *************************

And now it's time for True or Tail Trivia. This week's subject, National Birds.

Benjamin Franklin suggested an animal other than the bald eagle for the national symbol of the United States.

Was it the turkey, the rattlesnake or the horse?

Contrary to popular belief, it was not the turkey. Franklin actually suggested the rattlesnake, an animal that had appeared on some Revolutionary war flags. The widely known story about the turkey comes from a tongue-in-cheek letter written to his daughter in which he pokes fun at a badly-drawn eagle.

Which of these countries does not have an official national bird? Italy, the Republic of Ireland or South Korea.

All of them. South Korea often is associated with the Korean Magpie, but it is not official.

The National bird of New Zealand, the kiwi, is most closely related to: the emu, the loon, the dodo.

The Emu. The kiwi is the smallest member of the ratite family.

That's it for Critter News this week! For links related to this broadcast and the answers to True or Tail Trivia, visit Orange Cat