Pony Express Google Doodle

Today, April 14, is the 155th Anniversary of the Pony Express! To celebrate the Google Doodle on the google main search page is a game that you can play.

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You are the pony express rider trying to make it through 3 different legs of your journey while avoiding obstacles and collecting as many pieces of mail as possible along the way.

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At the end you are welcomed into town and get a score which helps the overall global score of everyone playing together and which you can share with your friends:

ponyexpress

You can see I did not do every well, but it was my first time!

Here is the video Google made about the Pony Express and what went into making this game:

Hope you get to play the game and good luck!

Marvel Phase 9

Take a peak at Marvel Phase 9, or in other words, the April Fool’s joke that I missed but still wanted to share in case you had not seen it yet either.

Take a peak at what Marvel has “planned” for phase 9 – dogs and the evil villain LoKitty!

Take a look at that team:
phase9

With Archie as Captain America:
cap

Rutabaga as the Hulk:
hulk

Zelda as Black Widow:
blackwidow

Robot as Iron Man:
ironman

Appa as Hawkeye:
hawkeye

Mr. Miles as Thor:
thor

The Avengers movies are simply awesome, so I cannot assume a dog team could do it better. It would however be very adorable should this ever actually become a thing.

– Staff

Cute April Fools’ Day Jokes 2015

April 1 has come and gone again, did anyone get you with a good prank? As usual, many companies and websites have their own jokes online. Here are some of the cute ones, just in case you missed them!

1. PetCo – Pet selfie sticks
dogselfiestick

Why would you not want a dog on a stick selfie stick? Not to mention that you get a free cat selfie stick with the purchase of any dog selfie stick. They are activated by “woof” or “meow” commands, simple for your pet to use, interface with Facetime, and your pet can share the photos with you via the social network of their choice. Available only April 1, not sold in stores.Just look at that pet friendly design:

dogselfiestick2

2. elgooG – Google backwards

Today Google put up their search page backwards, which also displays search results backwards as well. You can find the page here. Fun for all your cute search needs:
backwardgoogle

3. The Happy Hippo Cafe
happyhippo

London’s first pop-up hippo cafe was to open this summer from June 4-11! The Cafe would feature two baby pygmy hippos named George and Bungle. You could watch the handlers feed them, then stay for food, drinks, and a Hungry Hungry Hippo Tournament.

happyhippo2

4. Cute Cloud

This year bing released the Cute Cloud, a webpage to search the cute cloud full of all things cute and furry! As the video on the page states – “The search for cute is universal.” So, search all of the cutest images, videos, and more that the internet has to offer on bing!

cutecloud

5. T-Mobile Pets Un-leashed
petsunleashed
Do your pets need smart phones or data plans? Does your carrier not offer that? Well, then dump them and head over to T-Mobile who will add your pet to your plan for only $5 a month. See the video below for more info, warning contains bad language and suggestive themes:

6. DocSend Dachshund delivery service
docsend

DocSend, a digital document delivery services, whose name sounds like the dachshund dog decided to make real life delivery possible using a highly trained dachshund. The dog will appear at your door, you strap your document to its back, and the dog will report back to you how the recipient reacted. The dog will even shred the message for you should you desire that after delivery!

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docsend3

 

Happy April Fools’ Day!

Magic Rabbit – Ili Pika

The very endangered Ili Pika (that is i-l-i), or Magic Rabbit, has been photographed in the wild for the first time in 20 years!

Take a look at the adorable creature:
llipika1
(Li Weidong)

Conservationist Li Weidong discovered the animal and named it after his hometown, he is also the one who found and photographed the animal again. He and the other members of his team are the only ones to have conducted studies and completed a census of the animal’s numbers. The population of the Ili Pika has decreased 70 percent since its discovery in 1983, it is believed less than 1000 now live in the wild. If true, the Ili Pika is rarer than the Panda. When first discovered there were thought to be 2900.

It lives in the mountain regions of Xinjiang region of China where its habitat is threatened due to climate change. They have had to move up higher in the mountains as the permanent snow recedes to high altitudes. Their numbers might also be declining due to predation and disease.

llipika2
(Li Weidong)

These guys are tiny, only about 8 inches long, but easily able to scale the bare rock walls of their mountain homes.
llipika3
(Li Weidong)

They feed on grasses that grow at high elevations. These Pikas live solitary lives, and are not as vocal as other Pika species. Not much else is known about them, as there are so few and they are so difficult to find. While the Ili Pika was listed as an endangered species in 2008, there is no official organization or team dedicated to researching or protecting it. It is also not officially recognized as a species on China’s List of Wildlife under Special State Protection. A sad reality is that these adorable creatures may become extinct in the very near future.

Screenshot 2015-03-24 at 8.42.19 PM
(Li Weidong)

Will the Ili Pika be saved from extinction? Only time will tell, as elusive as it has been it may disappear completely just as quietly.

– FT staff

Sources:
CNN – Meet the Animal that’s rarer — and cuter — than a panda
Daily Mail – Meet the ‘magic rabbit': the very cute creture which is more endangered than the panda

New Zootopia Concept Art

Disney is working on a new animated movie called Zootopia which features a city of all different kinds of animals living together. Each part of the city is specific to the varying needs of the different types of animals who call it home. The story will follow a rabbit, Officer Judy Hopps, who joins a police force of larger, stronger animals. To prove herself she teams up with a scam-artist fox to solve a mystery. Zootopia will open in theaters March 4, 2016.

Here is concept art featuring the fox Nick Wilde:
ZOOTOPIA (Working Title)
(Disney)

And here is art of the city:
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(Disney)

I am excited to see more actual art as the movies gets closer to release!

-Fizz

Slow Motion Dog in Snow

As spring starts to set in there is hope for all those still covered in snow! But, why not watch a Golden Retriever named Buddy enjoying the snow in slow motion:

You can see the individual snowflakes settling on his fur!
Screenshot 2015-03-09 at 12.02.59 PM

Just look at the floppy face and ears, and the way he seems so content!
Screenshot 2015-03-09 at 12.03.51 PM

The gorgeous flowing fur!
Screenshot 2015-03-09 at 12.06.08 PM

 

If only I could enjoy winter like that. The video is equal parts soothing and causing me to want to run and romp in freshly falling snow.

-Fizz

Ringling Brothers Circus to End Elephant Acts

In a surprising move Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, parent company Feld Entertainment, announced they are phasing out their elephant acts by 2018. While elephants have been an iconic part of their circus for a century, the decision comes amid growing pressure from the public over how the animals are treated.

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(Heinz Kluetmeier, PR Newswire)

Ringling Bros. has 13 performing elephants which will be taken to their Center for Elephant Conservation in Florida after their performances are phased out. The circus started the Center in 1995 to help preserve the highly endangered Asian Elephant. The company has 43 elephants in total, of the animals not on tour 29 live at the 200 acre facility and one is on breeding loan to the Fort Worth Zoo. This is the largest herd of Asian elephants in North America, and 26 elephants have been born at the facility. Each elephant costs $65,000 a year to take care of. At first the Center will only be open to researchers, caretakers, and other interested parties studying Asian elephants. But they hope to be able to allow the public to eventually visit for educational purposes and because it is so rare to see Asian elephants.

Ringling Bros Circus ap
(AP Photo/Field Entertainment Inc., Gary Bogdon)

Ringling Bros. will continue to use other animals in its shows including horses, dogs, and tigers. A troupe of Mongolian camel stunt riders was recently added to the Circus Xtreme show.

Horse:
circ7
(James Estrin/The New York Times)

Dog:
circ6
(James Estrin/The New York Times)

Tigers:
circ4
(James Estrin/The New York Times)

circ9
(James Estrin/The New York Times)

The executive vice president Alana Feld stated “There’s been somewhat of a mood shift among our consumers. A lot of people aren’t comfortable with us touring with our elephants.”

Chairman and CEO Kenneth Feld, of Feld Entertainment, stated:

…this is the most significant change we have made since we founded the Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant Conservation in 1995. When we did so, we knew we would play a critical role in saving the endangered Asian elephant for future generations, given how few Asian elephants are left in the wild . . .This decision was not easy, but it is in the best interest of our company, our elephants and our customers.”

Many cities have passed anti-circus or anti-elephant ordinances making it difficult to plan tours. It is also incredibly expensive for Ringling to try and fight any of these measures in court. Past legal fights include a 14 year long battle over unproven allegations that circus employees mistreated the elephants. That settlement cost $25.2 million. The false claim was filed by a former barn helper who had been paid $190,000 to do so by animal rights groups, and found to be a paid witness lacking credibility in court. The company wants all of this time, effort, and money to actually go into the conservation of Asian elephants instead.

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(James Estrin/New York Times)

The circus will now focus more on human acts of bravery and strength.

If you want to see the last of these elephant performances check out one of the Ringling’s shows before 2018. Overall, this will be better for the preservation of Asian elephants. They will live as elephants should and bring awareness through that rather than traveling and performing in an unnatural or stressful way.

How long will it be before other smaller circuses phase out their elephant acts as well?

-Fizz

Sources:
Fox 411 – Ringling Bros. Eliminating Iconic Elephant Acts from Performances
USA Today – Ringling Bros. Eliminating Elephant Acts

Guinea Pig Cosplay

Cosplay, or costume play, is a performance art where people dress up as a specific character or idea. This is very popular at conventions and other events to represent characters from genres like anime, comic books, video games, movies, and tv shows. It can be considered a nerdy interest, but it has its own subculture and is very popular.

These guinea pigs are busy being cosplayers too because humans cannot have all the fun!

Here is Chun-Li from the video game Street Fighter:
download
(chikuwa_kintoki)

Street Fighter is a massively popular game, still enjoyed by enthusiasts. Love the simple accents that make this guinea pig look just right, and the background with health meter and another fighter just makes the photo.

Sailor Moon from the anime Sailor Moon:
download (1)
(chikuwa_kintoki)

Sailor moon was popular when The Human was younger, and probably enjoys an ever larger cult following today even without being on TV anymore. There is a new series coming out in the near future, and the original series is being released on DVD/Blu-ray for the avid fan. This is a great choice as lots of humans try to pull off this look at conventions. Just look at the cute dress, prop, and hair accessories!

Nintendo’s Mario video games are still top sellers on all of the companies game systems. The characters are iconic and will continue to be at the forefront of gaming culture.

Mario:
download (2)
(chikuwa_kintoki)

Princess Peach:
download
(chikuwa_kintoki)

Toad:
download (1)
(chikuwa_kintoki)

While these three are more simplistic, a single hat can show what character you represent whether you are a human just getting into the whole cosplay thing or a guinea pig that just doesn’t want to wear a more involved costume.

Of course, there is also a photo of Mario in his gaming environment:
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(chikuwa_kintoki)

All of the above pictures are from the same Twitter feed of a user who loves guinea pigs, check out chikuwa_kintoki for lots of other adorable guinea pig pictures!

The anime Pokemon has been popular for over ten years, along with the video and card games, and if you don’t have the crafting skills to make your own costume you can purchase the two pictured below online from CuddlyCavies.

Pikachu – only $13:
pikachu
(Cuddlycavies)

Charmander – slightly more expensive but still worth it at $14:
charmander-pig
(Cuddlycavies)

I don’t think Star Wars will ever be less popular than it is now, especially with more movies on the way and Disney owing the franchise. Below is Chewbacca the guinea pig, dressed appropriately as Chewbacca:
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(Chewbaccapig)

Check out Chewbacca’s tumbler or twitter for more cute guinea pig photos.

Thor is super popular right now with Marvel’s live action movies and The Avengers:
thor_by_dessyng
(DeSSyng on Deviantart)

Captain America – another Marvel superhero with his own movies and a part of The Avengers:
my_guineapig_as_captain_america_by_dessyng-d5gk48i
(DeSSyng on Deviantart)

Harry Potter from the Harry Potter book series by J.K. Rowling:
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(Guinea Pigs in Hats)

The buzz for the movies might be over but the Harry Potter books will continue to be popular literature. Just look at the tiny lightning bolt on the guinea pig’s forehead, so cute!

Doctor Who from the TV series Doctor Who:
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(bostonflavor)

Doctor Who is enjoying increasing popularity here in the states! Love the tiny fez and bow tie.

Such tiny costumes require creativity, minimalism, and willing guinea pigs to model them. With so many different genres to choose from there are many wonderful costume ideas out there, both that have been done before and those that have not for anyone who enjoys a challenge. Does your guinea pig or pet cosplay?

-Fizz

Post initial inspired by: “These Guinea Pigs Cosplay Better Than You

Weasel flying on a Woodpecker?!

Have you seen this amazing photograph?

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(Martin Le-May)

That is a weasel clinging to the back of a green woodpecker in flight!

These photos of a weasel attacking a woodpecker were taken in Hornchurch County Park in Essex when the photographer Martin Le-May was out with his wife searching for Green Woodpeckers. They saw a flash of green feathers and heard the bird squawking. Upon further investigation they discovered the bird was in a fight for its life. The weasel attempting to make the bird its meal was lifted into the air on the woodpecker’s back as the bird tried to escape. Miraculously, the bird did escape!

Here is the fight and initial take off:
stream_img (1)

stream_img (2)
(Martin Le-May)

This photographer was very lucky to be in the right place at the right time, and the woodpecker is even more lucky to have escaped! Weasels are light weight but fearless predators that usually prey on rabbits. So while the ground feeding Green Woodpecker looked appealing the weasel was a little out of its element. The bird was able to take off and fly with the weasel on its back because of how light they are.

stream_img (3)
(Martin Le-May)

Here is the firsthand account of the photographer from iTV News:

It was a sunny afternoon, with the occasional cloud making the Hornchurch Country Park seem that grey brown dull winter colour even though it was the 2nd March.

My wife, Ann, and I had gone for a walk. I had hoped that she might see a green woodpecker as she has not really seen one before.

As we walked we heard a distressed squawking and I saw that flash of green. So hurriedly I pointed out to Ann the bird and it settled into the grass behind a couple of small silver birch trees. Both of us trained our binoculars and it occurred that the woodpecker was unnaturally hopping about like it was treading on a hot surface. Lots of wing flapping showing that gloriously yellow/white colour interspersed with the flash of red head feathers. Just after I switched from my binoculars to my camera the bird flew across us and slightly in our direction; suddenly it was obvious it had a small mammal on its back and this was a struggle for life.

The woodpecker landed in front of us and I feared the worst. I guess though our presence, maybe 25 metres away, momentarily distracted the weasel. The woodpecker seized the opportunity and flew up and away into some bushes away to our left. Quickly the bird gathered its self respect and flew up into the trees and away from our sight.

The woodpecker left with its life, the weasel just disappeared into the long grass, hungry.

– MARTIN LE-MAY, PHOTOGRAPHER

Nature is all around us, you never know what you might find when you start to pay attention!

-Fizz

Sources:
iTV News
BBC News