Dog on a Treadmill

Have you seen the video of Munchkin, the Shih Tzu, dressed like a teddy bear and walking on a treadmill?

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Munchkin is kind of a big deal on YouTube, dressed of course in that cute bear costume:

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(facebook)

The costume itself is actually a teddy bear which is the right size and fur color for Munchkin with its stuffing removed (except for the arms), face cut off, and the feet removed so the dog wears it on the front half of her body. There is also a little bit of velcro on the bears neck to keep it on and closed up in the back. You could easily do this for your own dog if you so desired, and can find a teddy bear to fit.

The only other things we know about Munchkin are that she is 8 pounds and lives in California. You can follow her on Facebook here or Instagram at munchkintheshihtzu.

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(facebook)

Enjoy, hope it helps bring you a little cheer the evening before Thanksgiving!
– Fizz

2014 Wildlife Photographer of the Year Winners

The competition honors nature photographers from around the world and is hosted by the British Natural History Museum and the BBC. Professional, amateur, and young photographers can enter their photographs.

The overall winner (and winner of the black and white category) is a shot of lions and their cubs, “The Last Great Photograph,” by American Michael Nichols:

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Michael Nichols is an award winning photographer who works as an editor for National Geographic, you can read more about him here.

The winner in the mammal category is “The Mouse, The Moon, and The Mosquito” by Alex Badyaev:
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A beautiful shot with the play of light and shadow on such small subjects.

The winner of the birds category is “Herons in Time and Space” by Bence Mate:
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The photographer went to great lengths to get an amazing shot of these grey herons in Hungary. He used two timing devices for his camera, one to move the focus and one to adjust aperture. It took 74 nights before the conditions were right to get a photograph of both the herons and the stars in the sky.

The winner of the world in our hands category is “The Price They Pay” by Bruno D’Amicis:
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Selling fennec foxes is illegal in Tunisa but it is still widespread. In the above photograph a teenager offers this young fenec fox for sale after it was recently dug out of its den in the desert. Issues like this are important to understand when considering the obstacles many endangered species face from humans.

You can see more winners here, and all of the entries at the Wildlife Photographer of the Year website. Below are some more images that I wanted to share from the competition.

A finalist in the mammals category, “Intimacy,” by Michael Nichols.
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A finalist in the birds category is “touche” by Jan van der Greef:
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The hummingbird with the long beak is called a sword-billed hummingbird. It is the only bird with a bill longer than its body.

A finalist in the 11 – 14 year old competition title “Owlets United” by Sitara Karthikeyan:
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A finalist in the 15 – 17 year old competition titled “Snowbird” by Edwin Sahlin:
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Here are a couple of the People’s Choice Award finalists which is a new special award:
“Feel Safe” by Juan Carlos Mimo Perez
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“Red Deer and Cranes” by Marek Kosinski
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If you like these photos I highly suggest you check out the rest of the finalists and winners at the Natural History Museum’s website.

-Fizz

Shake Hands With An Otter

Otters are playful and adorable. Or so states the human, who has pictures of these creatures playing and I suppose being cute. Have you ever wanted to touch one? This is not something one gets the opportunity to do everyday.

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(imgur)

The Keikyu Aburatsubo Marine Park in Japan has a special exhibit set up for their otters called “Otter Finger Touch, Fish Catch.” Visitors pay 500 yen, or $5, to offer a fish at special holes in the glass enclosure to lure an otter to put a paw through to possibly touch your finger and to definitely get a fish.

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(rocketnews24)

The exhibit opened July 13, 2014, and only runs until September 13, 2014, so if interested you need to act quickly. Visitors are encouraged to make a reservation in order to guarantee an opportunity to try for an otter hand shake. The exhibit is open for all those who enter the park to see the otters, but the touch experience has a morning and evening session with a max of 10 people. I am not sure if it is 10 each session or ten total for the day. Of course, you need to be in Japan or able to travel there for this experience.

Here are pictures from reporter Meru Rinko‘s trip to the exhibit:
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(rocketnews24)

Some species of otters can be vicious, people are attacked by them, so I would not advocate just trying to offer fish to wild otters. The otters in the exhibit are Asian Small Clawed Otters, the smallest species, who have little finger like toes with small claws unlike the webbed feet of the larger North American River Otter. Asian Small Clawed Otters are a vulnerable species due to habitat loss, and are now extinct in some areas which used to have large populations. You can of course see this type of otter in the US at places like Seaworld and the San Diego Zoo, but no other place offers finger touches.

Baby Asian Small Clawed Otters:
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(zooborns)

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(animalfactguide)

Adult:

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(zoochat)

This is a very unique opportunity for otter lovers, so take advantage of it if you can!

-Cola

You can read more here to get details of when/where/how and see even more photos of that reporter’s trip here.

Penguin Ice Cream Bars

Looking for a way to have some fun with your kids? Or if you just love penguins, here is an easy way to make a regular ice cream bar even more fun! Not that ice cream really needs any help…

Penguin Ice Cream Bars from Handmade Charlotte

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(HandmadeCharlotte)

Ingredients:
Chocolate Covered Ice Cream Bars (as many as you would like to make, those with a curved top make a more convincing penguin but any bar would work)
Candy Eyes (two for each bar)
Orange Slice Candy (only a couple should work out for quite few depending on how you cut them)
Oreos – cookie halves removed (each whole oreo makes wings for two bars)
White Candy Melts (one bag should be enough unless you are making a lot)

Instructions:
1. Wait to remove the ice cream bars from your freezer until you have everything prepared.

2. Take the oreos and remove the cream center. Cut each cookie half down the center with a knife to make the wings for your penguin.
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(HandmadeCharlotte)

3. Make beaks for your penguins by cutting the Orange Slice into triangles with kitchen scissors.
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(HandmadeCharlotte)

4. Melt 6 ounces of the candy melts in a microwave safe dish, and put into a small piping bag or squeeze bottle.

5. Remove ice cream bars from freezer and remove from individual packaging.

6. Using the candy melt draw a large oval on the front lower portion of the bar to be the penguins tummy.

7. Use the candy melt to attach the wings, eyes and beak by dabbing on the back of each and then pressing lightly onto the bar.
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(HandmadeCharlotte)

8. Place the bars back into the freezer to set up before serving.

9. Enjoy!

These are super cute, great for parties or just because!

-Fizz

Pink Fairy Armadillo

The pink fairy armadillo is the smallest armadillo species, and very elusive. So much so that those researching the animal do not have enough data on their numbers to know if they need to be classified as endangered. Many researchers have never seen one in the wild, just the animal’s tracks.

It lives only in Argentina, in dry grasslands and sandy plains. They are nocturnal, and spend most of their time burrowing underground for food but they do come out of their burrows to eat insects like ants. They grow up to six inches long and have fine white hair on their body with a hard outer covering running down their back that flushes pink. It also has a flat plate on its behind that is unique to this species with a little tail they can use to stabilize themselves:

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(source sciencenews.org)

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(wired)

These animals do not like being held in captivity, with trouble adapting to an artificial diet. They are very picky eaters and most taken in by humans (as pets or because they are injured) die in about 8 days. But one pink fairy (and only this particular individual) brought to a researcher because it could not be set free was willing to eat a goo made from milk, cat food, and a half of a banana. This little guy really helped researchers learn more about pink fairy armadillos in its 8 months of terrarium life. It was once believed that these little guys “swim” through dirt with a movement like swimming in water. But the captive pink fairy would dig with its claws for a bit, then back up, and compact the sand with its flat butt plate.

It is fascinating to think there are still creatures this elusive out there for us to learn about. Pink Fairies are cute, I hope that researchers are able to properly get a grasp on their numbers and assure that this creature is around for future generations. Finally, as they cannot be kept alive in captivity they have to be kept truly free and any attempts to preserve the population would have to start in the wild. A wild animal should remain wild, and this one can only exist as it was meant to be.

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(sciencenews.org)

Sources:
Pink Fairy Armadillo – Wikipedia
Pink Armadillos Ain’t Your Texas Critter – ScienceNews

–Fizz Pig

Cute Super Bowl Commercials 2014

It is game day again, and we here at FT were watching for all the cute commercials.

On par with the past few years I have been disappointed with the quality of the commercials. Too few cute ones with some where you cannot believe the company was willing to spend millions to get that spot. Others had great potential only to include really odd content which prevented me from posting them, like the Muppets car commercial or Chobani bear commercial. Wonder when Coca-Cola will create another polar bear or seal commercial (their ad was very good, just not cute).

My cute picks:

1. Audi – Doberhuahua

This is kind of the feeling I get when people go crazy over new designer breeds. Not always, but sometimes. This commercial is sort of cute, and definitely sends a good message to take care when choosing your next dog so it fits your family and life style.

2. Budweiser – Puppy Love

How can you not love a commercial with an adorable puppy trying to come back to its horse friend? So much to love about this one!

Here is a video about training the animals:

Honorable mention:

1. Cheerios

I like the little girl’s style, go for that puppy!

2. Carmax – puppy version of their commercial

This is an honorable mention because I don’t think this actually played on tv, I think it was only online.  But this is just like the human version of the commercial, but with lots of puppies doing adorable things!

There was not much more to share from this one guys, sorry about that! Maybe next year will be better?

Arctic Fox

The guinea pigs are back!

Sorry for the lack of posts this past week, had personal matters to attend to.

Arctic Foxes are so furry and adorable. Here is picture of a fox from Iceland:
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(source)

I love the fuzzy fur all over!

— Cola Pig

Ferret in a Watering Can

I think ferrets are adorable! A few friends of mine have owned them but only explain they wont own any again. Not sure why they didn’t like them, but they seem like awesome pets as far as interaction, play, and care go. Of course, this house hold is ruled by guinea pigs!

In any event, here is a picture of a ferret in a watering can:
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(source)

So photogenic!