Panda Cupcakes

Here is a fun way to decorate cupcakes to look like panda bears, courtesy of Bakerella.

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(Bakerella)

Ingredients to make mini cupcakes:
1. cupcake mix – for as many cupcakes as you want or need.
chocolate flavor creates a complete look, but you can do any flavor.
2. chocolate chips – to make the ears, nose, and eye base. Ghiradelli brand has better diameter for this purpose, or another of comparable size.
3. white frosting –  enough for all your cupcakes.
4. white sanding sugar – to give the texture of fur.
5. Jimmies – chocolate or black to make mouth lines.
6. white pastel confetti sprinkles – for the white of the eye.
7. black edible ink pen – to draw pupils on the white sprinkles.

Note: If you wanted to make larger panda cupcakes just tweak the ingredients to use chocolate drops or large chocolate chips (which you might have to cut in half for the nose), larger or more sprinkles for the mouths, and use premade candy eyes or get creative with a circle of icing or fondant with a black sphere sprinkle or black edible ink circle for pupils. The process of putting them together would be the same.

Instructions:
1. Make your cupcakes according to your favorite recipe or the box in a mini cupcake pan (hey sometimes we all need to save a little time). Allow to cool.

2. Frost the cupcakes with the white frosting. A decorator bag with Ateco tip #807 will help to pipe a small mound of frosting on top of the cupcake. You do not need to cover the whole top because you will be pressing them in to the sanding sugar which will force the mound out to cover the whole top.

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(Bakerella)

3. Press the frosted cupcakes into the sanding sugar to spread the frosting and create a fur like texture.

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(Bakerella)

4. Press chocolate chips into the frosting to create the face. One should go sideways, point facing downward, towards the bottom of the face to create the nose. Two should go point down into the frosting above that to make the base for the eyes.  And two should go into the sides of the frosting, point down, to create ears.

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(Bakerella)

5. Press the Jimmies into the frosting to create any type of mouth you want.

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(Bakerella)

6. Finish the eyes by drawing circles on the confetti sprinkles and then attach them to the chocolate chip base with a bit of frosting. Or use frosting to make the eyes, or attach premade candy eyes.

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(Bakerella)

7. Make sure each face is how you would like them. Having the sanding sugar over the frosting also allows you to reshape the frosting to get your desired look.

8. Serve and enjoy!

This design is really cute and allows you to do your own take on just how a panda should look. Great for kids parties or just because!

– Fizz

You can see more pictures and get Bakerella’s cupcake and frosting recipes here.

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.

Marmot Face

Greenpeace set up a GoPro camera to take a time lapse video of the beautiful landscape of Glacier National Park to make a statement about preserving it. What they got instead turned out to be something unexpected:

A marmot wanders up to the camera and licks it all over! It seems to just meander up and then investigate the camera like it is something tasty. Glad that something dangerous was not placed into his environment instead. This footage still serves to show how much this area needs protection, and the creatures that call it home.

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– Fizz

Steampunk Guinea Pig Wings

Are you or your guinea pig interested in Steampunk? Need some wings?

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This costume was created by SkyPiratesCreations on Etsy and cost $75.60. The leather armor in the pictures was created specifically for this guinea, and what is created for you will be unique and to your pet’s measurements.

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Caution: not for long term wear! A few pictures and something of this size should be removed from your guinea’s back.

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I for one wouldn’t want to wear this, a shirt perhaps, but nothing this large!

-Cola

If you are interested in human size steampunk clothing items you can also find those at SkyPirateCreations on Etsy and Facebook.

Dog Elected Mayor

Meet Duke, a 7 year old dog who was elected mayor of Cormorant Minnesota:

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(myfoxny)

Duke won by a landslide vote, from the 12 people who live in Cormorant who each paid $1 to vote. After winning he received 5 hours of grooming and a cute outfit with a bandanna and hat.

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(myfoxny)

Duke doesn’t have any true formal governmental duties and will receive a year’s supply of dog food donated from a local pet store.

If you lived in a small town/village without a true governmental body, would you vote for a dog to be your mayor? Other Minnesota towns in the same position have elected strange mayors, like a three year old.

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(myfoxny)

Personally, I think that a guinea pig could also do a good job. I mean, we cannot do guard duty like a dog can, but we are really cute! Carrots and hay for all!

— Fizz

Goodbye Robin Williams

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He brought so much laughter to the world, and he is missed by so many. Depression is a heavy burden. Even those who seem to have it all together, making others laugh, can really be hurting on the inside. May his sad passing help others who are depressed know that even though they may feel alone, they are not. There are so many people who want to help – family, friends, and even medical professionals. If you are in the US, and feel you have no one to talk to, the National Suicide Prevention number is 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Goodbye Robin Williams, may you rest in peace.

Wednesday Woof! – Future Guide Dogs

Today’s Woof is a family of adorable lab pups hopefully destined to be guide dogs.

Just check them out with their little signs that display each dog’s name:
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(reddit)

How in the world did they get this picture? Between having all the puppies stay in one place, to having all the signs also stay standing, this is pure puppy craziness! Maybe some Photoshop magic?

Best luck to these pups!

-Cola

Baby Dormice

These orphaned baby dormice were rescued in 2012 and taken to rescue facility over a hundred miles away by a person in England.

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Dormice are an endangered species, and these six babies were lucky enough to be found by someone who knew about them. The facility they were taken to is called Secret World, a facility that specializes in rescuing and rehabilitation of British wildlife.

These photos of the babies playing on Thistle are simply adorable:
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You can see more photos at the Daily Mail.

– Fizz

Save Arturo

Arturo the polar bear currently lives in the Mendoza Zoo in Argentina, and he appears to be rather depressed. So much so that he has been called the world’s saddest animal and his case has received international attention.

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(facebook.com/SavePolarBearArthur)

The problem appears to be that he is living in an inappropriate climate, in an enclosure with little water, and he recently lost his polar bear companion. Now he is displaying depressed behaviors like laying around, pacing, and rocking from side to side. Activists have been trying to move Arturo to a place better suited to care for him in Canada, the Assiniboine Park Conservancy, where he could be with others of his kind.

So far everything has fallen through and it seems the zoo which has him does not really wish to have him go anywhere else. The Conservancy was willing to make the risky move even with Arturo’s advanced age, but the zoo could not provide the bear’s updated medical records. Arturo’s case has taken on international attention with Facebook pages, a petition on change.org, and a Greenpeace petition that will be given to the Argentinean president.

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(AFP/Getty Images)

A more recent report on Arturo from NPR states that the Mendoza Zoo believes he is too old (28 or 29 years old) to be sedated and taken to the facility in Canada. They have cared for him this long, and removing him from his current caretakers could further depress him. A group of vets in Argentina has also reviewed the situation and also determined that Arturo is too old for the move.

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(facebook.com/SavePolarBearArthur)

It seems that this sad bear will live out his days alone. Whether moving him would be the best for Arturo we can only hope that he is well taken care of for the remainder of his life.

-Cola and Fizz

Baby Owl Learning to Fly

So our human says we need to get serious about this whole blog thing, but guinea pigs are not really serious creatures. She keeps feeding us all these topics, but we just want treats. Hopefully we will work this out in the near future and post more often – with treats.

For the moment, have a baby owl trying to fly:
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(imgur)

So close but so far! One day those wings will work just right.

And for a bonus, here are a couple more fuzzy baby owls:
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(funfus.com)

Because really, fuzzy owl chicks can make a lot of people smile.

– Cola and Fizz