Pet Scoop: Bunny Hopping Championship, D.C. Zoo Employee Found Guilty of Cat Poisoning

November 1, 2011: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos for you to chew on. And it's all right here.

European rabbit hopping championship
Getty Images
Lada Sipova-Krecova, the winner of the European Rabbit Hopping Championship, leads her long-eared charge over a hurdle. 
Rabbits Compete in Hopping Championship

We may have just celebrated Halloween, but these bunnies look like they’re ready for Easter already. Rabbit hopping contests are a growing trend in central Europe — and 55 bunnies hopped to it in the first European Rabbit Hopping Championship in Switzerland this week. (Cutest rabbits ever!) Think the trend will hop across the pond? — See the photos at Yahoo

National Zoo Employee Guilty of Attempted Cat Poisoning

Nico Dauphine, a postdoctoral fellow at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, was caught on a security camera removing a plastic bag from her purse and dropping poison into a bowl of cat food left out for stray felines in her Washington, D.C., neighborhood. Dauphine repeatedly denied putting rat poison in the food, and her lawyer claimed she was simply removing the food to keep cats from congregating in the area. It didn't help her case that she had published work about the “slaughter” of birds by cats, which was used against her. The Superior Court judge said Dauphine had the “motive and opportunity” to poison the feral cats, and found her guilty of attempted cruelty to animals. — Read it at the Washington Post

Bigger Birds in Central California Linked to Climate Change

Everything’s bigger in California — including the birds. Researchers who've been studying thousands of birds in central California were “completely surprised” to find that, over the last 27 to 40 years, the birds have grown longer wings and increased their mass. The scientists said the birds had bulked up due to climate change, including the possibility that they're storing more fat to cope with severe weather patterns and changes in the region’s plant growth. — Read it at Science Daily

Deer Mating Season Means More Collisions With Cars

Could the most dangerous animal in North America be the deer? According to a report in USA Today, more deer-car collisions happen in November than any other month because it’s peak deer mating season. For the fifth year in a row, West Virginia topped the list of states where drivers are most likely to hit a deer, but it's not alone. Check out a map that shows the regions of the U.S. with the highest risk. — Read it at USA Today

Cat walks on hind legs, with human help
YouTube

Cat Walks on Two Legs — With Some Human Help

How’s this for a catwalk? This feline has a dead serious look on her face as someone walks with her, while holding her front paws in their hands and her hind legs on top of their feet. It’s 24 seconds that are sure to make you smile. — Watch the video at People Pets

Tarra the Elephant Loses Her Best Dog Friend

In 2003, Bella the stray dog and Tarra the elephant became pals at The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. The pair ate, played and slept together — and even made national headlines after they were featured by CBS News in 2009. Sadly, the sanctuary believes that Bella was attacked by wild animals last week, and Tarra carried her best friend's body back to the barn where she lived. "Tarra was a true friend to the end,” said the sanctuary’s CEO. — Read it at People Pets

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