Pet Scoop: 35,000 Walruses Come Ashore in Alaska, Westminster Adds Two New Breeds

Oct. 2, 2014: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

An estimated 35,000 Pacific walrus have come ashore in Alaska because of a lack of sea ice.
Corey Accardo, NOAA
An estimated 35,000 Pacific walrus have come ashore in Alaska because of a lack of sea ice.

Photos Show Stunning Haul-out

Pacific walruses are coming ashore in northwest Alaska in record numbers because they can’t find enough sea ice to rest on. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration spotted the estimated 35,000 animals huddled together during an annual marine mammal aerial survey Saturday. The walruses were first seen in the area Sept. 13 and have been moving on and off shore. Officials say about 50 of the animals have died, possibly in a stampede. Walruses must take breaks from swimming and use their tusks to haul themselves out onto ice or rocks. Females give birth on sea ice and use it as a platform to dive for food. "The walruses are telling us what the polar bears have told us and what many indigenous people have told us in the high Arctic, and that is that the Arctic environment is changing extremely rapidly and it is time for the rest of the world to take notice and also to take action to address the root causes of climate change,” said Margaret Williams of the World Wildlife Fund. — Read it from AP via Yahoo

Study: Bearded Lizards Imitate Action

Scientists from the U.K.’s University of Lincoln have captured the first evidence of imitation in a reptile species. After watching one bearded lizard demonstrate how to open a wire door to get to a reward, the bearded lizards who observed the action were able to imitate it. All of the lizards who watched the demonstrator lizard were able to open the door, but none of the lizards in a control group that didn’t see the demonstration were able to complete the task. The study was published in the journal Animal Cognition. — Watch it at Live Science

Sneaky New Ant Species Found in Brazil

The mirror turtle ant, Cephalotes specularis, was discovered in Brazil by George Washington University’s Scott Powell. The new species is a master spy. In two years of observation, he found that the mirror turtle ant was able to infiltrate the territory of an aggressive ant species by acting just like it. It copied the other species’ body movements and avoided getting too close so its scent wasn’t revealed to the enemy. Then, it was able to feed from the other ants’ food trails and food supply. It’s the first ant species known to use mimicry to live off another ant species. Powell’s findings were published in the journal The American Naturalist. — Read it at Discovery News

Falko, left, a wire-haired Vizsla, and Luna, a Coton de Tulear, pose on stage with their owners Tuesday.
Falko, left, a Wirehaired Vizsla, and Luna, a Coton de Tulear, pose on stage with their owners Tuesday.

Westminster Adds Two New Breeds

There will be two new faces at the 2015 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show: the Wirehaired Vizsla and the Coton de Tulear. The wirehaired Vizsla originated as a hardy hunter from Hungary, and the Coton de Tulear is a small companion dog known as the "royal dog of Madagascar." Breeds are added to the competition after they’re recognized by the American Kennel Club, which has criteria including having several hundred of the dogs registered in the U.S. The pair brings the number of breeds in the Westminster show to 180. It takes place in New York City on February 16 and 17. — Read it from the AP via People Pets

Opossum Rescued From Washington Store

Humane Wildlife Services was recently called to a store in Washington, D.C., to find a wayward opossum. The animal had fallen through a ceiling panel and then disappeared — although there was evidence that he was there, getting into merchandise. After days of searching the HWS found the little guy hiding out in a bag, dehydrated and malnourished. The opossum was brought to City Wildlife, where he was fed and given fluids for six days, until he was strong enough to be released back into the wild. “We were thrilled to give this little guy a second chance of being one of our wild neighbors,” said John Griffin of the Humane Society of the United States. — Watch it at YouTube


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