Pet Scoop: Animals Get Loose on Staten Island, Elusive Cat Photo Wins Contest

Nov. 30, 2012: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

Razzi the zebra chases Casper the pony on Staten Island.
Razzi the zebra chases Casper the pony on Staten Island.

Zebra and Pony Escape in New York

It’s not something you see every day on New York City’s Staten Island: a pony and a zebra trotting down a busy street. Their owner, Giovanni Schirripa, left a gate open after feeding the 14-year-old pony, Casper, and the 4-month-old zebra, Razzi, on Wednesday, and the two took off for a morning romp around town. A storeowner grabbed his iPhone to video the pair when he saw them running through a parking lot. “They came around and they were galloping,” said Zachary Osher. “The pony was in the lead, and the zebra was behind.” The fugitives were rounded up by police and returned to their owner — but the city’s health department is investigating whether Schirripa had a permit to keep the animals. — Read it and watch it at The New York Times

Plus: The zebra and pony weren't the only animals on the loose this week. Kids at a school in the Rostov region of Russia got some hands-on wildlife education when they found a 5-month-old lion cub on the steps of their school. The cub had apparently escaped from a car while on the way to a zoo. Their teacher kept the baby in the school gym until authorities were able to retrieve it and put it in a local zoo. — Read it from AP via the Huffington Post

New Snake Discovered in Ecuador

A long, slender snake species has been identified by a group of zoologists at a university in Ecuador. The Imantodes chocoensis in the seventh newest species in the genera of blunt-headed vine snakes known as Imantodes. The group differs from other New World snakes in that they have very thin bodies, disproportionately slender necks, large eyes, and blunt heads, and are generally found in an area comprising Mexico and Argentina. The study was published in the journal ZooKeys. — Read it at Science Daily

Wintering Whales Visit Ireland

On their annual winter visit to Baltimore Harbor in western Ireland, humpback whales arrived in record numbers, putting on a show for tourists. Even the local whale watchers said it was unusual to see so many of the spectacular creatures in one place. More and more boats full of tourists arrived to watch as the whales jumped and dived for about an hour. — Watch it at Today

A camera trap captured this photo of the Bolivian wild cat in July.
A camera trap captured this photo of the Bolivian wild cat in July.

Rare Cat Photo Wins Competition

A photo of an oncilla, a rarely seen Bolivian wild cat, won the New Discoveries category of a camera trap photography competition run by the magazine BBC Wildlife. Little is known about the elusive spotted cat species, which is about the size of a house cat. It was photographed in July by a camera trap set up by researchers with the Wildlife Conservation Society in Madidi National Park. This evidence of the oncilla brings the number of confirmed cat species in the park to six, with two more awaiting confirmation. — Read it at Live Science

Stars Flaunt Their Furry Friends

The latest must-have accessory in Hollywood? A pup (or two). Check out these celebs (including Bradley Cooper, Anne Hathaway, and John Legend) and their four-legged companions in this People Pets photo gallery. — See it at People Pets

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