Pet Scoop: Capybara Adopts Dachshund Pups, Panda Cub Plays in the Snow

March 20, 2012: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

Cheesecake the capybara plays mom to Doxie puppies.
Cheesecake the capybara plays mom to Doxie puppies.
Abandoned Litter Finds New Mom

Two weeks ago, a litter of eight Dachshund mix puppies was left in a plastic container outside a church. Four of them were picked up for adoption, but the remaining four are now feeling the love from a stand-in mom — Cheesecake the capybara. (Capybaras are the world’s largest rodent.) “Cheesecake adores ‘her’ puppies!” wrote Janice Wolf, founder of the Rocky Ridge Refuge in Arkansas, on Facebook, where she shared photos of the pups snuggling with the maternal creature. — Read it at ABC News

Rare Chicks Hatch in N.Y. Zoo

Three endangered maleo chicks have hatched at the Bronx Zoo. The birds bury their large eggs in sand, then walk off, leaving them to incubate on their own. At the zoo, the keepers removed the eggs from the sand to place them in an incubator, where they could control the temperature precisely. The rare birds are native to the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia, and the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo is the only place off the island where they can be seen. “Their land is encroached upon, their eggs are hunted for food, so maleos are extremely rare,” said Mary Iorizzo, collections manager at the zoo. “Here at the Bronx Zoo, it takes a village to raise a maleo.” — Read it at The New York Times

Male Lions Are Ambush Hunters

While it’s often the female lions who get the credit for bringing home the food, new research finds that males are good hunters, too. Using 3D maps and a GPS overlay to study the habits of a pride of seven lions in South Africa, researchers found that while lionesses usually work in groups to stalk their prey in open grassy areas, the males work on their own to ambush their prey, springing out from behind shrubs and trees in areas with dense vegetation. The study, by researchers at the Carnegie Institution for Science, was published in the journal Animal Behavior. — Read it at Live Science

The San Diego Zoo's panda cub gets a chance to play in snow.
The San Diego Zoo's panda cub gets a chance to play in snow.

Panda Cub Gets a Snow Day

At nearly 8 months old, Xiao Liwu, the San Diego Zoo’s baby panda, got to romp around in the snow on Tuesday. While pandas experience the white stuff in their native China, the ones living in Southern California don’t see much of it. The 30,000 pounds of snow was delivered to the panda exhibit thanks to the generosity of donors. The cub, whose name means “Little Gift,” had fun climbing all over his mom, Bai Yun, and wrestling with her in the snow. “I'm sure the young ones play with it in their natural habitat, too," said Megan Owens, a conservation program specialist with San Diego Zoo Global.— Read it at San Diego’s ABC 10 News and watch it at ABC News

Piper the Cat Draws Fans

She lives at the bottom of a pipe in the Atlanta Belt Line, right off a busy trail. But Piper the cat has her own Facebook page, Twitter account, and even her own mailbox for snail mail, which is stuffed with cards and letters that have been hand-delivered by her admirers. The kitty will poke her head out for those who bring food, but if you come to pay homage while she’s trying to nap, prepare to be ignored. — Watch it at CNN

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