Pet Scoop: Chimp Wins $10,000 in Art Contest, Western Lowland Gorilla Born at Zoo Atlanta

September 3, 2013: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

Primate Paints With His Tongue

Who needs a paint brush? Certainly not Brent, a 37-year-old chimpanzee from Kentville, La., who took home the top prize of $10,000 for his sanctuary, Chimp Haven, in a primate painting contest. Brent, who creates his unique artwork by applying blobs of child-safe tempera paint onto a canvas with his tongue, is a retired lab animal who loves to “laugh and play.” Chimp Haven will use the proceeds to expand its facility and prepare for new residents. Brent’s painting, along with the other entries, will be auctioned off on Ebay, with proceeds benefiting the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance. — Read it at People Pets

Study: Smallest Frogs Use Mouth to Hear

For years scientists have been puzzled by the Gardiner's frog’s ability to croak and hear other frogs — even though they don’t possess a middle ear with an eardrum. But a recent study of X-rays found that this type of frog — one of the world’s smallest — are using their mouth cavity and tissue to transmit sound to their inner ears. "The combination of a mouth cavity and bone conduction allows Gardiner's frogs to perceive sound effectively without use of a tympanic middle ear," says Renaud Boistel, the lead author of the study, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. — Read it at Science Daily

Swamp Metalmark Butterfly
Courtesy of the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

Scientists Release Locally Extinct Butterflies in Illinois

For the first time in more than 70 years, Swamp Metalmark butterflies can be seen spreading their wings in northern Illinois. Scientists from the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum released 18 of the glittery gold insects at Bluff Spring Fen, a 100-acre Nature Preserve in Elgin. “This is a butterfly on the brink of extinction and it will be so rewarding to watch the Swamp Metalmark repopulate in its natural environment and add to our rich, urban ecosystem,” said Deborah Lahey, President and CEO of the Chicago Academy of Sciences and its Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.

Atlanta Welcomes Baby Gorilla

Last week, Sukari, a 15-year-old western lowland gorilla, gave birth to a female infant — a grandchild of the legendary late Willie B. — at Zoo Atlanta. “We’re thrilled about Sukari’s new addition, not only because this is a critically endangered species, but also because western lowland gorillas are a very special part of our history and our collection,” said Raymond B. King, the zoo's president and CEO. “Willie B. was the face of the Zoo for two generations of Atlantans, and his legacy is very much in evidence today — particularly with the arrival of his newest grandchild.” The newborn is the second offspring for Sukari and 24-year-old silverback Taz. — Read it at Zoo Atlanta

New Company Lets You Rent Chickens

If you’ve been thinking about jumping into the latest urban farming trend, but aren’t sure you’re ready for the commitment of raising chickens, now you can test drive it. Rent the Chicken, owned by Freeport, Pa., couple Phil and Jenn Thompkins, will deliver two laying hens, a coop, all the feed they’ll need and a water dish right to your doorstop in May — and then pick it all up in November for a one-time fee of $350. If you’ve decided chicken farming is for you, you can buy the chickens and keep them through the winter. — Read it at MSN

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