Pet Scoop: Cold Sea Turtles Flown South, Cat Shelter Battles to Stay Open in Rome

Dec. 10, 2012: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

Volunteers lift a 55-pound loggerhead turtle from its pool for medical attention at the New England Aquarium's Animal Care Center.
Volunteers lift a sea turtle at the New England Aquarium's Animal Care Center.

Hypothermic Sea Turtles Rescued in Massachusetts

The New England Aquarium has rescued more than 200 sea turtles from Cape Cod beaches this fall due to hypothermia. To handle the influx, the Coast Guard flew more than two dozen cold-stunned sea turtles from New England to Orlando, Fla., on Friday. Twenty of them are being treated at SeaWorld Orlando, and the remaining eight were taken in by other Florida facilities. The sea turtles delayed their departure from Cape Cod Bay this year because of unseasonably warm temperatures in November. But when the water temperatures saw a sudden drop, the hypothermic turtles and washed ashore in need of help. Officials say the rescued turtles will be returned to their natural habitat when the water is warmer. — Read it from the AP via Yahoo News

Beloved Roman Shelter Faces Closure

A catfight in Rome is attracting international attention. Archaeology officials in Italy have issued an eviction notice for the Torre Argentina Cat Shelter Association, which sits adjacent to the ruins of ancient temples in the middle of the city. The archaeological officials say that the shelter, which has been in place for two decades, is illegal, but the cats themselves can stay. But the shelter’s dismayed workers are flabbergasted. "If I leave these cats here, who sterilizes them?” asks Lia Dequel, one of the shelter's founders. “They wouldn't go to doctor and say, 'Hi, doctor, sterilize me,' or 'vaccinate me,' or [to] be fed." A petition to the country’s Culture Ministry to keep the shelter, which has cared for 27,000 cats in the last 10 years, has about 6,500 signatures. — Read it at NPR

Birds’ Behavior Influenced by Hatching Order

Much like humans, a new study finds that birth order — or in this case, hatching order — can affect how birds behave as adults. Researchers from the Lancaster Environment Centre in the U.K. discovered that the youngest members of zebra finch broods are more adventurous in their adult lives than their older siblings. Zebra finches can be born up to four days apart but share the same nest and compete for food. As part of the study, researchers found that the youngest offspring approached unfamiliar bird feeders significantly more often than their peers. The study was published in the journal Animal Behaviour. — Read it at Science Daily

A group of six penguins dressed as Santa's helpers parades through a Tokyo aquarium.
Penguins dressed as Santa's helpers parades through a Tokyo aquarium.

Penguins Play Santa’s Elves in Tokyo Aquarium

Every night at Yokohama's Sea Paradise in Japan, a special group of six Santa’s helpers —cape penguins  don their Christmas best and waddle alongside St. Nick in a “Penguin Christmas Parade.” Then, they do their special holiday duty: turning on the aquarium’s lighting display. "We hope combining the normal joy of seeing animals with Christmas gives the visitors extra pleasure," said caretaker Shingo Sato. — Watch it at the U.K.’s Telegraph

D.C. Zoo Announces Andean Bear’s Pregnancy

The National Zoo says ultrasounds show its 6-year-old Andean bear, Billie Jean, is expecting twins — again. The bear gave birth to two cubs nearly two years ago in January of 2010. Still, the excitement at the zoo is tempered by the knowledge that all bear species can reabsorb one or both fetuses at any time during the pregnancy. Billie Jean’s keepers and veterinarians say they’re cautiously optimistic. There only about 2,000 of the species remaining in the wild. — Read it at the Huffington Post


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