Pet Scoop: Dog Protects Missing 3-Year-Old Boy, AM Radio Can Disorient Songbirds

May 8, 2014: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

Cooper protected his 3-year-old friend, Carson Urness, when he got lost on his family's 10-acre farm.
Cooper protected his 3-year-old friend, Carson Urness, when he got lost on his family's 10-acre farm.
Dog Keeps Lost Boy Warm

A dog in North Dakota is being hailed as a hero for sticking with a 3-year-old boy when he wandered off on his family’s 10-acre farm. The boy, Carson Urness, and his dog disappeared at around 7:30 p.m. Monday after his mom let him out to play. Not long after, Courtney Urness realized Carson and Cooper were missing. When she and her husband couldn’t find Carson in a frantic search, they called authorities for help. They quickly started an aerial and ground search with the help of 200 neighbors. At around 2:30 a.m., the temperature had dropped to 40 degrees and organizers were about to call the search off for the night when a four-wheeler doing one last sweep of the farm saw Cooper stick his head out of the tall grass in the middle of a field about a mile from the house. They found the dog laying on the boy. “[Carson] said, ‘Mom, I was really scared but Cooper laid on me, he kept me warm,’” said Courtney Urness. Cooper might have been returning a favor for the Urness family. They rescued him when they found him as a puppy wandering by the side of the road three years ago. — Watch it at ABC News

Radio Signals Disorient Birds

A new study shows that even the weak electromagnetic fields produced by AM radio signals can throw off small animals like songbirds. German researchers studied European robins, who use an internal magnetic compass to navigate, especially when it’s dark outside. The team housed a group of the birds in a windowless hut; when they eliminated the birds’ exposure to background urban electromagnetic signals, they easily found their way around. But when the signals were restored, the birds couldn’t orient themselves. The findings were published in the journal Nature. — Read it at Discovery News

New Spider Species Cartwheels Out of Danger

Dubbed the flic-flac spider, this newly discovered species can flip away from danger in the sand dunes of Morocco. Researchers also found that the spider makes structures out of silk to keep itself cool in hot desert temperatures. The Cebrennus rechenbergi uses its gymnastics to move both up and down the dunes. “It’s a biological wonder,” said study author Peter Jäger of the Senckenberg Research Institute in Germany. He said the spider’s cartwheels are triggered when it feels threatened. The study was published in the journal Zootaxa. — Read it at National Geographic

Zoo Trails Let Lions, Tigers Roam

The Philadelphia Zoo unveiled its new Big Cat Crossing on Wednesday. The enclosed passageway allows lions and tigers to wander outside their exhibits on a trail that goes over visitors’ heads. Zoo officials said that the $2.3 million trail system implements the practice of animal rotation, which encourages the animals to take in new stimuli from different locations. "It's to replicate the natural environment as best as we can," said Ed Hansen, CEO of the American Association of Zoo Keepers. "It's enriching to their environment and their mental capacity." — Watch it from AP via Yahoo

Adorable Baby Squirrel Drinks Bottle

Last month, we told you about the baby squirrel who fell 75 feet from a tree and wore a tiny cast on its leg while it recovered at Washington, D.C.’s City Wildlife rehabilitation center. Now, City Wildlife has another baby squirrel in its care. The center shared a cute video of the little one drinking from a syringe before clinic director Alicia DeMay wipes its mouth with a napkin. Baby animals who fall from their nests are often brought in to the center at this time of year and are then released back into the wild. — Watch it at the Huffington Post

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