Pet Scoop: England to Require Microchips, Meatball the Bear Becomes Fundraising Star

Feb. 7, 2012: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

Dog owners in England will be required to microchip their pets by 2016.
Dog owners in England will be required to microchip their pets by 2016.
Britain's Law: Microchips a Must

All dogs in England must have microchips, which can be scanned to find their owners, by 2016 — or their owners will face fines of up to $800, the government said Wednesday. Britain’s Environment Department says 60 percent of its 8 million dogs already have microchips. The government says the move will help reunite owners with lost or stolen dogs, promote animal welfare and help take pressure off animal shelters. "It's a shame that in a nation of dog lovers, thousands of dogs are roaming the streets or stuck in kennels because the owner cannot be tracked down," Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said in a statement. "Microchipping is a simple solution that gives peace of mind to owners." — Read it at AP via Yahoo and watch it at NBC News

Female Turtles Can Pause Eggs’ Growth

A new study finds that female turtles have the ability to produce a gooey substance in their reproductive tracts that cuts oxygen to the embryos, freezing their development at a certain stage until mom has found a suitable spot to lay them — one that's safe and has food resources nearby. The research of both freshwater and sea turtles in Australia could help conservationists who find that the eggs of endangered turtles often fail to hatch. The study was published in The American Naturalist. — Read it at Live Science

Two Clouded Leopard Cubs Born at National Zoo Facility

One thing is clear: two tiny clouded leopard cubs born at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Va., are adorable. The newborns are the second littler for mom Sita and dad Ta Moon. The SCBI is a part of the National Zoo. Clouded leopards are listed as vulnerable on the World Conservation Union's Red List of Threatened Animals. — See photo on Facebook

Meatball is a celebrity at the Lions Tigers & Bears sanctuary outside San Diego.
Meatball is a celebrity at the Lions Tigers & Bears sanctuary outside San Diego.

Meatball the Bear Becomes Fundraising Celebrity

The black bear who gained fame roaming suburban Los Angeles neighborhoods looking for food and napping in trees last year is now an unlikely celebrity at an animal sanctuary outside San Diego. Meatball, who made headlines around the world before he was captured and brought to Lions Tigers & Bears sanctuary, has attracted an increase in paying visitors and fundraising at the facility. "I never dreamed we would take in a 'celebrity,'" founder Bobbi Brink wrote in a letter to supporters. Meatball’s fame has helped raise funds for a much larger habitat for the sanctuary’s five black bears, although the project is still about $100,000 short. — Read it at the LA Times and watch Meatball’s from November on CBS News

How Do Owls Twist Their Heads?

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine investigated how it is that owls can turn their hears up to 270 degrees without injuring themselves. Scientists already knew that the birds only had one socket pivot, which allows them to twist more than humans, who have two. But the new study found that owls also have backup arteries that provide more nutrients when their blood vessels get strained by rapid turning. The arteries also collect any excess blood that’s created by the extreme turning. The team’s research was summarized on the U.S. National Science Foundation website. — Read it at National Geographic

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