Pet Scoop: Fluffy the Penguin Becomes First to Get MRI, Dolphin Born at Chicago Zoo

Oct. 22, 2013: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

Fluffy, an African black-footed penguin, is feeling better after being treated for an infection revealed during an MRI.
Fluffy, an African black-footed penguin, is feeling better after being treated for an infection revealed during an MRI.

Penguin Gets Help From MRI

When Fluffy, an endangered African black-footed penguin, was having trouble balancing, waddling and preening in July, his caretakers turned the University of Minnesota’s Raptor Center for help. The 18-year-old is middle aged for a penguin. After radiographs and blood work proved inconclusive, Dr. Micky Trent, DVM, decided to try giving Fluffy an MRI — a first for a penguin. The scan showed that Fluffy was suffering from encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain caused by an infection. Trent prescribed antibiotics for Fluffy, and it worked. Fluffy’s caretakers wanted to remain anonymous, but Trent said that by late last month, the penguin was back to his old self, swimming and palling around with his friend BJ. — Read it and watch it at the Huffington Post

Wild Animals Find Safety in Filth

A new study published in the journal Animal Behavior finds that while domestic animals prefer cleanliness, wild animals will risk parasites to live in an area where another animal has lived, perhaps thinking it’s been proven to be safe. “Domesticated animals generally avoid feces to reduce the chance of parasitic infection, but this study shows that wild animals are more concerned with the risk of starvation than with table manners, taking any opportunity to feed,” said co-author Patrick Walsh of the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. “They may even associate feces with safety — a spot where a mouse has lived long enough to nest and poo is probably pretty safe — and that is worth the risk of disease.” — Read it at Discovery News

Second Oarfish Found in California

Last week, a rare 18-foot oarfish was found off the coast of Catalina Island in California. A photo of researchers holding the massive sea creature quickly went viral. On Friday, a second oarfish — this one 14 feet long — beached itself in Oceanside. Little is known about the creatures, who live 3,000 feet under the water. But Milton Love, a research biologist at the Marine Science Institute at UC Santa Barbara, says it’s likely that the two deaths are linked. He said the most likely cause was a current that carried the oarfish, who are weak swimmers, from still waters into a more turbulent area near the shore, where they couldn’t survive. The carcasses of the fish are being divided and given to multiple research institutions, who will use it to try to learn more about the mysterious creatures. — Read it at Live Science

A male calf was born to mom Tapeko at the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago.
A male calf was born to mom Tapeko at the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago.

Dolphin Born at Brookfield Zoo

Keepers at the Chicago zoo are cautiously optimistic that its newborn male dolphin born is on the right track. Mom Tapeko, 31, gave birth to the 40-pound, 3.5-foot calf on Oct. 16. The first 30 days in a dolphin calf’s life are critical, as the baby must learn to nurse and swim in the wake created by its mom as she swims, officials at the Brookfield Zoo said. The dolphins’ keepers will be watching closely to see whether the calf reaches several important milestones over the course of its first year, but they’re encouraged by Tapeko's experience. She’s reared four calves, including her grandson, and they’re hoping that her example will pay off for Spree, an 11-year-old dolphin at the zoo who’s expecting her first calf later this fall. — Read it at Zooborns

Howard Stern’s Wife to Host First Kitten Bowl

This year on Super Bowl Sunday, cat people will have an alternative to Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl. The Kitten Bowl will air on the Hallmark Channel on Feb. 2, hosted by animal activist Beth Stern, along with New York Yankees announcer John Sterling. Hallmark has partnered with the North Shore Animal League to feature 60 to 70 adoptable kittens in two preliminary playoff games and the championship. The kitties will show off in an obstacle course including hurdles, hoops and toys on strings. The show also promises commentary by “cats made famous by YouTube videos and Instagram followings.” — Read it at Today


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