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Sept. 20, 2012: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.
Steve Gustafson, 66, was trimming a tree in the Florida retirement village where he lives when he heard his 9-year-old West Highland Terrier, Bounce, yelp because a 7-foot alligator was swimming away with her in a nearby pond. The grandfather yelled, “you’re not gonna get her!,” jumped onto the gator’s back and managed to get the reptile to release Bounce. The alligator bit Gustafson, but he and Bounce were able to escape without serious injury. “Oh, yeah, you like me a lot better now,” he said, as Bounce kissed him during an interview. — Watch it at Florida’s Sun Sentinel
New research suggests sharks see the world in black and white could help both the predators and people. "The work will have a major influence on human interactions with sharks," said co-author Nathan Hart, a research associate professor at the University of Western Australia's School of Animal Biology and The Oceans Institute. Hart says that the study results could be used not only to design fishing gear that's less likely to snare sharks but also equipment for people — such as wetsuits and surfboards — that would make sharks less likely to go after them. — Read it at Discovery News
Plus: In other underwater news, research on a California sea lion found that the mammal collapsed her lungs at about 225 meters under the sea to withstand water pressure on deep dives — and then re-expanded them at the same depth on her way back up to the surface. — Read it at Science Now via the Huffington Post
A cat born to a feral mother is running for mayor in Halifax, Canada, on a platform to improve the welfare of felines throughout the city. Tuxedo Stan is selling lawn signs, buttons and T-shirts with the campaign slogan, “Because neglect isn’t working.” The proceeds will go to a “Spay Day” initiative to help low-income families with the cost of spaying or neutering their cats. Felines can’t legally run for mayor in Halifax, but that hasn’t hurt this candidate’s popularity — Tuxedo Stan already has more than 3,300 Facebook fans — Read it at the Huffington Post, and read about other animal mayors across the country
Last month, we told you about 11-year-old Cole Hein and his service dog, Bingo, a Jack Russell Terrier who was suffering from a terminal illness. Hein had set up a “Lick It List” for Bingo with all the things that he wanted his buddy to experience before he died, but the service dog sadly died this week. (Hein suffers from a disease in which he stops breathing, and Bingo was trained to alert his family when this happens.) “We are losing more than just a dog; we are losing our true hero and life saver,” the Hein family said in a statement. The Heins have partnered with the Cesar Millan Foundation to create a legacy fund to help shelter dogs.
Panda cam watchers got a sneak peak of Mei Xiang holding her cub (born on Sunday!) in her mouth — and got to hear the vocal baby’s squawks. The National Zoo says that picking up the cub in this way is normal behavior, and a sign that Mei Xiang is “being an excellent mother to her new cub.” — Watch it on YouTube
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