Pet Scoop: Kitten Wakes Couple During Fire, Ebola Patient Nina Pham’s Dog in “Safe Place”

Oct. 14, 2014: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

Newly adopted kitten August is credited with saving his owners from a fire in their home.
Newly adopted kitten August is credited with saving his owners from a fire in their home.

Kitten Credited With Saving Lives

An Illinois couple says their newly adopted kitten saved their lives when their home caught on fire on Sept. 28. Kris and Crystal Horton were asleep that night when the kitten, August, woke Kris up. “I saw him standing over me and as I began to sit up and get out of bed, he was staring at the bedroom door,” Kris said. She got up and immediately knew something was wrong. The living room looked “hazy,” and then she spotted the fire in the kitchen. She woke Crystal, and they got out of the house with August just in time. “I don’t even like to think about what would have happened if he wouldn’t have been there,” Crystal said. “The fire department said that we had four minutes tops to get out.” The house was destroyed in the fire, and the Hortons are now living at Kris’ sister’s house with their little hero. — Watch it at Illinois’ WQAD

Nina Pham’s Dog “a Little Puzzled”

Bentley, the Dallas Ebola patient’s 1-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, was removed from her apartment by authorities Monday and brought to “a safe place,” says Dallas public information officer Sana Syed via Twitter. Bentley’s owner Nina Pham, 26, is a nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital who treated Thomas Eric Duncan and became infected with Ebola. Syed said she would share photos of Bentley once the city has assured Pham her dog is OK. “He’s adorable. Clearly a little puzzled by what’s going on. But he’s in good hands now and will be taken care of.” Later Monday night, Syed said Bentley seemed content in his temporary home, wagging his tail and eating his dinner. — Read it at the Dallas Morning News

Study: Crocodiles Work Together to Hunt Prey

New research shows that crocodiles coordinate and collaborate to hunt for prey. Using social media, researchers from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, solicited and then analyzed eyewitness accounts of crocodiles hunting from amateur naturalists, crocodile researchers and nonscientists who work with the animals. Researchers also spent thousands of hours observing crocodiles themselves. Crocodiles and alligators were seen working in highly organized game drives. For example, they’d swim in a circle around a shoal of fish, slowly making the circle tighter until the fish were in a tight “bait ball.” The crocodiles would then take turns eating their prey. The study was published in the journal Ethology Ecology and Evolution. — Read it at Science Daily

Chloe, an orphaned wombat joey, has a human surrogate mom at the Taronga Zoo in Australia.
Taronga Zoo
Chloe, an orphaned wombat joey, has a human surrogate mom at the Taronga Zoo in Australia.

Orphaned Wombat Gets Surrogate

A keeper at the Taronga Zoo in Australia is playing the role of surrogate mom to Chloe, a 6-month-old wombat who was rescued in June after her mom was struck and killed by a car. Keeper Evelyn Weston carries Chloe in a makeshift pouch and bottle-feeds her every five hours. “She’s very affectionate and also a bit naughty,” Weston says. “She loves chewing on shoes and if you walk away from her she chases after you like a rocket.” Weston will continue caring for the baby wombat for at least two more months, until she can join other wombats at the zoo. The zoo hopes to be able to return her to the wild in about 18 months. — See photos at Zooborns

Missing Parrot Returns Speaking Spanish

Nigel, an African gray parrot, lived with a Brit in California and spoke with his British accent when he disappeared four years ago. Teresa Micco, a veterinarian, lost her own African gray parrot in February when he flew out an open door. She’s been running ads ever since, and the woman who found Nigel brought him to Micco in response to the ad. It wasn’t Micco’s bird, but when she checked him for a microchip, she was able to track down Nigel’s owner, Darren Chick. Four years later, Nigel’s British accent is gone and he chatters in Spanish. Still, Chick said, “I knew it was him from the minute I saw him." The talkative bird hasn’t revealed where he’s been, or how he learned Spanish. — Read it from AP via ABC News


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