Pet Scoop: Marine Reunited With Canine Partner, Horses Communicate With Their Ears

August 5, 2014: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

Marine Sgt. Sam Wettstein was reunited with his canine partner Belle Sunday.
Marine Sgt. Sam Wettstein was reunited with his canine partner Belle Sunday.

Sweet Reunion for Marine and Dog

U.S. Marine Sgt. Sam Wettstein was all smiles as Belle, the military dog who was his partner in Afghanistan for 7 months, ran into his arms at San Diego International Airport on Sunday. “Belle! Hello, gorgeous!” he called to the 3-year-old Lab when he saw her arrive. Wettstein followed Belle’s clues to save lives by seeking out improvised explosive devices (IEDs) while they were deployed. The Marine says having Belle as his companion while he was missing his family helped him, too. He returned from Afghanistan a few months ago and says he feels complete now that Belle has joined him. “I was missing a part of me. I was trying to fill the void and now my void is filled,” he said. “Having that kind of a relationship with a dog, you know, you get this bond.” They were reunited with the help of the American Humane Association and Mission K9 Rescue. Wettstein thinks Belle will love her new home with his family once she gets the chance to adjust. — Watch it at NBC Washington

Fluffy, Gold Bat Identified as New Species

A fuzzy yellow bat from Bolivia was mistakenly classified as another bat that’s found in the Amazon in South America. When Dr. Ricardo Moratelli from the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation in Brazil got the chance to examine it up close, he realized it was a completely different species. He’s based his findings on specimens of both species from collections at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. “This new species have been misidentified as Myotis simus since 1965,” Moratelli said. The golden bat will now be called the Myotis midastactus. Moratelli’s findings were published in  Journal of Mammalogy. — Read it at Discovery News

Extinct Beavers Resurface in Britain

Beavers have been absent from the island of Britain for centuries, but a night-vision camera set up by a retired environmental scientist recently revealed they were back. "It was marvelous to see," said the scientist, Tom Buckley. The British government, however, doesn’t think so. After news reports about Buckley’s findings, it announced plans to trap and remove the animals. They theorize that the beavers were illegally released by wildlife activists, and the country’s environment department says they carry a risk of tapeworm. "Beavers have not been an established part of our wildlife for the past 500 years," said a department spokesman. "Our landscape and habitats have changed since then." The government hopes to find them a new home in captivity. — Read it at National Geographic

The horses in the study took cues from ear movements and facial expressions.
Jennifer Wathan
The horses in the study took cues from ear movements and facial expressions.

Ears Key to Horse Communication

A new study finds that horses might use twitchy ear movements and facial expressions as cues for communication. “Horses need to see the detailed facial features of both eyes and ears before they use another horse's head direction to guide them," said Jennifer Wathan of the University of Sussex. The researchers photographed horses who were paying attention to something, then put life-size prints of those images between two feeding buckets. The horses in the prints were paying attention to one of the buckets and not the other. They found that the real horses relied on the head orientation of their peers in the pictures to find food. They also found that the horses’ ability to read each other’s cues was disrupted when the eyes and ears of the horses in the pictures were covered with masks. The study was published in the journal Current Biology. — Read it at the Washington Post

Farmer Serenades Cows With “Royals” on Trombone

How do you get the cows to come home? If you’re Kansas farmer Derek Klingenberg, you sit back and play a cover of Lorde’s “Royals” on the trombone. Slowly but steadily, the animals appear on the horizon and are drawn closer and closer to the music as he continues to play. By the 3-minute mark, they’re singing along with moos. The video has had more than 1 million views since it was posted Sunday. — Watch it at People Pets

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