Pet Scoop: Oregon Zoo Otter Has Second Pup, Apes in Larger Groups Have Colorful Faces

Nov. 21, 2013: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

The Oregon Zoo's river otter pup was born on Nov. 8.
Michael Durham, Oregon Zoo
The Oregon Zoo's river otter pup was born on Nov. 8.

Newborn River Otter Growing Fast

A river otter pup at the Oregon Zoo was just 5 ounces when it was born two weeks ago, but has already tripled its weight. "We're pretty sure this pup's a male," said keeper Julie Christie. "But Tilly is very protective, so we can't be positive until our vets conduct a more thorough exam." This is Tilly’s second pup this year. The first, big brother Mo, was born on Jan. 28 and is now full grown. The new pup will likely follow in the zoo’s tradition of naming its otters after local rivers. River otters are very dependent on their moms for care, walking when they’re about 5 weeks old and before being taught to swim. North American river otters usually give birth from late winter to early spring, but Tilly’s keepers say she seems to be on her own schedule. — Read it and watch video from the Oregon Zoo

Emus Take Over Australian Town

Higher than average temperatures and a lack of rainfall have forced emus out of the brush and into the streets of Longreach, Queensland, in search of food. Officials have urged residents to use caution around the large birds, who’ve caused some traffic jams in town. "They were waltzing up and down the street, drinking from the puddles and having a nibble in the garden beds at a council redevelopment site down the road. They were making themselves right at home," Deb Scott, who owns a local gallery and coffee shop, told The Australian. — Read it on the Huffington Post

Fungus Killing Darwin’s Frogs

A new study suggests that chytrid fungus is a key reason for the disappearance of the northern Darwin’s frog, which hasn’t been seen since 1980 and is believed to be extinct. The southern Darwin’s frog still exists but has declined faster than scientists previously thought. Although a smaller percentage of those frogs are infected with the fungus, it may be more deadly for them than for other frog species, researchers said. The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE. — Read it at Live Science


Primate Colors Linked to Groups

Biologists from UCLA say primates who live in larger groups may have more complex facial patterns and colors to make it easier for them to be identified. Species in smaller groups tend to have faces with fewer colors. "Humans are crazy for Facebook, but our research suggests that primates have been relying on the face to tell friends from competitors for the last 50 million years and that social pressures have guided the evolution of the enormous diversity of faces we see across the group today," said ecology and evolutionary biology Professor Michael Alfaro. "Faces are really important to how monkeys and apes can tell one another apart." The findings were published in the journal Nature Communications. — Read it from UPI

Panda Cub Tries to Walk

Almost, little panda! The National Zoo’s 3-month-old cub cracked the 10-pound mark on the scale, and now she’s working on getting all four legs under herself. The baby bear made her first attempt at walking over the weekend, and the adorable moments were caught on the zoo’s Panda Cam. Meanwhile, mom Mei Xiang has been taking the cub on short excursions to other indoor enclosures. Today is your last chance to cast your vote for the panda’s name. The winner will be revealed at a ceremony on Dec. 1. — Watch it at Today


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