Pet Scoop: Orphaned Otter Pups Become Pals, Sheep Shearing Emergency in Australia

Sept. 3, 2015: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

A pair of orphaned otter pups has become best friends at the Scottish SPCA.
A pair of orphaned otter pups has become best friends at the Scottish SPCA.

Playtime for Rescued Baby Otters

Two adorable orphans have become best buddies at the Scottish SPCA. Ripple was found orphaned due to flooding in July. He was so young at the time that he hadn’t even opened his eyes yet. Not long afterward, he was joined by Delta, who was 5 weeks old when she was found on her own. Although the two are kept separately at the SPCA while they are raised and rehabilitated, they get to enjoy some sweet playtime together. Eventually, they’ll be allowed to stay together without supervision, and will be released together in about a year. — Read it at the Scottish SPCA via Facebook

Endangered Bird Restrictions May Inhibit Breeding

Many influential avian veterinarians are concerned that an unintended consequence of the Endangered Species Act is that owners of exotic parrot species listed as endangered in the wild face restrictions that limit the breeding of captive birds between states. This limits the genetic diversity of the species in captivity. If the captive populations of the birds are needed as a safety net for wild populations, then genetic diversity among the captive population is vital. Parrots who were recently listed include the Moluccan, umbrella and red-vented cockatoos and blue-throated macaws. Species still being considered include hyacinth, military, scarlet and Buffons macaws. Now, the Association of Avian Veterinarians is trying to gather data on populations of listed parrots owned as pets in the U.S. in the hopes of encouraging changes in regulations to help maintain diversity in the captive populations. — Parrot owners can take the survey here

Crossing Guard Dog “Fired” in Pennsylvania

Patches the Maltipoo recently made headlines for acting as a crossing guard near a school in the Jersey Shore Area School District in Pennsylvania. For two years, Patches wore a bright green safety vest and a little stop sign, and delighted kids by accompanying his crossing guard owner, Brad Curtis, at work. But, apparently the school district was unaware of the dog’s presence until the media reports surfaced. Now, the district has asked Curtis to stop bringing Patches to work because of safety concerns. "We have clear policies in the school district regarding any type of animal during the work day," Superintendent Dorothy Chappel said in a statement. "Yes, he is a cute, adorable pet. ... The bottom line: There are always unanticipated risks with an animal. Any known distraction needs to be removed." At least one child who attends uses the crosswalk says the kids miss Patches but understand the district’s reasoning. — Watch it at ABC News

Chris the sheep is nearly 90 pounds lighter after an emergency haircut at the RSPCA ACT in Australia.
Chris the sheep is nearly 90 pounds lighter after an emergency haircut at the RSPCA ACT in Australia.

Rescued Sheep Gets a Big Haircut

After living in the wild in Australia for at least five years, Chris the sheep was weighted down with so much merino wool that he could barely walk. The RSPCA ACT rescued him after getting a call from a Good Samaritan who’d spotted him. The shelter put out an urgent call for sheep shearers to help Chris on Wednesday, and national shearing champion Ian Elkins responded. He sheared nearly 90 pounds of wool from Chris and said he’d never seen anything like it in his 35 years of work. Officials said Chris was about four to five times his normal size before being sedated for his haircut. The RSPCA said the shearing set an unofficial world record as the most wool hauled from one shearing. Veterinarians plan to keep Chris under observation for a few more days before making him available for adoption. — See photos at the U.K.’s BBC News

Beluga Photobombs Connecticut Governor

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy stood in front of a tank at the Mystic Aquarium for a press conference Wednesday to discuss Labor Day weekend travel to the state. But he was quickly upstaged by Juno, a beluga whale. Juno, who has a track record of hamming it up for the cameras, swam up and appeared behind the governor as he spoke. The whale hovered over Malloy’s shoulder and pressed his forehead to the glass, seemingly aware that he had an adoring audience watching his antics. — Watch it at NBC Connecticut


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