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Dec. 15, 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 10-week-old otter was found crying softly on a doorstop in Kirkcudbright, Scotland, last week. His rescuers with the Scottish SPCA said it might have been the stormy weather that separated him from his mom. "This is a very hazardous time for young otters as they can easily be washed out of their holts by high rivers and at this age they are not strong swimmers," the group wrote on its Facebook page. Named Buddy, the otter is now being cared for at the SPCA’s National Wildlife Rescue Centre, where he’s drinking bottles and eating fish. He’ll soon be introduced to three other orphaned otters at the center: Ebb, Tide and Wave. Once the four have been rehabilitated, they will be released back into the wild together. — See photos at Discovery
Marine algae produces a toxin that is inflicting brain damage in California sea lions, impairing their ability to navigate the sea and survive in the wild, according to a new study. Brain scans on 30 California sea lions who’d been naturally exposed to the toxin, domoic acid, found damage to the hippocampus, a brain structure associated with memory and spatial navigation. "The behavioral deficits accompanying brain damage with domoic acid are severe, and may negatively impact foraging and navigation in sea lions, driving strandings and mortality," said Emory University cognitive psychologist Peter Cook, who worked on the study while at the University of California-Santa Cruz. The algae occurs naturally in coastal waters, but the blooms have become more frequent and severe in recent years. The findings were published in the journal Science. — Read it at NBC News
A tiny kitten has some dedicated rescuers to thank for saving him from a storm drain in Fontana, California. Costco shoppers first heard the kitten’s cries coming from the drain in the store’s parking lot on Sunday. Some of them, including David Loop, started posting about the kitten’s plight on social media to try to get help. All American Plumbing responded to the scene and set up a snake camera to find the trapped kitten. The kitten was finally removed safely from the drain at about 10:30 p.m. Monday, and he has a new home with Loop. — Read it at NBC Los Angeles
Jonathan Parris says he broke a window on a stranger’s truck in the Largo Mall parking lot in Florida Monday because he thought the dog inside was in danger from the heat. Parris said he noticed the dog when he was walking through the parking lot to go shopping. “His tongue was halfway out. He was going back and forth,” Parris said. He says he called the Largo police department, but with temperatures in the low 80s, they didn’t believe the dog was in danger. Parris disagreed and decided to take matters into his own hands and used a hammer to break the window. He used his phone to take video of the dog before and after he broke the window. The dog owner returned and was upset about the window, and Parris said he’d give him money toward repairing it. Many people on social media have praised Parris’ actions, but others have questioned whether he acted too fast. Parris stands by his decision. — Read it at Florida’s ABC Action News and find out what to do if you see a dog in a hot car
A 13-year-old Jack Russell Terrier named Bear can still get into some mischief. A Reddit user said his dad texted him saying his dog went missing. Twenty minutes later, he sent him a picture of where he’d found Bear: sitting in the dishwasher among the dirty dishes. The picture quickly went viral, with 1.6 million views in the first 12 hours after it was posted. — See photo at the U.K.’s Mirror
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