Pet Scoop: Rabbit-Jumping Competitors Show Off Skills, Daring Ducklings Cross Highway

Sept. 6, 2012: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

Marry Lou jumps over an obstacle during the Kaninhop competition in Germany.
Jens Meyer, AP
Marry Lou jumps over an obstacle during the Kaninhop competition in Germany.

Bunnies Hop to It at Jumping Show

With a look of determination in their eyes, rabbits from around the world leapt over obstacles up to 16 inches high in Germany’s annual Kaninhop (rabbit-jumping) championships recently. Competitors in the prestigious event, which started in Sweden in the 1980s, often begin training at just 8 weeks old. Rabbit-jumping shows are popular in many parts of Europe. — See photos at Metro and see our coverage of this year’s Rabbit Grand National competition

Dozens of South African Penguins Saved From Oil Slick

At least 55 African penguins were found near Cape Town, South Africa, covered in oil from the Turkish ship the Seli 1 which wrecked off the South African coast in 2009. Budget issues have kept the cargo ship from being completely removed and recent bad weather caused the remains of the ship to break into three pieces, releasing more oil. The penguins are being washed and treated by the South African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds, and will be returned to the wild after they have recovered. — See photos at the Houston Chronicle

Romney's Dog-on-the-Roof Story Surfaces in DNC Speech

The story of Mitt Romney's dog Seamus made it to the stage at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday night. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., mentioned the tale of the Irish Setter who Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney infamously kept in a crate on the roof of his family’s car for a road trip to Canada in the 1980s. "Simply, with a Republican Congress sitting shotgun, Mitt Romney will put the middle class on the roof and take us for a long, painful ride," she said. The Seamus road trip has dogged Romney throughout the campaign. — Read it at the Huffington Post

Ducklings Cross Highway in Nerve-Wracking Video

Get ready to hold your breath for 1 minute and 18 seconds. In a video from Canadian broadcaster CTV that’s gone viral, a mother duck and her eight ducklings waddle across a five-lane highway in Toronto, dodging speeding vehicles. The video was reportedly shot by a news helicopter in May but was recently posted on YouTube. (Don't worry, it has a happy ending.) — Watch it at ABC News

Pachyderm’s Paintings Go for $2,000

Is Shanti, a 36-year-old female Indian elephant, the next Picasso? After keepers at the Prague Zoo saw videos on TV other animals painting, they decided to let their elephant give it a try, and she clearly has a creative streak. Wielding the paintbrush with her trunk, she completed 12 works of art— and they’re selling for $2,000 a pop. According to The Prague Post, the proceeds are going to the Pinnawalla Orphanage, an elephant sanctuary in Sri Lanka.  — Watch it at NBC News

Putin Flies With the Birds

Just yesterday, we told you about the trouble Russian President Vladimir Putin had run into when he sent a Siberian cat to a Japanese leader as a gift. Today, he’s making more animal news headlines. Putin’s press office confirmed Wednesday that he played the role of parent to a flock of six Siberian cranes, piloting a motorized hang glider as he escorted them over the Arctic wilderness to their winter habitat in an operation called “The Flight of Hope.” — Read it at The New York Times

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