Pet Scoop: Rare Giant River Otter Born in Asia, Once Extinct Pinocchio Lizard Found

Oct. 7, 2013: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

An endangered giant river otter pup was born in Asia in August.
An endangered giant river otter pup was born in Asia in August.

Endangered Otter a First for Asia

A giant river otter — the world’s largest and rarest otter — was born on Aug. 10 at River Safari in Singapore, the zoo has announced. The male pup’s birth marks a first for a zoo in Asia. The pup weighed 3.5 pounds at birth and was nearly 2 feet long. Native to South American rivers, the otters can measure to 6 feet long and weigh 75 pounds when they’re full grown. The fierce predators are often referred to as “river wolves.” They hunt piranhas, anacondas and caimans, but they are hunted themselves for their fur. In the next few weeks, the baby boy will start getting swimming lessons from mom and dad, Carmen and Carlos. But until then, he’ll continue bonding in a den with his mom. — Read it from Wildlife Reserves Singapore     

Tiger Bites Oklahoma Zoo Employee

An unidentified employee of the Garold Wayne Interactive Zoological Park underwent surgery to save her arm after suffering a bite from a tiger on Saturday morning. The zoo’s owner, Joe Schreibvogel, said in a statement that the woman had “violated safety protocol” when she put her hand through the fence of an adult male tiger’s enclosure. "She was wearing a large goose down jacket which got bunched up inside the cage wire not allowing her to get her hand back outside the cage wire fast enough and the tiger grabbed her hand pulling her left arm through a 4-inch-square hole," he said. The woman underwent surgery and her arm was saved. Schreibvogel said the 14-year-old tiger had never before shown aggression and wouldn’t be put down. — Read it at CNN

Couple Creates “Taj Mahal” for Rats

Dawn and Don Burke keep nine rats at a time in their Rat Retreat — a haven for rats in their Boise, Idaho, home that they refer to as the “Taj Mahal for rats.” The rat residents had been used for research or raised as snake food before arriving at the sanctuary. "We're trying to make up for what they've been through," says Dawn. The couple says people don’t realize what “warm companions” the rodents can be. — Read it at NPR

A team from an ecotourism company tracked down a Pinocchio lizard, which was once thought to be extinct.
A team from an ecotourism company tracked down a Pinocchio lizard, which was once thought to be extinct.

Pinocchio Anole Rediscovered

The long-nosed lizard was thought to be extinct for 50 years until it was recently rediscovered in Ecuador’s cloud forests. A team of photographers and researchers from the ecotourism company Tropical Herping found the Pinocchio anole after a three-year search, said company co-founder Alejandro Arteaga. The reptile hadn’t been seen from the 1960s until 2005, and this is just the third time it’s been spotted since then. The endangered species has been found in only four locations, all along the same stretch of road. The group captured it but then released it after photographing it. — Read it at Discovery News and watch it at YouTube

Simon Cowell Adopts Two Dogs

The X-Factor judge has been in the headlines while expecting his first child with girlfriend Lauren Silverman. Now, it looks like he’s preparing for fatherhood by bringing home two furbabies. Cowell has been outspoken in the past about adopting from a shelter rather than buying a puppy from a breeder, and he’s donated $30,000 to Linda Blair’s animal shelter in California. He’s taking name suggestions for the pups via Twitter. — Read it at People Pets

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