Pet Scoop: Rare Tiger Cubs Born at National Zoo, Dog Hit by Car Makes 10-Mile Trek

August 9, 2013: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

Four-year-old Sumatran tiger Damai gave birth to two cubs at the National Zoo.
National Zoo
Four-year-old Sumatran tiger Damai gave birth to two cubs at the National Zoo.

Sumatran Tiger Cubs Arrive

Two critically endangered tiger cubs were born at the National Zoo on Monday to first-time mom Damai. While the zoo’s staff says the babies appear healthy, they have only been able to view them on remote cameras so far, as they give 4-year-old Damai time to bond with her cubs. Dad is the zoo’s 12-year-old male, Kavi. The breeding partners were slowly introduced to each other, first looking at each other through a fence before they were put together. They bred several times between December and April, and a veterinarian confirmed Damai’s pregnancy in June. “All I can do is smile because the team has realized our goal of producing critically endangered tiger cubs,” said the zoo’s Craig Saffoe. Mom and cubs are expected to be out on exhibit in the late fall. — Read it from the National Zoo

Dolphins Solve Problems Like Humans

A new study conducted at the Dolphin Research Center in the Florida Keys found that when a bottlenose dolphin had one of its senses blocked, it used its other senses to mimic a human’s movements. For example, when Tanner the dolphin was blindfolded and instructed to copy the actions of a trainer in the water with him, he used echolocation to mimic the trainer’s movements, surprising the researchers. “He outsmarted us,” said Dr. Kelly Jaakkola, the center’s director. The study was published in the journal Animal Cognition.— Read it from AP via Yahoo

Timber Rattlesnakes Help Keep Lyme Disease in Check

This viper is known to bring plenty of fear, but a study from the University of Maryland finds that the snakes may be helping humans indirectly by keeping the tick population down. Using published studies of timber rattlers’ diets at four Eastern forest sites, scientists estimated that each snake removes 2,500-4,500 ticks from each site annually. Their findings were presented this week at the annual conference of the Ecological Society of America, highlighting the potential benefits of conserving all species. Timber rattlers are listed as endangered in six states. — Read it at Science Daily

Goats have lots of work to do at the Congressional Cemetery in Washington.
Goats have lots of work to do at the Congressional Cemetery in Washington.

Goats Clean Up Historic Cemetery

Bring in the goats! Dozens of goats descended on the Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, munching their way through acres of land covered in invasive plants, including poison ivy, English ivy, morning glory and honeysuckle. For $4,000 a week, the animals are being brought in to try to save the trees from being strangled by the weeds. If the trees fall, they can damage the historic headstones on the property. Some of the most famous people buried there include FBI legend J. Edgar Hoover and patriotic composer John Philip Sousa. What’s good for the cemetery is good for the goats, too. “They really like a diverse site like this” because of the variety of tastes it offers, said Brian Knox of Eco-Goats. — Read it and watch video at the Washington Post

Dog’s Adventure Ends With 10-Mile Journey

Last week, Brieze, an 8-month-old Collie mix, escaped from his home and dogsitter in the U.K. The pup ran off into a cornfield before squeezing through the secure paddock and into an exterior area. Not long after that, his owner, Sarah Walter, got a call from the police, saying that Brieze had been hit by a car on a nearby highway and ran off. She searched for hours but couldn’t find her dog. Eighteen hours later, at 4:50 a.m., Walter got a call from her mother, who said Brieze was barking outside her window. "How he got to my parents' house, I don't know. He wouldn't have had a clue how to get there and every time I've gone there with him, I've done the journey in a car,” Walter said. “He must have an in-built navigation system." Brieze is expected to make a full recovery.— Read it at Paw Nation

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