Pet Scoop: Rescued Sea Turtle Debuts in Las Vegas, 1 in 4 Dogs and Cats Are Overweight

Oct. 10, 2013: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

OD the sea turtle is settling in at the Shipwreck exhibit at the Mandalay Bay hotel and casino in Las Vegas.
OD the sea turtle is settling in at the Shipwreck exhibit at the Mandalay Bay hotel and casino in Las Vegas.

Sea Turtle Swims Into Mandalay Bay

OD, a 50-year-old, 320-pound sea turtle, has hit the big time. He’s making himself at home at the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay, a famed Las Vegas hotel and casino. OD officially swam into the Shipwreck exhibit on Monday after a long journey. He was first rescued in 1999 in North Carolina and was treated, tagged and released. In 2008, he was found floating in Florida. OD was taken in by the Turtle Hospital in the Florida Keys, where it was determined that he needed a permanent home because he suffered from a collapsed lung. The Shark Reef Aquarium, which is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, offered OD a home with their two green sea turtles, and he was flown from Florida to Vegas via FedEx in July. OD was in quarantine before making his debut this week. — Read it at People Pets

Study: Pet Obesity a Growing Epidemic

It’s time to get Fido of the couch. Recent data from Banfield Pet Hospital shows that, compared with data from five years ago, overweight dogs have become 37 percent more prevalent while overweight cats have become a whopping 90 percent more prevalent. Today, 1 in 4 dogs and cats are considered obese. On top of that, nearly three quarters of their owners think their pets are fine just the way they are, even though veterinarians say overweight and obese pets are more likely to develop other health problems including heart disease, arthritis and respiratory problems. The problem was highlighted on Wednesday for National Pet Obesity Awareness Day. — Read it at Live Science

Chimps Befriend Those With Similar Personalities

Researchers from Austria and Switzerland have found that chimpanzees who sat in body contact with each other — a sign of friendship — tended to have similar traits. "We found that, especially among unrelated friends, the most sociable and bold individuals preferred the company of other highly sociable and bold individuals, whereas shy and less sociable ones spent time with other similarly aloof and shy chimpanzees," said researcher Jorg Massen. The finding reflects a similar tendency in humans to make friends with people who are equally extraverted and bold, the scientists said. — Read it at Science Daily

The San Diego Zoo becomes the first U.S. zoo to have Tasmanian devils.
The San Diego Zoo becomes the first U.S. zoo to have Tasmanian devils.

Tasmanian Devils Arrive in U.S.

G’day, mates! Four devils from the Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Australia have arrived at the San Diego Zoo — making it the first zoo in the U.S. with the endangered marsupials. Conservationists are hopeful that the arrival of males Bradley, Bixby, De-Vos and Usmar, a female, will help raise awareness about the animals’ plight. Tasmanian devils risk extinction in the wild due to a rare, contagious facial cancer passed through biting, a common behavior in the animals. There's no known cure or vaccine. The devils make their public debut at the zoo on Oct. 24. — Watch it at YouTube

Bo Obama Turns 5

The Portuguese Water Dog celebrated his 5th birthday on Wednesday. It’s been another big year for the first dog, who welcomed a little sister (and fellow Portie), Sunny, to the White House in August. The pooch has also become a star of Instagram, where White House photographer Pete Souza shows off pictures of Bo playing with Sunny — and sometimes getting some presidential love — at their famous residence. 


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