Pet Scoop: Russian Library Hires Stray Cat, Trio of Female Lion Cubs Born at Oregon Zoo

Sept. 20, 2013: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

Kuzma wanders through the shelves at a library in Russia.
Kuzma wanders through the shelves at a library in Russia.

Cat Becomes Assistant Librarian

A Russian library has found the key to attracting more people to use its services: they’ve hired a cat. Kuzma was found on the library’s front steps one day, and the staff quickly fell in love. They filed official paperwork allowing a feline in the library, and hired the grateful kitty to greet visitors and entertain children in exchange for 30 packets of food a month and a bowtie uniform. Everyone seems happy with the deal. After hiring Kuzma, the library “saw a significant increase in patronage. It turned out that people would come for the cat but stay for the book lending service,” according to the Japanese news site Rocket News 24. — Read it at The Atlantic Cities

New Lizard Species Found at LAX

A team of biologists has found a new species of legless lizard living in an unusual space — at the end of a busy runway at Los Angeles International Airport. The shy lizard, which looks like a snake, is described in the journal Breviora, a publication of the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University. “These are animals that have existed in the San Joaquin Valley, separate from any other species, for millions of years, completely unknown,” said James Parham of California State University, Fullerton, one of the experts who made the discovery. The critters can measure up to 8 inches in length, but they often go unseen because they spend most of their time underground, eating insects and larvae. — Read it at Discovery News

Mice Can Lose Fear of Cats After Brief Infection

Previous research has shown that lingering infections with the development of cysts and brain inflammation from the parasite Toxoplasma gondii can make mice fearless of cats. But a new study from researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, shows that even a brief infection with a weakened form of the protozoan caused mice to permanently lose their innate fear. "Simply having a transient infection resulting in what is potentially a permanent change in host biology may have huge implications for infectious disease medicine,” said Wendy Ingram, one of the study’s authors. The findings were published in the journal PLOS ONE. — Read it at Live Science

One of Neka's three lion cubs gets a weight check at the Oregon Zoo.
Oregon Zoo
One of Neka's three lion cubs gets a weight check at the Oregon Zoo.

Three Female Lions Born in Oregon

Lion keepers at the Oregon Zoo are seeing pink! At their first exam on Thursday, it was determined that the 12-day-old triplets are all girls. The checkup was done a day earlier than planned after the animal care team noticed that one of the cubs wasn’t nursing overnight or interacting with her sisters. While first-time mom Neka was distracted with a bone, the staff examined the three cubs in their den. They ranged in weight from 2 ½ to 4 ½ pounds. They found that the cub who wasn’t playing with the other two was smaller and had a low body temperature. The staff warmed her up and provided a supplemental feeding, and will be watching her closely. The other two cubs “appear to be robust and healthy,” said curator Jennifer Davis. “They've been nursing regularly, and they're moving around a lot and vocalizing. One is definitely larger and more 'outspoken' than the others — we've nicknamed her Feisty." — Read it from the Oregon Zoo

Colorado Makes Rescues Pet Friendly

The evacuations from the record flooding in Colorado demonstrate how far we’ve come since the disastrous aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005. Rather than leaving pets behind, some helicopters have lifted more dogs, cats and fish to safety than people. The motto for this rescue effort was “no pets left behind,” said Skye Robinson, a spokesman for the National Guard air search and rescue operations during Colorado's floods. Officials, who carried crates with them, realized that it was easier to convince people to leave their homes if they were able to bring their four-legged family members with them. More than 800 pets have been evacuated via helicopter, and hundreds more have been saved by ground crews — and even by zip line over rivers. "It just makes sense that you bring the pets along. They are part of the family," Robinson said. — Read it from the AP via Yahoo


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