Pet Scoop: “Sistine Seagull” Becomes Viral Sensation, British Cat Turns 27 Years Old

March 14, 2012: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

A seagull sits on the chimney over the Sistine Chapel on Wednesday.
A seagull sits on the chimney over the Sistine Chapel on Wednesday.

Before Smoke, Seagulls Appeared

While people around the world anxiously waited to see if black or white smoke would rise from the chimney over the Sistine Chapel in Rome on Wednesday, two seagulls landed on the chimney for a bird’s-eye view — and started tweeting. Twitter accounts with handles including @SistineSeagull quickly gained thousands of followers. “Hanging out on the Sistine Chapel Chimney, livetweeting ‪#conclave ‪#newpope,” read one tweet. The birds were eventually upstaged when white smoke started pouring from the chimney, indicating a new pope had been chosen. Perhaps they were a harbinger of things to come: the new pope, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, took the name Francis, for St. Francis of Assisi, who was the patron saint of animals. — Read it at ABC News

New Test Allows Early Detection of Diseased Bats

A highly sensitive DNA test now allows for the early identification of the devastating White Nose Syndrome, either on bats, in soil or on cave walls. Previously, detecting the fungus depended on finding dead or dying bats. "The significance of the Forest Service's recent research will have an immediate and direct benefit to WNS response at a national scale," said Katie Gillies, imperiled species coordinator at Bat Conservation International. The disease, which was first identified in 2006, has killed millions of bats and continues to spread. The U.S. Forest Service’s findings were published in the journal Mycologia.— Read it at Live Science

“Old Man” Cat Celebrates 27th Birthday

Once the “runt of the litter,” a Bedford, England, cat named Wadsworth has defied the odds and recently turned 27 years old. Ann Munday got the cat from a veterinarian in 1986, and nursed him back to health with the vet’s help. Nicknamed Waddy, the feline is taking it easy in his old age. "He's like a little old man really,” Munday says. “He gets up, goes out, comes in, has his food and then goes back to sleep." — Read it at BBC News

Miranda Lambert Tweeted a photo of herself with "Pistol Andy."
Miranda Lambert Tweeted a photo of herself with "Pistol Andy."

Miranda Lambert Rescues Puppy From Highway

The country singer, who already has a big family of dogs, found a sweet puppy on the side of an Oklahoma highway on Tuesday. "He was in the middle of the hwy with his food bowl and bed," she Tweeted. "If it wasn't an accident someone is really sick." Lambert, who’s already saved several strays, is caring for the pup until she can find him a new home. She named him Pistol Andy, in honor of the Pistol Annies record that was announced on the same day. — Read it at People Pets

Dog Eats 111 Pennies and Survives

It took a two-hour operation for veterinarians in New York to remove $1.11 in pennies from a 13-year-old Jack Russell Terrier. The pooch’s owner, Tim Kelleher, said Jack was trying to get to a bag of bagels on his desk when he knocked over a container of change. “When he went to lick up the crumbs, he licked up the pennies at the same time,” said Kelleher. “Then 111 pennies later ..." Now, nearly a week after his surgery, Jack is “right back to himself. He's loving all the attention and jumping all over the place," his owner said. — Read it at Today


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