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August 16, 2012: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.
Michelle Pool’s beloved horse, Opie — her companion since she was just 10 months old — was taken from her father’s pasture in San Antonio, TX. In addition to alerting police, she reported the theft to Stolen Horse International (SHI), but years went by without any sign of the Saddlebred Pinto. Then, out of the blue, Pool received a phone call from SHI that her long-lost horse had been located after 10 years. “There is hope,” says Pool. “You can get them back.” Even sweeter? Opie remembered her. — Read it at Today, and watch it at KSAT
Talk about a lucky dog. Literally. Kenneth Bortz, a millionaire in Fort Worth, TX, bequeathed his entire state to a pup named . . . wait for it . . . Lucky. The fortune — including thousands of dollars worth of antiques, collectibles and furniture — now belongs to the late man's dog. Bortz’s friend, Skipper Dixon, wasn’t surprised by the news: “For Kenneth, his dogs were basically his children, his family.” — Read it at the NY Daily News
Forget sunscreen — for sharks, that is. Researchers have found that the underwater creatures’ skin tans when exposed to UV rays, but they don’t get skin cancer, like other fish. “As far as I'm aware, sharks appear very robust to skin damage and disease,” says Michael Sweet, lead author of a study about shark tanning published in the journal PLoS ONE. “There have been a lot of attempts to induce melanomas in sharks to no affect.” Experts are hopeful that, with further investigation, the biochemical secrets of shark skin can be replicated in order to help prevent the disease in humans. — Read it at MSNBC
Plus: Speaking of sharks, a two-month fishing expedition turned up hundreds of species of the fish — several that are new to scientists. And these don’t look like your typical great whites and hammerheads: Many of them sport bizarre features, including knife-like snouts and moon-like eyes. And at least one shark has a curved, serrated spine emerging from its back. — Read it at MSNBC
Lucky isn’t the only lucky dog in the news this week. Joey, a 3-month-old Pit Bull, is rehabbing from multiple injuries after being tossed out of the window of a moving vehicle in Long Island, New York. Veterinarians say that his prognosis is good, although he may need a doggie wheelchair to help him get around. — Read it at the Washington Post
What's eating your pet python? According to a team of researchers at the University of California, it could be a virus called arenavirus. Inclusion body disease (a particularly devastating illness that leads to bacterial infections, neurological problems, anorexia and death) kills a significant number of pet and zoo snakes around the world, but no one knew the source of it until now. Scientists were surprised to find that arenavirus was the possible and likely cause: While it's long been known to affect rodents and mammals, it wasn't believed to infect reptiles. Researchers now hope to be able to find vaccines, treatments — and perhaps even a way to eradicate the disease. — Read it at the BBC
A family at a wildlife park got a little too up close and personal with some very affectionate giraffes. — Watch the funny video at People Pets
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