Pet Scoop: Striking Drone Photos Show Rare Orcas, Cat Found in Engine During Coffee Run

Oct. 23, 2015: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

Drones captured amazing images of rare orcas in the Puget Sound in Washington.
Drones captured amazing images of rare orcas in the Puget Sound in Washington.

Whales Studied From the Skies

Using unmanned aerial vehicles, researchers from NOAA and the Vancouver Aquarium were able to capture some incredible photos of a very endangered population of orcas who spend part of the year in Washington’s Puget Sound. With a baby boom of five calves this year, the Southern Resident population is now up to 81 whales, which is small, but growing. The stunning images reveal that the whales are in good condition — and several more appear to be pregnant. The biologists are using the photos to track the health of the whales over time. The drones hovered just 100 feet above the whales last month, getting detailed views of them that the scientists hadn’t been able to get in the past while using helicopters. — Read it from the AP via Yahoo and see more photos from NOAA

Crocodiles May Sleep With One Eye Open, Study Finds

With cameras trained on juvenile crocodiles in a special holding aquarium, scientists sent either another crocodile or a human into the area to watch their reaction. Most of the time, the young crocs slept with both eyes closed. But when either a human or another crocodile entered the space, the juvenile croc would open one eye and train it on the intruder, and otherwise appear to slumber. Researchers said the crocodiles may have adapted the ability to keep half of their brain on alert while the other half is asleep, in what’s known as unihemispheric sleep. Dolphins, manatees, walruses and some seals are among the species that have been found to do this. Scientists would need to confirm with an electroencephalogram test whether true unihemispheric sleep is indeed happening with crocodiles. The findings were published in The Journal of Experimental Biology. — Read it at Discovery News

A woman heard a cat meowing from her car engine when she stopped at a McDonald's drive-through for coffee.
A woman heard a cat meowing from her car engine when she stopped at a McDonald's drive-through for coffee.

Cat Found in Engine at McDonald’s

While she was on her way to work Wednesday morning, Christa McKinnon stopped at a McDonald’s drive-through in Ashland, Massachusetts, for coffee — and heard a meow when she opened her window. At first, she thought it was coming from inside the McDonald’s, but she parked to take a look under her car’s hood. An animal control officer was called, and they found an adult cat hiding out inside the engine compartment. After removing several car parts, the officer and the local fire department were able to free the cat, who wasn’t harmed during his 6-mile ride from McKinnon’s home. The cat is now staying at animal control while officers try to find his owner. — Watch it at Boston’s WDHD

Dry Cleaning Service Finds Cat in Bag

A cat from Brooklyn, New York, went for a surprise ride recently, too. A driver for FlyCleaners, an on-demand app for laundry pick-up and delivery in New York, picked up a bag of dirty clothes from an apartment, as requested. But while he was driving to the next pick-up location, the employee heard some commotion in the back of his truck. He pulled over and was surprised to find a cat roaming around. The feline stowaway had apparently snuck into the laundry bag just before the driver picked it up. The cat’s adventure was over quickly — it was returned to its owners after only 12 minutes. — Read it at People Pets


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