Pet Scoop: Study Finds Monogamous Barn Owls Divorce, Dog Returns Home After Tornado

April 30, 2014: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

Barn Owl

Why Mated Barn Owls "Break Up"

A new study finds that while barn owls are monogamous, about a quarter of the time, they end their relationship and find new partners. The owls tend to “divorce” if they’re facing challenges with breeding, such as laying only a few eggs or not having many surviving chicks, the researchers said. They remain much more loyal to each other if they have a lot of chicks. The researchers observed 634 pairs of owls in western Switzerland over the course of 24 years to reach their conclusion. Younger males are more likely to break up with their partners than older males — but it’s the females who tend to pack up and leave their joint nest. “It takes time to find the best mate,” explains study co-author Alexandre Roulin of the University of Lausanne. The findings were published in Journal of Evolutionary Biology.— Read it at National Geographic

Dog Returns Home After Arkansas Tornado

The pastor of a Baptist church and his family got out of their home just before it was flattened by a deadly tornado in hard-hit Vilonia, Ark., on Sunday. The Lentz family thought they’d lost their beloved dog, Oreo, forever in the storm. But when they returned to clean up the rubble of their home on Tuesday, they saw something moving in the debris, and out walked Oreo. "We were thinking he was gone," said Wade Lentz. "And there he was." Lentz thinks Oreo may have been thrown by the twister but managed to navigate his way back to his home. Amazingly, he had only a small scratch on his leg. — See photos at NBC News

Bison to Be Released Into Wild in Europe

Seven female bison who were raised in captivity will be released into Vanatori Neamt Nature Park in Romania in an effort by conservationists to bring them back to the wild. Bison went extinct in Europe nearly 100 years ago. The bison arrived at the park Friday and will spend several weeks adjusting to the park in a large enclosure before being released, said officials with the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland. — Read it at Live Science

Ryan Seacrest shows off his new puppy, Georgia, on the Ellen DeGeneres Show.
Ryan Seacrest shows off his new puppy, Georgia, on the Ellen DeGeneres Show.

Ryan Seacrest Reveals Puppy Love

The American Idol host told Ellen DeGeneres that he has a new lady in his life: Georgia, his black Labrador Retriever puppy. “This is a relationship,” Seacrest said, when he was pressed about his love life. Seacrest said some of his past girlfriends had owned dogs, but “then [the relationships] end and the dogs would go.” This is the first time he’s had his “very own dog.” The audience gasped when they were shown a photo of the adorable puppy, who’s named for Seacrest’s home state. DeGeneres teased him about not knowing how to train the puppy, who Seacrest hasn’t brought home yet. The episode of the talk show airs on Wednesday. — Read it at the U.K.’s Daily Mail and watch a clip on YouTube

Rare Giraffe Born in Spain

An endangered Rothschild giraffe was born on April 16 at the Madrid Zoo. The female calf arrived after 14 months of gestation. She’s a member of a rare sub-species that’s the tallest of all giraffes. As adults, Rothschild giraffes can stand up to 20 feet tall and weigh up to 2,500 pounds. The baby girl weighed in at 132 pounds and measured 5 feet tall at birth. She quickly made friends with a camel at the zoo. — See photos at Discovery News

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