Pet Scoop: Tiny Beyoncé Turns 1 Year Old, D.C. Zoo’s Panda Is Artificially Inseminated

April 1, 2013: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

Sporting a superhero cape, Beyoncé made a 'Today' show appearance to mark her birthday.
Sporting a superhero cape, Beyoncé made a 'Today' show appearance to mark her birthday.

World’s Smallest Dog Celebrates

This is no April Fools’ Day joke. Tiny Beyoncé, who fit on an iPhone when she was born last year, has defied the odds and is thriving — and celebrating her first birthday. Believed to be the world’s smallest dog, the Chihuahua and Dachshund mix was born last March to mom Casey, who was rescued by the Grace Foundation in California just before she was scheduled to be euthanized. The puppy had no heartbeat and she wasn’t breathing when she was born, but the Grace Foundation’s Beth DeCaprio saved Beyoncé with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Now, the survivor is full-grown at 3 pounds, and is serving as an ambassador for rescue dogs by helping to raise awareness about animals who need homes. — Watch it at Today

National Zoo’s Panda Artificially Inseminated

When Friday’s date night between giant pandas Mei Xiang and Tian Tian didn’t lead to any “competent breeding,” the scientists and veterinarians at the National Zoo quickly moved on to artificial insemination. Mei Xiang was put under general anesthesia on Saturday morning and inseminated with sperm from her partner, Tian Tian. The pair has one living offspring, Tai Shan, who was born in 2005 after his mom was inseminated. In September, Mei Xiang surprised her caretakers when she gave birth to a cub, but the baby died just six days later. “We are hopeful that our breeding efforts will be successful this year, and we’re encouraged by all the behaviors and hormonal data we’ve seen so far,” said Dave Wildt of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute. — Read it at the Washington Post

New England Cottontail Rabbit Faces Uncertain Trail Ahead

The bunny that inspired The Adventures of Peter Cottontail a century ago was once bountiful in the northeast, but is now facing a disappearing habitat. Cottontail rabbits thrive in an environment of shrubs, saplings, weeds and vines. It’s not human sprawl that’s hurt them, but a lack of human activity on agricultural lands that has lead to the maturing of the forests. That’s resulted in a thinning population of cottontails. Conservationists are now working with landowners to try to restore their natural habitat. — Read it from AP via the Huffington Post

A wild spoonbill family parked themselves right outside the spoonbill exhibit at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo.
A wild spoonbill family parked themselves right outside the spoonbill exhibit at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo.

Spoonbills Nest Outside Zoo Exhibit

This bird pair knows a good spot when they see one. The Roseate Spoonbills decided to nest right outside the spoonbill exhibit at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo. Their four chicks hatched in March and are growing fast. They’re losing their fuzzy down and their first flight feathers are beginning to appear. Spoonbills were once at high risk of disappearing because they were hunted for their pink feathers, but the protected species has fortunately rebounded. — Read it at Zooborns

Facing Eviction, Library Cat Gets Outpouring of Support

Patrick Higgins didn’t know what he was in for when he sent an email to the trustees of the Swansea Public Library in Massachusetts last month saying he wanted a resident cat removed from the building. He argued that people with cat allergies would be unable to use the library, which meant it didn’t comply with the American Disabilities Act. But he didn’t account for Penny the cat’s many fans. Her supporters quickly created online petitions to keep the library cat, who has her own library card, on the premises. By Friday, Higgins had dropped his plan to file a formal complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice, while the chairman for the library board promised to address Higgins’ concerns. Penny is the third cat to be a permanent resident at the Swansea library since 1986. — Read it at ABC News

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