Paws For A Smile

This is my blog dedicated to (mostly cute) animal stories and related pictures in the news. I am would be especially interested to find animal news stories from outside the U.K. Send me your stories !!!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Jumpers For Penguins

A lovely story about these sweet old grannies in County Durham, England knitting jumpers for the even cuter tiny fairy penguins in Tasmania to keep them warm and protect them from oil spills following a request by the Tasmania Conservation Trust. Cute x 2 !!!

Look at the model penguin the grannies have got - how cute is that ! I trawled the net to try and find a picture of one of the real penguins in a jumper like that. Although I found a few, they weren't very clear or good. Just as well I think. Jumper on the left + penguin on the right = death by cuteness ...

The full story is here :

Whale Sharks - In A Tank !?

Take a look at this stunning photo - whale sharks in an aquarium in Japan :

Not so much cute as unbelievable - the world's biggest fish (up to 12m) in a public aquarium tank in Okinawa, Japan. That tank must be enormous ! Having done some research, apparently a few other aquaria has whale sharks too - Atlanta, Osaka - but this is still the best picture I think.

Baby Pandas

Apparently there's a baby panda boom in China - 18 of the little blighters were named by a poll of the public. Conservation success, public interest and eighteen bundles of cuteness - what's not to like about this story ?

Friday, January 12, 2007

Walrus Fitness Fanatic

As I was trudging into work this morning, half-asleep as usual, I was greeted by the bizarre sight on the large tv in reception of a walrus working out by doing sit ups with it's keeper. Found the details and clip (judging by the search results on Google virtually every TV station in the U.K ran it !) later - it's a walrus called Seahook at San Diego Zoo (who are running a keep-fit drive for their animals - well done guys !) :

The full clip is here (hope this works) :

The scenes with Seahook are absolutely hilarious, and the rest of the animals in the clip are cute as anything (manatees are always cute !).

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Blog - "All About Pets" By Justin

Silvia found this blog for me - it has some lovely personal pet stories. My favourite has to be "One Duck's Story", a lovely and heartwarming story about an adopted duckling being brought up by some very kind people (with lots of cute photos ! ) :

Check out the story, and the rest of "All About Pets" here :

Friday, December 29, 2006

Cat vs Bear - Only One Winner

This story came up on one of those end-of-year trivia things on a BBC blog, and it's fantastic ! For me it's the photo that makes this story though :

Tabby cat terror for black bear (BBC News 10/06/2006)

A black bear got more than it bargained for after straying into a family garden in the US state of New Jersey.
The unwelcome intruder was forced up a tree - twice - by the family pet, a tabby cat called Jack.
The terrified bear was only able to make its escape when owner Donna Dickey called the hissing cat into the house.
Ms Dickey said Jack liked to keep a close watch on his territory and often chased away small animals, but one of this size was a first.
"We used to joke, 'Jack's on duty', never knowing he'd go after a bear," Donna Dickey told local newspaper The Star-Ledger.
"He doesn't want anybody in his yard," she added.
The bear was first spotted in the tree by neighbours who thought the 15lb (7kg) cat was just looking up at it.
They then realised the bear was afraid of the cat.
After some 15 minutes, the bear descended, but was chased up another tree, before finally making its escape when Jack was called indoors.
Bear sightings are not unusual in the area of West Milford in New Jersey, which experts say is one of the state's most bear-populated areas.

What an awesome photo !!! Look at how high that big bear is up that really tall tree (he must be really scared), and if you look closely you can see the tiny ginger form of Jack the Tabby at the bottom !

This confirms my (and many other people's) belief that cats only choose to live with us because they want to ...

Original article here :

Who's A Clever Boy ?

My first "new" story ! OK not new, but written in 2004 (for some reason it was in the "most e-mailed list on the BBC news homepage this week ?!). Anyway, either this parrot can actually talk to humans or it was a very clever hoax :

Parrot's oratory stuns scientists (By Alex Kirby BBC News Online environment correspondent 26/01/2004)

The finding of a parrot with an almost unparalleled power to communicate with people has brought scientists up short.
The bird, a captive African grey called N'kisi, has a vocabulary of 950 words, and shows signs of a sense of humour.
He invents his own words and phrases if he is confronted with novel ideas with which his existing repertoire cannot cope - just as a human child would do.
N'kisi's remarkable abilities feature in the latest BBC Wildlife Magazine.
N'kisi is believed to be one of the most advanced users of human language in the animal world.
About 100 words are needed for half of all reading in English, so if N'kisi could read he would be able to cope with a wide range of material.

Polished wordsmith
He uses words in context, with past, present and future tenses, and is often inventive.
One N'kisi-ism was "flied" for "flew", and another "pretty smell medicine" to describe the aromatherapy oils used by his owner, an artist based in New York.
When he first met Dr Jane Goodall, the renowned chimpanzee expert, after seeing her in a picture with apes, N'kisi said: "Got a chimp?"
He appears to fancy himself as a humourist. When another parrot hung upside down from its perch, he commented: "You got to put this bird on the camera."
Dr Goodall says N'kisi's verbal fireworks are an "outstanding example of interspecies communication".
In an experiment, the bird and his owner were put in separate rooms and filmed as the artist opened random envelopes containing picture cards.
Analysis showed the parrot had used appropriate keywords three times more often than would be likely by chance.

Captives' frustrations
This was despite the researchers discounting responses like "What ya doing on the phone?" when N'kisi saw a card of a man with a telephone, and "Can I give you a hug?" with one of a couple embracing.
Professor Donald Broom, of the University of Cambridge's School of Veterinary Medicine, said: "The more we look at the cognitive abilities of animals, the more advanced they appear, and the biggest leap of all has been with parrots."
Alison Hales, of the World Parrot Trust, told BBC News Online: "N'kisi's amazing vocabulary and sense of humour should make everyone who has a pet parrot consider whether they are meeting its needs.
"They may not be able to ask directly, but parrots are long-lived, and a bit of research now could mean an improved quality of life for years."
All images courtesy and copyright of Grace Roselli.

Very scary - this bird can use words learnt from memory, and use them in new contexts to form new and relevant sentences to convey it's thoughts to us in human language. Original article here :

Monday, December 25, 2006

Mice On A Plane

Mass mouse escape on Saudi plane (BBC News 15/12/2006)

More than 100 passengers on a Saudi plane were left panic-stricken by the unexpected appearance of furry fellow flyers - dozens of mice.
The small rodents - about 80 in total, according to a local newspaper - escaped from the bag of a man travelling on the domestic flight.
An airline official said the aircraft was at 28,000 feet (8,500m) when mice began scurrying around the cabin.
Some of the mice fell on passengers' heads, Al-Hayat newspaper reports.
The incident occurred on a Saudi Arabian Airlines flight from the capital, Riyadh, to north-eastern town of Tabuk.
The flight landed safely and the bag's owner was detained by police investigating how he managed to get the mice onto the plane.
No explanation was given for the man's live cargo.

Check out the original article : I love the caption of the picture - "Mice: Not known as frequent flyers en masse" !!!

I must be the only person I know that would root for the mice ! Mind you this is one of those stories that raises more questions than answers ... How did the guy get the mice on the plane ? WHY was he smuggling mice ?!

Cat Slimmer

Took me a while to find this story again, as I had sent to to a friend and then deleted it ! Worryingly, it's not the only overweight cat story out there, but it is still rather sweet :

Tubby tabby slims to collar prize (BBC News 13/11/2006)

A tubby Aberdeenshire cat has shed about a third of her weight to be named Scotland's best pet slimmer.
Buttons, who lives with the Jamieson family in Mintlaw, managed to lose more than 2kg, about 30% of her 8kg frame.

Her owners had been advised by a vet that she was at risk of developing diabetes if her weight was not lowered.

Four-year-old Buttons has now been named Hill's Pet Nutrition's Scottish pet slimmer of the year, and goes forward to the UK finals.

Buttons dropped normal cat food and went on a special prescription diet, slimming down to her target weight of 5.5kg.

Owner Donna Jamieson said: "This is a great achievement for Buttons. When she was overweight she was so lethargic and couldn't even manage to go for a walk. She was going to be ill.

"She was happy on the diet and now she is fit and back to an active lifestyle, she seems much younger.

"This has made a huge difference - we can lift her now."

Linsey McKeown, the veterinary nurse who ran the weight management programme Buttons attended, said: "I'm so proud of Buttons.

"She and her owner were really motivated to get her weight down and their results have been fantastic.

"Everyone at the Mintlaw Veterinary Surgery will be rooting for her throughout the national finals - we're sure she'll come home with the trophy."

8 kilos ?! That's 8 bags of sugar !!! I just can't imagine a cat that is so heavy it can't be lifted ! At least it has a happy ending - well done and good luck Buttons !

Original article here :<

From My Archives - Dolphin Picture

OK I know this isn't a news story but I had to sneak this cracking picture in somewhere. It was drawn specially for me by my friend Silvia/Salix, an incredibly talented artist and animator. It's three dolphins (my favourite creatures !) called Starry Eyed, Felicity and Smile :

She's also a very prolific blogger ! She run's various blogs but my favourites are her art blog "Salix Tree" and her cat blog "A Mew Zing".

From My Archives - Fudge The Hamster

This is a lovely story, and the comments by the man involved are priceless ! P.S. The picture is not of Fudge but of a "Generic Hamster" !

Fudge the hamster's happy ending (BBC News 26/09/2006)

A pet hamster called Fudge, which hitched a lift from Devon to Scotland hidden inside a golf bag, has been given a new home north of the Border.
Fudge escaped from a box in a hire car on the last day of Kingsley Moyle's golfing holiday.
The elusive hamster was found hidden in the car by the next person who hired it - but Mr Moyle had returned to Devon.
The woman who found Fudge has now given him a home - with the blessing of its previous owner.
Mr Moyle, from Kingsteignton, said: "Amazingly he has been found, a lady in Scotland used the same hire car after us and suddenly he appeared.
"At the end of the day he is in Scotland and by now he's probably acclimatised to life up there.

"I've been told that this lady is happy to keep him and that's fine - hopefully it won't turn into a tug of love.
"We are just pleased it's a happy ending that he was found alive because we thought the worst."
Fudge's amazing story began at the start of September when he first went missing and after looking all over his house Mr Moyle had given up.
The 42-year-old flew to Scotland from Exeter with three friends for a three-day golfing holiday and half way down the fairway on the first course Fudge suddenly appeared at the top of his golf bag.
Delighted that he had found the adventurous pet, Mr Moyle kept a close eye on him.
The hamster visited Edinburgh's oldest course, Auchterarder, the luxury golf resort at Gleneagles and finally the championship course at Turnberry.
At the first two courses he went around the greens with the golfers, but at Turnberry Mr Moyle decided he would be safer in a cardboard box, with food and water.
However, a second great escape was performed and when Mr Moyle returned to the car he had hired, he found Fudge had chewed through his box and disappeared again.
Assuming he had somehow got out and with their flight leaving that day, the car was handed back and he flew home.
But on Monday he found out the next person to hire the car had found Fudge and was so taken with her surprise passenger she agreed to take him in.
He said: "It's amazing really, if you wrote it as a film script no-one would believe it."

Original story here :

From My Archives - Man Marries Goat (X-Rated !)

This is a story I came across on the BBC News website (which is where I get most of my stories to be honest, as I read it often at work - *sigh* yes BBC you get a link !) :

Sudan man forced to 'marry' goat (BBC News 07/11/2006)
A Sudanese man has been forced to take a goat as his "wife", after he was caught having sex with the animal.
The goat's owner, Mr Alifi, said he surprised the man with his goat and took him to a council of elders.
They ordered the man, Mr Tombe, to pay a dowry of 15,000 Sudanese dinars ($50) to Mr Alifi.
"We have given him the goat, and as far as we know they are still together," Mr Alifi said.
Mr Alifi, of Hai Malakal in Upper Nile State, told the Juba Post newspaper that he heard a loud noise around midnight on 13 February and immediately rushed outside to find Mr Tombe with his goat.
"When I asked him: 'What are you doing there?', he fell off the back of the goat, so I captured and tied him up."
Mr Alifi then called elders to decide how to deal with the case.
"They said I should not take him to the police, but rather let him pay a dowry for my goat because he used it as his wife," Mr Alifi told the newspaper.

I particularly like the last sentence, where the village elders obviously thought it through in a very logical and matter-of-fact manner !

Original article here :

From My Archives - Mouse On Frog

This is a really popular and widely posted picture in many other blogs but I can see why ! It accompanied an article in various U.K. newspapers on 30th June 2006 about storms and flooding in northern India.