Thousands treated for animal bites in Cumbria as pets turn nasty, UK

Hospital medics in north Cumbria have faced a flood of patients bitten by their pets, with more than 18,000 treated over the last five years.

Ouch: Terry Bowes from Wetheriggs Animal Rescue Centre with a tarantula. ‘Spiders and reptiles can never be fully domesticated’ he warns
The staggering statistic has been revealed by the NHS trust which runs the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle and Whitehaven's West Cumberland Hospital.

While the benefits of pet ownership are well documented, the figures - released in response to a Freedom of Information request - show the potential dangers.

Baby awaits surgery after rat attack in South Africa

© Wikipedia
A 3-month-old awaits surgery after being attacked by rats in her Alexandra home.
A one month-old baby whose three fingers and part of a nose were eaten by rats in Alexandra, Johannesburg is awaiting surgery as her family cannot afford it.

The rats attacked Erena Yekanyi at her home last Monday, The New Age reported on Wednesday.

"I was washing outside while Erena was sleeping inside the house. I heard her cry and when I ran into the house, I found her covered in blood," the baby's mother, Thandaza reportedly said.

The baby would continue to await reconstructive surgery at Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital until her mother was able to raise funds for the procedure.

The attack was not the first in the township, according to the report.

Comment: See also: Brooklyn mother says rat bit her young son while he slept


Poisonous tropical puffer fish found dead on Dutch island beach

The puffer found on Hors
A dead puffer fish has been found washed up on the beach of the Wadden Sea island of Texel.

The bizarre find was made by staff of the Ecomare marine centre during a walk. The fish, 51 centimetres long, has the latin name Lagocephalus lagocephalus and is only found in tropical and sub-tropical eastern Atlantic waters.

'It was a real tropical surprise,' Ecomare workers Pierre Bonnet and Arthur Oosterbaan said on the organisation's website.

Dead humpback whale found on Kapiti Coast, New Zealand

© David Haxton
Iwi perform a karakia by the dead humpback whale on Waikanae Beach.
A 10 metre-long humpback whale has washed up dead on Waikanae Beach early this morning.

Department of Conservation spokeswoman Jane Dobson said they received reports of the stranding, south of Waikanae Boat Club, around 6.30am.

"It's been confirmed that it's a humpback whale, approximately 10 metres long and estimated to be about 25 to 30 tonne.

"Senior ranger Brent Tandy has said that its smaller size suggests it's not fully mature."

Ms Dobson said it was unknown how the whale had died, but it appeared to have been dead for some time.

Mass die offs of Sitka sea stars recorded, Alaska

© Anne Brice/KCAW
Taylor White pulls up a rock on Sage Beach to see three leptasterias, which are small, 6 legged sea stars that are common at this site. She points to the one with three legs and lesions, symptoms of sea star wasting disease.
A trip to the coast usually means you're going to see sea stars, but a mysterious disease is killing them along the West Coast. There had been a few reports of sick sea stars in Alaska, but recently in Sitka, the first mass die offs in the state were detected. Scientists in Sitka are tracking the progress.

Patty Dick lives on a boat in Thompson Harbor in Sitka. In the morning, when it's low tide and she has an extra moment, she goes out and checks on the sea stars living in the area.

"I just sit there in awe of the beauty of that animal," she said. "Everybody loves sea stars."

Dick teaches 6th grade biology at Blatchley Middle School. She often takes her students on field trips to learn about marine animals, and they usually find dozens of sea stars.

But one morning last month, Dick noticed something was wrong with the sea stars. "I just looked over and I just stopped. There were these big, huge, white spots all over them and they were just wasting away. My heart just sank."

Two-year-old girl and adult seriously injured in Kenya by elephant attack

Two people including a two-year-old girl are fighting for their life in hospital in Taita-Taveta County after they were attacked and seriously injured by marauding elephants.

Villagers of Jipe in Taveta district said the victims were attacked by stray jumbos while walking along the road.

The villagers who identified one of the victims as Julius Kibanga Nyerere, 50 suffered broken ribs while the toddler sustained multiple head injuries.

"The old man was carrying his grand child to see her mother when they were attacked by the jumbos. They escaped death by a whisker after villagers intervened," said Paul James, the victim's neighbor.

Speaking to The Standard at Taveta district hospital where the victims had been admitted in critical condition, James claimed elephants had virtually imposed a dawn-to-dusk curfew on residents.

Comment: See also: Elephant kills 70 year old woman in Kenya


Beached long-finned pilot whale dies on Tain sands, Scotland

The long-finned pilot whale was stranded on the mud flats at Tain
A long-finned pilot whale has died after becoming stranded on mud flats near an Easter Ross beach.

More than 100 locals gathered round the stricken mammal as it was pulled 55 yards inshore and lifted by a crane onto a truck at Tain Links.

The 14ft long young male cetacean is thought to have become stuck after becoming separated from its pod in deeper waters.

A local vet went to the scene on behalf of the British Divers Marine Life Rescue at about 2pm on Saturday after a member of public raised the alarm.

But as the tide went out, the whale was left in shallow water and died at about 4pm.

Update: Hunt for killer bear in Poland is cancelled after autopsy discovers its 'victim' had actually been murdered

Stanislaw Puchala, 61, was found dead with marks of having been mauled by a bear in southern Poland
* Polish man found dead and mauled by a bear in the woods

* Autopsy finds man had been killed before bear attacked the body

* Police in south Poland believes Stanislaw Puchala, 61, was murdered

A bear has escaped by the skin of its teeth after it was found not to be responsible for the killing of a Polish man.

Stanislaw Puchala, 61, was found dead with marks of having been mauled by a bear near the village of Olszanica in the Bieszczady Mountains, southern Poland.

The village hunting party sent out to shoot the bear was called off when an autopsy revealed Mr Puchala had been murdered.

Massachusetts conservationist discovers extremely rare blue leopard frog

Blue leopard frog

Conservation scientist Jacob Kubel with the blue leopard frog, rare compared with green and beige specimens.
Late this summer, Jacob Kubel, a conservation scientist with the state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife's Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program, was slogging through a Sudbury wetland, searching for a new species of leopard frog, when something unusual caught his eye.

"The frogs were quick and blended in with their surroundings," Kubel said in an e-mail, "so we were basically chasing blurs and moving vegetation."

Leopard frogs, which are named for their dark spots, are usually green, beige, or some combination of those colors, but one of the blurs Kubel saw through the stems of sedge and grass appeared to be bright blue.

"I couldn't be sure of the exact color," said Kubel, "so I just thought to myself, 'Oh, I have a brightly colored one here - he should be easier to chase down.' "

Kubel said he didn't think much of it at first: Individual animals in many wildlife species, after all, vary greatly from one another. But when he captured the 2-inch frog and looked at it up close, he realized it was something he - in fact, most everyone - had never seen before: a blue-colored leopard frog.
Light Sabers

North Carolina teenager saves toddler from pit bull

Colton Hartley
A North Carolina teen is being hailed as a hero for saving a toddler who was being attacked by a dog.

T.J. Blake, of Caldwell County, and her grandson Eli, 2, had seen the dog as they were making their way to a neighbor's house last Thursday.

As they were walking back home, Blake says the dog lunged through a screened window and latched on to the 2-year-old boy, reports. Blake was also scratched on her arm.