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Sat, 16 Feb 2019
The World for People who Think



Not so vegan after all: Yukon's snowshoe hares are cannibalistic carnivores

snowshoe hare
Your fluffy pet bunny's cousin is actually a carnivore-and a cannibal, new photographs reveal for the first time.

Snowshoe hares in Canada's Yukon Territory eat meat to supplement their diets during long winters in one of the coldest places on Earth.

During summer months, the mammals feed on vegetation, but when snow blankets the landscape and temperatures plunge to 30 below, hungry hares scavenge other hare carcasses, as well as several species of birds. (See "Friends For Dinner: Why Some Animals Become Cannibals.")

And, in an ironic twist on natural selection, hares also dine on dead Canada lynx-their main predator, says Michael Peers, a Ph.D. candidate in ecology at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, who led a new study on the phenomenon in Bio One Complete.

"It was shocking to see the first time," says Peers, who believes the hares are boosting their protein intake during harsh times. "I had no idea they actually scavenge."

Comment: Lots of 'herbivores' have a hankering for meat apparently:


Dozens of stranded seals cut off from ocean by ice in Roddickton, Canada

One on its way to the gas station
© Brendon FitzPatrick ‏
One on its way to the gas station
Dozens of seals have become stranded in a Canadian town, blocking traffic and the entrances to homes and businesses.

Two of the animals in Roddickton-Bide Arm, Newfoundland, died after being struck by a car. There are concerns others will starve to death.

It is against Canadian law to interfere with marine mammals such as seals.

The creatures became stranded after nearby waters suddenly froze over last week, preventing their return to the ocean.

Experts say the speed at which the bay froze over may have disorientated the animals and caused them to move inland instead of towards open waters.

Images posted on social media show the seals stranded on roads and large banks of snow.


Woman and child bitten by shark in shallow waters in Queensland, Australia

Shark attacks
Girl to be transferred from Hamilton Island to have bite on foot treated, while woman was bitten on leg

A girl and a elderly woman have been bitten by a shark in the Whitsundays, continuing a spate of attacks in the popular north Queensland region.

The pair had been in shallow waters at Catseye Beach on Hamilton Island when they were attacked about 9.30am on Thursday, a Queensland ambulance spokesman says.

The woman was treated at Hamilton Island Medical Centre for a wound on her right leg, while the girl has been transferred to Proserpine Hospital for further treatment to a bite to her foot.

Neither injuries are life-threatening, with Hamilton Island operators believing the shark was less than a metre long.

Comment: Also recently (on the 8th of January) a surfer was attacked by a great white shark off Montaña de Oro State Park in California, his subsequent leg injuries required 50 stitches.


Mecca's Grand Mosque plagued by swarm of locusts

mecca locusts
© Photo The New Arab
Cleaning crews clear locusts out of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, January 7, 2019.
A massive swarm of locusts plagued Mecca, Saudi Arabia, earlier this week, prompting authorities at Islam's holiest site to launch a cleaning operation to remove them.

Videos posted to social media showed the insects swarming around cleaners and worshipers in the city's Grand Mosque, where millions of Muslim pilgrims congregate every year.

"Specialized teams have been directed to work in the fight to eliminate these insects," authorities in Mecca said, according to the Al-Araby Al-Jadeed news site.

Comment: In the same week swarms of locusts devastated farm land in Mexico.

And for more, check out SOTTs monthly documentary SOTT Earth Changes Summary - December 2018: Extreme Weather, Planetary Upheaval, Meteor Fireballs


Unusual animal behaviour: Woman attacked by raccoon in Oakville, Ontario

62-year-old Janet King says she had just finished
© TORONTO STAR / David Cooper
62-year-old Janet King says she had just finished walking her dog when she was attacked by a racoon.
A raccoon that lunged at an Oakville woman as she was getting into her car in December has tested negative for rabies, says the Oakville and Milton Humane Society.

Janet King, 62, says she had just finished walking her dog Cookie in Lakeside Park when the attack occurred. It was about 1 p.m. on Dec. 13, and she was sitting sideways in her car's driver's seat, with her feet still on the street.

"I felt this sharp pain," she told the Oakville Beaver on Monday. "I looked down and this big, giant raccoon had a hold of my leg and was biting away."

"Three of its teeth just went right into my leg. I didn't know if it wanted (to get) in the car, wanted the dog or what."


Man mutilated by 3 rottweilers dies in Madrid

The incident reportedly occurred on the Villaverde de Vallecas road (file image).

The incident reportedly occurred on the Villaverde de Vallecas road (file image).
An 81-year-old has died after being attacked and mutilated on Saturday by three Rottweiler dogs in Madrid.

The incident reportedly occurred on Calle Villaverde de Vallecas.

The victim, who had Alzheimer's disease, passed away last night (Monday) at the La Paz Hospital.

The deceased was said to have had very serious injuries - his arms were in a 'catastrophic condition' and both of his legs had been torn.

The owner of the Rottweilers was arrested a few hours after the incident occurred as none of the dogs had been microchipped and the animal documentation was not in order.


Signs and Portents: One-eyed newborn cow declared 'miracle of God', worshipped in India

cow mutant
A newborn calf has been declared as a "miracle of God" and is being worshipped in eastern India.

"Ever since it was born, people have crowded my place to see the bizarre calf," its owner said.

Despite the divine qualities attributed to it by the Indians, the poor animal was just born with a birth defect called cyclopia, a rare congenital disorder that occurs in both humans and animals.

The nose of the calf, which was born in the Bardhaman district of West Bengal, is also deformed and it has an underdeveloped jaw.


Signs and Portents: Mutant two-headed calf born in China

A calf with two heads and four eyes was born
© Getty/ Asia Wire
A calf with two heads and four eyes was born in China, leaving locals baffled
Footage has emerged of the young cow born with two heads and four eyes that is still alive.

In the clip, the calf can be seen resting on a bed.

All of its eyes are open as both heads lay down to rest.

The heads, which only have one ear each, appear to be working normally.


Endangered whale strands itself on Masonboro Island, North Carolina

Endangered whale strands

Endangered whale strands
A team with the UNCW Marine Mammal Stranding Program were called to Masonboro Island Sunday after reports of a stranded whale.

Upon arrival, the team encountered a young Sei Whale, which is a type of Baleen Whale.

"It very rarely strands in North Carolina. It's a very poorly understood Baleen whale, we don't know much about it. It's very rare to strand in North Carolina," said Ann Pabst, a member of the Marine Mammal Stranding Program and Professor of Marine Biology at UNCW.

Pabst could only recall one other Sei Whale stranding in North Carolina dating back to the 1990s.


Swarms of locusts devastate crops in Mexico

locusts mexico
After thousands of locusts arrived at the beaches of Progreso and Sisal three days ago, the swarm has now moved all the way to Merida.
The Yucatecan capital witnessed hundreds of thousands (probably millions) of these insects who covered the sky like a cloud, blacking out the sun at some points.

Many social network users reported the event through their accounts.

The plague of locusts was detected in several neighbourhoods of the city and the cybernauts shared images and videos of the arrival mentioning @climaYucatan.

One of the main characteristics of these insects is their great ability to migrate from one place to another and, in certain circumstances, reproduce very quickly, forming devastating pests that can destroy entire crops, which is why these insects are considered extremely harmful for agriculture.

Comment: Below are some other swarms reported in the last few years: