Here's one of four Tasmanian devils that have just moved into new homes at the San Diego Zoo. They're the only Tasmanian devils in a U.S. zoo, and though they're in quarantine right now, they will soon be marquee attractions in the zoo's Australian Outback exhibit. Fortunately, Tasmanian devils don't actually spin like tornadoes and whirl through everything in sight.
It's fall in the northern hemisphere, the time when many bird species take wing and head for warmer climes. Which bird takes the longest non-stop flight of any in the avian world? This one does: the Alpine swift. Researchers at the Swiss Ornithological Institute and the Bern University of Applied Sciences in Burgdorf, Switzerland, have observed from collected data that Alpine swifts take little, if any, time off during their migration from Switzerland to their winter homes in Western Africa and back again the following year.
Meet the star-nosed mole. Its face won't launch a thousand ships, or even a dozen row boats, but it's the world's fastest eater and that puts it in the record books -- ahead of more comely creatures. If that weren't enough, its nose looks like a flower, allowing it to poke out of the ground, as though it were a plant. And the "flower" on its nose has the highest density of nerve endings known in any mammalian skin.
Alejandro Arteaga / Tropical Herping
Speaking of prominent proboscises, Pinocchio anoles were thought to have been extinct for about 50 years, but they have recently been rediscovered in the cloud forests of northwest Ecuador. They may have rejoined the world, but be careful believing anything they say.
Ever feel like you're being watched? Two owl butterflies drink from orange wedges, during a visit of the butterfly conservatory at the American Natural History Museum in New York.
It might not have spooky owl eyes, but the Atlas moth, another guest of the butterfly conservatory, is the largest moth in the world. We're gonna need a bigger light bulb.
Single file, everyone. Elephants and calves lumber across the plain on Oct. 8, 2013 at Amboseli National Park, approximately 137 miles (220 kilometers) southeast of Nairobi. The caravan of giants has no idea there might be a census taker overhead: The Kenyan and Tanzanian governments have begun a joint aerial count of elephants and other large mammals in the shared ecosystem of the Amboseli-West Kilimanjaro and Natron-Magadi landscapes.
Mike Kemp/In Pictures/Corbis
There are winners and losers in life, and this week the winner's column included Noodle, an 11-month-old female cocker spaniel/poodle cross breed (or "cockapoo," if you really want to rob the dog of its dignity) that won the Westminster Dog of the Year competition, a yearly match among Parliamentarians' pets. Here, Noodle enjoys the thrill of victory with Member of Parliament, and proud Noodle owner, Alan Duncan.
Noah, a baby yellow-footed rock wallaby, and not owned by a Parliamentarian, sits on a rock in the Tierpark Zoo in Berlin, Germany, on Oct. 11, 2013. About eight months old, the cub spent several months in its mother's pouch and has now decided it's time to emerge and meet the public. Yellow-footed rock wallabies are an endangered species, and the Tierpark Zoo, along with some other facilities, maintains a special breeding program for them.
Then Chih Wey/Xinhua Press/Corbis
Wildlife Reserves Singapore has been on a roll in 2013, its breeding program having produced more than 400 animal babies between January and August. This female orangutan in the Singapore Zoo is a prime example of the program, as she cradles her two babies on Oct. 3, 2013. The baby at left may or may not be busy sending a text message to someone. Kids these days ...
Andean bears act like irate paparazzi-hating celebrities when their pictures are taken, new video shows.
Most of us have watched footage of some annoyed celeb grabbing a photographer’s camera and, in a rage, smashing it to the ground. Andean bears, which apparently like their privacy too, react in a similar way when encountering camera traps.
The Wildlife Conservation Society on Tuesday released a series of stop-action images that show what happened.
One series shows a particularly determined bear attacking a camera and leaving it torn open and dangling. Another series shows a mother and two cubs converging on a camera then playfully scratching and biting it like a toy.
The scientists won out, though, as they cleverly set out more than one camera, enabling the above footage to be shot. This all happened in a picturesque cloud forest at the Apolobamba National Natural Area of Integrated Management. This is a Bolivian protected area that borders Madidi National Park and Natural Area of Integrated Management.
“Andean bears are very curious animals,” Lilian Painter, WCS’s Bolivia country director, said in a press release. “But they are also very strong, and the cameras are like big flashing toys. Still, we were able to record important images that will allow us to better understand their distribution, abundance and behavior, and conserve these delightful bears into the future.”
The bears are classified as “vulnerable,” but the population at this beautiful, protected part of Bolivia seems to be doing well. Elsewhere, things aren’t so good. Their habitat outside of the area is increasingly being fragmented for agriculture, grazing lands and human settlements.
The more promising news is that Madidi National Park is a paradise for the bears and all kinds of other wildlife. It contains 11 percent of the world’s birds, more than 200 species of mammals, 300 types of fish and 12,000 plant varieties.
Most animals probably hate to have their pictures taken, but sometimes there are surprises — like certain sloths that seem to pose and adore time in front of the camera. Hopefully the camera traps at Madidi will reveal more images and footage of wildlife in the months to come.
Image: Greg Hume, Wikimedia Commons