The video of Richard Wilbanks, 74, went viral, showing him jump into a pond to pull his 3-month-old puppy, Gunner, away from the alligator.
"We were just out for a Sunday morning stroll, and walking by the edge of the pond," Wilbanks told Fox News. "All of a sudden an alligator came out from under the water and grabbed hold of Gunner and was heading back in the water and swimming off with him."
"I just jumped in and got hold of the alligator and drug him up, drug him up to the bank and got Gunner out."
Wilbanks said that he acted on instinct and jumped in to save his dog, wrestling with the small alligator, which he claimed was no problem.
"Just my luck, Gunner only had the one puncture wound," Wilbanks said.
Wilbanks and his wife, Louise, said they appreciate the efforts of the two groups, and their campaign, called “Sharing the Landscape.”
“It gives us a new appreciation,” Louise Wilbanks told WINK. “We do need to be aware they are wild animals. They’re not here for our benefit. We’re very lucky to share this space with them.”
Wilbanks said he understands that he was walking around the gator’s home and that it was just doing what it needed to survive. He didn’t call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission over the incident because he wanted to leave the alligator alone.
Wilbanks said he had a few puncture wounds on his hands, and he got a tetanus shot just to be safe.
Gunner, meanwhile, is healing well after a trip to the vet’s office.
“I would like to emphasize for people that have pets to make sure that they keep them away from the edge of the water,” Wilbanks said.
Taylor Swift’s three cats were the most-searched-for celebrity pets on Google in 2020, according to a new report.
Matalan, a U.K.-based retailer, said they accounted for 979,000 searches, based on its analysis.
Swift frequently posts pics of the felines, named Olivia Benson, Meredith Grey and Benjamin Button, on her Instagram account, People notes.
Kylie Jenner’s dogs ranked a distant second on Matalan’s list. They’ve prompted about 206,000 searches this year.
Pets belonging to Ariana Grande, Paris Hilton, Kendall Jenner and Katy Perry were also frequently searched for.
That shining, eerily symmetrical silver monolith found in the Utah desert has everyone screaming "ET." The truth is likely far more terrestrial.
We still don't know who made the tall, metal rectangle or why they stuck it among the red rocks, where it was discovered this week in a helicopter flyover by Utah Department of Public Safety employees (they were counting bighorn sheep).
And though comparisons were quickly drawn to the fictional monoliths of film auteur Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey," we can safely say this real-life monolith was not the work of aliens.
Still, it's a fittingly mystifying symbol in a year that's often felt stranger than fiction. And while we may eventually learn more about the artwork's origin, any piece of Kubrick-inspired art should leave some questions unanswered, said I.Q. Hunter, a film scholar and De Montfort University professor.
"The Utah work is a slice of the future set in a prehistoric past, absolutely alien and incomprehensible in the landscape," he told CNN. "It would be a pity if we discovered what the Utah sculpture was, as that would lessen its mystery."
We still don't know. No artist has publicly claimed it, and when Utah officials stumbled upon it, it was unmarked.
But we can safely assume the artist was not an alien -- humans are clearly capable of building rectangular pieces of art, said Jason Wright, a professor of astrophysics at Pennsylvania State University and the director of the university's Extraterrestrial Intelligence Center. If "2001: A Space Odyssey" had never entered the public consciousness, Hunter said, we likely would never have questioned whether a simple geometric figure was placed on Earth by extraterrestrial life forms. Still, Hunter said, the fact that it was hidden in the wild is bizarre.
Hunter has a theory -- parts of "2001" were filmed in Monument Valley, along the Arizona-Utah border, he said, so it's possible the artist wanted to honor the film and place the real life monolith in a similar locale.
And in the film, the monolith was usually out of place -- in prehistoric Earth and buried on the Moon, Wright said. And like the fictional monoliths, this one certainly cuts a harsh, industrial figure against the rugged red rocks.
The Department of Public Safety in Utah didn't respond to CNN's request for comment. It has not yet revealed its plans for the figure. However, in a news release issued on Monday, the state's public safety department said it is illegal to place works of art on federally managed public lands. That means the monolith could be removed.
"The Bureau of Land Management will be determining if they need to investigate further," according to the news release.
Hunter said he thinks the monolith should remain among the rocks in all its confounding glory.
"It's a great homage and it should retain its mystery."
If it stays there, confusing bighorn sheep and visitors alike, it could become a pilgrimage for fans of the film.
Hunter also said he's still holding out hope that aliens will claim it as their own. -----------------
Feline-to-feline transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is possible, even if an animal is not showing any symptoms of the virus.
Research out of Kansas State University (K-State) has found cats can be asymptomatic carriers of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus responsible for COVID-19. Specifically, domestic cats without obvious clinical signs of the virus can still shed SARS-CoV-2 through their nasal, oral, and rectal cavities, and are capable of spreading it efficiently to other cats within two days, researchers say. Additional studies are needed to determine whether domestic cats can spread the virus to other animals and humans.
“Other research has shown COVID-19-infected human patients are transmitting SARS-CoV-2 to cats; this includes domestic cats and even large cats, such as lions and tigers,” says Jürgen A. Richt, DVM, PhD, the Regents distinguished professor at K-State’s College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM). “Our findings are important because of the close association between humans and companion animals.”
There are about 95 million house cats in the U.S. and between 60 million and 100 million feral cats, according to Dr. Richt, who is also the director of the university’s Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases (CEEZAD) and the Center on Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (CEZID).
“This efficient transmission between domestic cats indicates a significant animal and public health need to investigate a potential human-cat-human transmission chain,” he says.
Meanwhile, regarding the porcine study, researchers determined SARS-CoV-2-infected pigs are not susceptible to the coronavirus infection and do not appear to transmit it to contact animals.
“Pigs play an important role in U.S. agriculture, which made it important to determine the potential SARS-CoV-2 susceptibility in pigs,” Richt says. “Our results show pigs are unlikely to be significant carriers of SARS-CoV-2.”
Researchers are planning additional studies to further understand SARS-CoV-2 transmission in cats and pigs. Specifically, Richt says, they intend to explore whether cats are immune to SARS-CoV-2 reinfection after they have recovered from a primary SARS-CoV-2 infection.
“This research is important for risk assessment, implementing mitigation strategies, addressing animal welfare issues, and to develop preclinical animal models for evaluating drug and vaccine candidates for COVID-19,” he says.
Richt is the senior author on two recent collaborative publications featured in the journal Emerging Microbes & Infections: “SARS-CoV-2 infection, disease and transmission in domestic cats” and “Susceptibility of swine cells and domestic pigs to SARS-CoV-2.”
The unpredictable weather and barren pastures of winter complicate forage-feeding for horse owners. Because of this, many rely on round bales to provide necessary forage.
“Using round bales as part of a feeding system has advantages. They are economical compared to traditional square bales, which is important as hay is commonly the most expensive component in the diets of mature horses,” said Kathleen Crandell, Ph.D., a nutritionist for Kentucky Equine Research. “In addition, round bales are convenient to use, especially when forage must be transported through snowy and ice-covered paddocks in the dead of winter.”
However, round bales should be used appropriately to offset potential drawbacks, which include loss of nutrients, mold growth, negative effects on the respiratory system, and waste.
“Freeze-thaw cycles may have an effect on certain nutrients, particularly organic nutrients like proteins and fat-soluble vitamins,” explained Crandell. “Other nutrients, like minerals, appear to be fairly stable even if the hay is frozen, just as long as the hay stays dry.”
Once the hay gets wet, forage quality degrades rapidly. Further, when wet hay freezes and thaws, even more damage can occur to the protein found in the hay, particularly if it is a slow thaw.
If hay gets soaked through, there will be some leaching of nutrients and nonstructural carbohydrates, just like when hay is soaked for horses with certain metabolic conditions. Fat-soluble vitamins decline as hay ages, but soaking may intensify losses.
Because of the structure of the round bale, rain does not penetrate into the inner layers. This is especially true if the bale has been tightly bound and laid on its side.
“Mold growth is another factor to consider when hay gets wet and does not dry. Mold not only affects nutrient loss but can also be toxic to the horse,” Crandell advised.
Because of the inevitable losses of nutrients, round bales exposed to the elements should be consumed in four to seven days. Depending a bit on the size of the bale (they can vary greatly in weight), four horses can usually consume a bale in this time frame. Be cognizant of each horse’s body condition score when feeding herds, and remember that if there are too many horses trying to eat from one bale there may be a problem with competition.
“When using round bales, feeding a concentrate may be necessary if the hay doesn’t provide sufficient calories for maintenance of body condition. For horses that can maintain weight with hay alone, use a research-formulated vitamin and mineral supplement or ration balancer,” advised Crandell.
Waste from large round bales can be reduced through the use of feeders. Various models are marketed to the horse industry, and dimensions of the feeders vary. Some have roofs to protect hay from precipitation. In one study that compared nine models of round-bale feeders, hay waste ranged from 5% to 33%, while waste when fed with no feeder was measured at 57%.*
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has denied a permit for the massive Pebble Mine project in Alaska – a proposed open-pit copper and gold mine that would be upstream from the world's largest sockeye salmon fishery. The Corps said in a statement Wednesday that it has determined that the plan "does not comply with Clean Water Act guidelines" and it had concluded that "the proposed project is contrary to the public interest."
Fishermen and tribes have been fighting the mine proposal upstream of Bristol Bay for a decade, fearing it would harm the wild sockeye salmon at the heart of the area's economy and indigenous culture.
The project's outlook became cloudier in August when President Trump's son, Donald Trump, Jr. – an avid fisherman – tweeted his opposition to the mine. Nanci Morris Lyon, co-owner and operator of Bear Trail Lodge in King Salmon says she got the news by text. "It is an incredible relief. I felt like sitting down and just crying," she says. Lyon says the prospect of the mine has held the whole region hostage for years. Lodge owners like her didn't know if they could invest in their businesses. Commercial fishermen weren't sure they could buy new boats. She says Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump had stayed at the lodge about eight years ago. "I always said that I had faith that after they had visited here and they spent time here, they understood that this place didn't need something like that marring it, scarring it, ruining it forever."
Pebble Limited Partnership CEO John Shively says the company plans to appeal the Corps' decision. He told the Anchorage Daily News that it was a "lost opportunity" and said the company was "dismayed by today's news."
He pointed to conclusions in the Corps' environmental report from July on the mine, which said the project would have no measurable impact on Bristol Bay salmon. But that report was ambiguous, since it also said the mine would harm the area's water resources.
The Corps noted that its review process had taken nearly three years and is "based on all available facts and complies with existing laws and regulations. ... USACE is committed to maintaining and restoring the nation's aquatic resources, while allowing reasonable development."
The Pebble Mine came under increased scrutiny in September when an environmental group released secret recordings in which the then-CEO of Pebble claimed to have swayed politicians into either supporting or keeping mum on the project. Executives also were caught saying that they ultimately planned a much larger mine that they had requested a permit for.
Joel Reynolds of the Natural Resources Defense Council says to ensure that the protections last, the next step is for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to use a particular section of the Clean Water Act "to permanently protect the Bristol Bay watershed from large scale mining for all time."
The Army Corps' decision can be reversed, Reynolds notes, and the company can reapply if they make changes to the project. But with a Biden administration soon to take office, Pebble has little time left for such maneuvers. ----------------------------
A study has shed new light on a mysterious and rare rodent, confirming a long-held suspicion that the tiny creature's fur is laced with poison.
The study of the African crested rat published Tuesday in the "Journal of Mammology" found the rodent chews a plant-based poison and licks it into specialized hairs in its fur, according to a release from the Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute.
"Its fur is packed with a poison so lethal it can fell an elephant, and just a few milligrams can kill a human," the release says.
There are no known instances of the rats injuring people but there have been reports of dogs becoming ill or dying after attempting to attack the rats, according to a statement from Sara Weinstein, the study's lead author, emailed to USA TODAY.
Petting one would be ill-advised for a number of reasons, Weinstein said.
"Touching their fur would not kill you, although if it's fur on a live crested rat you'd probably get bitten by a very annoyed 2 lb. rodent," the statement said.
If someone got that far, they would want to immediately wash their hands to prevent the poison from coming in contact with their mouth, eyes or any open cuts — that's where the poison could prove deadly, Weinstein said.
The African crested rat is found in eastern Africa and rarely seen by humans, the study says. For those who do encounter it, they'll see a "rabbit-sized rodent" that "resembles a gray puffball crossed with a skunk."
While experts previously believed the creatures were solitary, recorded observations and trapping suggest that the rodents are monogamous and may form family groups.
Observing the elusive rat was a challenge, researchers reported: “Out of 30 traps, we finally got two animals. That was a win. This rat is really rare," the release quotes study co-author Katrina Nyawira.
The source of the poison, as observed by researchers: the “African poison arrow tree,” — a plant often used to create arrow poisons.
JUPITER and Saturn will come so close together next month they'll form a rare 'double planet' phenomenon that some are linking to doomsday.
The last time humans could observe this event was back in the Middle Ages around 800 years ago on March 4, 1226. The two planets did also come close together in the 1600s but this wasn't said to be visible from Earth. The celestial event is called the Great Conjunction and will be taking place on December 21 next month.
That means you've got plenty of time to mark it on your calendar and wish for clear skies. Jupiter and Saturn will come just 0.06º away from each other. That's about 1/5 of the diameter of a full Moon. To the naked eye this will look like one big bright star. If we're lucky enough not to have cloudy skies on December 21, the celestial event should be visible all over the world.
You'll need to look low down in the western sky an hour after sunset and below the Capricornus constellation. A night sky scanning app could be used to point you to the right constellation. Remember that stargazing is best done in an open and dark place with limited light pollution.
As if 2020 hadn't been bad enough, some conspiracy theorists think the Saturn and Jupiter meet up could spell the end of the world.
This is due to some interpretations of the Mayan calendar.
According to the Daily Express, doomsday predictor Pastor Paul Begley said: "It will be the closest Jupiter and Saturn have been since 1623 and it won't even come that close again for another 500 years.
"So this is so rare and it's going to be on the winter solstice. It's going to be on December 21, 2020.
"The Mayans are now reorganising and saying this could certainly be the end of the world as we know it."
Of course, there is no hard evidence to suggest this is correct.
According to Astrology.com, some astrologists believe Jupiter and Saturn coming close together leads to old forms dying and new growth beginning.
What we know for sure is that some stargazers across the planet will be in for an interesting visual treat on December 21.
November’s full moon sneaks in before the end of the month, putting a wrap on the long Thanksgiving weekend.
The beaver moon rises early Monday, reaching its peak at 4:30 a.m. ET, NASA says.
The November full moon was traditionally called the beaver moon by both colonial and Native Americans.
“This is the time of year when beavers begin to take shelter in their lodges, having laid up sufficient stores of food for the long winter ahead,” according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac. “During the time of the fur trade in North America, it was also the season to trap beavers for their thick, winter-ready pelts.”
Viewing conditions for the full moon will depend on the weather and skies in your area. The moon will look full a day before and after its peak.