A giraffe spits dust after eating dirt. Photo by Marie-France Grenouillet.
Wildlife photographer Marie-France Grenouillet captured this spectacular photo of a giraffe spitting dust out after eating soil in Ruaha National Park, Tanzania.
The act of eating soil, clay and dirt, called geophagy, is extremely common in mammals, especially in herbivores. Giraffes eat soil in order to take in minerals such as salt, copper, iron and zinc. The clay also acts as a medicine by binding fungal toxins, internal toxins, toxic chemicals, and bacteria.
View more fantastic wildlife photos at her website.
Peter Day, photographer for the Victorville Press, captured this amazing scene in California’s Lucerne Valley on September 29.
Jose Ruiz, who lives across from the 35-foot utility pole, said he thought the mountain lion got spooked by a noisy group of kids getting off the school bus. The big cat stayed perched atop the pole into the night.
To learn more about mountain lions (also known as cougars, pumas, or panthers), visit our mountain lion facts article.
Zookeepers have always assumed giraffes were fairly silent creatures, with the occasional snort thrown in. The assumption was that their long necks restricted their ability to make sounds, and also that being noisy would attract predators.
But researchers from the University of Vienna challenged this assumption. After recording and studying 938 hours of giraffe sounds over an eight year period, the scientists have discovered that in fact giraffes do make sounds. They make low-pitched humming sounds at night.
Learn more about giraffe sounds and the new research at Wired.com.
Zookeepers at Smithsonian’s National Zoo weigh the baby giant panda on September 14. (Erika Bauer/Smithsonian’s National Zoo via AP)
The tiny baby panda born at the National Zoo on August 22 is starting to look like his dad Tian Tian. At four weeks old, the baby now weighs two pounds and has developed markings in a similar pattern to those of his father.
The little tyke still sleeps most of the day, which is normal for a panda of this age. In the next few weeks, he will start to open his eyes.
Watch a video of the baby’s veterinary exam here:
You can follow the progress of the baby giant panda at the National Zoo’s website or with the hashtag #PandaStory on social media.
A rare pink bottlenose dolphin was recently captured on video by charter boat captain Erik Rue. Pinky was first spotted by Rue in 2007. To everyone’s delight, Pinky made another appearance eight years later, and she might be pregnant!
Image by Erik Rue.
According to scientist Greg Barsh, Pinky is most likely an albino. The pink hue comes from the blood vessels showing through her pale skin, which has no color. Albinism happens when there is a genetic mutation. The cells that make melanin, which produces the color in hair and skin, fail to make enough pigment, if any at all. People who have albinism have very pale skin, eyes, and hair.
Albinos can suffer from skin and vision issues as a result of their lack of melanin. Animals with albinism may be easily spotted by predators because they lack the appropriate camouflage. Therefore, albino animals, such as Pinky, are very rare in the wild.
Meet Storm, a seven month old joey. Photo by Taronga Western Plains Zoo.
Visitors to the Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, Australia delight in the new koala joey on view. Named Storm, the seven-month-old joey is the first koala joey of the season to emerge from his pouch.
This is the second joey for mother Wild Girl. Wild Girl came to the zoo’s wildlife hospital after she suffered a hip wound after being struck by a car and was unable to be returned to the wild.
Storm with his mother Wild Girl. Photo by Taronga Western Plains Zoo.
“Thunder is approximately seven-months-old, born in January 2015. Wild Girl is quiet protective of Thunder. He can be seen on the front of her chest for now but in the coming months will start to move on to her back,” said keeper Karen James.
For more information about the koala joeys at Taronga Western Plains Zoo, visit www.zoofari.com.au.
Siri was born on May 21 this year to experienced mother Halla. But usually, cheetahs are born in litters of three to five cubs. When a single cub is born, mother cheetahs generally reject the cub since survival rates for a single cub are low in the wild.
Zoo keeper Linda Matthews said: “We were on alert when we knew there was only one cub, and after 24hrs based on what we were seeing, we intervened to give Siri the best chance of survival.”
A keeper bottle feeds Siri. Photo by Taronga Western Plains Zoo.
For the first six weeks, keepers provided 24/7 care for the cub.
Siri and Iris the puppy interact. Photo by Taronga Western Plains Zoo.
At eight weeks, they introduced a 7-week-old retriever cross mastiff puppy named Iris as a companion. This will help Siri develop her animal instincts and social interaction.