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I have brought you a video showing the birth of a baby seal (though I've been told it is a sea lion...or maybe this is). Now, here is one showing mom giving the baby a lesson in swimming. I particularly like the taking of baby by his fin (or seat) and putting him on shore. Moms of every sort are bossy like that.

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Not many people have seen this video, yet, despite it being on Yahoo's news feed. I wonder if that is because some people are alarmed about the idea of watching an animal give birth. If you are sensitive to that sort of thing, you might want to skip this vid.

I will put it under a cut, but, it isn't very graphic at all...and the moment when the lone Mom makes sure her baby is breathing...is so touching. It reminds me of how far our human species has come...that we have created this obnoxious venue...for something so amazingly pure and natural.

Read more... )

Both mother and child are doing well, according to the people who filmed this clip.
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At the risk of losing more ground on LJ popularity polls, I am sticking with the animal behavior theme. I have discussed prairie dog communication before on this blog, mentioning how they have distinct calls for particular predators and can explain direction, speed and particulars to mark one person from another by clothing and size.

And here we see some prarie dog ingenuity, as a particularly brave female practices snake charming. Someone in the comments for this vid, quite correctly, points out that there are two different rattlesnakes used in this documentary. Probably that is because the footage is cut and pasted for maximum drama and these events were not the focus of the daily shoot. Stand-in snakes and prairie dogs were probably used for close ups. Still, the overall validity of the video could still be accurate. I have seen a gerbil kick the bejeebers out of a snake that was many times larger than said gerbil. The snake became so flustered it ran away. So, snakes can be outwitted by rodents.

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My cat Solomon came up in a sad way in the last set of comments. But, I shall tell you that he often tried valiently to protect me from newspapers and homework. He actually spent one long night maiming a report I had written for a college class. I took the tatters in with me because I didn't think my professor would believe that my cat ate my homework. It would be easier for this guy, of course, as he has video.

http://screen.yahoo.com/adorable-kitten-vs-newspaper-105706998.html
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Someone sent me a video with 20 kitten hugs in it. And I almost linked you to that one. Then, I found this one, which is far more instructive. Like...when hunting a mouse on a slippery surface, stay low. When hunting a mouse, do not get distracted by your tail in the middle of things. When hunting a mouse, try for a nonchalant attitude from time to time. And remember, you may have to defend your kill from other predators.

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An adventurous day in the life of an adopted baby mongoose. I was a fan of Rikki Tikki Tavi in my youth, so I appreciate the predatory little whippersnapper. Given the rodent like manuevers, I am a little surprised that the cats treat her like a kitten. But, then, she seems to have the predatory soul. Perhaps, as the videographer suggests, the cats can tell.

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This is interesting. Not the adoption part, because maternal instincts have kicked in many times for cats and dogs and the most interesting example of that I ever saw was a lioness adopting a baby eland after killing the deer's mother.

No, what interests me here is that the squirrel learned to purr. Purring is a mystery to science. But, it could be a sign of satisfaction that mother cats might accept in order to stop their fussing. So, this baby squirrel has learned to adapt. Or, perhaps, purring is a learned communication for kittens, too. Something the mother cat teaches them, just as she will teach them to use a litter box if she is litter trained. Now, that would be interesting. But surely orphan cats purr, too. So this says something about squirrels, I think.

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"You would be proud to be tentacled, if you were."



Not only are Octopi super intelligent, with multiple hearts and a respiratory bypass, they are also escape artists. Though, I think this one had some cooperation from the humans.
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Scientists call them "signature whistles." Just as they call the incredibly ordered and organizationally structured cetacean language, "a complex and sophisticated communication system," because, well, you wouldn't want to correctly identify a non-human intelligence and look like a fool to your colleagues, right? Plus, you couldn't justify keeping them as slaves and slaughtering their brethren if you recognized them as equals, could you?

http://www.care2.com/causes/dolphins-have-their-own-names-for-each-other.html
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Of course, I have often spoken of the intelligence of our dolphin and whale brothers and sisters. I run into some argument when it comes to Native cultures that hunt whales traditionally. This video will show you why it is never okay to harm a Cetacean. It is long, but worth the wait. If you skip ahead you will miss the crucial decision making of this alien creature. Notice how it imitates the awkward motions of the divers as it asks for help. Notice how it believes we are intelligent?  While we are still daring to debate the issue about it.



This video left me awed and tearful. Good dolphin. Good humans. It is like Christmas...peace on Earth and all that mushy stuff.
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WARNING: This video includes death of characters and may be a little disturbing, especially for those of you who love birds.

I remember when I first heard about evolution, like many fundamentalists, I thought it sounded preposterous. Fish just decided to get out of the water and walk around? Didn't they just, you know--die as soon as they decided to do that? They sure did. By the gazillions. But, some of them managed to make it. And those ones were the ones who survived to breed. They had just a little more gumption or lung capacity, I suppose. 

All it takes, is a new idea. And here, we see some fresh water catfish, discovering that there are tasty things to eat outside the water.



These catfish, as the eons progress and the birds who walk too close to the shore die out, will have to go further and further afield to eat pigeon. It won't seem like much of a leap each time. Just a little bit further for the taste they love (I hear pigeon tastes like chicken), but those who make the leap, might well develop the ability to process air in some fashion. 

And the next thing you know...



If you have a very strong stomach and don't mind having your fuzzy ideas about how sweet animals are put to rest forever, I can recommend National Geographic's "Last Feast of the Crocodiles." It is a great video, in my opinion, because it has enough deception, suspense, tragedy and irony to rival anything by Shakespeare. But it is full of gore and horror and not for those with sensitive constitutions.

It illustrates, graphically, how life and death go hand in hand in this world. And, I think, to enjoy it, you have to move beyond judgment of predators and survivors. I've always had a certain sympathy for predators, because they don't win many of their battles. They may not be the best people (or critters) to have over for dinner, I grant you. But those with marked survival instincts are fascinating from a behavior standpoint, in my opinion.

Here's a link for the program on YouTube. Just the first little bit, the 2 minutes pre-credit, will give you a good sense of what I'm talking about...re: graphic entertainment.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DuyAsq4m2I0
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There is an island off of Japan that is over run with thousands of semi-feral cats. These cats live the life and are fed by local fisherman. It is where your good and deserving Smokey is reincarnated for a life of luxury. 

He's grateful to the humans and hopes they have good luck in life. 



For more very cute cat photos...or very appalling ones, if you are a birdwatcher...go...

to this link...http://www.buzzfeed.com/summeranne/50-amazing-photos-from-cat-heaven-island-in-japan
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Two captive polar bears have a snowy birthday in So. Cal. 

These two are 30 and 32 which is quite elderly for polar bears and they live in a humid southern climate, so this was a real treat for them. Look at that blissful smile. :->




Read more... )

Of course, I always feel sorry for polar bears in captivity. And these pics make me feel a whole lot of human guilt, even as they make me smile. Still, I suppose, these days it is hard to be a polar bear in the wild, too.
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No, not really. This is a life affirming cat/emu love fest that is sure to warm your turkey cooking hearts.



And here we see Bob and the greenhouse cat playing the "chase game" which every cat loves to play. Look at those excited hops that Bob gives, just like a rambunctious kitten would hop. I have hopped myself, in just this fashion, during the lull in the chase game. It is the kitten equivalent of "Nah, na-nah, na, na-nah. You can't catch me." Generally, it is followed, as it is here, with a whoop and scramble.






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When my family came to comfort and support me, just after my mother died in 1987, they brought a 11 month old child with them. I was young enough, myself, to be appalled by this idea, but it turned out to be just the right tonic for my sense of loss. I clearly recall the day my little niece and my cat Stan decided to play a game of door stop tennis. Stan took door stops very seriously. But the baby did not. Still, the took turns. First, the baby would twang the door stop and then the cat would take a swipe. They delighted each other, and me, for a good 30 minutes on two separate nights.

Here we see a cat, using a door stop to express the opinion that doors should never be closed to cats.



And for you dog lovers...a puppy also expressing a marked interest in a door stop...



I will say that this puppy takes a very early interest in door stops, for those of you who want to claim dogs are smarter than cats. Cats generally are older when they develop this fascination. On the other hand, the puppy apparently removed the door stops from the house. So, cat lovers could contend that the puppy was not aware of the door stop as a toy, but rather, viewed it as some type of alien invader. Of course, maybe he just secreted the fun toys away.

Finally, under the cut, you can share in my experience of childish laughter over door stop tennis. Read more... )
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This camera operator has captured some authentic cat language. This is a rare capture, because cats faced with a human camera operator usually take an interest in the camera or the human and ask questions of the human. But here, for once, we see a fairly normal cat exchange. And I see people have been aware of this footage for some time, but it is new to me.



The first noise is a slight distress mew. The one that the cat on the right makes, that sort of purring uplift mew, is an inquiry. This is a "What is up with you?" remark. The other cat expresses some concerns and then asks the same of his friend. The exchange doesn't sound too alarmed. I would say that something has unsettled the cat on the left, but not so that it is overly agitated. Perhaps the cat on the left was wondering about the human acting weird, because he seems to inquire the human as well. This whole exchange is a rather subdued debate on the left cat's concern, perhaps a tummy ache or a slight worry. I don't know maybe he wondered why the human has a camera pointed at them. The cat on the right submits to his friend, that is the upturned belly moment. That is an offer to be of help. He asks, "What can I do for you?" The cat on the left wants huggles. And finally the cat on the right offers some comfort, a nose bump of love. There is a bit of licking, which is comforting to them both. The licking is almost rejected and then accepted with a nice purr.

I have had this same type of exchange with a cat many times...as I tended to lead a dramatic and stressful life in my cat-keeping days, and my cats were often concerned about me. I would come home agitated. They would burble a question. I would offer my explanation, and get some cat advice and there would be mutual comforting.

Lest you doubt my understanding, I will tell you that [livejournal.com profile] keswindhover recently showed me a scientific-type study of people identifying the barks of dogs, without having any idea what was happening to the dogs. I spent a good part of my childhood with a cat as a baby-sitter and we definitely communicated. Though mostly I can translate concepts like concern, inquiry, hunger, distress, irritation and "You are an imbecile."
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One of the signs of higher intelligence, according to the humans who came up with the criteria, is tool use. Of course, primates create tools, because primates have hands, so this is a very selective sign of higher intelligence. Real life problem solving is a better sign of intellect, in my opinion, and that is also on display in this video. But, I am always happy to see obviously intelligent species get some due in the scientific community.

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This was on the front page of my YAHOO feed, so probably lots of you have seen it there.

But it does speak to the fact that prey animals are quite resourceful when it comes to evading predators. Here, killer whales, adorably cute when interested in a boat, are shown to be considerably less cute in their pursuit of an otter family.

Don't worry you don't see any of the kill, just the can-do spirit of the prey. The hunt starts at 1:44. First, there is just some cute whale interaction. Of course, that is worth watching, too, even if it isn't as exciting.



I think it is quite interesting how the otter seems to understand English. I feel she definitely understood the intent of her human helpers. And then, at the end, how she gives the guy a dismissive look when he tries to take some liberties. She is obviously calling for her family, searching for them. She knows that, while she has been technically saved, she is now miles from home, too.
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I have shown you a video of a very gentle dog playing with a feisty kitten. Here we see a rottweiler having a similar interaction with a very amused baby human.



This reminds me of that current ad featuring all ages of humans laughing. I have no idea what product that ad is for, but I love it. It always arrests my attention.

This vid is brought to you by the news that laughter is not only the best medicine, it acts as a pain killer and qualifies as aerobic exercise. You are welcome. :grin:

EDIT to say that the ad is for Volkswagon. And I've placed it under this cut...Read more... )
Rae

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