Aren't these three meerkats cute? Oops, wait, we mean four! Look closely and you'll spot a baby peering out from under its mom in the cool 'kats enclosure at Bristol Zoo Garden in Bristol, England.
These alpine marmots in Hohe Tauern National Park, Carinthia, Austria look an awful lot like they're plotting something, no? We can't possibly guess at their evil plan, but the one on the left looks to be the chief troublemaker, rubbing its hands in classic villain fashion. Planet of the Marmots?
Is there a safer place for this cat to be than tucked under the giant, watchful head of its Bernese mountain dog buddy? (Of course the cat is probably thinking, "eh, sure, the dog can stay with me if it wants to.")
Scientists have known for a century and a half that sharks get cancer (despite a popular misconception that they don't), but the disease had never been observed in a great white, until this one -- near the Neptune Islands, South Australia -- was spotted with a tumor on its lower jaw.
A study published this week in the journal Current Biology took a listen to the "voice" of the koala bear, finding that the animal has a much lower register than it should, given it only weighs around 18 pounds. Instead, their vocal pitch is more in line with an elephant, and sounds a bit like a donkey braying or a frog croaking. The magic happens because koalas have an extra pair of vocal folds outside of the larynx that help them produce extremely low-pitched mating calls. This new fun fact is undoubtedly cool to ponder, but just as importantly it gives us a great excuse to show a cute koala bear picture.
You're looking at vertebrate paleontology's latest rock star, a baby Chasmosaurus that's thought to be one of the best preserved dinosaurs in the world. It was about three years old when it died (from drowning, it's theorized) and is fully intact, with the exception of its arms. Chasmosaurus had horns, feasted on plants, and was a relative of Triceratops. It was found in the badlands of Alberta, Canada, in Dinosaur Provincial Park.
You'd never guess it to look at them, but seahorses, such as this dwarf variation, Hippocampus zosterae, are highly efficient predators. That's all the more remarkable given the fact that they're some of the lousiest swimmers in the ocean. (In fairness, though, they weren't really built for speed -- you try zipping along without a dorsal fin.) One of the seahorse's chief meals, the shrimplike copepod, survives by evading predators with blinding speed and a keen sense of movement nearby. But the seahorse has cleverly evolved for itself a mouth at the end of a long, narrow snout. This lets them move through the water while creating very little disturbance, effectively sneaking up on its meal. The poor copepod, for all of its guile, never knows what hit it.
Meet the Pacific leaping blenny, a very curious creature. It's legless but leaps, and spends its whole life on land but is still a fish. (It lives in splashy coastal rocks so it can remain moist and breathe through its skin and gills.) A new study published in the journal Animal Behaviour and authored by Terry Ord, an evolutionary biologist at the University of New South Wales, has discovered how this oddball fish-out-of-water survives: It uses camouflage to dodge its enemies, doing its level best to match the color of the rocks on which it lives.
The next time someone's talking to you, and the person's really chewing your ear off, just be glad you're not talking to a polar bear. Ever the literalists, they'll do it for real if you let them. Not so with each other though -- neither of these polar bears at the Berlin Zoo seems very nonplussed by all the ear-chewing.
It took 100 days (a special milestone marked in Chinese tradition), but this panda cub at Washington, D.C.'s National Zoo now has a name: Bao Bao, which in Chinese means "precious" or "treasure." For her part, Bao Bao seems more interested in rolling around in the leaves than in worrying about what the funny-looking bipeds call her.