Discovery News - Animals
Nov 20, 2012
Sperm Whales Caught Napping
Researchers stumble upon a pod of sperm whales getting some sleep in the open ocean, and the event is caught on tape. James Williams reviews the action.
Cities Abuzz with Urban Beekeeping
A Washington, D.C. rooftop is now home to thousands of bees, thanks to restaurant Founding Farmers, which owns one of the nation's largest urban beehives. And while the chefs get all the honey, researchers study the bees. Martin Berman visits the ...
Sea Lampreys Flee Death Scent
The smell of dead sea lampreys makes live ones scatter. And it's this new finding that could pave the way to better methods of controlling the invasive fish in the Great Lakes. Jorge Ribas reports.
Massive Rodents Invade Wetlands
Twenty-pound rodents from South America called nutria are invading coastal marshes and wetlands. And on Maryland's Eastern Shore, wildlife biologists are looking for new ways to control them. Jorge Ribas reports.
How To Trap Nutria
Jorge Ribas learns how wildlife specialists trap nutria, invasive rodents originally from South America that have been destroying wetlands for decades.
Dancing Zombie Squid Explained
A restaurant in Japan is serving up some very fresh sushi. The "dead" squid begins to squirm as soy sauce is poured over it, but why? Martin Berman speaks with a chemist to find out what's going on.
Polar Bears Forced to Swim Longer Distances
Female polar bears and their cubs are swimming increasingly longer distances causing higher mortality rates for the young bears, a new study finds. Martin Berman reports.
Jumping Carp Attack Explained
A family outing on a small river gets wild when Asian carp begin jumping out of the water by the dozens. Martin Berman talks with the Great Lakes Fishery Commission for information about these invasive carp.
Rare Cranes Get Second Chance
The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute doubles as a center for troubled cranes, and researchers hope their breeding efforts could help the massive birds avoid extinction. Jorge Ribas visits the facility.
Surfing Geese Explained
A gaggle of geese float down the Colorado River and onto a giant, man-made wave! Are they surfing or just trying to survive (or maybe a little bit of both)? Jorge Ribas gets the answer.
Poop Smashing Stinky, Yet Revealing
It might not be the most appealing way to find out if an animal is pregnant, but analyzing animal feces is definitely the least invasive. And at the Smithsonian Conservation Biological Institute, Jorge Ribas finds out how it's done.
Giant Pacific Octopus Returns
Following in the footsteps (er, tentacles) of Caroline, meet Octavius, the new giant Pacific octopus at the Smithsonian's National Zoo.
Polar Bear Cubs in Big Trouble
As sea ice decreases in both coverage, thickness and age, polar bears could have fewer cubs, according to new research. Jorge Ribas reports on the findings from the Arctic.
Elephants Show Cooperation on Test
An experiment reveals that elephants not only cooperate, but that they understand the logic behind teamwork. Jorge Ribas reports on the findings.
Ducks Blown Off Their Feet Explained
If ducks can fly, then why can't they stand through the wind in this viral video? James Williams gets an explanation.
Cats Drink Differently Than Dogs
The difference between dogs and cats just widened, as scientists have found that the two animals drink liquids using entirely different methods. Dogs use a plunk and scoop method while cats delicately lap liquids with only the tip.
Lion Cubs Go Swimming
Four lion cubs at the National Zoo took a swim test to find out if the animals could climb out of the moat around the lion habitat if they happen to fall in. The test is part of the zoo's larger efforts to build a lion pride.
Otter Surgery at the National Zoo
An Asian small-clawed otter needs surgery to have an almond-sized bladder stone removed. For the vets at the Smithsonian's National Zoo, that means taking all the necessary precautions to make sure everything turns out right.
New Species Discovered in Papua New Guinea
More than 200 new species of insects, amphibians and mammals were recently found in the rainforest of Papua New Guinea. So how were all these animals discovered? Conservation International scientists explain their techniques.
Stink Bugs Invade Homes, Damage Crops
As cooler weather nears, Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs are quickly becoming an unwelcome houseguest. But the pest is also wreaking havoc on important crops like corn and soybean. Jorge Ribas learns about the stinky invaders.
Zoo's DNA Lab Cracks Cases Like CSI
Researchers at the Smithsonian's National Zoo's new genetics lab use animal DNA to diagnose new diseases, help in conservation efforts and solve mysteries. Jorge Ribas goes inside.
Rare Cranes Give Birth at National Zoo
A pair of endangered wattled cranes at the Smithsonian's National Zoo recently became parents. Jorge Ribas takes a closer look at the rare hatchling, the first ever born at the zoo. Originally filmed in March 2008.
Ice Disappears, Walruses Head for Land
Massive super-herds of walrus are being forced onto dry land because of a lack of sea ice, the World Wildlife Fund reports. New video shows an estimated 10,000 animals gathered in Point Lay, Alaska.
Japanese Giant Salamander
At more than five feet long, the Japanese Giant Salamander is one of the largest amphibians in the world. At the Smithsonian's National Zoo, biologists hope to breed the animals for the first time outside of Japan.
Preventing Sea Urchin Orgies
Keeping your sea urchins calm and sedate on the way back to the lab is an important part of studying their fertility. James Williams finds out why.
Piranha 3D: Fact vs. Fiction
Piranha 3D unleashes the ravenous, toothy fish on unsuspecting spring breakers and moviegoers. But what are the facts behind the piranha's myth? Director Alex Aja talks to Jorge Ribas about his film's scaly star.
Giant Squid Legend Lives
Inspiring authors and frightening sailors for centuries, the giant squid lurks somewhere between myth and reality. Zoologist Clyde Roper discusses the deep sea leviathan, separating fact from fiction.
What Would Happen If Sharks Disappeared?
Shark populations worldwide are under enormous pressure due to overfishing. So what happens to an ecosystem when apex predators like sharks disappear? We talk to Discovery Channel shark advisor Andy DeHart to find out.
Caterpillars 'Gut Slide' to Get Around
Free-floating guts in caterpillars act like pistons helping the insects move. Researchers say this newly described form of locomotion, dubbed 'gut sliding,' could aid in the design of soft-bodied robots. Jorge Ribas reports.
How To Feed 2,000 Zoo Animals
From the panda to the cuttlefish, everybody's got to eat. And for the animals at the Smithsonian's National Zoo, those meals depend on a team of nutritionists, cooks and keepers. Jorge Ribas heads into the kitchen.
Flying Animals Captured in 3D
"Flydra," a new multi-camera, real-time, three-dimensional method of recording multiple flying animals, shows the minutest details of airborne insects. Click link at right to get the whole story. This movie shows various 2-D cameras tracking a fr ...
Hungry Goats Help Save Bog Turtles
Rare bog turtles are getting help from some unlikely environmentalists: sheep and goats that snack on woody and invasive plants. Jorge Ribas visits the turtles' wetland home.
Missing Zoo Animals in Grave Danger
A tiger and two camels have been missing for the last four days and now zoo officials worry their live are at risk. Kasey-Dee Gardner spoke with Dave Salmoni about the incident.
Sea Otter Poop May Help Save Species
The fur trade wiped out the sea otter populations worldwide. Now scientists have figured out an innovative way to get insights into sea otter reproduction- using their poop as pregnancy test. Kasey-Dee Gardner explains.
Extraordinary Gorilla Encounter Explained
When Damian Aspinall reconnects with a gorilla he cared for 5 years ago, the gorilla has an almost human-like reaction. Is that reaction what it really looks like? James Williams gets an explanation.
Called the chameleons of the sea, cuttlefish can change their skin color and texture to both confuse their prey and hide from predators. At the Smithsonian's National Zoo, Jorge Ribas meets a few of these intelligent invertebrates.
Oil Spill Puts Birds at Risk
The next victims of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico could be the birds that depend on the region's fertile shorelines, bayous and marshes. American Bird Conservancy's Michael Fry talks to Jorge Ribas about the situation.
Rare Monster Jellyfish Caught on Tape
For the first time ever, stygiomedusa gigantea, a gigantic jellyfish, was caught on video by scientists in the Gulf of Mexico. Scientists say finding this massive species can provide better insight into habitat, behavior, and ecology of this myst ...
Frog Tadpoles Scream Underwater
Researchers report that Argentine horned frog tadpoles produce 'screams' when in distress. It's the first time ever that vertebrate larvae have been heard using sound to communicate underwater. Jorge Ribas reports.
Spider Sex Dangerous For Some
The longer a male Australian redback spider woos the female, the better chance she won't eat him the first time they mate. James Williams explores this tangled web of poisonous spider sex.
Vernal Pools Spring to Life
Salamanders, frogs and fairy shrimp are just a few of the residents of vernal pools. Jorge Ribas wades into one of these temporary woodland oases.
National Zoo Looks for Panda Pregnancy
Mei Xiang, the Smithsonian's National Zoo's female giant panda, gets her weekly ultrasound, as vets continue to monitor whether she's pregnant with her second cub. Jorge Ribas sits in on doctor visit.
The Skinny On Whale Sharks
Little is known about Whale Sharks -- they're hard to study because of their extreme migratory patterns. Kasey-Dee Gardner finds out some interesting facts about the gentle giants of the sea.
Seals Filmed Fighting For Air
A seal-mounted video camera catches seals fighting for access to air after their hunting grounds are clogged by an iceberg.
Dog Growls Have Deeper Meaning
Dogs can distinguish between different types of growls, say researchers who recorded dogs growling while playing, in fear of a stranger, and guarding food. Jorge Ribas reports on the study.
Octopus Mimics Flounder
New video shows an octopus disguising itself as a flounder. Marine Biological Laboratory senior scientist Roger Hanlon talks to James Williams about the eight-legged impersonator.