Sunday, October 28, 2012

The bad animals before the storm

Posting early, a bunch of bad animals to tide you over till I get power back (that I will lose it goes without saying):

The Tampa Bay Mystery Monkey finally taken into custody!

Video of a wild boar invading a bus station office and the brave woman who tries to defend herself with a stool

Science: Wild Monkeys Watch Fights to Exploit Losers for Grooming

And finally, a rare tale of a bad animal who repented:
Foxy thief snatches bag - then returns it to owner
"..He looked at me for a few seconds before letting out this feeble yelp.
“Next thing I knew he had my wife’s handbag in his mouth and was running towards the bushes.”
Jeremy screamed at the fox to drop the bag but he scuttled off out of sight.
He added: “Anna had everything in there: her phone, money, purse, keys and letters. I couldn’t believe the fox had just taken it – it was mad. I thought that was it.”
But a few minutes later the guilty looking fox crept back into the car park with his bushy tail between his legs. In his mouth was Anna’s bag which he dropped at her feet before running off.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Natural food doesn't help a bear's morals

On this blog we've seen bears stealing pizza, cake, candy, and submarine sandwiches. But like the rest of us, these junk food junkies sometimes take a stab at keeping to a natural food diet. And at this time of year, bulking up for winter, they'll stop at nothing to get it. The destruction above was left behind by bears that stole over a thousand dollars worth of honey from the Ballard Bee Company in Washington State.

And in Colorado, state wildlife officials suggest that birds are just going to have to go hungry till bears go into hibernation. They're telling people to leave their bird feeders empty to prevent the same kind of thing from happening in your backyard. (see the photo over at our Tumblr).

Not every government just lies down and takes it when bears behave this way, though. In coverage of the Ballard Bee devastation, Metro mentions one case where the justice system took this sort of thing seriously: In 2008, a Macedonian court convicted a bear of stealing  honey after a beekeeper's desperate attempts to ward it off with loud music failed when his generator ran out of power.

Still, although this was a righteous act of symbolic justice, the bear, as usual, got off scot-free:
Since it had no owner and belonged to a protected species, [the court] ordered the state to pay the 140,000 denars ($3,500) damage it caused to the hives.

There was no information on the whereabouts of the bear.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Why not stick with your own kind?

Thanks to submissions from our faithful readers, it's a hard choice this morning among bad animal news headlines. I thought this one was pretty good:
Deer breaks into home, demolishes bedroom
 but then I got this one:
Boston school goes into lockdown due to coyote concerns 
But then this is clearly the winner:
Elk relocated after having sex with cow in public
followed closely by that of the local news story that is the source for that one:
Elk banished from 100 Mile Ranch B.C. after falling in love with cow
The headline is more politely Canadian but article itself is explicit about the situation. After three years of lurking around the herd of cows, apparently a male elk finally got up the nerve to approach one of the lovely ladies. We'll never know what his pickup line was, but it was successful, according to the rancher:
“If you were there watching, it would be an X-rated movie. Several times a day.”
Sex wasn't the offense that got the elk banished, though - it was the possibility of violence. First, traffic was backing up as voyuers tried to get a look at the show. But then, he had to be removed for his own safety:
Messner said the final straw was when hunters turned up, the lure of a six-point rack potentially dangerously enticing.
“Trucks were pulling over and people were watching this poor elk through the scope of their gun and people were doing U-turns on the highway. It was becoming a real dangerous situation.”
Messner called in the conservation officer. He, the officer and two RCMP officers sedated the elk and removed its antlers to make it less appealing to hunters and less of a threat to the cows should it decide to return.
The elk was then loaded into a truck and taken about 20 kilometres out of town, towards the mountains.
Will the elk learn his lesson, and stick to his own kind in romance? The rancher, obviously wise in the ways of bad animals, doesn't think so.
“I kind of think he will be back next year,” said Messner.

Take a look at that attractive lady elk (by Flickr user alumroot). Why would a guy need to look elsewhere?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Presented without comment....

...just some added italics, because it's been far too long since we contemplated the evil that is dolphins:

The Ukrainan navy has restarted special training for dolphins and other animals for military duties including attacking enemy combat swimmers and detecting mines, a military source in the Ukrainian naval port of Sevastopol told RIA Novosti on Thursday.
"Ten dolphins are now being trained for special tasks in the Ukrainian state oceanarium, and the Ukrainian military are regularly training the animals for detecting things on the seabed," the source said.
The killer-dolphins will be trained to attack enemy combat swimmers using special knives or pistols fixed to their heads, the source said. "We are now planning training exercises for counter-combat swimmer tasks in order to defend ships in port and on raids," he said.

Oh, and the photo? That's a US Navy dolphin trained to "detect, locate and mark threat swimmers and divers attempting to commit terrorist attacks." The Navy says that it "does not now train, nor has it ever trained, its marine mammals to harm or injure humans in any fashion or to carry weapons to destroy ships." But of course they would say that, wouldn't they.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Canine classics

Some recent examples of several kinds of traditional canine bad behavior:

Dogs on Drugs:
We've seen dogs on pot before but now in Colorado it's an epidemic. The effects are familiar:
"They basically have lost a lot of their fine motor control, they have a wide-based stance and they are not sure on their feet," veterinarian Dr. Debbie Van Pelt said.
A vet who's studied the problem says it's due to the legalization of medical marijuana - the number of canine cases has quadrupled since the law went into effect:
Vets say they used to see dogs high on marijuana just a few times a year. Now pet owners bring in doped-up dogs as many as five times a week.
Dogs with Guns:
We've seen this so many times that it made it into the subtitle of the book, and although you'd think I'd be jaded by now, to me this is one that never gets old. This time in France:
The 55-year-old man, named only as Rene, said the animal accidentally pulled the trigger of his master's shotgun after jumping on top of him "for a cuddle".
The shot destroyed his right hand and he had to be taken by helicopter to a hospital in Bordeaux, where doctors were unable to save the limb.
As usual, an animal can get away with anything if it's cute enough:
"It wasn't the dog's fault," he said. "And he's adorable! I should have left the (gun's) safety on, that's all."
Fox home invasion:
 British foxes have been making a habit of entering people's property and biting them, often when they're asleep. In the most recent case, an elderly English gentleman was sleeping in a chair in his backyard when he was awoken by a pain in his hand: a fox was chewing on it.

We've seen a lot of useless reponses on the part of officials lately, but this one has to take the cake: here's what a neighbor was told when bothered by the same fox:
The council officer replied: “Well next time you see this fox, throw a blanket over him, carry him into your car and drive him to your nearest RSPCA.”
The RSPCA, to their credit, said "We wouldn’t encourage people to chase around after foxes or cover them with blankets.” But they offer no alternative, since it's only their problem if the fox is in trouble:
“If there is nothing wrong with the fox, then there is no reason we’d be involved."
Sorry, citizens of Britain, but apparently you are on your own.

 Dog that's suspiciously comfortable with a gun by Flickr user Waldo Jaquith.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Is the end in sight for the Mystery Monkey?

Last time we heard of the notorious Tampa Bay Mystery Monkey, he was reported to be living in the yard of a family that only spoke to reporters with the promise that their location would not be revealed.

But their attempt to protect the fugitive has been foiled by his own bad behavior. Apparently he also visited another Florida home nearly every day - and now he's bitten one of the residents:
The woman was sitting outside when the monkey bit her on her back, said Gary Morse, spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. After the bite, the woman stood up and the monkey bit her again.
The daughter of the 60-year-old woman whom the monkey attacked... said she was inside her home cooking a meal Monday when she heard her mother scream from the front porch.
The animal had jumped on her mother's back, scratching and gnawing on her skin as she rose from a chair.
"She could hear the clicking of teeth," her daughter said.
The woman reached behind, grabbed the monkey's leg and tossed him into the bushes before he ran off.
The father of other family denied that this could be the same monkey:
"Does not seem like Monk at all," he wrote of the reported attack. "He has been sleeping on the porch and just in general relaxing. No difference in his attitude at all." 
The family of the bitten woman seems to have always had more sense than these folks, and recognized the danger.  The monkey was "never aggressive," but:
He would playfully slap the 40-pound family dog, who'd run inside.
Out of concern, the family members purchased a pellet gun. They never shot it, but simply showing it to the monkey would cause him to leave.
They occasionally sprayed the monkey with water to shoo him away, but he would always come back.
But when they reported their concerns to Fish and Wildlife officials, they were reportedly told to stay away from the monkey and everything would be OK.

Seeing how that advice has worked out, authorities have finally been spurred into action, and are setting traps for the monkey. But assuming they are skilled enough to trap the wily creature, his ultimate fate is still unknown:
If the monkey is captured, he may be euthanized, though the victim could sign a waiver to save the monkey's life.
And in fact, the monkey-huggers may ultimately win this battle. The victim claims in a video to just want him to be "reunited with other monkeys." "I love him too," she says, "I just want to see him in a safe place."

Monday, October 8, 2012

Penguin Invasion

Today, another one of those stories that arrives at a low point and gives me the will to go on blogging: The sad tale of a town in South Africa that has been invaded by penguins.

They are everywhere: in the bushes, on the lawn, the patio, the driveway - they've even been caught breaking and entering homes.

The African penguin might be endangered, but homeowners in Stony Point in Betty's Bay believe the breeding birds are "endangering" the lives of residents.
Thousands of African penguins are driving people in the Western Cape town crazy. While many have holiday homes there, "79 and a quarter-year-old" Barbara Wallers has lived in the area since 1947, and said she gets little sleep because the birds make too much noise.
"Just a month ago, I found one in my kitchen that s**t all over the floor. I tried to get it out with a swatter, but it wouldn't go. Eventually someone caught it," said Wallers, as she tried to chase dozens of penguins from her friend's property.
"Listen to them. They grunt and bellow and squeak all night. I can't sleep," she said.
"When I call the authorities to complain, they say I am rude. Who wouldn't be?"
Wallers said they have always had the occasional penguin in the garden, but in the last two years things have got out of hand.
Johannes Klopper, a retired medical doctor from Durbanville, said the penguins have kept him away from his holiday home.
"On my property I have between 30 to 50 nests. They cause such a big mess that it really has become a health hazard. My wife doesn't want to go there now because we cannot sleep at night," said Klopper.
He said it is difficult for him, at his age, to clean up the guano that smells terrible and kills plants.
Klopper and Wallers claim the municipality promised to erect a fence large enough to keep the waddling birds away from the homes, but it has been an empty promise.
The existing fence has not been maintained and is riddled with holes.
 As usual, there are also locals who side with the bad animals:
However, Mike Oosthuyzen, who has a holiday house there, said he did not mind the penguins and liked having them in his garden.
And authorities, typically, claim that their hands are tied: The situation will "hopefully" improve when the fence is extended - but this can't be be done for several months until the breeding season is over.

The press perhaps misses part of the point here as well:
They are also called Jackass penguins because of their "donkey-like bray", which keeps Stony Point residents wide awake at night. 
because clearly that's not the only reason that this bird's name suits them.

Thanks again for making life worth living to Nothing to Do with Arbroath.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Birds birds birds

We just did a bad bird roundup a week ago, but the stories keep coming in:

-When Owls Attack: These days, a generation that grew up with Harry Potter is left with a fondness for owls, but reality is much less charming than fiction. In the Washington DC area, recurring owl attacks on innocent pedestrians are making the news. "I felt this scraping sensation along the right side of my head, and much to my amazement an owl flew away," a jogger told WTOP, saying the attack came with no warning: "You don't hear a thing. Now I know what a squirrel feels like." Another victim told the Washington Post of being attacked three times in a row.

One DC official made excuses, as these wildlife "experts" often do: claiming that the jogger's ponytail was likely mistaken for a tasty squirrel. But a scientist consulted by the Post knows the real deal:
When he studies owl nestlings, Bierregaard wears safety glasses and a lacrosse helmet.
-Kamikaze starlings:
A mass collision between a flock of starlings and a car on a stretch of Austrian expressway has left up to 100 of the birds dead and the driver shaken but unhurt.
The Austria Press Agency says the birds suddenly flew from power lines above the multi-lane highway in western Austria downward and directly into the path of the car.
Just an accident? Or a plan that went awry, leaving the driver unharmed?

-Hope is the thing with a spray can:

The kea parrot of New Zealand (in the photo above) is famous for being able to virtually disassemble cars with its beak -they're not afraid of the police, either - and for its nasty habit of eating sheep alive.

Despite this hooliganism the kea was made a protected species, making it difficult to fight back. But now there's hope in the form of a weapon that, ironically, comes out of an effort to protect them. A product was designed to keep the birds from eating poison meant for introduced species - and now it's going to be made into a spray-on kea repellent.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Animals vs. Technology

Animals vs the power grid: Causing blackouts is a classic form of animal mayhem, but the culprits are mostly fliers or tree-climbers: snakes, raccoons, squirrels, cats including one bobcat and more birds than I can possibly link to here. It's hardly even newsworthy for this blog, unless it's cows: in Scotland, the power company blamed a blackout on cows rubbing against poles.

Animal vs video camera: Here's a video of what happens when a seagull steals a camcorder.

Animals keeping up with the latest developments: New tech means new ways for animals to make trouble. The picture above is of a bear stealing an iPad from a campsite, and of course someone took video of that too. Yes,the devices have a remote tracking function, but it probably won't work in the remote San Bernadino mountains.... and even if it did, would you walk up to a bear and ask for your iPad back?