Peruvian dog’s world skateboarding record

This video says about itself:

Otto the skateboarding bulldog – Guinness World Records

The longest human tunnel traveled through by a dog skateboarder is 30 people and was achieved by Otto the Skateboarding Bulldog in Lima, Peru, on November 8 2015. Read full story here.

Otto does skimboarding as well.

Harvest mice in Britain, new research

This video says about itself:

9 November 2014

Eurasian Harvest Mice, Micromys minutus, adults feeding and female with young in the nest. They are the smallest rodents in Europe, weighing an average of just 6 grams. The tail is semi prehensile and is used like a fifth limb when climbing.

Nature, wildlife and macro video library clips shot in the UK by specialist cameraman Steve Downer. Filmed on a JVC HD110 camera, HD 720p.

From Wildlife Extra:

A novel way is developed to sniff out how many harvest mice live in the UK

The tiny harvest mouse will stand up and be counted with the help of a sensitive nose

The People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) has awarded an ecological grant towards an innovative project headed by PhD researcher Emily Howard-Williams at Moulton College in Northamptonshire.

Her team will train Tui, a flat-coated retriever, to learn to detect the scent of harvest mice, making tracking their presence in the countryside easier and more efficient.

The harvest mouse (Micromys minutus) is one of the most elusive and smallest of mammals in Great Britain and finding their tell-tale signs can be a difficult and time-consuming exercise even for the experts.

Consequently it has proved frustratingly difficult to determine an accurate picture of their current numbers in the UK, up to now.

Typically found in cereal fields, reed beds and hedgerows, harvest mice are believed to have declined in the past 40 years as a result of changes to farming practices and habitat management.

However, to date there have been no reliable studies to quantify this change, and it is unclear as to exactly how many are currently left in the UK.

With the help of Tui, who was bred from working gun dogs, Emily’s team hopes to shed some light on this most iconic species of the British countryside.

As Emily explains, “The harvest mouse appears to have undergone significant declines in parts of the countryside, partly in response to the intensification of modern agriculture, but also due to habitat loss.

“Yet it still remains difficult to ascertain just how many there really are. The funding from PTES will help to train our resident harvest mouse detector dog, enabling us to determine whether using sniffer dogs is the best approach in tracking these creatures!”

Harvest mice create nests, woven amongst tall grasses or reeds, giving skilled trackers key indicators of their presence.

However, these can be hard to find, even for the most expert eye, and nests as well as other indicators can be difficult to locate.

With the aid of a trained dog, Emily’s team will be able to survey a site more rapidly, with less margin for error.

A similar method is already being successfully used in New Zealand to seek out kiwi birds. Two English setters managed to sniff out 30 birds in just four days.

Nida Al-Fulaij, Grants Manager from PTES concludes, “We all know that dogs have an amazing sense of smell.

“The UK enlists the help of sniffer dogs at airports, music festivals and in the army, so why not also use them for conservation purposes to find harvest mice.

“The trained eye may miss a harvest mouse nest, but a trained nose is much more likely to pick up on a familiar scent and alert the handler to the presence of recent harvest mice activity in that area.

“We are very excited to be funding this project and look forward to seeing what results reveal about harvest mice populations in the UK.”

‘Wolves more intelligent than dogs’, new research

This video says about itself:

Wolves and dog

10 February 2009

Friendship of the wolves and the German Shepherd

By Bob Yirka:

Wolves found to be better at problem-solving task than domesticated dogs

September 16, 2015

(—Monique Udell, a researcher with Oregon State University, has found via experimentation, that domestic dogs appear to have lost some of their problem solving abilities as a result of their long history with humans. In her paper published in the journal Biology Letters, she describes a study she carried out and offers some theories on why she believe domesticated dogs may have lost some of their natural skills.

Udell notes that have long been known to work with people as they go about their lives, in contrast to animals in the wild—one such striking behavior is their tendency to look back at their human companion when faced with a perplexing situation—seemingly asking for help. To learn more about this behavior, Udell enlisted the assistance of ten dogs that live as pets (and their owners), ten that live in shelters, and ten that have been raised by humans.

Each of the animals was presented with a tasty sausage, which they were allowed to sniff, but not eat. Instead, the sausage was placed inside of a with a snap-on lid connected to a short length of rope. To open the , the animals needed to pull on the rope while holding down the container—a task Udell deemed relatively easy for animals as smart as dogs and wolves. Udell conducted the experiments in two ways, one where the animal was left alone with the container, the other where there was a human (their owners) standing close by.

Udell reports that none of the pet dogs was able to open the container and just one of the was able to do so, but eight of the ten wolves succeeded. The presence of a person nearby didn’t help much, the same number of wolves succeeded and one pet did so. She notes that all of the dogs from both groups spent a lot more of their time looking at the person, than did the wolves. Next, Udell allowed a human to offer encouragement to the dogs—doing so increased the success rate of the shelter dogs, four of them opened the container, but still just one pet dog was able to do it.

The experiment is intriguing Udell notes, because all of the dogs and wolves were capable of opening the container, but only the wolves were truly motivated to do so, as demonstrated by a much higher level of persistence—the dogs on the other hand appeared much more ready to ask for help.

More information: When dogs look back: inhibition of independent problem-solving behaviour in domestic dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) compared with wolves (Canis lupus), Biology Letters, Published 16 September 2015.DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2015.0489


Domestic dogs have been recognized for their social sensitivity and aptitude in human-guided tasks. For example, prior studies have demonstrated that dogs look to humans when confronted with an unsolvable task; an action often interpreted as soliciting necessary help. Conversely, wolves persist on such tasks. While dogs’ ‘looking back’ behaviour has been used as an example of socio-cognitive advancement, an alternative explanation is that pet dogs show less persistence on independent tasks more generally.

In this study, pet dogs, shelter dogs and wolves were given up to three opportunities to open a solvable puzzle box: when subjects were with a neutral human caretaker, alone and when encouraged by the human. Wolves were more persistent and more successful on this task than dogs, with 80% average success rate for wolves versus a 5% average success rate for dogs in both the human-in and alone conditions. Dogs showed increased contact with the puzzle box during the encouragement condition, but only a moderate increase in problem-solving success. Social sensitivity appears to play an important role in pet and shelter dogs’ willingness to engage in problem-solving behaviour, which could suggest generalized dependence on, or deference to, human action.

New golden jackal species discovery in Africa

This video says about itself:

DNA analysis: The African golden jackal is a WOLF

1 August 2015

Golden jackals of Africa and Eurasia are two distantly related species.

This is according to new DNA analysis carried on both of the lineages.

Lineage of new species split from that of gray wolves 1.3 million years ago.

The Eurasian golden jackal lineage split about 600,000 years earlier.

From Wildlife Extra:

New Golden Jackal species discovered

For the first time in 150 years a new canid species has been discovered in Africa, by scientists from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

The Golden Jackal of Africa (Canis aureus) has long been considered the same species as the Golden Jackals distributed throughout Eurasia, with the nearest source populations in the Middle East.

However, recent research indicates that they are actually two different species and that some African Golden Jackals aligned more closely to Gray Wolves (Canis lupus).

This is surprising given the absence of Gray Wolves in Africa and the phenotypic divergence between the two species.

The DNA results of the study provide consistent and robust evidence that populations of Golden Jackals from Africa and Eurasia should be recognised as two separate and distinct species, and it has been suggested that the Eurasian species should be named Eurasian Golden Jackal.

Genome-wide Evidence Reveals that African and Eurasian Golden Jackals Are Distinct Species: here.

Good nightjar news from Texel island

This video from France shows an European nightjar.

Translated from the Birds Information Center on Texel island in the Netherlands today (with video there):

At least one couple, but it is expected two or three couples of nightjars bred this year on Texel. One couple was at a spot not far from a path and regularly got into danger because dog walkers did not keep their dogs on leashes. Despite that dogs must be leashed during the breeding season, not everyone acts according to that rule. Fortunately, for this couple things ended well, both the young ones fledged.

Millions of Egyptian mummified dogs discovered

This video says about itself:

Why ancient Egyptians mummified 8 million dogs found in Anubis ‘God of Death’ mass grave

22 June 2015

In ancient Egypt, so many people worshiped Anubis, the jackal-headed god of death, that the catacombs next to his sacred temple once held nearly 8 million mummified puppies and grown dogs, a new study finds.

By James Gerken:

Millions Of Mummified Dogs Discovered In Ancient Egyptian Catacombs

06/22/2015 3:59 pm EDT

Ancient Egyptians are well-known for having worshipped animals, and archaeologists are used to unearthing nonhuman mummies. But a recent investigation in an ancient tomb south of Cairo led to a find of amazing proportions: an estimated 8 million mummified dogs that have been underground for more than 2,000 years.

Researchers from Cardiff University in Wales chronicle their discovery in a study published this month in the journal Antiquity.

The researchers found the remains within the catacombs of a temple dedicated to the jackal-headed god Anubis, in a burial ground called Saqqara. The center passageway is about 568 feet long and side corridors make the tomb up to 459 feet wide, according to Live Science. Many of the mummified canines have disintegrated or been removed by grave robbers.

“It would be quite difficult to easily find complete, nicely wrapped mummies,” Cardiff University archaeology professor and lead researcher Paul Nicholson told CNN. “What you have got is the decayed remains of the mummies.”

The archaeologists examined the number of mummies in a portion of the catacombs and used that count to estimate how many likely filled the tomb.

The tomb, which was likely built in the fourth century B.C., was first discovered in the 19th century, but archaeologists had no idea how many mummies it housed until this latest discovery. Researchers also found the remains of jackals, foxes and several falcons, The Independent reported.

The surrounding area was quite busy in antiquity, according to the researchers. The temples brought economic activity from visitors, merchants and breeders who raised dogs to be mummified for the Anubis temple.

“It would have been a busy place,” Nicholson told Live Science. “A permanent community of people living there supported by the animal cults.”

Cauliflower mushrooms, not anti-dog poison

This video says about itself:

We find a Cauliflower mushroom ! (Sparassis crispa)

18 September 2014

My son was raised in the forests helping wild-craft edible mushrooms. Every year we find at least one Cauliflower – the first ending up in a bread casserole with chanterelles.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands (they put the wrong photo with their new item; not of a cauliflower fungus, but of a coral fungus):

Baked sponges in Huizen turn out to be cauliflower mushrooms

Today, 11:33

The suspect sponges that were recently found among bushes in Huizen turn out to be actually fungi. That is the conclusion of investigations by the police and the Forestry Commission.

The finder guessed that they were baked sponges and that they were intended to kill dogs.

According to the Forestry Commission in Huizen, these are innocent fungi which normally grow deep in the forest. They are harmless to dogs because the animals do not like eating the fungi. …

The past few days came from different towns alerts about baked sponges supposedly deposited by people who hate dogs.

The sponges are baked in fat and smell good for dogs and cats. But once inside the stomachs of the animals they will expand and they can be lethal.

Except in Huizen sponges were also found in Almere, Hengelo, The Hague, Leiden and Saendelft. It is still unclear whether the sponges in these other places will also prove to be cauliflower mushrooms.