Incredible footage shows a starfish ‘walking’ on a beach in North Carolina

Incredible footage shows a starfish ‘walking’ on a beach in North Carolina

Since time immemorial, we have been fascinated by the strange, the abnormal and the downright bizarre.

Perhaps this has something to do with the human spirit for exploration and delving into the unknown, perhaps it is more rudimentary; in a world of nearly seven and a half billion people, all of whom are relatively similar, we are starving for something a little bit different.

While some people are born with differences in their physical appearance that render them ‘unusual’ looking in comparison to the majority, others choose to enhance or alter their appearance though plastic surgery, possibly in a bid to stand out from the crowd, or merely to satisfy an instinct they have felt all of their lives.

Even in the animal kingdom, we remain fascinated with creatures that differ from the norm; the rarer the better, the more alien and strange looking, the stronger our preoccupation.

When it comes to the surreal, the ocean pretty much takes the biscuit; creatures of the deep are often terrifying, other-wordly looking specimens not immediately reconcilable with what we might consider Earth dwelling beings.

Whether some sinister fish lurking deep beneath the ocean’s surface, or a creature in circumstances we wouldn’t normally associate with their natural behavioural patterns; a fish out of water, if you will, we lap it up in morbid curioisity.

altCredit: YouTube

Take, for example, the astonishing footage that recently emerged of a starfish “walking” along a beach in Corolla, North Carolina.

Far outside of its comfort zone, the creature was witnessed painstakingly making its way across the sandy shore by Zeb Hallock, who captured footage of the bizarre scene before safely returning the creature to the watery habitat from whence it came.

The starfish is seen using the multiple fur-like cilia on the underside of its frame to make its way over the sand, as Hallock describes the scene;

“We noticed there were starfish walking around on the sand near the water.

“Some were in tide pools but some were just strolling on the sand, very very very slowly. 

altCredit: YouTube

“The ones that were on the sand we carefully relocated back to the ocean or a tide pool. 

“Other people coming out to the beach were fascinated by the large amount of starfish and helped relocate the walkers to the water as well.”

Though the footage was shot some time ago, in October 2012, it was only uploaded to Facebook extremely recently, and has quickly garnered millions of views as internet users everywhere marvel at the strange phenomenon.

 

It’s safe to say the Hallock’s footage has made a splash, with viewer comments ranging from “Did not know they have feet!” to “THANK YOU! Those poor things would have never been able to survive if they hadn’t have helped!”.

It’s a bizarre sight that many probably would have never seen if it wasn’t for Hallock’s footage, and with the starfish returned to the ocean, there’s smiles all round at the end of this story.

Meet the dogs helping to convict criminals in court

Meet the dogs helping to convict criminals in court

For even the bravest of adults, the idea of testifying in court can be a scary prospect. Having to recount a terrifying or distressing experience in the most minute of details in front of complete strangers, to have invasive questions asked of you by someone you’ve never met, to face down the person the across the room that has caused all of this hurt, often while surrounded by that person’s supporters. And all of this in an unfamiliar environment, filled with complex jargon.

For a child, however, the prospect of attending court must be even more terrifying. No matter how strong the power of their favourite teddy bear is, there are times when a cuddly toy just won’t cut it. Instead, authorities in America have turned to a different kind of comforter – real dogs – to help soothe and reassure children taking to the witness box. Known as “comfort dogs”, these specially trained canines are being used in the most complex and traumatising of cases involving children, including sexual and physical abuse, both in initial interviews and in court.

A view of the judge's box in court with the American flag in the backgroundCredit: Getty

The use of dogs in a therapeutic manner is nothing new. Across the world, schools, care homes and hospitals are using animals – even llamas in some places – in increasing frequency to help individuals to process their emotions and reduce anxiety. However, there is a difference between “therapy dogs” and “courthouse dogs”, in that the latter have been intentionally bred and socialised with high-pressure situations in mind, and must pass a higher level of public access test.

On their website, the Courthouse Dogs Foundation, who connect legal professionals with access to dogs, draw attention to various cases where dogs have helped to secure convictions by comforting children; these include with a group of seven-year-old girls who had been sexually assaulted and “cried and absolutely refused to sit in the witness chair” at trial, and a five-year-old boy who, having witnessed numerous incidences of domestic abuse which culminated in his father savagely assaulting and threatening to kill his mother, was too scared to testify in court. While dogs are predominantly used in cases involving children, they have also been used with adults where mental health and disabilities are a concern.

A golden retriever rests his face on his pawCredit: Getty

In order to get the most out of courthouse dogs, children taking to the stand are encouraged to meet them multiple times before the trial to allow them bond with their canine companion. This not only includes engaging in playful interactions but also practising for the moments where the dog must remain still while the child holds a conversation. This process also allows the dogs, who are regarded as exceptionally emotionally intelligent, to better know the witness and sense when they may need more, or even less, support.

At present, there are over 130 such dogs, mostly Labradors and golden retrievers, working across 34 states. While many work on a case-by-case basis, Idaho is one of those where the right to a courtroom dog is enshrined, thanks to a ruling in July 2017: “It’s not an easy situation for a child to testify against someone that might be their parent or family member,” commented Republican state Sen. Shawn Keough, adding that “To allow a facility dog at the witness stand seemed like a humane thing to do.”

But that is not to say that the scheme does not have its detractors; some argue that having a friendly dog in court, sat next to a cute child, prejudices the jury into an assumption of innocence and truthfulness on the part of the witness: “Nobody knows how juries will be influenced by this,” said John Ensminger, a defence attorney, who has written on the impact of service dogs, “It may be that if you get enough ‘dog people’ on a jury, you’re going to increase your chances of conviction.”

A view of a United States court building

Despite Ensminger’s worries, there are guidelines governing the conduct of courtroom dogs, most relevant being the fact that dogs must be as unobtrusive as possible, staying laid down out of sight of the jury and moving only when necessary. Some defence lawyers also argue that the presence of dogs in a courtroom can also work in a defendant’s favour, in that distressed children will naturally invoke a greater level of sympathy from the jury.

Courtroom dogs may already be common practice in the US, Canada and Chile, but in the UK they are welcome only so far as the court waiting room, and this service is provided by charities rather than regulated providers. With the British court system more likely to use recorded evidence, or live link into courts, for child witnesses, there is perhaps less requirement for their introduction, but that said, surely anything that we can do to make the court process kinder for victims of abuse and assault – child or adult – has got to be worth considering. For now though, man’s best friend will continue to make new, little friends in courts across America by supporting, comforting, and really just looking so very cute.

This Boy Is Playing With A Very Unusual Friend. Just Wait Until You See Who It Is… WOW!

This Boy Is Playing With A Very Unusual Friend. Just Wait Until You See Who It Is… WOW!

Children can form the strangest of friendship, either with animals or even the imaginary ones that they create in their head. In their own way, these friendships help these children to develop over time and prepare them for the outside world when they grow up. And in the old fishing harbour of Vueltas located on La Gomera, one boy has developed the strangest friendships of all: a stingray.

The town is known for the various stingrays that live in the area, as the fishermen throw their bycatch into the port where the creatures feed. But the little boy named Joel does more than just stand by and watch them eat. He goes right up to one, and the creature allows him to pet it while it eats!

 

Stunning footage shows whale protecting a diver from a shark

Stunning footage shows whale protecting a diver from a shark

Wildlife conservationists spend years seeking to promote the protection of certain species, whether endangered or otherwise at risk, through their hard work and attempts to provide support to various ecosystems. After spending all their time seeing to the needs of animals, they don’t expect to be rewarded by the creatures themselves, let alone saved by them.

humpback whale Credit: Pixabay
Marine biologist Nan Hauser, 63, was diving when she came into contact with not one, but two humpback whales. The mammal, which weighs roughly 50,000 lbs, approached her and started to push her away, while the other thrashed its tail in the water. She didn’t realise it at first, but the whales were actually trying to save her life.

The humpback whale had spotted a 15-foot tiger shark lurking nearby and protected the scientist, shielding her underneath its pectoral fin and pushing her to safety with its head, even lifting her out of the water entirely at one point. Hauser’s team managed to capture part of this chance encounter on film, which she is claiming as proof of the mammal’s instinct to care for and protect other species.

humpback whale saves marine biologist Credit: YouTube

The video was taken in the waters off Muri Beach, Rarotonga, near the Cook Islands in October. The shark can be seen faintly in the distance in the footage, but the whale keeps them at a distance. Hauser explained that the other whale was just out of shot and was slapping its tail on the surface to keep the shark away. Speaking to The Mirror, the marine biologist described the events”.

“I wasn’t sure what the whale was up to when he approached me, and it didn’t stop pushing me around for over 10 minutes. It seemed like hours. I was a bit bruised up”
“I’ve spent 28 years underwater with whales, and have never had a whale so tactile and so insistent on putting me on his head, or belly, or back, or, most of all, trying to tuck me under his huge pectoral fin. I tried to get away from him for fear that if he rammed me too hard, or hit me with his flippers or tail, that would break my bones and rupture my organs.”

“I feel a very close kinship with animals, so despite my trepidation, I tried to stay calm and figure out how to get away from him. I never took my eyes off him which is why I didn’t see the shark right away.”

Hauser has a policy to not come into physical contact with the whales she studies, unless they are stranded on the beach or sick in some way. “In my head, I was a bit amused since I write Rules and Regulations about whale harassment,” she joked, “and here I was being harassed by a whale”.

Her team also use a drone to film, but abandoned this when they became concerned for her wellbeing. She quickly became aware of what was happening, but by that point managed to find her way back to her boat. She points to a scientific study by Robert Pitman, which was focused on humpback whales protecting other species.
“For instance, they hide seals under their pectoral fins to protect them from killer whales,” she told The Mirror. “They truly display altruism – sometimes at the risk of losing their own lives.”

However, this is the first time this behaviour has been documented between a humpback and a human. Given how much humankind has damaged the natural world over the years, this act of kindness is all the more powerful.

Horrifying ‘alien shark’ with extendable jaws pulled from the depths of the ocean

Horrifying ‘alien shark’ with extendable jaws pulled from the depths of the ocean

When the movie Jaws aired in 1975, people thought they’d seen a glimpse at the worst possible creature the ocean had to offer. After all, what could be worse than a 30-foot carnivore with hundreds of teeth and a seemingly insatiable craving for human flesh?

Well, since then, we’ve discovered giant squid, seemingly immortal jellyfish, and – perhaps most terrifyingly – viper sharks.

Discovered in 1986, the creepy looking creatures have only been found a handful of times, and have proven to be quite difficult to track down. Recently, however, the Fisheries Research Institute in Taiwan found five specimens of viper shark just off the coast of the country at about 1150 feet below the ocean’s surface.

And they’re creepy as hell.

viper sharkCredit: Taiwan Fisheries Research Institute

Because not many of the creatures have been caught in the past, there is very little understood about them. One of the most striking things that we do know, though, is that they have extendable jaws which snap in and out of their mouths in order to help them catch prey.

This alien-like adaptation allows them to swallow relatively large fish in just one gulp, and – even though they only reach about 20 inches in length – it’s a feature that would make them a pretty nasty match for a human being.

However, as they’re usually found deep beneath the surface in some of the coldest waters on Earth, it’s not likely that the average person is ever going to come into contact with one. They also have a diet which consists mainly of crustaceans and bony fish – so a meaty human isn’t anything like what they’re used to.

viper sharkCredit: Taiwan Fisheries Research Institute

In a description of the fearsome creatures, the Taiwan Fisheries Research Institute said, “The most obvious feature are the needle-shaped teeth, like snake-like fangs; this is also the origin of viper shark name.” It also mentions that the sharks, which are actually a species of dogfish, are bioluminescent.

This means that, like many creatures which dwell in the darker parts of the ocean, they have the ability to glow in the dark. This helps them attract their prey, and may also be used to signal other mates.

While they may be freaky looking, they do have a somewhat humorous quality to them in the fact they sort of resemble a child’s drawing of a shark brought to life. Personally, I think they look like a mix between the bullet bills and chompers from the Super Mario games.

If you thought these were weird, you’ll be fascinated by these pictures taken by a Russian fisherman who frequently stumbles across monstrous creatures while trawling for fish. Not only has he encountered several species with teeth, he’s also found fish which look like spiders, eels with human-like noses, and one giant specimen which was bigger than a two-person canoe.

There’s so much weird stuff just waiting to be discovered in the ocean’s depths – so who knows what other terrifying things are lurking in the deep?

Source: vt.co

Baby is abandoned and left to freeze to death – but now watch what this cat does

Baby is abandoned and left to freeze to death – but now watch what this cat does

How about this for a headline: “hero cat saves baby from freezing to death in Russian street.” Yup, you read that right and yup, there is a cat in Russia, named Masha, who totally just saved a baby’s life.

We knew cats had nine lives, but Masha is seriously paying it forward. Also, so much cat-lover pride right now.

Animals have a unqiue instinct and ability to perceive when something is not right.

We’ve seen countless examples of this – but here is one story in particular that especially proves just how amazing our beloved pets can be.

The protagonist of this unprecedented story is homeless cat Masha.

All her life, Masha had lived on the cold streets of Obinisk, a city in Russia.


Fortunately, there are many good-hearted people living in Masha’s neighborhood.

She is given food several residents also let Masha into their homes when it gets too cold in the evenings.


One such person is 68-year-old Irna Lavoraa who rents a house in the area. One day, as Irna was throwing out her garbage, she heard a strange noise.

It appeared to be coming from the basement. The more she listened, the more she realized that it was the sound of a cat mewing.

Instantly concerned that Masha might be hurt, Irnaa hurried down the stairs.


But what she discovered down in the chilly, damp cellar space shocked her.

There lay an abandoned boy in a cardboard box on the floor. And just next to him was Masha.


Authorities later determined that the tiny boy, estimated to be no more than 12-weeks-old, had been laying alone in the box for several hours.

But the baby was warm – all thanks to Masha laying closely next to him.

In other words, without Masha’s precious company – and body heat the baby boy would most certainly had perished.


The boy was rushed to hospital, but Masha’s motherly instincts didn’t let out when the ambulance arrived to take the boy to safety. According to the paramedics, the cat chased the ambulance after they had taken off.

“She was so worried about where we were taking the baby. She ran right behind us, miaowing. She was really a rational creature,” ambulance driver Vera Ivanina told the International Business Times.


Witnesses added that the cat continued to wait for hours in that same spot hoping for the ambulance to return.

The little boy is said to have recovered well, and the police have launched a search for his parents.

“She (Masha) is very calm and friendly, so when I heard her mewling, I at first thought she might have hurt herself. But clearly, it was just her maternal instincts taking over and she wanted to protect the child,” said Irna Lavora.
Extreme kudos to Masha for this crazy act of cat heroism. And don’t worry she is being very well looked after by her neighbours and friends who have taken to “[spoiling] her rotten.” A very well deserved reward for a hero.

Source: healthy24

Big Game Hunter Gets Shot Dead While In Africa Hunting Lions

Big Game Hunter Gets Shot Dead While In Africa Hunting Lions

A Croatian trophy hunter who’d hunted ‘everything that could be hunted in Europe’ has been shot dead in a freak accident while taking part in a South African hunting expedition.

Pero Jelinic, a 75-year-old hotelier from the Croatian island of Pag, had already killed one lion and was about to shoot another when he was struck and killed by a stray bullet on a remote farm this past Saturday.

Jelinic’s friend Slavko Pernar said Jelinic was a ‘passionate’ hunter who travelled to Africa to land a lion trophy after he found himself seeking a new challenge, the Daily Mail reported.

Credit: Facebook/Pero Jelinic
Credit: Facebook/Pero Jelinic

It is not yet clear who was responsible for firing the shot that killed Jelinic, police said.

Jelinic was shot while he was in the North West province of South Africa, having travelled there with two friends to hunt big cats ‘to complete his extensive trophy collection’.

According to Pernar, a close friend of Jelinic’s and a fellow hunter, Jelinic was particularly keen on claiming the head of a lion ‘to crown his rich hunting career’. For the past year he had even leased his hotel out so he could commit fully to his ambition and enjoy his retirement.

“Pero was a passionate hunter of big and small game, and in search of that he travelled most of the world,” Pernar told Croatia’s Jutarnji List newspaper.

“For the past year he had leased his hotel to dedicated himself to the things he planned to accomplish and enjoyed a deserved retirement.

“He, unfortunately, received the ugliest end – he died in South Africa doing what he loved. His office, a hunting hall, was full of trophies, deer and bear specimens and everything that could be hunted in Croatia and Europe.”

Jelinic was killed at Leeubosch Lodge, a property a four-hour drive from Johannesburg and 40 miles from the border with neighbouring country Botswana.

The property is known for keeping lions in captivity for the sole purpose of their being hunted – a controversial industry known as ‘canned’ lion-hunting.

The owner of Leeubosch Lodge, Dr Gideon Engelbrecht, told News24 that he was not at the farm when Jelinic was shot dead.

‘I was at my surgery when I received the call. I arranged for a helicopter to take the man to hospital, but that’s all I am going to give you at this stage, because the case is still under investigation,’ he said.

South Africa’s ‘canned’ lion-hunting industry, which legally breeds lions in captivity to be killed by hunters, is known for being a lucrative business which is also highly controversial among animal lovers and hunters alike.

Lions at Lion Park in Johannesburg, South Africa. Credit: PA
Lions at Lion Park in Johannesburg, South Africa. Credit: PA

Hunts in this industry keep lions in a confined space using fences, giving them a zero chance of escape and giving the hunter the best possible chance of claiming his trophy.

In November 2015, the Professional Hunters’ Association of South Africa (PHASA) voted to disassociate itself from canned lion hunting in the country and banned its members from taking part in such expeditions, calling them ‘vanity hunting’.

However, PHASA reversed the ruling last year, a decision which received severe criticism from animal rights groups across the globe.

Police have confirmed that they have opened a case of culpable homicide into Jelinic’s death. They are also investigating charges of illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition.

However, they ‘do not suspect any foul play’ in the shooting and investigations into the death are ongoing.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Source: Ladbible

Stunning Photo Shows Dozens of Seals On Scottish Island

Stunning Photo Shows Dozens of Seals On Scottish Island

These stunning aerial images show dozens of seals huddled together on the Scottish coast.

The remarkably rare shots give a unique view of the Catterline Bay grey seals and were captured by professional drone pilot, Steve Samosa.

Steve, from Merseyside, took the pictures during one of his many trips to Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, close to the iconic Dunnottar Castle.

The breathtaking images show the creatures from a different perspective and highlight the beautiful surrounding landscape.

Seals On Scottish Coast. Credit: StoryTrender
Seals On Scottish Coast. Credit: StoryTrender

He said: “The advantage of using a drone camera means we can capture the coastline from all angles and in different light.

“Seeing the Grey Seals from the air and the top-down view are images that most visitors never see.

“On the day the weather was perfect. We started photographing at 3pm as the sun had started to settle for the day.

The drone captured the seals from above. Credit: StoryTrender
The drone captured the seals from above. Credit: StoryTrender

Close up of the seals. Credit: StoryTrender
Close up of the seals. Credit: StoryTrender

“The drone camera flies for about 20 minutes before we need to change battery, this gave us the opportunity to capture some still images with a digital camera and set up for time lapse photography.”

Featured Image Credit: StoryTrender

Source: ladbible

Boston’s Museum Of Fine Arts Just Got A Puppy As An Amazing Security Guard

Boston’s Museum Of Fine Arts Just Got A Puppy As An Amazing Security Guard

The Boston Museum Of Fine Arts is hitting everyone in the feels after hiring its most recent recruit – newest security guard, Riley.

Riley isn’t a big, burly bouncer, however, but a 12-week-old Weimaraner puppy that’s being trained to sniff out invasive bugs carried in by unsuspecting visitors.

Once inside the museum, these bugs can cause considerable damage to the art that’s there. Which is where Riley comes in.

“Weimaraners are very intelligent and have an incredible sense of smell,” the museum’s public relations manager, Ashley Bleimes, told IFLScience. “Riley’s duties as a scent dog at the MFA are well suited to his breed!”

What do you mean you haven't got a C.V? Credit: Museum of Fine Arts
What do you mean you haven’t got a C.V? Credit: Museum of Fine Arts

The person training the cute little pup is his owner, Nicki Luongo, who is also the director of the museum’s protective services department.

According to The Boston Globe, deputy director of the institution Katie Getchell said that insects are an ongoing concern for museums.

And while there are already existing protocols in place to deal with potential infestations, Riley will add an extra layer of help in finding potentially harmful pests. Getchell thinks that he’s the first dog to be used by a museum for this type of work.

Sadly, Riley’s work will be behind the scenes, so his little legs won’t be traipsing up and down the museum’s halls during opening hours, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be visible. He’s already a hit on Twitter thanks to this photo posted by Good Morning America:

Somehow, we think that’s just the beginning and that we’ll be seeing a lot more of Riley in the future. Currently, the little pup still needs more than a year of training to be able to carry out his job to the best of his abilities, but that’s bound to fly by.

So all you creepy-crawlies out there better beware. He might look adorable, but Riley is going to hunt you down and find you.

Featured Image Credit: Museum Of Fine Arts Boston

Source: Ladbible

Scientists issue chilling warning over Earth’s sixth ‘mass extinction event’

Scientists issue chilling warning over Earth’s sixth ‘mass extinction event’

We joke about the the end of world, imagining attacks from zombies, aliens and robots. But the truth is, we don’t need help from any fantastical creatures. Scientists believe we are currently in the midst of a ‘mass extinction event,’ which is exactly what it sounds like: “the extinction of a large number of species within a relatively short period of geological time, due to factors such as a catastrophic global event or widespread environmental change that occurs too rapidly for most species to adapt.”

So far, there have have been five mass extinction events: The Ordovician-Silurian (439 million years ago), The Late Devonian (364 million years ago), The Permian (251 million years ago), ,The Triassic-Jurassic (199-214 million years ago), and finally, The Cretaceous-Tertiary (65 million years ago). If mass extinctions were Baldwin brothers, that would be Alec, because it’s the most famous. That the one’s that wiped out all of our beloved dinosaurs (at least, until that crazy old dude brought them back from mosquito DNA at Jurassic Park). However, all five of these mass extinctions were absolutely devastating, wiping out 76% to 96% of all life on Earth.

Scientists believe we are currently undergoing the sixth mass extinction event. In recent decades, 50% of the animals on Earth have been wiped out. Isn’t that crazy? According to a 2017 study by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, billions of animal populations have been totally lost – and they don’t just mean endangered species.Their research shows the rate of extinction is rapidly increasing and that human development has significantly affected the ranges of unprotected animals. They describe this massive loss as a “biological annihilation” and a “frightening assault on the foundations of human civilization.” (I know, I want to stop reading about this and go watch stupid cat videos right now, too.)

“It’s very sobering,” said Dominic Waughray, the Director and Head of Environmental Initiatives at the World Economic Forum. “Consider this statistic, those born since 2012 have inherited a planet with fewer than half the number of animals, on land and those underwater, than those born before 1970. Startling, it’s the sixth great extinction, scientists are calling it. The trouble is it’s not just a moral issue, but there are really serious natural systems that could be under threat if we wipe out so many species.”

So, is there anything we can do remedy this problem, or should we just ditch this “sh-thole planet” and move to Mars? Obviously, we should become more environmentally conscious, combatting the destructive effects of man-made climate change, and do whatever can to save more animal species (even if that means a worldwide ban on glitter). Meanwhile, Waughray advocates for mapping Earth’s genome, which means analyzing the DNA of every living organism on the planet. (Yeah, but come on, how long will that take? Ten minutes? Fifteen minutes? Come on, Waughray, let’s think a little bigger.)

If there’s one thing we should take away from this, it’s that we’re all on this planet together, and our actions have consequences. It’s ridiculous how environmental issues have been distorted into partisan political issues – especially in America. I mean, currently we have a president who denies man-made climate change – and once described it as a “Chinese hoax” – despite a clear, overwhelming consensus from the scientific community. While only a year old, the Trump administration is undoing decades of environmentalism for foolishly short-term, selfish financial reasons. Zombies, aliens and robots aren’t nearly as scary as humans who don’t “believe” in science.

Source: VT.co