Scottish Farmer Breeds ‘Panda’ Lamb

The pandas at Edinburgh Zoo have become famous in recent months, with everyone wanting to get in on the action of celebrating their arrival. However, one farmer has gone further than anyone else in order to honour the new addition, by creating a whole new breed of sheep that bears an uncanny resemblance to the Zoo’s new residents. Jill Noble from Carlops, Peebleshire has successfully bred white lambs with black splotches on their coats, including one over each eye. Looking at the lambs’ faces, there is a definite resemblance to a panda and this is a very interesting development in the world of animal breeding.

Jill will not reveal the breeds of the lamb’s parents, however if you look at a picture of the new-born, after playing partypoker online when you have some free time, you can definitely tell that she has done something unusual. Jill has said that they are keeping the parents to themselves, however there is a bit of Icelandic as well as Scottish. They sell Icelandic lambs as they have a very attractive look, so she is expecting that there will be interest in this new breed that has been created.

Jill also said that they are calling it the ‘panda breed’ for obvious reasons and that everyone who has seen the lambs has been very impressed. While the first lamb of this new breed was born on April Fool’s Day, Jill has insisted that this is not a joke. She also breeds horses and cattle, so she should know something about breeding. The successful creation of this new breed of sheep will show the pandas a thing or two as despite many people paying close attention, they are still failing to mate themselves.

Shitty Coffee for $200 a Pound?

The coffee is highly prized for its smooth flavor and bitterless aftertaste, sometimes fetching well over $200 a pound online.  Indonesia’s top Islamic body declared Tuesday that Muslims can drink civet coffee — the world’s most expensive coffee, which is extracted from the dung of civet cats.

A preacher recently suggested the beverage might not be “halal” — or religiously approved — because its provenance makes it unclean. But after a long discussion Tuesday, the influential Indonesian Ulema Council said that the coffee, known locally as Kopi Luwak, could be consumed as long as the beans were washed.

Kopi Luwak, which takes it name from the Indonesian word for civets, is made from hard beans that have been eaten by the nocturnal critters and then fermented in their stomachs before being pooped out and roasted. Civet cats are mongoose-like animals.

In Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, Kopi Luwak is produced in the main Java island, Sumatra and Sulawesi. It is also found under different names elsewhere in Southeast Asia. Only 1,000 pounds are said to be produced annually worldwide.

The Ulema Council has often issued fatwas, or edicts, including several controversial rulings against smoking and yoga. Its edicts are not legally binding, but many devout Muslims abide by them. I will stick to Tim Horton’s and Starbucks, thanks.

Here is a diet that actually works!

Soon to be starring on the TLC channel! Seven elephants at the San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park have lost a combined total of 11,314 pounds ever since zookeepers enforced a nutrition and exercise regiment for them in 2000.

The rotund captive elephants that zoo visitors are familiar with are mostly overweight
compared to those in the wild.

To get the elephants back in shape, zookeepers introduced a diet high in hay and stopped feeding them treats such as bread, corn and jelly beans.

Instead of three big meals per day, they get several small meals. Zookeepers also scatter the food around the yard so the elephants have to work to find it.

At the San Diego Zoo, keepers also trained the elephants to walk laps around their enclosure. Elephants at the Wild Animal Park are also encouraged to walk across their 3-acre enclosure. Workers rake the packed soil to simulate jogging on soft sand.

Kinky Underwater Fun

Marine biologists studying wild octopuses have found a kinky and violent society of jealous murders, gender subtrefuge and once-in-a-lifetime sex. The new study by researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, who journeyed off the coast of Indonesia found that wild octopuses are far from the shy, unromantic loners their captive brethren appear to be.

The scientists watched the Abdopus aculeatus octopus, which are the size of an orange, for several weeks and published their findings recently in the journal Marine Biology. They witnessed picky, macho males carefully select a mate, then guard their newly domesticated digs so jealously that they would occasionally use their 20-to-25-centimetre tentacles to strangle a romantic rival to death.

The researchers also observed smaller “sneaker” male octopuses put on feminine airs, such as swimming girlishly near the bottom and keeping their male brown stripes hidden in order to win unsuspecting conquests.

Shortly after the female gives birth, about a month after conception, both the mother and father die, researchers said.

“It’s not the sex that leads to death,” said Christine Huffard, the study’s lead author. “It’s just that octopuses produce offspring once during a very short lifespan of a year.” I guess the conclusion is that underwater sea life is very similar to us.

Dog Kept on ‘Ice’

The case of a chilli dog on display at a local convenience store prompted an outraged woman to take action. Cindy Gravelle says she took a big gulp when she spotted a miserable looking pooch in the walk-in cooler, pressing its face up against the glass door, during a milk-run to her local 7-Eleven earlier this week.

Gravelle was doubly disturbed the next day to find the same dog, which appears to be an American Eskimo, in the cooler apparently for safekeeping while its owner worked a shift at the store near Centre St. and McKnight Blvd. N.E.

“Eight hours later it was still in the fridge,” the horrified 41-year-old said yesterday.

“What is wrong with these people?”

Gravelle’s dogged pursuit to rectify the situation led Calgary Humane Society officials to contact the store about the strange pet-keeping practice.

7-Eleven spokesman Alyn Edwards said it was “a discretionary decision” based on “unique circumstances” which will not happen again. It appears the dogs owner thought because it was an Eskimo dog it needed to be kept in very cold surroundings.

Teen Pregnancy Considered Normal

A recent report out of Berkely confirms that dinosaurs had high rates of teen pregnancies. Dinosaurs descended from reptiles and evolved into today’s birds, but their growth and sexual maturation were more like that of mammals – complete with teen pregnancy, according to a new study by University of California, Berkeley, scientists.

The conclusion, reported the week of Jan. 14 in the online early edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, comes from an analysis of the only three dinosaur fossils that have been definitively identified as female. Thin slices of these dinosaurs’ fossil bones all show an internal structure similar to tissue found in living female birds – a layer of calcium-rich bone tissue called medullary bone that is deposited in the marrow cavity just before egg-laying as a resource for making eggshells.

Tenontosaurus lived in North America during the Early Cretaceous period, 125 to 105 million years ago, and was an ancestor of the duck-billed dinosaurs. A common plant eater, it is known for its long tail that made the dinosaur up to 27 feet long when walking on four legs. Because fossils of these one- to two-ton beasts are common in Oklahoma, Werning was able to obtain many fossil bone slices from the Oklahoma Museum of Natural History. Both a femur (thigh bone) and a tibia (shin bone) from the same fossilized Tenontosaurus showed medullary bone, while growth rings in its bones indicated the pregnant dinosaur was eight years old. As the father of a pre-teen girl this article caught my eye.

Snakes….I mean scorpions on planes…

A Vermont man on a flight home from Chicago was stung twice on the leg by a scorpion – the second such incident to take place in a week.

David Sullivan, 46, was aboard the United Airlines flight on the second leg of his Jan. 3 trip home from San Francisco, where he and his wife Helena had been visiting their sons. He awoke from a nap shortly before landing and noticed something strange.

“My right leg felt like it was asleep, but that was isolated to one spot, and it felt like it was being jabbed with a sharp piece of plastic or something.”

The second sting came after the plane landed and the Sullivans were waiting for their bags at the luggage carousel. Sullivan rolled up his cuff to investigate, and the scorpion fell out.

“It felt like a shock, a tingly thing. Someone screamed, ‘It’s a scorpion,’ ” Sullivan recalled. Another passenger stepped on the five-centimetre-long arachnid, and someone suggested Sullivan seek medical help.

He scooped up the scorpion and headed to the hospital in Burlington. His wife stopped at the United counter and was told the plane they were on had flown from Houston to Chicago. The Sullivans surmised the scorpion boarded in Texas. 

United spokeswoman Robin Urbanski said the incident “is something that we will investigate and look into. We’re very sorry for what happened. Our customer safety and security is our No. 1 priority.”

It was the second scorpion-related airline incident to take place this week. On Sunday a scorpion stung a man on board a Toronto-bound flight, causing an hour-long delay at Pearson airport.

The arachnid apparently got through security in Costa Rica in the man’s carry-on knapsack, said airline officials.

The man, who is expected to make a full recovery, was preparing to return to Canada from a Costa Rican camping trip with his brother when the scorpion crawled into his bag undetected.

Scorpion stings are rarely fatal, except to babies or older people with health problems, said Dr. Stephen Leffler, director of emergency services at Burlington’s Fletcher Allen Health Care hospital.

For a healthy adult, a scorpion sting can mean numbness or shooting pain extending out from the site of the strike, or flu-like symptoms, which Sullivan said he had the next day.

Is this a new type of terrorism?