Aristotle screws it up again …

You know, that guy Aristotle really got many things badly wrong – here’s one more.

Aristotle declared that humans are the only animal to laugh, but then, he never saw this video of Jaak Panksepp tickling rats. And, obviously, he’d never tried to tickle any himself – sheesh.

Take a look here.

Read more here.

Rat

“Who laughs last, laughs best”

Swan lovers

Swan lovers

Return of the lovesick swan

The swan that fell in love with a peddle boat is back courting its plastic lover after spending the winter in a local zoo. Swans choose a partner for life but the rare Black Australian swan nicknamed Black Petra made the mistake of falling for a peddle boat designed to look like a swan. And when Petra’s peddle boat lover refused to fly south for the winter Petra also remained, a move that could have killed her as the cold weather arrived.

In the end though local zoo chiefs took pity on the swan and gave her and her boat boyfriend a place to spend the winter, and this week the pair were once again on the lake together.

According to biologists in Muenster, north-western Germany, Petra has been circling its plastic lover, staring endlessly at it and making crooning noises, all the typical signs of a swan in love. The boat in the meantime is still being hired out to families who want to picnic on the Aasee lake – where the star-crossed lovers have become a tourist attraction.

Source: Arbroath

Owen and Mzee

A giant tortoise and an orphaned baby hippo who forged an unusual friendship after the 2004 tsunami in southeast Asia are the stars of a new Web site so fans can follow their progress.

Hippo and tortoise

Mzee, a 130-year-old Aldabran tortoise, became a surrogate parent and inseparable friend to hippo Owen who was washed out to sea off the coast of Kenya, rescued by villagers and taken to a wildlife park where the tortoise lived.

The devastating Indian Ocean tsunami that hit in December 2004 left 230,000 people killed or missing, including 170,000 in Indonesia.

Hippo and tortoise 2

“They have created sounds unique to hippo or to tortoise and use gentle nods and pushes to communicate with one another,” said a spokeswoman from Scholastic which has just released “Owen & Mzee: The Language of Friendship.”

Hippo and tortoise 4

The second installment in the animals’ story follows their remarkable friendship at Haller Park Animal Sanctuary nearMombasa, Kenya.

Hippo and tortoise 3

To access the website of Owen and Mzee, click here.

Odd Couples

CISARUA, Indonesia —  Call them the odd couples. A pair of month-old Sumatran tiger twins have become inseparable playmates with a set of young orangutans, an unthinkable match in their natural jungle habitat in Indonesia’s tropical rainforests.

Tiger and Orangutans 3

The friendship between 5-month-old female baby primates Nia and Irma, and cubs Dema and Manis, has blossomed at the Taman Safari zoo where they share a room in the nursery.

After being abandoned by their mothers shortly after birth, the four play fight, nipping and teasing each other, and cuddling up for a shared nap when they are worn out.

Tiger and Orangutans

“This is unusual and would never happen in the wild,” said zoo keeper Sri Suwarni, bottle-feeding a baby chimp on Wednesday. “Like human babies, they only want to play.”

The four have lived side-by-side for a month without a single act of hostility, she said.

Tiger and Orangutans 2

Indonesian tigers and orangutans are both endangered species, threatened by rapidly shrinking habitats.

Tiger and Orangutans 4

Tiger and Orangutans 5

Rory and Millie

Rory and Millie

Just like his labrador friends, he wags his tail, fetches sticks and rolls on his back to have his tummy tickled. But the hooves and mane give away his real identity – as a Shetland pony. Eight-week-old Rory picked up his canine traits after he was befriended by dogs at the Essex Horse and Pony Sanctuary in Pitsea. Owner Sue Allery said: “In 18 years I’ve never seen anything like it. When vets visit us they can’t believe it either.”

Rory

Pandamonium

SICHUAN, China — One zoo in southwest China has its hands full with 16 baby pandas.

Panda

The Sichuan Wolong Panda Protection and Breed Center is dealing with the results of a breeding boom — 16 pandas have been born since July, 2006. The brood includes five sets of twins. The cubs are weighed and measured every five days.

Panda

The heaviest tips the scale at just over 24 pounds, while the lightest weighs about 11 pounds. The pandas are due to stop suckling by February, 2007 just about the time they’ll start learning to walk. Once weaned, the panda cubs will attend panda kindergarten. In the meantime, more little ones are expected at the center since 38 giant pandas were artificially impregnated.

Panda

See more pandas here.