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Unexpectedly Funny Things to do with Hamsters When You're Bored

Thursday, 31 December 2015

Hamsters – they’re adorable and surprisingly good company too. Here we take a look at some unexpectedly funny things you can do with hamsters when you’re bored – and throw in some cool facts about hamsters at the same time!

1. Amuse Him With Your Office Anecdotes
Hamsters love to hear what went on at the office. In fact they like nothing better than a long and intense monologue. Start with the time you got to work and give him a blow by blow account of the day’s activities. You can even tell him those secrets that you can’t tell anyone else, like who is having an affair with the boss. Hamsters love gossip!

Bat World Sanctuary


In 1989, Amanda Lollar discovered a bat dying on the sidewalk.  Distressed that any creature should have to expire in such a way she took it home to allow it a dignified send off.

However the bat, which she christened Sunshine, survived due to Amanda’s care and was the catalyst for Bat World Sanctuary, which Amanda founded in 1994.

This short film by Brett Kessler takes a peek in to this world of injured, orphaned, and non-releasable bats in Mineral Wells, Texas.

I’m Just a Shark


Imagine if a representative of the group of fish we refer to as ‘shark’ could address us, what would it say? This ageless creature might have some things to say which would make us sit up and pay attention, surely? Shot and written by Pascale Briançon, I’m Just a Shark does exactly that and although I am naturally disinclined towards anthropomorphism this has a certain profundity which makes it gripping from start to finish.

Directed by Julien Marckt with the voice of Daniel Njo Lobé, this may be putting words in to the mouth of an entire group of animals… but what words they are.

The Scottish Fold – Owl Cat Extraordinaire

Sunday, 20 December 2015

The Scottish Fold is something of a special breed of cat.  Seeing one for the first time you are drawn to its round facial features and, in the back of your mind, a thought nags you that something seems to be missing. Then you realize – it’s all about the ears.

Galapagos


Have you ever wanted to travel to the Galapagos and witness for yourself all the marvel of natures to be found on those (not so these days) isolated islands? Well, courtesy of Tom Pinsard, now you don’t have to.  Just sit back and enjoy this serene and gorgeous tour of the Galapagos Islands.  It may not be quite the same as going there yourself, but it’s the next best thing.

In Between: The World of the Musk Ox


In between refers to the fact that although most consider the Ice Age over, it is really still dying out – not quite disappeared for good. Yet many of the animals we associate with it, the saber-toothed cats and the woolly mammoth have long since gone the way of the dinosaur. One creature still persists in the Arctic – the Musk Ox. This beautiful short, photographed by Rolf Steinmann, shows a world unknown to most of us.

The Ant With a Door for a Head

Monday, 14 December 2015

Cephalotes is a broad genus of ants.  They are heavily armoured – it makes you wonder just how formidalble they would look if we were the same size. The amazing thing about many of them is the head – used to plug a gap as it were.  Above is an ant of the species Cephalotes varians.

The Crabs that Build Their Own Galaxy

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Small hermit and soldier crabs in Malaysia and Australia build their home digging a deep hope in the sand on a beach. They got a good idea of how to move sand up during his construction. Down in the hole this crab is making sand balls and later push them up to the surface, 2-3 balls at a time. Pushing sand ball more far from the hole they form a kind of sand ball flower or sand ball galaxy.

Up close you can see the almost perfectly spherical balls that the crabs engineer.  They are meticulous in their method to say the very least.

Dolphin Army


A huge pod of Common Dolphins (Delphinus delphis) makes its way up the East African Coast each year in the search of Sardines. Follow them for a short part of this journey to see what they find in this wonderful short by Simon Buxton. It was filmed off the Wild Coast Region - an unforgiving area with big seas and cold water.  Thank goodness sardines come in cans for us!

Mallorca's Living Fossils


Thought extinct thousands of years ago, the Mallorcan midwife toad was discovered alive and well in the 1970s.  Its lifecycle is astounding considering it lives among pools in the mountains of this Spanish island.  Oh and the male carries the eggs around his hind legs while they develop! This and other members of the living fossil club are featured in this fascinating documentary short by Rachel Ledbetter.

Cats and Other Cool Customers Banned from Casinos

Friday, 6 November 2015

There are stories, urban myths and then there are legends.  One such legend is that cats are banned from casinos because they are too good at playing poker.  Although this is an entertaining theory you have to remember one thing – cats don’t have opposable thumbs and so playing cards would be difficult, if not impossible, for them.  Were cats to choose to gamble it would be better for them to play online casino games at Netbet.  Only a gentle pad of the paw is necessary to place a bet online.

In truth, casino managers have to be careful and there are some people who, frankly, you would pay to stay away.  Take TV and stage illusionist Derren Brown.  He has shown his card counting abilities on the TV on a number of occasions so when a casino in Birmingham (UK) got wind that Brown was planning to pay them a visit they promptly informed him that their blackjack tables would be out of bounds to him.

Not only that, they had the magician escorted from the premises – perhaps him even being in the vicinity gave them enough cold shudders to arrange his premature departure from the casino.  An over-reaction? You might think so until you realise that the establishment was about the last place in the UK to have banned him,

There are some people you would think a casino would welcome with open arms.  Take the world-famous singing group One Direction.  Last year they were staying in a Las Vegas hotel which had a casino attached.  What fantastic free publicity! However, after someone did a quick calculation the casino realised that all the members of the group were still under 21 (the legal age for gambling in Nevada). Cue a rush to get the boys out of the casino and in to the fresh air!

Of course, sometimes people do have to be quickly and politely removed from even the politest of establishments and that must be a sight to behold for curious onlookers.  However, what I would really, really like to see is how the manager of a casino might react if four feline friends did indeed enter the place and make their way, coolly slinking through the lines of slot machines, to the blackjack tables!


Image Credit

Hey! A Dog isn't just for Christmas - it's for Halloween Too!

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Every year on October 31 the ghouls and ghosts rise - and people make fools of themselves all over the world by wearing ridiculous outfits.  Well, Halloween isn't just for humans, you know!  Here we bring together some wonderful shots of pets of all sizes (OK, dogs - they are the only ones who seem to be able to put up with it!) in their Halloween outfits.  Enjoy this great set of pictures of the dogs of the world dressing up in their Halloween costumes.

Nico and the Turtle

Saturday, 10 October 2015


The times when you can pinpoint the actions that you made which changed your life forever are sometimes hard to pinpoint.  Not so for Australian conservationist and filmmaker Jase Kovacs and his partner Jolene, both of Team Labyrinth.  They sail around south east Asia, investigating ecological issues and bringing attention to small and underrepresented community conservation organisations.

During their journey they came across young Nico who had rescued an incredibly rare hawksbill turtle from his father’s fishing nets at Dahican Beach, Mindanao, Philippines.  So far, so good but the events which unravel over the next few days might actually make you believe in fate.

Watch as Ants Attack a Large Millipede and Use Amazing Team-work to Drag it Away

Sunday, 6 September 2015


This is something else.  Belgian freelance photographer and environmental engineer Stephane De Greef captured this footage in Cambodia.  A group of Leptogenys ants decide to attack a recumbent millipede.  What happens next is astonishing.

They surround it (in what can only be called a militarily disciplined fashion), then go in for the attack with one of their number attacking the head (surely the most vulnerable part).  The millipede's reaction is immediate and desperate.  However, the ants soon have the upper hand and drag their hapless victim away by assembling chains made up of themselves.

There is no music or narration here, but if you are in a certain mood then you can use the on-screen notes as visual prompts to become your very own David Attenborough. "Deep in the jungle of Cambodia..."

Whale Haven: Where Whales find Sanctuary


Off the shore of Campania Island in Canada’s British Columbia is a place where whales of many species find sanctuary. Northern resident killer whales, the fish-eaters, come together to form superpods.

On some days more than fifty individuals follow the salmon migration into the mainland fjords of the Great Bear Rainforest. The transient killer whales, the marine-mammal eaters, are forever travelling between seal and sea lion haul-outs, teaching the young how to hunt.

Yet there is trouble in this resplendent, tranquil ocean paradise.  This short film by Pacific Wild shows us what the future may hold in store for these magnificent creatures.  Click on the HD symbol at the bottom right of the video for its full awesomeness (if your device will take it!).

The Astonishing Eggs of Alien Nations

Sunday, 30 August 2015

They may look like they come straight out of a science fiction film, but these eggs are real - they come from the stink bug. It’s life, but most certainly not as we know it. Take a look at the astonishing eggs of the alien nations all around us.

Image Credit
Lacewing eggs are attached to a leaf or a stalk by a slender piece of silk to place them, hopefully, out of harm’s way.  What hatches, however, is the stuff of nightmares.  The larvae immediately molt and then go on something approaching a feeding frenzy.  As their senses (except that of touch) are not well developed they will essentially attack anything living that they touch in the hope that it is food.  Once they are attached to their prey they will inject it with a digestive fluid – the insides of an aphid can be liquefied by a lacewing larva in an astonishing 90 seconds.

Breakfast at Giraffe Manor

Sunday, 23 August 2015


Giraffe Manor in Nairobi, Kenya was built in the 1930s but today its main purpose is somewhat different to its original design.  It serves as a sanctuary for a herd of Rothschild’s Giraffes, a highly endangered species and the manor has been involved in their conservation since the 1970s.

Photographer and author Robin Moore captured these wonderful shots of the giraffes – seemingly in their element and completely at ease with the tourists around them.  In fact, to the giraffes, the presence of a few people seems to be just a minor complication in their quest for food!

It just goes to show that conservation takes many forms. In a perfect world, perhaps, there wouldn’t be a need for places like Giraffe Manor yet with their numbers declining rapidly, anything which draws attention to their plight has to be applauded.

The video was produced for "This Happened Here" on the Seeker Network from Discovery featuring Robin’s images and video from Giraffe Manor.

Ecdysis: When Growing Up is More than Skin Deep

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Many invertebrates go through a process called ecdysis.  Taken from the ancient Greek the word means, literally, to strip off.  It leaves behind an exuviae (often spelled with the final e omitted), the remains of the exoskeleton which has been shed, often with related structures still attached. For some invertebrates it can be a regular occurrence to facilitate growth.  For others it can be part of a series of instars which culminate in the emergence of the finished, adult form.  It is a fascinating process where beauty can be found in the grotesque. For these animals, however, the process of growing up is far more than simply skin deep.

Essentially, ecdysis is the molting of the cuticle, the tough multi-layered cover outside the epidermis that provides protection as an exoskeleton. The exoskeleton must be shed as it constrains growth. First, the cuticle separates from the epidermis – yet the arthropod remains inside for now - this is called apolysis. Next, a hormone called ecdysone is secreted from the epidermis. It fills the gap between the old cuticle and the epidermis which is known as the exuvial space. The enzymes in the hormone are not activated until a new epicuticle (the outermost waxy layer of the arthropod exoskeleton) is formed. Once this is done they kick in and the lower regions of the old cuticle are digested. Finally the process of molting can start.

What on Earth is this Swan Doing?

Friday, 7 August 2015


I was recently on vacation with my family in Chester (North England) and on one of our walks along the local canal we came across this swan. He (or she) seemed intent on swimming up and down alongside a barge. Our best guess was that the swan was trying to catch small insects that, for whatever reason, were congregating there. Is there anyone out there who can confirm this? Is this normal swan behavior?

Welcome to the Bee Hotel

This remarkable structure can be found in Place des Jardins  in Paris and is known as a bee hotel. You may be wondering what bees need a hotel for, when they make their own hives. The truth is that many species of bees are solitary – the do not live in hives but instead construct their own nest. The main reason for this is because in these species every female is fertile and this would not make for comfortable communal living in a hive.

Bee hotels are necessary for a number of different reasons. To begin with bee populations have been on a decline in recent years. Part of the problem is that their natural habitats have been cleared to make way for intensive agriculture. Pesticides have also been instrumental in their decline. 

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