Saturday, 12 April 2014

Charlie and the Seal!

When photographer Charlie Bird decided he wanted to photograph seal pups he decided to get as close up to them as possible.  One of the elephant seal pups became rather inquisitive and before Charlie knew it he was getting more attention than he had bargained for.  Not only that, one of the pups friend’s decides to join in too.

Good job for Charlie that it was just an elephant seal pup.  If dad had decided to show interest too, he would have been in trouble. Southern elephant seal bulls typically reaching a length of 16 ft (4.9 m) and a weight of 6,600 lb (3,000 kg).

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

The Wolf Eel: The Old Man of the Sea

Picture one of those double-take moments when you have to look again in a mixture of curiosity and alarm. Then imagine that you are thirty meters underwater when that happens. Over the years, divers off the coast of California have had many such moments when they suddenly come across the huge face of an old man peering at them from the rocky reefs below. Yet this is not anything approaching a subaquatic nightmare: it is the face of an extraordinary creature, the wolf eel.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Goats Just Wanna Have Fun

Let’s face it, if you are as sharp and curious as the average goat then life in the farmyard could become just a little bit dull.  However, when a flexible steel ribbon is placed inside your pen for no apparent reason then a use for it just has to be sound.

This video shows that just like most other living things on this wonderful planet of ours, goats just wanna have fun.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Nudibranchs of Anilao

The nudibranch is a group of soft-bodied, marine gastropod mollusks which shed their shell after their larval stage.  They have astonishing colors and striking forms. There are more than 3,000 described species of nudibranchs.  This short film by Dustin Adamson of Ocean Shutter focuses on the nudibranchs of Anilao in the Philippines.  The close-up macro shots are simply stunning. Enjoy!

Dawn the Rescue Fox Wags her Tail and Makes Happy Sounds

This is Dawn – a rescued fox.  She was very young when she was discovered by members of the public and they took her to a dog rescue center.  By the time it was realised she was, in fact, a dog she had become too tame to be ever put back in the wild.

However, she was taken to the Nuneaton and Warwickshire Wildlife Sanctuary in the UK where she quickly made herself at home with the five other resident foxes there.  In this video one of her carers enters her enclosed area and the sounds of welcome – together with the amazing wagging of her bushy tail – are a joy to behold.

Despite the fact that the video is not high resolution this has gone viral.  Yet we wouldn’t be a responsible site about animals if we didn’t slip in a quick statement.  Foxes are not animals which can be domesticated – although they can bond with individuals they are way too volatile to be around strangers.  In other words, pet foxes are pretty much a recipe for disaster. So, while Dawn is cute and adorable she would have had a much better life in the wild.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

What One Dog Gets up to When Home Alone

Dogs like food – that’s a well-established fact.  Some, however, are willing to go to great lengths to get to their between meal snack.  Take Lucy for example.  Her human, Rodd Scheinerman had caught her with her head in his oven on a previous occasion and decided to catch her red handed if she tried to do it again.

He put some chicken nuggets in the oven and left the house.  His cam secured in the kitchen area, this very funny piece of film was waiting for him on his return.  Lucy had heard the oven alarm indicating that the chicken nuggets were ready.  What she does next is ingenious, funny, charming and just a little bit naughty all at the same time!

If you are a dog lover I am sure you will enjoy this home movie which no doubt will (like Lucy) be treasured for many years to come by Mr Scheinerman and his family.

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

The Kermode Bear: Spirit Bear of British Columbia

This is not a polar bear which has decided to migrate to warmer climes.

This is a remarkable sub-species of the North American Black Bear. It is the Kermode Bearr - also known as the spirit bear.

Living along the shorelines and central interior of British Columbia on the west coast of Canada, around ten percent of Kermode bears have white or creamy coats. They are revered among the native peoples of the province.

Pronounced kerr-MOH-dee, the lighter Kermode bears are not albinos. They appear much brighter than most of the population because of recessive alleles.

This rare genetic trait doesn’t hold them back either – the paler bears are better fishers than their brown counterparts. It is thought this is because the fish cannot perceive the threat from above due to their coloring. A brown bear might stand out more against the clouds – that much is true.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Island of the Ladies

This is a collection of clips captured near Isla Mujeres Island, Mexico. The whale sharks and manta rays in this video gather at Isle Mujeres each year to feed on tuna and snapper spawn.   

Sit back and enjoy the wonderful images captured by natural history filmmakers Howard and Michele Hall whose work you may well have seen on Nature and Secrets of the Ocean Realm.  It is all quite stunning.

Monday, 16 December 2013

The Bizarre Hammerhead Worm: Substrate Predator Extraordinaire

Some people just don’t like worms despite the fact that their usefulness to humanity is long established and recorded.  Worms aerate the soil, break down organic matter and even excrete fantastic fertilizer. Yet still they are hated: if accidentally picked up they are flung away with Olympian exuberance, often with ear-shattering shrieks as accompaniment. What, then, would those haters make of this, the bizarre hammerhead worm?  Prepare to meet a strange beast indeed – not to mention one of the messiest eaters on the planet.

Strictly speaking, the hammerhead is a flatworm. They come in many species not to mention shapes and sizes but all have one thing in common – they are immensely predatory (but more of that later).  They belong to a family called the Geoplanidae which are commonly known as land planarians.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

The Portuguese Water Dog: From the Russian Steppes to The White House

Until the announcement on the 11 April 2009 about the breed of dog that President Obama and his family were to welcome in to the White House, little was known about the Portuguese Water Dog.  Yet the fact that Bo (as he became known) is now ensconced in the White House is, for his breed, something just short of a miracle. Behind the shaggy good looks there lies a remarkable story of species survival. By the 1930s the dog was on the verge of extinction.

Arguments abound about the origins of the Portuguese Water Dog with many maintaining that the first early examples of the species appeared on the Russian Steppes around 700 BC.  If this is the case, one can only wonder whether the irony is lost on President Obama: the dog that became part of his family has its origins in what was for many years called the USSR?

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Red Squirrels Show Signs of Recovery from Deadly Poxvirus

The red squirrel population in the UK, long on the brink of complete destruction, has shown signs of resistance to a deadly poxvirus which has killed hundreds of thousands of them over the decades. A study in an area of Merseyside in the North West of England has shown that around 10 percent of the population there now carry squirrelpox antibodies in their bloodstream. The antibodies, which enable the squirrels and their descendants, to respond to the virus also indicate that a number of the animals have had the disease but have recovered.

This is the first time that a red squirrel surviving exposure to the poxvirus has been recorded. The news has been welcomed by naturalists as an encouraging sign. So, what happened in Merseyside to make a difference?

Saturday, 30 November 2013

The Swimming Pigs of the Bahamas

Exuma, a district in the Bahamas is stunningly beautiful.  It consists of almost four hundred small islands, positioned languidly along 250 miles of the Atlantic Ocean north of Cuba.  Many of the islands are uninhabited.  Yet one of them, Big Major Cay has a population that might surprise you.  There are pigs on the island and when they are not doing their best impression of beach bums they take to the water.  These are the swimming pigs of the Bahamas.

Swimming Pigs
Many people dream of the Bahamas as their ultimate holiday destination.  For these lucky pigs, however, what was probably intended only as a brief prelude to their place on the dinner table has become a life of lazy leisure.  When they are not enjoying the beach they take to the water to retrieve food thrown from passing yachts.  They may not qualify for the next Olympic games but they know how to do a rather graceful piggy paddle.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Surf City Surf Dogs Catch the Waves

Dogs are like people in some respects.  Many are homebodies and prefer their creature comforts.  Others prefer to be a little more adventurous. Although not a species renowned for its participation in extreme sports there is a cross section of the canine community which likes nothing better than to take to the waves – on surf boards.

Now in its fifth year the Surf City Surf Dog event, held in Huntington Beach, California brings together over forty surf fans together with their human companions who are there to ensure that all the fun is safe for the surfer dogs.  This fund-raising event helps to raise awareness of various dog related causes, including animal rescue and medical care.

Monday, 21 October 2013


If this doesn’t make your day then I am not sure what will…  Take a number of dogs, film them shaking off water and then slow the film down… right down until every twist and turn, each slobber and swerve is captured.  It is quite amazing how something so everyday becomes so entrancing!

The inspiration for this short piece came when the team from Variable, a production company & creative collective based in New York City saw the still photography of Carli Davidson which went viral last year.  They contacted her to see if she would be interested in taking her project a step further and capturing the dogs with the moving image.  As you can see, Variable got a big yes from Carli and they have now unleashed this fantastic video on to the internet.

If you love this as much as we did here at Ark in Space then you may like to know that Shake The Book is now available too, featuring many of Carli Davidson’s wonderful portraits of dogs captured in time while doing the shake…

Saturday, 19 October 2013

The London Parakeets: Perfect Pest or Welcome Guest?

At some point in the late sixties some Parakeets made a bid for freedom in London.  For decades they were treated as an exotic guest and viewed with a mix of bemusement and pleasure.  However, their days in London seemed to be numbered a few years ago but so far, the numbers seem to be increasing.

For a while the number of Parakeets in London remained small and toleration was the name of the game.  After all, London has a long and proud history of welcoming foreigners to its heart and making them its own.  So it was with the parakeet.  However, their numbers exploded in the late nineties and many now seem them as a pest.  From the beginning of 2010 open season on the cockney parakeet was declared.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

The Darth Vader Ant with Superhero Gliding Skills

Big head
Their skills eluded observation until early this century, but you can add another animal on to the list of those who have developed the ability to glide.  Joining snakes, squirrels, frogs and lizards with those superhero-like gliding skills is a species of ant. 

And what an Ant!  The Darth Vader of the insect world, Cephalotes atratus, inhabits the canopy of the tropical forest systems of Central and South America.  That’s a long way up and if an ant was to fall it would lead to almost certain death on the floor of the forest.  Either that or a trip that would make The Incredible Journey look like a walk in the park, but one which would probably be impossible due to the lack of chemical trails to guide the ant back home.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

The Pygmy Goat - Not So Gruff

Who is the gruff looking buck above? There is something familiar about him but this is no standard goat, no sir. This is the pygmy version and as is a cousin of the variety we generally picture when the animal comes up in conversation. Welcome to the world of the pygmy goat.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Sea Lebrities: The Sea Lions of Pier 39

We often read about people taking over the natural habitat of other species but it is rare to come across a case where the animals come back and reclaim their territory from us.  Yet this is exactly what has happened in San Francisco.  Local Californian Sea Lions have always been present in the city’s bay but had been pushed out to Seal Rocks, a small formation at the north end of the Ocean Beach.  Pier 39’s K-Dock was developed and opened in 1978.  Little did we know that the sea lions also had their eyes on this particular piece of seaside real estate.

They bided their time but their opportunity to move in (or back, if you argue that their presence along the Californian coastline predates human occupation by tens of thousands of years) came just over a decade later in 1989.  It was then that it was decided that the docks needed refurbishment.  In order to facilitate this all the boats had to be removed from Pier 39.  This left large open spaces inside the Bay.  A small number of sea lions saw their opportunity.  They metaphorically weighed anchor from the stony slopes of Seal Rocks and began to arrive at Pier 39.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Sam the Dog Enjoys a Day at the Beach

Some dogs don’t like water but that’s OK. The ones that do make up for it in the joyous way that they will leap in to water wherever it is. Whether it’s a lake, a river or an ocean there is always going to be a dog more than happy to participate.

That’s the case with Sam (who is a chocolate Labrador by the looks) who took his human Andres Santos for a great day at the beach recently. Andres caught it all in wonderful slow motion for us to enjoy, so, enjoy!

Saturday, 14 September 2013

The Bobbit Worm Catches its Prey

If you are of a nervous disposition then you may not want to press play.  Otherwise, steel yourself for the remarkable site of a bobbit worm (Eunice aphroditois) catching its prey.  The worm lives on the ocean floor, burying it body which can grow up to three meters in length in the seabed.  It waits and when one of its five antennae is stimulated by an approaching sea creature it attacks.  This is done with such speed that it has been seen to slice its prey in half.

You might wonder what the bobbit worm does when the prey is larger than it is.  Although it quite often kills its quarry on the first strike the bobbit worm injects a fatal toxin in to the prey animal.  This incredible video was shot by Khaled Sultani, filmed with Light & Motion Bluefin pro housing / CX550 with Sola lights.

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