Animals

Toby was one of many 'learned pigs' that spelled words and solved math problems onstage in England and America in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Basic Books

Pigs are a beloved part of North Carolina culture and vital to the state’s economy, but internationally their reputation is more divisive.

The Evolution Of Bats

Nov 13, 2015
Gregg Gunnell studies bat fossils, a relatively small field given the small amount of bat fossils that exist. Experts still don't know the evolutionary origin of bats.
Grand Canyon National Park / Flickr Creative Commons

Scientists have found bat fossils dating back 55 million years ago, but they still do not know the genesis of their evolution. As time passed since those early bats, the animals found little competition during the night and proliferated.

Bats currently comprise 20 percent of all mammals. There are many types of bats, from the insect-eating to the fruit-eating to the blood-sucking vampire bats. These creatures are also the only mammals with powered flight or a sophisticated echolocation system. 

Fosa: King Of The Madagascar Jungle

Nov 4, 2015
Fosa are the top mammalian predator on Madagascar, and their diet includes lemurs.
kellinahandbasket / Flickr Creative Commons

In the jungles of Madagascar roams an endemic beast known as the fosa. It has the frame of a small cougar and head of a mongoose, hunting any animal with a heartbeat, including lemurs.

Though the fosa rests atop the food chain in Madagascar, slash and burn agriculture threaten the future of this already dwindling population.

Roland Kays is the director of the biodiversity lab at the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences and a professor at N.C. State University. He has an interest in the ecology and conservation of animals, particularly mammals.
Roland Kays

Roland Kays has spent his life studying the behavior and history of animals.

It started in high school when he ran the eggs of a fruit fly through an x-ray machine at Detroit Metropolitan Airport. The experiment did not yield the results he wanted, but it did lead to a life as a zoologist. 

Today, Roland has a number of expeditions under his belt, including trips to Africa and South America. In 2013, he was part of the team that discovered a new relative of the raccoon, called the olinguito.

Jay Price/WUNC

The discipline of military service, as it does for many young men, changed John Blackjack’s life.

"He was a wild child with us," said Roseanne Wray, whose family adopted and raised Staff Sgt. Blackjack.  "The Army did something wonderful for him. They turned him into a soldier."

Blackjack, who died  May 31 of a respiratory illness, was a miniature mule. Since 1983, he had served as the mascot for a major supply unit, the 1st Theater Sustainment Command.  An estimated 25,000 soldiers had contact with him while serving at Ft. Bragg since the Wrays donated him to the Army.

In 2011, employees of the group Mercy for Animals made secret recordings at a Buterball facility in Hoke County, resulting in the animal cruelty conviction of five employees for kicking and beating live birds.
Mercy For Animals

Animal rights activists and journalists would be prohibited from going undercover into private businesses and secretly taking pictures and recordings of illegal activity, under a bill approved by a North Carolina legislative panel on Tuesday.

Hazelnut, newest member of the herd of ponies on Ocracoke, NC. Born born on February 4, 2015 at approximately 10:00 a.m.
National Park Service

Say hello to Hazelnut! She was born mid-morning a couple of days ago into the celebrated Ocracoke pony herd.

Hazelnut's father is a direct descendant of the original Ocracoke ponies. The mother joined the herd in 2010.

The ponies are an important part of the region's history. Legend has it that the “Banker” horses survived being thrown overboard by European ships carrying livestock to the New World in the 16th or 17th century.

Because life isn't all political drama and misdeeds, we bring you a video of the young panda Bao Bao frolicking in the snow at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C.

David J. Tuss

From horns to claws, teeth and talons, the animal kingdom features many natural weapons.

A picture of cats
Jeffrey W www.flickr.com/photos/jeffreyww/4544016041/ / Flickr

In a letter addressed to euthanasia technicians and registered animal shelters in the state, the N.C. Department of Agriculture says the use of gas chambers for euthanizing cats and dogs is no longer acceptable.

The letter comes from Dr. Patricia Norris, the new director of the Animal Welfare Section at the Department.

"We're basically clarifying the policy for everybody," said Norris.

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