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Rare baby zonkey born in Italy

Italy is a sexy place. So sexy that a male zebra recently leapt over a fence in an animal reserve to romance a female donkey, successfully spawning a beautiful portmanteau: the zonkey. (TRUMPET SOUND!) Ippo the baby zonkey is a healthy li’l critter that’s kind of brownish up top, with stripey legs. As the only zonkey in Italy, she’s bound to be popular at school.

zonkey-zebra-donkey-baby
New Press Photo/Splash News

Although hopefully it won’t go to her head -- there’s at least one other known zonkey, a three-year-old in Georgia. According to the Chestatee Wildlife Preserve, their zonkey hasn’t faced any ostracism for being different, which gives us yet another way animals are different from humans.

But don’t get too attached to these cute freaks of the animal kingdom. Zonkeys often can’t reproduce, even though they’re healthy:

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Dolphin escapes captivity and reunites with her family

Sampal, pre-escape.
KAWA Dolphins Seapen
Sampal, pre-escape.

Some jerkwads fishing off the coast of South Korea accidentally snared a dolphin a few years ago, and instead of releasing her, they illegally sold her to an aquarium. (KARMA, PLEASE BE REAL.) The dolphin, Sampal, performed at the Pacific Land Aquarium for several years, underfed and no doubt missing her family and favorite TV shows. Then the story gets brighter:

About a year ago, thanks to the efforts of individuals such as Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon, Sampal and her two companions at Pacific Land were ordered by the Korean High Court to be returned to their home waters. The dolphins were transferred to a temporary sea pen this May for rehabilitation and an eventual release, which was officially scheduled for sometime later this summer ...

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Bumblebee high-fives British guy in strange yet charming video

Here’s your cute (if slightly buzz-arre) video of the day: a fuzzy little bee raising its teeny leg and repeatedly high-fiving a British dude’s finger.

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Male bats, like other males, sing to seduce

I'll make love to you. If you want me to.
Michael McCarthy
I'll make love to you. If you want me to.

Bats are that ugly guy at karaoke who, while singing the male AND female parts of Evanescence’s “Bring Me To Life” a decade after it was cool, suddenly becomes totally hot. That is to say, they aren’t the cutest creatures in the animal kingdom, but they know how to work what they got -- at least when they get to show off their vocal chops. Or so says new research published in Animal Behavior.

Bat expert and Texas A&M associate professor Mike Smotherman chased bats around the college campus for three years, eagerly taping their songs (which one imagines sound like amateur beat-boxing) and studying them. He found that males are not just humming the bat version of "The Piña Colada Song" on repeat -- once a ladybat has inclined her ear, the male bat will switch things up to make sure she stays intrigued. According to Nature World News:

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This dog in a beekeeper suit is not just being adorable (but he’s also adorable)

Meet Bazz.

bazz-beekeeper-dog
Josh Kennett

Bazz isn’t just wearing adorable doggie sneakers and a scary-looking perma-cone of shame. And he's not headed into space. He’s trained to sniff out American foulbrood, a quick-spreading disease that infects bee larvae and wipes out beehives (as if bees didn’t have enough to worry about). Without the gear, Bazz wouldn’t be able to get within sniffing range without getting stung.

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Pick up trash, find an octopus!

The scene of the crime.
Dave Ascough
The scene of the crime.

Katy Perry sings about feeling like a plastic bag (illegal in several states?) and Fiona Apple confused a bird with a paper bag, but neither of them found an octopus while picking up trash like some Brits did recently. The BBC reports:

The body of an octopus has been found during a litter pick near the top of England's highest mountain.

Dave Ascough, 43, from Stockport, leads mountain walks and found the 20cm (8in) cephalopod mollusc 10m (33ft) from the top of Scafell Pike in Cumbria.

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Spiders suck in prey with scary magnetic webs

SOMEONE PLEASE WAKE ME UP NOW.
Flávio Jota de Paula
SOMEONE PLEASE WAKE ME UP NOW.

Fuckin’ magnets, how do they work? Spiders know, because that’s part of how they sneakily ensnare their unsuspecting prey, according to a new study in bedside reading favorite Scientific Reports. Basically, charged insects evoke a response from the silk threads in spiderwebs. Creepy! The Atlantic has the deets:

According to the research, the webs and positively charged objects -- like, say, insects flying by -- seem to be attracted to each other. Electrically attracted to each other. Unavoidably attracted to each other. Insects' wings, after all, don't simply keep their owners in the air as they're flapping; they also, in the process, generate electrical charge. Honeybees can generate enough charge -- up to 200 volts -- to detach pollen from flowers. And spider webs may take advantage of that in a way that is both evolutionarily ingenious and totally insidious at the same time, capturing prey by essentially sucking their victims in.

How’d UC Berkeley scientists discover this? By playing with vibrators their kids’ toys, natch:

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This weird-looking orca might actually be its own species

People don’t really like to hang out in the water around Antarctica, I GUESS because it’s insanely cold and turbulent (although that sounds kind of nice right now, like taking a dip in a slushee machine). That’s too bad, because otherwise we might see the Emily Dickinson of the sea: the weird-looking, elusive “type D” killer whale.

Screen shot 2013-07-01 at (Jul 1) 8
Uko Gorter

A new study in Polar Biology suggests the type D orca genetically branched off from the main line of killer whales almost 400,000 years ago. There could be up to six or seven types of killer whales, each with its own unique personality, favorite restaurant, and line of handbags (fine, maybe not those last two). Type D orcas in particular have blunt, smashed noses, slightly hooklike dorsal fins, and much smaller white spots near their eyes than other orcas. Wired explains the new study:

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Follow live tweets from the world’s first tweeting honey badger

tweeting-honey-badger

Most honey badgers just don’t care; they just don’t give a shit. Not BG, a honey badger that the Johannesburg Zoo just promoted to its social media manager. BG cares a LOT, mostly about the stuff every Twitter user does: eating lunch, hanging out, and peeing on tires taking selfies.

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“Moose Sex Project” gives Canadian moose a red-light district

They're up all night to get lucky.
They're up all night to get lucky.

Thinking about moose sex makes Derek Burney smile. The 73-year-old former Canadian ambassador to the U.S. gets so happy, in fact, that he recently donated 1.22 square miles of land on the Nova Scotia-New Brunswick border to the Nature Conservancy of Canada -- specifically so endangered moose can have a place to rendezvous, enjoy a cocktail, and make like it’s prom night. Quoth CBC News:

"When you conjure it up, you can only smile at the imagery," [Burney] said, chuckling.

"I'm not an expert on moose sex or moose anything, but I think the understanding is that if they can preserve the corridor with things like this … then I think there's a good chance the Nova Scotia population will be replenished."

Burney is JUST AN ADMIRER of moose sex, you guys. Not a professional. He doesn’t make moose porn, and he doesn’t run a moose brothel. He just wants to help prevent moose from going extinct. Because their numbers have been dwindling for the past decade:

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