Animal News Roundup

(c) Kathiann M. Kowalski

(c) Kathiann M. Kowalski

Today’s breaking news includes a report from the Associated Press’s Scott Mayerowitz about goats at airports. San Francisco International Airport has paid $14,900 to Goats R Us. In return, nearly 400 of the family-run company’s goats grazed on brush covering part of the airport’s property.

The two-week goat gluttony fest should help prevent nearby homes from possible fires. Mowing and other methods weren’t practical because two endangered species live on the grazed areas: the California red-legged frog and the San Francisco garter snake. Fortunately for them, goats tend to be vegetarians.

In other animals news, having some blue blood helps octopods survive frigid water temperatures. A special form of a blue colored pigment, called hemocyanin, helps the Antarctic octopod Pareledone charcoti get oxygen to its blood. The research comes from Michael Oellermann, Hans Pörtner and Felix Mark at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Germany. They presented their study results at the Society for Experimental Biology meeting this past week.

Various marine animals in other parts of the world also have bits of blue in their blood. That’s why juvenile forms of some clams and other invertebrates have blue eyes. (Thanks to MBL and its Marine Resources Center for letting me see this firsthand by taking me and other Science Journalism Fellows out on specimen collecting trips!)

Specimen collection aboard the Gemma. Image (c) Kathiann M. Kowalski

Specimen collection aboard the Gemma. Image (c) Kathiann M. Kowalski

Last but not least, Petfinder has issued an Independence Day weekend reminder to everyone to protect their pets’ safety. Holiday celebrations are fun, but fireworks can be dangerous for both animals and people who aren’t licensed to use them. Parties and loud noises can send animals scurrying off, where they can get lost.

Also, dogs, cats, and other animals can get heat stroke just as people can. Petfinder warns folks not to leave animals in locked cars.

More generally, don’t leave your pet somewhere you wouldn’t want to be. And if you’re feeling thirsty or overly hot, chances are your pet is too.

Here’s hoping everyone stays cool and enjoys summer fun!

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