animals

What’s making this adorable pet owl go bananas?

What’s making this adorable pet owl go bananas?

While we get as warm and fuzzy as anyone when we spy a puppy, kitten, or bunny, our love of the animal kingdom extends far beyond just those three types of critters. We’re pretty fond of owls, too, whether they’re keeping us company as we have a drink, silently serving as art tutors, or just hanging around the house.

But as tranquil and wise as they may usually appear, even owls have limits, and there are some sights so provocative they cause the birds to go completely bananas, like this guy here is doing.

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Japanese giant salamander caught taking a stroll on land

Japanese giant salamander caught taking a stroll on land

Japan is home to many strange and interesting creatures from freakishly huge wasps to beautifully blue glowing squid, but perhaps one of the oddest is the seldom seen Japanese giant salamander or Ōsanshōuo as it’s called in Japanese.

Although they spend most of their lives underwater, every now and again you might just catch one making the trek onto land as the lucky Twitter user who found this guy did. From this image it might be hard to see exactly how big the Japanese giant salamander can be, but the following picture gives us a better sense of scale.

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30 squeal-tasticly cute bunny GIFs to get you through the weekend!

30 squeal-tasticly cute bunny GIFs to get you through the weekend!

What are you doing this weekend? If you haven’t made any plans, these bunny GIF images could give you some inspiration for the weekend. Even if you’ve already made plans, these fuzzy little buns are bound to make your weekend even better with their irresistible cuteness! Hop on!

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Seemingly cute cat in downtown Tokyo might desperately need help, plus a new owner

Seemingly cute cat in downtown Tokyo might desperately need help, plus a new owner

For years, Hachiko, the faithful Akita dog that waited every day outside Shibuya Station after its owner died at his workplace, has been Tokyo’s most famous animal. Recently, though, it seemed like cat-loving Tokyoites had found an animal celebrity of their own when a cat perched on top of a signpost in Ginza started drawing crowds.

Unfortunately, the scene has gone from heartwarming to heartbreaking with some sharp-eyed observers’ theory that the cat is in actuality being abused by its owner.

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Adorable napping otters in Mie Prefecture school humanity in how to relax

Adorable napping otters in Mie Prefecture school humanity in how to relax

Last winter, we were all saddened to hear about the passing of Giant Isopod No.1, the most famous crustacean at the Toba Aquarium in Mie Prefecture. Life must go on, though, and perhaps it’s now finally time to turn the page at Toba, as the isopod era comes to an end and is replaced by something much cuter: the age of adorable napping otters.

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Faithful pooch in Akita saves 5-year-old owner from attacking bear

Faithful pooch in Akita saves 5-year-old owner from attacking bear

We recently had a good chuckle at the dog that got itself comically trapped in its backyard in urban Japan. As silly as that Shiba inu may have looked though, the breed isn’t all poorly-thought-out curiosity and exploration-related hijinks. Recently, a Shiba in Akita Prefecture earned some positive publicity for its kin by saving its young owner from a bear.

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Awesome Japanese sandals give you the footprints of a cat or T-rex

Awesome Japanese sandals give you the footprints of a cat or T-rex

One trick for dealing with the sweltering heat of summer is to free your feet with some comfy sandals. If you need a double dose of soothing coolness, you can strap on a pair and go for a stroll on the beach as you enjoy the sea breeze blowing across your exposed feet.

But while any variety of open-toed footwear will do the trick, if you’re looking to add a dash of quirky cuteness to your wardrobe, plus share the fun with everyone who comes by later, your best options are these animal-soled sandals that turn your footsteps into those of a cat or dinosaur.

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Relax, because this seemingly trapped cat is doing just that

Relax, because this seemingly trapped cat is doing just that

Last week, we shared the story of a dog that managed to get itself comically stuck in a suburban garden. Now, the trend of animals in Japan wedging themselves into tight spaces continues with this compacted kitty.

But whereas the Shiba Inu we saw before had to be rescued by a passerby, what looks like a harrowing predicament is actually all part of the cat’s ingenious plan.

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Rumors of ‘horned cockroaches’ in Japan continue to attract believers, terrify us, and be false

Rumors of ‘horned cockroaches’ in Japan continue to attract believers, terrify us, and be false

Japan has sort of a love-hate relationship with bugs. On one hand, there’s a trio of insects that are seen as nostalgic symbols of summer. Dragonflies are a popular motif on yukata summer kimono, the whining of cicadas is an immediate audio cue that brings back memories of the lazy days of summer vacation, and catching stag beetles has been a popular pastime during the warmer months for generations of Japanese kids.

On the other hand, cockroaches are universally hated, because, well, they’re cockroaches.

With such strongly contrasting emotions involved, it’s understandable that rumors persist of a cockroach/stag beetle hybrid, something which caught the nation’s attention again recently after someone in Japan claimed to have caught one.

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Conditions in North Korea so bad even the wildlife are making a break for it 【Video】

Conditions in North Korea so bad even the wildlife are making a break for it 【Video】

Apparently unsatisfied with North Korea’s delectable, super power-bestowing mushrooms, and finding very little else in the way of sustenance, a desperate tiger was recently caught on camera making the treacherous swim across the Yalu River from North Korea towards China.

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Cheerful, cherubic cat chillin’ on a chair 【Video】

Cheerful, cherubic cat chillin’ on a chair 【Video】

When my nephew was still a baby, I clearly remember the whole family gathering to watch as he rolled over for the first time. It was an exciting moment, and we were all impressed by his accomplishment.

On the other hand, I can’t remember the last time anyone gave me a round of applause for rolling over, even if I’ve had so much beer that my motor skills have regressed to infant-level. The fact is that whether an action is compelling to watch has as much to do with the natural charisma of the performer as it does with what they’re doing.

For example, most of us couldn’t entertain a group of strangers by just sitting in a chair, but that’s only because we aren’t this incredibly cute, eminently relaxed cat.

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Dog found trapped in a Japanese suburb is a little sad, a little cute, thankfully all OK

Dog found trapped in a Japanese suburb is a little sad, a little cute, thankfully all OK

With a shortage of flat, buildable land leading to high prices for real estate, Japan is a crowded country. In homes, it’s not entirely unusual for rooms to serve dual or triple purposes, with fold-up tables and futons helping to transform living rooms into dining rooms, and later dining rooms into bedrooms.

Smaller houses and apartment buildings don’t just mean less space for human residents, though, but for pets too, as can be seen in this photo of a dog that got trapped running around its yard.

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Aoshima Island has 100 cats, and we photographed almost all of them

Aoshima Island has 100 cats, and we photographed almost all of them

Recently, we sent our intrepid reporter Meg to Ehime Prefecture’s Aoshima, also known as Cat Island or even Cat Paradise. We’d heard rumors that the island’s packs of free-roaming kitties were facing an obesity crisis from the snacks given to them by their numerous animal-loving visitors, and wanted to check up on our little friends.

When Meg came back, she reported that the cats were fine, thanks to their active, calorie-burning lifestyle. But how could she be sure? Did she check every cat on Aoshima?

She certainly came close, and we’ve got the photo collection to prove it.

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Chinese woman’s two-pronged money-saving plan: Eat her grandson’s pet for dinner

Chinese woman’s two-pronged money-saving plan: Eat her grandson’s pet for dinner

As a kid, I went through a stage where I bugged my parents to let me have a dog. My dad, though, wisely realized that he would be the one who ended up having to take care of it, so jokingly told me that I couldn’t have any animal I wasn’t prepared to eat.

Apparently a woman in China took the same philosophy regarding her grandson’s pet, only she didn’t bother to tell him before she cooked it for dinner.

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That’s not a rabbit, that’s Mother Nature’s version of Pikachu (also known as Viscacha)【Photos】

That’s not a rabbit, that’s Mother Nature’s version of Pikachu (also known as Viscacha)【Photos】

As the end of the week closes in, it’s time to slow things down a bit and unwind. It’s been raining in Tokyo for the past couple of days, and we all know what cool, rainy weather does to us, right? It makes us feel oh so sleepy… like these fluffy… real-life Pikachus…

W-what? Did I just say Pikachu? I mean, Viscacha! Just look at them dozing off on the rocks!

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Japan’s 30 best travel destinations, as chosen by overseas visitors

Japan’s 30 best travel destinations, as chosen by overseas visitors

It’s time once again for travel website Trip Advisor’s list of the best places in Japan, as chosen by overseas visitors to the country. One of the things that makes Japan such a fascinated place to travel is its extreme mix of historical and modern attractions, both of which are represented in the top 30 which includes shrines, sharks, and super-sized robots.

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Japan’s Rabbit Island – Yes, it really does exist

Japan’s Rabbit Island – Yes, it really does exist

In some ways, the island of Okunoshima, in western Japan’s Setonaikai Inland Sea, seems like a terrible vacation spot. It’s already in an out-of-the-way region of the country, and with no connecting bridges, the only way to get there is by boat.

Then there’s its dark past. During the 1920s, ‘30s, and early ‘40s, Okunoshima was the site of a secret chemical weapons lab for the Japanese Imperial Army. The clandestine work being carried out there earned it the sinister nicknames Poison Gas Island and The Island Erased from the Maps.

Happily, the postwar years have seen a return to more peaceful, benign activities on Okunoshima. As a matter of fact, in the last few years it’s become one of the area’s most beloved tourist destinations, and the reason why is easy to see from the other name Okunoshima is called by, Rabbit Island.

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“I tape them to my monitor” – Weird things people in Japan do with their cat’s fallen whiskers

“I tape them to my monitor” – Weird things people in Japan do with their cat’s fallen whiskers

As a cat owner, I’m used to having cat hair on absolutely everything. But every so often in amongst the clouds of fur I find a dropped whisker lying alone on the floor, and for some reason it feels wrong to just throw it away. Turns out I’m not alone, and some people go a few steps further when it comes to storing these precious mementos of their feline friends.

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Guy learns powerful lesson: Sending 240 beetles in the mail will kill them all

Guy learns powerful lesson: Sending 240 beetles in the mail will kill them all

An insect collector learned the hard way last year that you should never send stag beetles in the mail, because being stuffed in a box and shipped across the country unsurprisingly kills them.

A specialist apparently sent 240 stag beetles to be delivered to the collector’s Okinawa home. When the box – supplied by the Japanese Postal Service’s “Yu-paku” goods shipping service – arrived, the collector opened it to find all 240 of the beetles decidedly un-alive, prompting the man to sue for compensation; because, come on, if you’re shipping beetles, you expect a certain amount of care to be taken.

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Who needs pre-furnished apartments when you can get one that comes with a cat?

Who needs pre-furnished apartments when you can get one that comes with a cat?

Some Japanese apartments are incredibly sparse. In the most extreme cases, your lease gets you four walls, a kitchen sink, bathroom, and that’s it. Oh, you want lighting fixtures, a stove, and air conditioning? Sorry, you’ll have to purchase all that on your own.

As a result, savvy apartment hunters are always on the lookout for properties that include some of these amenities. And while it’s incredibly convenient to find a place that already comes with ceiling lamps, it still can’t match the thrill some animal lovers in Japan experience when they find a new pad that comes with a cat.

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