animals

Shark shocks Ibaraki aquarium staff by swallowing…another shark

Shark shocks Ibaraki aquarium staff by swallowing…another shark

With only about 20,000 residents, the city of Oarai, in Ibaraki Prefecture, isn’t exactly bursting with entertainment options. If you do find yourself with some time to kill there, though, you could stop by the Aqua World aquarium, where aquatic life including sea lions, jellyfish, and dolphins are on hand to greet visitors.

The facility is even home to a number of sharks. Don’t worry, they’re not man-eaters or anything. The sharks might just eat each other, though.

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The humane (and adorable) way to make a flat hamster 【Video】

The humane (and adorable) way to make a flat hamster 【Video】

Like most kids, I went through a period where I incessantly bugged my parents to let me have a pet, and like most parents, once they said OK, they ended up doing most of the work taking care of it.

Perhaps they knew things would turn out this way, which is why when it came time to choose an animal companion, they steered me towards a hamster. They’re quiet, relatively easy to care for, and pretty happy to stay in their cages, which meant we wouldn’t have one running around the house and tearing up the carpet.

Another thing that makes hamsters great pets is that they don’t take up much space. But if you still think the cute little rodents are just too gargantuan, there’s a way to make them even more compact, at least while they’re sleeping.

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Apparently cats enjoy cherry blossoms as much as we do【Photos】

Apparently cats enjoy cherry blossoms as much as we do【Photos】

There’s something serene and elegant about cherry blossoms. Maybe it’s their soft color, or the way the delicate petals flutter in the breeze, but the sakura are at once aesthetically enticing and deeply soothing.

Unfortunately, the flowers are also incredibly fickle, suddenly blooming and gracing us with their presence for just a few short days, before coolly vanishing, often leaving their admirers wanting more. In a way, you could say they’re like a group of adorable but capricious cats.

In that case, why not combine the two?

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Cat does bizarre dance for tiny kittens【Video】

Cat does bizarre dance for tiny kittens【Video】

My family got its first cat when I myself was barely a year old. She and I more or less grew up together, her dying (at which point I was heartbroken, naturally) when I was 23. We’ve also had a couple of other cats along the way, and whenever I see a cat in my neighbourhood here in Tokyo or visit my friends who have them, I always stop to say hello.

It turns out, however, that for all my years living with and around our domesticated feline friends, I clearly know nothing about them. I mean, can you explain what on earth this cat here is doing!?

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If real animals were Pokémon, the world would be a much weirder place

If real animals were Pokémon, the world would be a much weirder place

The creators of Pokémon were nothing if not brilliant when they decided to make the collectible creatures cute and cuddly fantastical cryptid-like animals influenced by – yet sufficiently removed from – the designs of real-world critters. This allows the player/collector to suspend their disbelief enough that they don’t feel too bad about enslaving a living, breathing thing to battle other living, breathing things for their amusement.

But when you make it the other way around – real-world animals made to look like pokémon – things get a little more disturbing. Are you or your kids willing to capture, for example, an actual fox with nine tails and make it battle a giant frog with a flower on its back for bragging rights? That scenario isn’t too far removed from real-life cockfighting and dog fights.

This wasn’t a question we had to ask ourselves in the early days of Pokémon. But then, of course, the Internet happened, and the Internet is uniquely capable of making us feel bad about almost anything. So, for your amusement/guilt, we present to you real-world animals if they were pokémon:

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Japanese pig farmer shows the world how pigs should be treated

Japanese pig farmer shows the world how pigs should be treated

A pig farmer in Japan is warming hearts around the world, thanks to a photo collection that documents his life with some 1,200 pigs. Whether he’s tending to the little piglets, sleeping with the sows, or serenading them all with tunes on his guitar, this is a farmer who loves spending time in the pen surrounded by his animals.

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We visit Tokyo’s rabbit café to celebrate Easter in the cutest way possible 【Photos】

We visit Tokyo’s rabbit café to celebrate Easter in the cutest way possible 【Photos】

My wife, who’s always interested in learning more about foreign culture (no doubt in an effort to better understand her insufferably baffling husband), recently asked me how Easter is celebrated in America. “We usually hunt for Easter eggs and eat chocolate rabbits,” I told her, which quickly presented us with two problems. First, our apartment isn’t nearly large enough for a proper Easter egg hunt, and while you can get special Easter donuts in Japan, bunny-shaped candies are surprisingly nonexistent.

Stumped as to how to spend the holiday, my wife offered a suggestion. “Why don’t we go to the rabbit café?”

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Cat greets its returning owner with so much warmth we’d swear it was puppy love

Cat greets its returning owner with so much warmth we’d swear it was puppy love

As someone who generally judges the value of animals based on their flavor, I tend to stay out of the whole cats vs. dogs argument that pet lovers so often engage in. If, for some reason though, you told me that my life depended on picking one or the other, I’d probably say I’d prefer a pooch, and then ask what kind of oddly specific sorcery you’d placed me under that cursed me to die if I didn’t choose between the world’s two most popular pets.

When you come home, you can expect your dog to run to the door, wag his tale, and slobber all over you. While I can’t say I really see the appeal of that last one, I can understand that it’s nice to have a pet that gives you a reaction when you come through the door, which is totally unlike the aloof reaction that’s so much more common in cats.

Except, of course, if you’re talking about this friendly feline.

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Hop on over to Ginza for adorable bunny rabbit parfaits and cream puffs

Hop on over to Ginza for adorable bunny rabbit parfaits and cream puffs

Ginza’s history as one of Tokyo’s playgrounds for the well-to-do stretches back further than relative upstarts like Harajuku or Roppongi. While this means you can almost always find an elegant café to stop into for a refined mid-day snack, some of these establishments can be a little intimidating with their blue-blood atmosphere.

There is at least one place in Ginza, though, where you can indulge your sweet tooth without feeling any social tension, as nothing is so far removed from stuffiness as a bunny rabbit parfait.

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One baby capybara not cute enough for you? Chiba zoo has five【Photos】

One baby capybara not cute enough for you? Chiba zoo has five【Photos】

For most groups of animals, making them bigger doesn’t make them any cuter. For example, regular spiders? Not cute. Giant spiders? Still not cute, and now terrifying.

Somehow, though, rodents are the exception to this rule, as the capybara, the world’s largest rodent, is adorable. But you know what’s even cuter? The babies of the planet’s biggest rodent, like the litter of five recently born in Japan.

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Extremely well-behaved Chinese dogs “say Grace” before daily meal

Extremely well-behaved Chinese dogs “say Grace” before daily meal

I can’t even remember the last time I “said Grace” before a meal. It must have been before my teens, when my parents realized I was a Godless, hopeless heathen that shoveled food into my mouth so fast I couldn’t even taste it.

Which, I guess, puts my manners one level below four Chinese dogs that dutifully bow and lower their heads as their owner/trainer says a few words of thanks for their meal.

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Sulky Shiba can’t hear you… or can he!? 【Video】

Sulky Shiba can’t hear you… or can he!? 【Video】

Unlike cats, dogs are usually pretty easy to win over. Constantly seeking praise and approval, with a few “good boy”s and a scratch behind the ear they’ll immediately cheer up and want to be friends again. You can praise a cat until you’re blue in the face — it neither wants nor needs your approval, and if it’s not in the mood, you’ll soon know about it.

This little shiba inu, though, looks especially irked, and is making no secret of the fact that he’s cross by ignoring his owner no matter what she says or does. All until…

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Japan’s pets approve of Muji bean bags, put on a masterful display of laziness 【Photos】

Japan’s pets approve of Muji bean bags, put on a masterful display of laziness 【Photos】

Last week, we brought you Japanese retail company Muji’s guide to getting nothing done thanks to the comfort and unparalleled lethargy inducing qualities of the mighty bean bag chair. Well, it seems that some of our canine and feline friends have been paying close attention, and no sooner had their owners picked one up, immediately began showing us all how to use Muji’s popular bean bag chairs properly.

Judging by these photos, these little guys are clearly the true relaxation ninjas of the land.

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Adorable puppy hasn’t quite got the hang of drinking milk, but that’s not stopping him

Adorable puppy hasn’t quite got the hang of drinking milk, but that’s not stopping him

It’s the weekend! And one of these things is not quite like the others…

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You can find the happiest pigs in the world on “Pig Island”, and swim with them too!【Photos】

You can find the happiest pigs in the world on “Pig Island”, and swim with them too!【Photos】

We’ve previously seen Japan’s amazing cat islands and rabbit island, and today, we’re excited to show you yet another animal wonderland, though this time it’s not in Japan!

An uninhabited island, Big Major Cay, located in Exuma of the Bahamas, is home to what are arguably the world’s happiest pigs! More commonly known as Pig Island or Pig Beach by the locals, this tropical getaway is famous for none other than its adorable swimming pigs!

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The 11 Cat Islands of Japan 【Photos】

The 11 Cat Islands of Japan 【Photos】

In the never-ending debate as to whether cats or dogs are the superior animal, it’s pretty safe to say felines have the edge as far as tranquility is concerned. For example, an island full of stray dogs is likely to be visited by animal control, whereas an island covered in cats instead gets visited by tons of tourists.

This ability to live in general harmony with the human population means that Japan is filled with places that have earned the nickname “Nekojima,” or “Cat Island.” Today, we take a whirlwind photo tour of 11 of them.

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We learn about the deep-sea armored isopod, then eat one 【Video】

We learn about the deep-sea armored isopod, then eat one 【Video】

Last month, we brought you word about a special event at an aquarium in Yokohama where guests were going to be able to eat deep sea armored isopods, which are known in Japanese with the somewhat more descriptive name of ogusokumushi, or “giant armored bugs.”

We all had a good laugh at the zany idea for a publicity stunt, and our chuckling continued right up until the moment our boss said, “OK, one of us has to go try them.”

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Cat shoes – so you’ll always land on your fashionable feet

Cat shoes – so you’ll always land on your fashionable feet

With feline-inspired marshmallows, lattes, and confectionaries, you could actually spend the whole day in Japan consuming nothing but cat-shaped treats. But while that diet would easily help you meet your recommended daily requirements of cuteness, there’re also a lot of calories in those feline-inspired delicacies.

Still, there’s nothing wrong with the occasional indulgence, as long as you also get enough exercise to balance the scales as opposed to tipping them. Going for a nice, after-dessert walk can be a great way to burn off some of those calories you just took in, and it only makes sense that if your love of cats is what got the cycle started, it should be there with you for the next step, too, with these cat-shaped shoes from online retailer Rakuten.

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Banish the Monday blues with bunnies! 【Monday Kickstart】

Banish the Monday blues with bunnies! 【Monday Kickstart】

Yep, unfortunately it’s Monday again. It just doesn’t take the hint, does it? It’s like that kid no one ever wants at the party, but who just keeps turning up anyway.

So to ease you on your way into the week, we’ve got some cute little bunnykins who are all dealing with the dreaded Monday in their own special ways.

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“Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey!” Meet the Japanese cat that loves to tap 【Videos】

“Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey!” Meet the Japanese cat that loves to tap 【Videos】

Cute, loveable, selfish, or cold-hearted, whatever you think of cats, they’re nothing but entertaining, and this little fella is no exception. Taken from what must have been hours of footage captured by its owners, these videos show one particular cat’s penchant for newspapers, plastic, bags and even plants – anything that springs back when he hits it – as he sits and paws, and paws, and paws away, never seeming to get tired.

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