The see-through goldfish: Japanese scientists develop fish whose hearts and brains are visible thanks to translucent skin

see you: A Mie University image shows a goldfish whose beating heart can be seen through translucent scales and skin in Tsu city, central Japan

First came see-through frogs. Now Japanese researchers have succeeded in producing goldfish whose beating hearts can be seen through translucent scales and skin.

The transparent creatures are part of efforts to reduce the need for dissections, which have become increasingly controversial, particularly in schools.

'You can see a live heart and other organs because the scales and skin have no pigments,' said Yutaka Tamaru, an associate professor in the department of life science at Mie University.

'You don't have to cut it open. You can see a tiny brain above the goldfish's black eyes.'

The joint team of researchers at Mie University and Nagoya University in central Japan produced the 'ryukin' goldfish by picking mutant hatchery goldfish with pale skin and breeding them together.

'Having a pale colour is a disadvantage for goldfish in an aquarium but it's good to see how organs sit in a body three-dimensionally,' Tamaru said.

The fish are expected to live up to roughly 20 years. They could grow as long as 25cm (10in) and weigh more than 2kg (5lb), much bigger than other fish used in experiments, such as zebrafish and Japanese medaka, Tamaru said.

'As this goldfish grows bigger, you can watch its whole life,' he said.

Meanwhile another group of researchers, who announced in 2007 they had developed see-through frogs, said they planned to start selling the four-legged creatures, whose skin is transparent from the tadpole stage.

Transparency: Yutaka Tamaru, an associate biology professor at Mie University, and his team have succeeded in producing the transparent goldfish, which is part of efforts to reduce the need for laboratory dissections

'We are making progress in their mass-production. They are likely to be put on the market next year,' said Masayuki Sumida, professor at the Institute for Amphibian Biology of Hiroshima University.

Sumida said see-through tadpoles and adult frogs would be available in the first half of next year in Japan for laboratories and schools and as pets, with a price tag expected to be below 10,000 yen (£70) each.

He also wants to sell the creature abroad.

Animal rights activists have pressed for humane alternatives to dissections, such as using computer simulations.

Sumida's team produced the creature from rare mutants of the Japanese brown frog, or Rena japonica, whose backs are usually ochre or brown. Two kinds of recessive genes have been known to cause the frog to be pale.

While goldfish are easier to keep, frogs are higher forms of life and therefore preferable for experiments, Sumida said.

source: dailymail

Beach tragedy: 125 pilot whales die stranded in New Zealand bay... but rescuers coax 43 back out to sea

Covered with sheets and regularly doused with water, 43 of the pilot whales were kept alive. They eventually made it back out to sea

Conservation workers battled to save dozens of pilot whales who became stranded on a New Zealand beach at the weekend.

Of those that were stranded 125 died but 43 others were coaxed back out to sea.

Rescuers monitored the survivors as they swam away and by this morning they were reported well out to sea.

Department of Conservation workers and hundreds of volunteers helped re-float the 43 whales at high tide.

The stranded mammals had been covered in sheets and kept wet through the day.

'It looks pretty good, we've got 43 live ones,' said Dpartment of Conservation ranger Steve Bolten as the pod swam out to sea.

Mr Bolten said one of the whales, leading the others, may have been sick, or their sonar may have led them into the shallow harbour and they couldn't find their way out again.

Meanwhile on South Island, 105 long-finned pilot whales that became stranded on Saturday died.

Golden Bay biodiversity program manager Hans Stoffregen said they were discovered by a tourist plane pilot and only 30 were alive when conservation workers arrived.

'They were in bad shape. By the time we got there two-thirds of them had already died. We had to euthanize the rest,' he said.

The whales had been out of the water for a long time.

'It has been quite hot and they were very distressed. You could see the pain and suffering in their eyes,' he was quoted telling the Southland Times newspaper.

Rescue: Hundreds of volunteers gather around the stranded whales to try and coax them back out to sea

Conservation workers were helped by people holidaying near by

Because the site is part of a nature reserve, the 105 whale carcasses were left to decompose where they stranded, Mr Stoffregen said.

Large numbers of whales become stranded on New Zealand's beaches each summer as they pass by on their way to breeding grounds from Antarctic waters.

Scientists so far have been unable to explain why whales become stranded.

Stricken: The carcasses of pilot whales are left to decompose in a national park and, right, rescuers manage to re-float one of the stranded mammals

Hundreds of whales are stranded every year in New Zealand as they move to warmer waters but scientists are unable to explain why it happens

source: dailymail

2009 was good for butterflies, but bad for the cuckoo

By Luke Salkeld

Strong numbers: Butterflies will have hibernated well during the cold winter, which means they will be out in force next year
has been disappointing for staycationers and somewhat slippery for Christmas shoppers.

But while this year's weather wasn't great for we humans, there have been mixed blessings for the country's wildlife.

Butterflies and some other types of insect saw their numbers soar, but cuckoos, daddy longlegs, bats and beetles fared less well.

Although the wet summers of 2007 and last year, coupled with mild winters, disturbed the natural hibernation and breeding cycles of several plants and animals, this year's dry summer helped repair a lot of the damage.

Matthew Oates, of the National Trust, said that while the UK did not bask in the 'barbecue summer' promised by the Met Office, the weather was better than the previous two years.

A third 'rotten' summer would have done serious damage to even more species, he added.

Purple emperor butterflies are among the species to have benefited from the coldest weather for years, allowing them to hibernate as caterpillars to emerge strongly in the summer.

Gone: Cuckoos have disappeared altogether from some areas as a result of recent weather patterns

Painted lady butterflies were also seen migrating in their millions and it was a good year for seven spot ladybirds.

'Many insects managed to hibernate properly, instead of being constantly woken up by unseasonably mild days,' said Mr Oates.

'This year has stopped the rot and a lot of wildlife has started to get its way back up the ladder - but we still need a good summer in 2010.' But despite this it has not all been good news for British wildlife.

Along with other birds, choughs in Cornwall and Pembrokeshire struggled to feed in the face of frozen ground in February and Dartford warblers also suffered.

The number of cuckoos has also fallen sharply in the past 12 months, with the bird disappearing from some areas altogether.

Mr Oates said the fall could be down to a variety of reasons including a lack of their favourite food, hairy caterpillars, which in turn have been affected by the poor weather. Earlier this year, the cuckoo was added to the 'Red List' of the UK's most threatened birds.

Only between 10,000 and 20,000 breeding pairs now migrate from Africa each year.
And scientists are also trying to pinpoint why the daddy longlegs - or common cranefly - has gone missing.

What is clear, however, is that its disappearance is likely to have a huge effect on bat numbers because they rely on the insect for food.

source: dailymail

Cats and dogs banned from new housing estate 'to protect wildlife'

By James Tozer

Blame: Domestic cats have been named one of the most deadly bird killers

For many people, owning a cat or a dog is one of life's greatest joys.

But that simple pleasure will be denied to home-buyers on a new housing development under European legislation to protect local wildlife.

Both cats and dogs are forbidden on the estate because there are rare bird species nesting on heathland more than a mile away.

Environmentalists say that domestic cats in particular are responsible for a monthly massacre of millions of birds, and the edict could be copied in other parts of the country with protected habitats.

But owners' groups condemned it as a part of a sinister attack on our right to keep a pet, while even the RSPB branded it 'unenforceable'.

The controversial ban applies to anyone buying or renting a house at a 500-home development on the former Farnborough Airfield site in Hampshire, where three-bedroom terraces start at around £250,000.

It was imposed as part of the conditions of planning permission being granted.
The rule - under the European Habitats' Directive - is meant to protect the Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area, just over a mile away.

The unspoilt heath is home to rare birds including the highly endangered, ground-nesting nightjar as well as Dartford warblers and woodlarks.

The highly-endangered nightjar is one of the birds officials are hoping to protect with the ban

The woodlark (left) and the Dartford warbler can also be found near the estate

A new area of parkland with play areas is being built near the homes to discourage children, too, from playing on the heathland and disturbing wildlife.

Many local people are sceptical, however.

Councillor Eric Neale said: 'The heaths are about five miles across, and they're overrun with foxes and magpies which do far more damage to birdlife than dog walkers who venture on to it for a few hundred metres.

'This restricts the lifestyles of thousands of people just for the sake of a few rare birds, and it's all down to councils imposing a European directive. I think it's outrageous.'

Beverley Cuddy, editor of Dogs Today magazine, said: 'This is madness - dogs don't roam from people's houses and attack birds in nearby countryside, and what's to stop other dog owners from walking their pets on the heath?
'Councils seem to be trying to make life harder and harder for pet owners, which is a real shame, as owning a cat or dog is proven to encourage an active lifestyle and improve your health.

'Surely there are better ways of encouraging responsible pet ownership?
'Animal lovers tend to be bird lovers as well, they shouldn't be placed in conflict like this.'

The RSPB had wanted restrictions on pets being exercised on the heath, but said yesterday it didn't support the ban either.

'This is an internationally significant habitat,' said spokesman Grahame Madge. 'Building housing alongside it is like putting up an apartment block next to the rainforest.

'That's why it's important that alternative open spaces are constructed to take pressure off the heathland.

'But banning cats and dogs isn't the answer - after all, five years down the line, who's going to tell people who buy houses there that they can't have a pet? We think it's unenforceable.'

Rushmoor council, which agreed the ban, and developer Redrow were unavailable for comment.

source: dailymail

Rudolph the baby seal discovered in family's back garden... 18 miles from the sea

By Chris Brooke

Wrong turn: Baby seal Rudolph was discovered in the back garden of a family home in Benenden, Kent

She's less than a year old but this seal pup's inquisitive nature and adventurous spirit has already landed her in a lifetime's worth of trouble.

Nicknamed Rudolph, she was found by a family in their back garden in Kent, 18 miles inland from the sea.

Inquiries have revealed that earlier this year the playful pup was rescued and treated at a seal centre in Ostend, Belgium, before being released back into the English Channel

Clearly with a nose for travel, Rudolph ended up swimming upstream from Rye, East Sussex, when the River Rother was in flood recently.

Despite a number of sightings RSPCA officers were unable to catch the pup until she was rounded up by the Dwyer family's collie dog Jack in their back garden.

The seal was spotted sitting in the snow at the family home in Benenden, Kent, on Monday by Harriet Dwyer, 24.

'I heard Jack barking and went over to see what looked like a huge slimy cat,' she said.

'We could see it came from a stream at the end of the garden from tracks in the snow.'

Intrepid: Rudolph swam 18 miles inland from Rye, East Sussex, before deciding to snack on the goldfish in the Dwyer family pond

Her father, Professor Tim Dwyer, 51, said: 'It was bizarre, really.

'My daughter was out with our dog Jack in the snow when she came in and said "there's a seal in the garden".

'We all went out and under the hedge was a seal looking quite chirpy and slithering around in the snow.'

Prof Dwyer, who works in the engineering department at London South Bank University, said: 'I went back indoors and rang the RSPCA and police.

'The seal made its way across the garden into the pond, where it sat happily staring out of the pond in an enchanting way with its eyes just above the water.'

Rudolph is believed to have helped herself to some goldfish and eventually settled in the herb garden, watched by Jack.

Rescued: The one-year-old pup had already been treated at a seal centre in Ostend, Belgium, and is now being looked after at an RSPCA centre in Hastings

Prof Dwyer, said: 'He was very good and, as collies do, he has a rounding instinct. The dog was quite happy to keep it in one place.

'My daughter, not very inventively, called it Rudolph, which seemed appropriate as it was sitting around in the snow.'

The pup was eventually coaxed into an animal crate and taken to the RSPCA's Mallydams Wood Wildlife Centre in Fairlight, Hastings, East Sussex, where it has been renamed Gulliver after its fondness for travelling.

Nikki Lambert, wildlife assistant and veterinary nurse at the centre said there had been earlier sightings nearby of the female pup following the recent stormy weather.

She was seen in a field after the River Rother flooded but had gone back into the water when the RSPCA was alerted, making her impossible to catch.

Journey: Rudolph got into the River Rother at Rye during flooding before swimming 18 miles inland

Miss Lambert said: 'She's fit and healthy, a bit underweight, but is now eating well.

'She has a tag on her flipper which actually shows that earlier on this year she had been in a wildlife centre in Ostend. We're still waiting to find out her full history, but she's obviously got lost.'

The seal is being cared for alongside another female pup called Gloria, aged around seven months, who was recovered in September after being washed up on the beach near Hythe, Kent.

Gulliver will be kept at the centre until she has increased her weight sufficiently and will be re-released within the next month to enjoy fresh adventures.

source: dailymail

Who are you calling beefy? Britain's biggest bullock unveiled (tipping the scales at almost two tons)

Gargantuan: The Field Marshall has to be weighed using specialist scales used for lorries
Everyone is allowed to put on a little weight at this time of the year.

But if you overdid things yesterday, this enormous beast should make you feel a bit better.

With no plans whatsoever for a January detox, the biggest bullock in Britain tipped the scales this week at a staggering 3,682lb (1,670kg).

Grandly named The Field Marshall, the eight-year-old Charolais has beefed up to the tune of 300lb over the past 12 months.

And the towering 6ft 8in creature has still not reached his full adult size.

However, at 1.64 tons, he has already overtaken the record-breaking weight of his former stable mate, The Colonel, who stood 6ft 5in tall and weighed 3,500lb before he died in 2005.

Arthur Duckett, 80, who bought the white steer four years ago, said: 'He's in very good health and there's no reason why he won't keep on growing.

'He's only eight and unless something unforeseen happens he will get bigger and bigger.

'But he's not fat - he's all muscle. I could feed him heavier but I don't want to make him look grotesque, I want him to be healthy and put on weight naturally.

'That's why I keep him outdoors in a field and not inside.'

The Field Marshall shares a field on Mr Duckett's farm in Alstone, Somerset, with a 5ft 6in Highland steer and a small Friesian.

Mr Duckett, who is 5ft 8in tall, puts The Field Marshall's incredible size down to his parentage, appetite and the fact that he has been neutered, which boosts his growth

The Field Marshall has overtaken the previous record holder, his former stablemate The Colonel, who stood 6ft 5ins tall and weighed 3,500lbs, before his death in 2005.

Incredibly, the record-breaking bullock is the equivalent of a late teenager and is still growing.

He is now heavier than a Mini Cooper car which weighs 2,458lbs, and a BMW 3 series which tips the scales at just 3,053lbs.

He eats more than 17lbs of feed every day and enjoys oats, barley, potatoes, fodder beet followed by a portion of hay.

The Field Marshall was weighed at the Fatstock agricultural show at Sedgemoor Auction Centre near North Petherton, Somerset.

Visitors paid £2 to guess his weight and the winner received a tonne of cattle feed or the cash equivalent.

The charity event raised £1,641 for Taunton's Musgrove Park Hospital in Somerset.

Three years ago Arthur and his wife Helen broke records with their 6ft 5in bull The Colonel.

The Simmental Holstein breed had to be put down in August 2005 at the age of nine because of back problems.

There is no longer an official record for the world's biggest bullock as Guinness World Records does not want to encourage overfeeding.

The previous holder for Britain was a bull in Essex that died in 1830 weighing 4,480lbs.

The last record to be recognised was set by a steer called Old Ben, who died in Kokomo, Indiana, in 1910. He weighed 4,720lbs and stood 6ft 4ins tall.

source: dailymail

Christmas miracle for dog who swallowed toy fairy wand the length of its body

Christmas wishes: Ashleigh Fisher (left) with her dog Pip and nursing assistant Laura Lamb.Pip was operated on after swallowing a toy fairy wand

A dog has had a miracle escape after swallowing a fairy wand almost the length of her entire body.

Pip's owner Ashleigh Fisher raised the alarm after noticing the five-month-old whippet had something lodged in her throat.

A vet's X-ray revealed the animal had swallowed the child's toy whole.

Ashleigh, who got Pip as an 18th birthday gift from her parents, said the family first noticed something was wrong when Pip began gulping loudly.

Laura Lamb, trainee nurse at the Bridge Veterinary Group in Middlesbrough said: 'When the X-ray was developed the vet and nurse could hardly believe their eyes.

'A long, narrow object was visible, starting at the bottom of Pip's throat and going off the edge of the plate towards her stomach.'

A second picture was taken, revealing that the object stretched all the way from the little dog's throat right into her stomach.

Swallowed whole: The five-month-old whippet gulped down the toy wand intact

Efforts to remove the wand were unsuccessful and it was decided the only option was to operate.

Following surgery, the staff and Pip's family were amazed to discover that the offending object was a toy fairy wand.

Laura said: 'Luckily for Pip, it did not appear to have done any damage to her insides and she had a good recovery.'

Ashleigh, who also lives with mum Karen, dad Stephen, 47, a builder, 16-year-old sister Abbey, and twin toddler sisters, three-year-olds Emily and Beth, added: 'We had no idea what it could be that she'd swallowed.'

Karen, 45, a council clerical officer, said: 'We knew Pip liked chewing things but we had never known her to eat anything.

'We couldn't believe she had swallowed the whole wand.

'She was a bit quiet but was still on her food so we didn't think anything was seriously wrong.

'We're on our guard now to keep things she could eat out of her way.

'She's doing fine now.'

Unfortunately, Pip did not have insurance at the time and her treatment cost in the region of £500 - an issue Bridge practice administrator Hayley Burgess says the surgery is now trying to make families with pets aware of.

Hayley said: 'A lot of people would have had to make an awful decision in that situation, and some may even have had to put their pet to sleep because they couldn't afford treatment. Insurance can cost very little, so we do recommend people insure their pets.'

The Bridge group has also been running a Christmas campaign this year to help make pet owners aware of festive dangers posed to animals. The dangers on their list includes foreign objects - such as children's toys - which are often left lying around the house at this time of the year.

The group's advice is to treat pets like curious children, and keep everything small out of their reach

source: dailymail

New born elephant Jamuna Toni

MUNICH, GERMANY - DECEMBER 23: New born elephant Jamuna Toni plays with her keepers at Hellabrunn zoo on December 23, 2009 in Munich, Germany. The female baby elephant was born on December 21, 2009 with a weight of 112 kilograms.

MUNICH, GERMANY - DECEMBER 23: New born elephant Jamuna Toni plays with zoo director Andreas Knieriem (2ndR) and keepers at Hellabrunn zoo on December 23, 2009 in Munich, Germany. The female baby elephant was born on December 21, 2009 with a weight of 112 kilograms.

photo: Gettyimages

Santa Claus hat on a giant panda

A zookeeper places a Santa Claus hat on a giant panda at a zoo in Xiamen, Fujian province December 24, 2009.

A giant panda wears a Santa Claus hat at a zoo in Xiamen, Fujian province December 24, 2009.

photo: Reuters

Looking for a loving home, the 13 pups of Christmas

Lucky for some: 13 mastiff cross pups were given to Battersea Dogs & Cats Home

They were going to be named after Santa’s reindeers – until staff realised there weren’t enough names to go round.

These 13 adorable puppies are a record Christmas delivery for Battersea Dogs & Cats Home.

Staff at the world-famous animal rescue centre already had 360 dogs and 150 cats to care for when they arrived on Monday.

The seven-week-old mastiff cross pups, all from the same litter, were given to the home by their owner, who was unable to cope.

They will not be available for rehoming until the New Year as they are too young at the moment.

Bags of fun: The seven-week-old pups are a popular addition to the animal shelter

But anyone interested in offering a loving home is advised to apply online.

The home is also appealing to kind-hearted members of the public to help buy its longer-term residents a Christmas present.

Puppy love: Jenny Dugdale, senior rehomer at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, with a seven-week-old friend

It urgently needs jars of Marmite and peanut butter (dogs love these as treats, apparently), tennis balls, toys – and even mini CD players, to help the dogs and cats relax.

Donations can be dropped off at any of its three sites in Battersea Park Road, London, Old Windsor, Berkshire and Brands Hatch, Kent.

Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, which is about to celebrate its 150th anniversary, receives no government funding and relies on the generosity of its supporters to carry out its vital work.

To make a donation or to register an interest in the puppies visit or telephone 020 7622 3626.

Christmas surprise: Some of the litter of pups, who will soon be needing a new home

source: dailymail

Pictured: Harrowing ordeal of the baby elephants bound and beaten to become circus stars

By Paul Harris

Trussed: Bound by its neck, legs and trunk and watched by a man with a hook, a baby elephant learns to lie down

Pulled to the ground by a web of ropes, a baby elephant learns the hard way how to become a circus performer.

In case the youngster doesn't want to co-operate, a trainer stands by with one of the sharp metal hooks used to manage the animals.

The disturbing picture is one of a series taken by a former trainer which campaigners say reveal the brutal reality of how elephants are prepared for circus work.

Down: A trainer manages the animal with a sharp metal hook

The pictures show them being dragged to the ground by ropes, chained side by side, pinned down by a hook in the back of the neck and checked by cattleprods.

Peta - People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals - say the elephants are also separated from their mothers by force.

Teamwork? A group of handlers hold the baby elephant with ropes

: Peta - People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals - says the methods are widespread

The photographs are being used to spearhead a campaign to tighten up laws on the use of wild beasts in circuses.

The Government here is considering legislation to impose stricter conditions on their care, training and performance, particularly where young are concerned.

Campaign: The photos are being used to spearhead an effort to tighten laws over the use of wild beasts in circuses

Revealed: A handler who died last month asked Peta to use the images to ease his conscience after he'd gone

The pictures were taken in the U.S. by handler Sammy Haddock, who worked for the Ringling Bros' Barnum and Bailey Circus until 2005.

They were taken more than seven years ago - but Peta says such methods are widespread, and 'effectively amount to the torture of defenceless animals'.

Stark: Baby elephants are bound in a barn

Two against one: The anchor elephant is trained in a barn

Haddock died last month and asked Peta to use his pictures to ease his conscience about the kind of treatment he administered during eight years at the Ringling centre in Florida.

Peta director Poorva Joshipura said: 'All the evidence suggests that the methods described by Sam Haddock are standard operating procedures.

Dedicated areas: The lying down outdoor training area (l) and sitting up area (r)

Ringling's dismisses Peta's claims as 'from the last century' and denies cruelty. It says it separates calves from adults only when they are old enough to demonstrate natural independence

Unnatural: The outdoor training area where elephants learn to stand on their head

Grimace: A baby elephant is trained to sit on a tub

source: dailymail

Meet 'Giant George' the 7ft-long blue great dane who could be the world's tallest dog

'Giant George' and owner Dave Nasser share a couch together: The four-year-old blue great dane, weighs a staggering 245lbs and measures almost 43ins at the shoulder

Standing at nearly 43 inches tall from paw to shoulder and weighing a staggering 245lbs could this be the world's new tallest dog?

Pictured here in the parks of Tuscon, Arizona, George, a four-year-old blue great dane, looks more like a miniature horse than a dog.

The gentle giant, who measures 7ft 3ins from nose to tail, could be a prime contender to take the title from the former record holder, Gibson, a harlequin Great Dane who passed away from cancer last August.

Now George's owners, David and Christine Nasser, are awaiting confirmation from Guinness World Records to see if he has achieved the lofty heights.

'He's 42.625 inches at the shoulder,' said David. 'He's very very unique.'

According to David, George consumes 110lbs of food every month, and sleeps alone in his own Queen Size Bed.

David and Christine raised George from when he was 7 weeks old, but never expected him to grow so big.

Magnificent: George measures more than 7ft from nose to tail and tucks away 110lbs of food every month

With size comes problems: The giant great dane barely fits in the back of his owner's SUV

The couple eventually had to move their aptly named dog out of their king sized bed, when he grew too large for the three of them to share the same sheets.

Dr. William Wallace of the Buena Pet Clinic in Tucson, who witnessed the documentation necessary for the Guinness record, said: 'In my 45 years of experience working with giant breed dogs, without question, George is the tallest dog I have ever seen.'

David is currently rushing to get that necessary documentation into Guinness as other dog owners are coming forth claiming the record.

As they wait for the results to come through, George is busy occupying himself with his new found stardom and even has a Facebook fan page and Twitter accounts for his adorning fans.

It appears as though the sky's the limit for this mammoth hound.

Paws for thought: George's giant feet dwarf his owner Dave Nassar's hand. Last August the worldís tallest dog, Gibson, a harlequin Great Dane, passed away from cancer

source: dailymail

Herd the one about the cow that jumped onto the roof?

Over the moon: The cow's jump to the roof caused much mirth amongst the family in the house

Forget the nursery rhyme about cow that jumped over the moon, this animal leapt up on to a house roof.

The owner of the house in Blagdon, Somerset, called police after getting home to find her roof seriously damaged and smashed tiles as she feared a burglar had tried to break in.

But the intruder on the roof turned out to be a cow.

William de Cothi, 17, photographed the animal after he spotted it on the roof about 6ft off the ground.

He said: 'I was looking out of my window when I saw the cow.

'At first I thought that it was an illusion and that it was in the background and not really on the roof.

'But after a closer look I could see it was actually on the roof.'

The local teenager added: 'I have heard cows can jump quite high, so I think that is how it got up there.

'I got my family to come and look later and they laughed. It was absolutely amazing.'

Village PC Ray Bradley said: 'This was initially recorded on my figures as a burglary so I am glad I can take it off.

'If it wasn't for the door-to-door inquires and this photo we wouldn't have found out it was a cow responsible.'

source: dailymail

Meerkats and Coatis receive an early Christmas gift from their keepers

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 17: Meerkats at ZSL London Zoo receive an early Christmas gift from their keepers of home-made crackers filled with meal worms and locusts on December 17, 2009 in London, England.

The Zoological Society of London, which was founded in 1826, runs London Zoo and Whipsnade Zoo whilst also carrying out scientific research and conservation in the UK and abroad.

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 17: Ring-tailed coatis at ZSL London Zoo receive an early Christmas gift from their keepers of home-made crackers filled with food on December 17, 2009 in London, England. The Zoological Society of London, which was founded in 1826, runs London Zoo and Whipsnade Zoo whilst also carrying out scientific research and conservation in the UK and abroad.

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 17: Meerkats at ZSL London Zoo receive an early Christmas gift from their keepers of home-made crackers filled with meal worms and locusts on December 17, 2009 in London, England. The Zoological Society of London, which was founded in 1826, runs London Zoo and Whipsnade Zoo whilst also carrying out scientific research and conservation in the UK and abroad.

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 17: Ring-tailed coatis at ZSL London Zoo receive an early Christmas gift from their keepers of home-made crackers filled with food on December 17, 2009 in London, England. The Zoological Society of London, which was founded in 1826, runs London Zoo and Whipsnade Zoo whilst also carrying out scientific research and conservation in the UK and abroad.

photo: Gettyimages