The day the ducks fought back: Chick-eating seagull goes back for a second helping - but gets chased away by the furious mother


Foiled: The seagull scoops the chick out of the water, but drops it when the mother swoops in

A murderous seagull that gobbled up a duckling got more than it bargained for when it returned for another helping.
It swooped on the ducklings as they swam with their parents in Herbert Park, Dublin, last week. But the mother duck, who initially had eleven ducklings in tow, finally forced the gull away by aggressively flapping her wings.
‘This is the time of year ducks raise their young, so predatory birds like gulls are always on the look out for an easy meal.
‘The gull was waiting for one of the ducklings to stray from the group and when it finally spotted one it swooped in for the kill.

Brave: The fearless mother is not deterred by the seagull's size advantage

In a flap: The angry mother proved she was no sitting duck and chased the attacker away

Taking flight: The seagull is in no mood to hang around
Photographer Paul Hughes said: ‘I was taking pictures in the park and saw this gull watching the young family.

Murder most fowl: The seagull successfully securing a first course

‘The gull was able to grab hold of a duckling in its beak.
‘But when it came back for a second helping mum was ready and fought the gull away until it had to turn tail and fly off.
‘The chick ducked under the water. There was a lot of quacking and squawking going on.
‘It was a stressful moment for the mother, but in the end she saved her family.’

Happy family: The ducklings with their protective mother

source: dailymail

Now that's emusing! Hungry bird on the lookout for a snack photobombs couple on farm visit


Photobombed: The smiling couple pose for the camera, but the hungry emu has his eye on more treats

Sloths do it, seals do it – and now the worldwide craze of animal photobombing has spread all the way to giant Australian native birds.
A hungry emu has photobombed a holidaying couple after they stopped feeding it to pay attention to other animals on the farm they were visiting.
The emu, a flightless bird, was not ready to give up on its meal when the man and his wife instead moved on to pat a llama. The emu popped its head into the photo in an apparent bid to seek out another snack.
The emu is the second largest bird in the world, after the ostrich, reaching up to two metres in height. In the wild they normally eat plants and insects.

The sloth gatecrashes a group's holiday snap in the Costa Rica jungle

'This photo is at a farm with a lot of animals including the emu you see here. We had been feeding it crackers, and it wasn't shy about trying to see if we had any more,' a writer, who claims to be the man in the photo, comments on the website Reddit.
It just happened to stick its face in front of the camera at the right time!'

P-p-p-please don't spoil it: A cheeky seal steals the limelight in an unidentified location

The emu is just the latest in a line of animals who have been caught photobombing – ruining someone’s photo by jumping into the shot.
In Costa Rica, a sloth lowered himself into the frame just as an International Student Volunteers expedition snapped a group shot.

Cheese: A slightly chilling llama looks directly into the camera at Machu Picchu

A seal was determined to grab the attention from a flock of penguins by waddling into the photo, while - in a photo entered into National Geographic's photo contest last yea - a cheeky llama steals the spotlight in what was supposed to be a landscape photograph of Macchu Picchu in Peru.

source: dailymail

Frenzied ferret attacks baby girl in pram... and it takes two firefighters 25 minutes to fight it off


Savaged: Ten-month-old Lola-Mae Knowles holds out a bandaged hand after she was attacked by a ferret while out with her mother Chloe (right) in Burnley

A baby girl needed hospital treatment after she was savaged in her pram by a ferret.
Ten-month-old Lola-Mae Knowles screamed in pain as the foot-long animal leapt on her and sank its teeth into her finger.
Her frantic mother Chloe, 21, shouted for help and two firefighters who were driving past managed to pull the vicious animal away. The youngster suffered puncture wounds on her finger and had X-rays to check the bite had not damaged the bone.
Her hand has been bandaged and she has been given antibiotics to prevent infection.
Chloe, of Burnley, Lancashire, said: 'This is not something you expect to happen every day. 'I was just walking to my mum's house when it popped out of the bush.
'Initially, I didn't know what it was as I haven't seen a ferret before, but then it jumped into Lola's pram.

'Razor-sharp teeth': Doctors feared the ferret bite had damaged Lola-Mae's bone

'I honestly didn't know what to do, I didn't want to make it more angry or cause even more damage by pulling it off. It had clamped itself on to Lola's finger.
'She was just screaming in pain.
'I froze. All I could do was shout and plead for help from the people in the houses watching me, but no one came out to help.'
Firefighters Pete Harvey and Faz Patel came to Lola-Mae's aid near the Knowles's home in Barden Lane, Burnley.
Mr Harvey said: 'One minute I was driving and the next Faz was telling me to pull over as something wasn't right.
'We jumped out of the car and saw the light brown, minky-coloured ferret clamped on to the baby's finger.
'I think it must have been wild, it was ferocious.
'We spent about 25 minutes fighting to keep away. But it just kept coming back for more. It had hard sharp teeth and glaring eyes. It was doing everything it could to get passed me and Faz and back to the baby.

Panic: Young mother Chloe, 21, and her daughter were on their way to visit Lola-Mae's grandmother when the creature leapt from a bush

'All I can say is that it must have been hungry as it didn't want to give up without a fight.'
Eventually, the animal gave up and ran off after the attack at 2.30pm on Wednesday.
Teaching assistant Chloe believes it could be an escaped pet.
She said: 'I hope it was someone's pet and not a wild animal - that would be a really scary thought.
'I already feel nervous about going out alone with Lola-Mae. I can't remember for sure if it was wearing a collar but I am pretty certain it was.

Tenacious: A local RSPCA worker said baby Lola-Mae had 'a very lucky escape' as ferrets are known for clinging on with their sharp teeth

She added: 'I just hope it gets caught because it was truly terrifying.'
Steve Carpenter, deputy manager at the nearby Altham RSPCA Centre, said: 'It sounds to me as this little girl has had a very lucky escape.
'Everyone knows ferrets have razor sharp teeth and that they like to cling on.
'Ferrets are domesticated animals and not wild animals so this one has been either left behind or it has escaped from its owner.
'I would urge anyone who spots a ferret to contact their local RSPCA inspector so it can be collected.'

source: dailymail

That's some welcome home! Adorable video shows the gleeful reunion of a lovesick dog and his soldier owner after he returns from combat in Afghanistan


Just another day in the yard: Ranger and a man play fetch with his favourite toy

This heartwarming video shows the moment a dog is reunited with his military master, having returned from service in Afghanistan.
The footage captures Ranger, a German Shepherd, and a man playing fetch with the pooch's favourite toy, Green Monster.
He happily bounds around the yard after the toy but gets an unexpected surprise when he chases a particularly far throw and returns to find his owner back from deployment. Ranger immediately switches his course, originally bound for the ball-thrower, to smother the soldier in pup-love.
He wags his tail frantically circling round and round the soldier who is crouched on the floor, pausing every so often for a quick hug, then continuing to check out his old pal from every angle.
Ranger barks excitedly, letting the soldier know how much he has missed him.

Go fetch! Ranger bounds off after his Green Monster toy which is thrown beyond the tree

Surprise: When Ranger returns with the toy there is an unexpected visitor waiting for him

See ya! Ranger makes a snap decision to ignore the ball thrower and heads straight for his owner

Overwhelmed: Ranger circles round and round the soldier, visibly thrilled by his return

'Where you been, where you been buddy?' the soldier asks affectionately, ruffling the dog's fur and wrapping his arms around him.
Ranger is so overwhelmed he forgets to drop 'Green Monster' but eventually barks with such force that his jaws open and the beloved toy falls to the ground.
The pooch turns his full attention to the soldier, showing that a dog really is a man's best friend.
The video is one of many touching videos posted onto the military homecoming blog and has attracted 362,516 hits on YouTube.

Touching: The soldier embraces his old pal in a huge hug, but Ranger doesn't stay still for long - he's too excited!

Look who's back! Ranger clearly wants to show off the soldier's return, looking around eagerly for acknowledgement

Sacrifice: Eventually Ranger drops his toy - the soldier is far more important to him

source: dailymail

Save us! An intimate and stunning photo portrait of the last remaining Asiatic lions fighting for survival in the Indian forests


A rare Asiatic lioness sits with her two cubs in India's Gir Forest - the only place on Earth where the animals roam freely

These pictures show some of the only Asiatic lions left on Earth which roam freely in a forest in India.
Taken by award-winning wildlife photographer Uri Golman they show the rare species in their natural environment in the Gir Forest in the western state of Gujarat.
There are only about 411 of the big cats, including 150 adults, left in the wild but according to scientist Dr Luke Hunter they are quickly outgrowing their habitat and one of their only chances of survival is relocation.
Indian lion expert Dr Ravi Chellam has already developed plans for the relocation to the Kuno-Palpur Wildlife Sanctuary in a neighbouring state of Madhya Pradesh.
However, the state government of Gujarat is refusing to give permission and wildlife critics have said it is because authorities are trying to protect the income brought in from tourists.

The rare lions cubs and their mother are only three of about 411 left in the world but thanks to conservation efforts the population is increasing

The lions are not as big as their African cousins but have longer tufts of hair and are more orange in colour. Historically they roamed Greece through to Iran and all the way to India and were used by the Romans in gladiator fights at the Colosseum.
But sadly loss of habitat and poaching has meant a dramatic decrease in numbers and the species is now endangered.
Their main source of prey is chital deer and livestock and it is one of the five major cats found in India. The others are the Bengal tiger, the Indian leopard, the snow leopard and clouded leopard.

The lions are not as big as the African species but have longer tufts of hair than their cousins. Not many people are aware of their existence in the wild

Historically the lions ranged from Greece through to Iran and all the way to India and they were the big cats used by the Romans in gladiator fights at the Colosseum

There is a population of about 411 lions in the Gir Forest including 150 adults, but it is thought they are outgrowing their habitat and need more space

The only chance of survival for the lions is relocation and plans have been put in place to move some to the Kuno-Palpur Wildlife Sanctuary in the neighboring Indian state of Madhya Pradesh but the authorities won't allow it

The main source of prey for the cats is chital deer and livestock but there is often conflict between the lions and locals when this happens

It is believed the authorities will not give permission for the relocation because the state does not want to lose the tourist trade associated with them

The Asiatic lion is one of the five major big cats found in India, the others being the Bengal tiger, the Indian leopard, the snow leopard and clouded leopard

Every year tourists flock to see the rare species of lion in India but it is hoped the species can be saved and grow larger

source: dailymail

This is the cat's meow: Contented kitty enjoys a purrfectly relaxing neck rub from portable massager


Purrrfect: The cat seems to be enjoying its neck massage

The cat is out of the bag – it’s not just humans who like a good neck rub.
Looking very much like the cat that got the cream, this feline closes its eyes in happiness as it enjoys a neck rub from a portable massager.
Tucked up in a blanket on a striped lounge chair, the cat looks completely comfortable while getting the neck rub.
The brindle striped cat has its ears raised, and its tail twitches involuntarily as the massager digs deep into its shoulders and neck.
It doesn't show any signs of moving off the couch in a hurry.

Tucked up in a blanket with its tail twitching, the cat makes itself comfortable while getting the neck rub

Tension? The cat closes its eyes in happiness while the stress is rubbed out of its neck

Some may wonder whether eating and lying around all day creates the kind of tension that requires a massage.
But clearly this kitty thinks that the portable massager is the cat’s meow.

source: dailymail

He really IS a sitting duck: Chinese zoo throws live bird into tiger enclosure 'to improve animals' hunting instincts' (and pull in the crowds)


Targeted: The defenceless duck tried to outwit the tiger by taking to the water initially

They're predatory killers in the wild, but zoo visitors rarely see the same side of tigers when they are locked in an enclosure.
When Wenling Zoo in eastern China threw a live rabbit and duck into their tiger enclosure, however, visitors got a direct view of the majestic animals' hunting instincts.
The zoo in Zhejiang province, China, claimed 'wild' training program was part of a practice to help its tigers awaken their wild hunting instincts.

In for the kill: The tiger weighed up its options before diving in to the pool for its prey

The savage battle was over quite quickly as the duck was unable to put up much resistance

Officials at the zoo were no doubt keenly aware that the savage exercise would also have been a great way of pulling visitors in through its doors.
When one rabbit was introduced into the enclosure of three tigers, it was not long before the big cats stalked the small creature down and tore it apart for their meal.
At the same time a poor duck was thrown into the tigers' den, which suffered a similarly gruesome fate when a tiger jumped into a pool and killed the bird.

Grisly end: The tiger clamps its fearsome jaws around the duck as the one-sided battle comes to an end

No chance: The white rabbit makes a fruitless bid to escape the tiger after being thrown into its enclosure

Part of the food chain: The rabbit did not last long before it was killed and devoured by the three tigers

source: dailymail

Meet Georgie, the puppy found whimpering in a dog waste bin after being callously dumped on St George's Day


Georgie (pictured) was heard crying in a bin (pictured right) meant for dog waste in Nottingham

A tiny puppy with huge saucer eyes was found dumped in a bin meant for dog waste.
The little Labrador cross, named Georgie by her RSPCA carers, was discovered by a family who were passing by and were startled by rustling and whimpering sounds coming from the bin.
She was rescued on St George’s Day in Nottingham and took her name from England's patron saint. The shocked family took the six-week-old pup to their nearby home and warmed her with blankets before contacting the RSPCA.
Georgie was shivering and extremely shaken by her ordeal.
RSPCA inspector Chris Shaw said: 'It is absolutely ridiculous that someone would dump a defenceless puppy in a bin meant for dog waste.

Six-week-old puppy Georgie, who was dumped in a dog waste bin in Nottingham

'Thankfully Georgie was found, but what would have happened to her if she hadn’t have been?
'She was taken to a vet for a check up and has since been transferred into the care of staff at the RSPCA Radcliffe on Trent Animal Shelter; we think she is only around six to eight weeks old.'
RSPCA shelter manager Ella Herring: 'She is very small so she is going to be fostered with a staff member rather than keep her in the kennels at the moment.
'She is coming round and her little personality is shining through, she is quite feisty.'
'She has been weaned, but we are keeping a close eye on her and she is being fed small meals little and often.

Georgie is pictured with Trent Animal Shelter manager Ella Herring

'Despite her terrible ordeal she is now a lot brighter and has perked up and has more energy. I just don’t understand why someone would dump her in a dog waste bin; they must have thought it was some kind of a sick, stupid joke.'
Georgie will be put up for rehoming at a later date.

source: dailymail

Water way to monkey around: While we grumble about the rain, primates party in the puddles at Longleat Safari Park


Making waves: A rhesus monkey plays in a huge puddle of water that has been created by the recent heavy rainfall at Longleat Safari Park in Wiltshire

The recent heavy downpours may have left many of us once again bemoaning the British weather, but for these inquisitive characters it was cause for a party.
The monkeys at Longleat Safari and Adventure Park made the most of large puddles which formed following the bad weather to get down to some serious monkey business.
Far from heading for cover, the huge pools of water became a temporary play area for the rhesus monkeys as some were delighted by their own reflections.
Longleat's deputy head keeper Ian Turner, who took the photographs, said: 'Watching them jumping about in the puddles and even throwing stones and other objects into the water to see how big a splash they can make has been great.
'It's obvious they genuinely enjoy themselves, even if the rest of us are finding the rain less entertaining.'

Double vision: This rhesus monkey enjoys making ripples as he rests on a rock at the edge of a giant puddle

He added: 'I was particularly interested to observe them watching their reflections in the water. They seemed to be captivated by their own image and it really brings home how intelligent they are.'
The monkeys are among more than 100 rhesus macaques at Longleat who normally spend their days leaping from car to car, hitching free rides on the thousands of vehicles that pass through their enclosure each day.

New experience: This inquisitive chappy appears to be checking out his reflection in the water before creating a big splash

Waterworld: Fascinated by their wet surroundings, it is a new experience for some of the younger members of the group

Splish splash: The monkeys normally spend their days leaping from car to car, hitching free rides on the thousands of vehicles

Found throughout south-east Asia and across the Indian subcontinent, rhesus monkeys thrive in a wide variety of habitats and climates.
In some parts of India they are believed to be sacred, with the result that they have lived in close contact with humans for centuries, particularly in and around Buddhist and Hindu temples.
Rhesus monkeys are extremely intelligent, naturally inquisitive animals who can learn to manipulate simple tools and distinguish colours and shapes.

source: dailymail

'What you looking at?' Hilarious gallery showcases the world's most evil-looking pets


They're meant to be affectionate, loyal faces in your home, but it seems nobody told this group of surly pets. This hilarious collection of the most sour-faced domestic animals shows just how evil pets can look when the mood strikes.
Among the gallery of sinister snaps is a frog sporting a particularly evil smile, cats pictured with typical disdain, and even puppies scowling at the camera.
The unique group of pictures even features a surly owl glaring at the camera while perched on top of a workbench.
Some of the pets appear aggrieved due to the situation they are pictured in, such as a cat wrapped in a piece of curtain material.
Others look unhappy at being made to complete car journeys with humans, or simply don't enjoy having their picture taken.

Are you looking at me? This raccoon, albeit not a pet, looks none too pleased to have his picture taken

Don't even think about it: This young puppy dosn't look in the mood for fun when he was captured on camera

Evil smile: This cunning frog looks as though his grand masterplan is about to come to fruition

I'm not amused: Another young puppy gives his owner a good old-fashioned death stare in this hilarious picture

You'll pay for this: A cat wrapped in a piece of curtain material is just one of the other hilariously evil looking creatures pictured

Face of evil: This owl looks in no mood to pose for the camera when it was pictured on a workbench

Don't make me come up there: A particularly surly-looking dog shoots an evil glance at its owner through a rear view mirror

I'm coming for you: This dog looks like he is hatching an evil plan while his owners' backs are turned

Cold shoulder: A miserly-looking cat scowls while perched on his owner's shoulder

source: dailymail