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What a Cad!
Joined: 13 Dec 2008
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PostPosted: 07-02-2014 09:05    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pacific salmon migrate with a 'magnetic map'
By Rebecca Morelle, Science reporter, BBC World Service

There is more evidence that salmon use the Earth's magnetic field to perform extraordinary feats of navigation.
A study suggests that Pacific salmon are born with an in-built "magnetic map" that helps them to migrate over thousands of kilometres.
US researchers believe the fish are sensing changes in the intensity and angle of the Earth's magnetic field to establish their position in the ocean.
The study is published in the journal Current Biology.

The epic journey of the Pacific salmon is one of nature's greatest migrations.
The fish hatch inland in rivers and streams, before swimming for hundreds or even thousands of kilometres to reach the open ocean.
After several years of foraging at sea, they make their way back to the same freshwater sites where they spawn and then die.

Lead author Dr Nathan Putman, from Oregon State University, said: "The migration is a lot of effort and it is definitely challenging, and looking at it from the outside, it doesn't seem necessarily intuitive how they could manage that."

Previous research has suggested that the fish use the Earth's magnetic field to find their way, with an earlier study led by Dr Putman revealing that Sockeye salmon may possess a memory of the magnetic field where they first entered the sea to find their way back home to their spawning ground.

But now the team says that the fish may also have an innate sense of the world's magnetic field.

To investigate, they looked at Chinook salmon hatchlings, which had not yet made a migration out to sea.

Because the intensity and inclination of the Earth's magnetic field change depending on where you are on the globe, the researchers exposed the fish to the sorts of magnetic fields they might experience on their journey through the ocean.
"We put the fish in buckets, we change the magnetic field around them, and the fish change direction in response to the field," explained Dr Putman.

For example, if they altered the magnetic field so it mimicked the northern extreme of the salmon's range, the fish oriented south. If they changed the field so it was the same as that experienced by salmon at the very southern end of their range, the fish turned around and pointed north.

Dr Putman explained: "To try to observe meaningful behaviour in the lab, we needed to have a good prediction of what the fish should do. Since none of these fish are found north of a certain magnetic field, we assumed that they are happiest to the south of that.
"So if they are using the magnetic field to find out where they are, they should think, 'Oh I am a bit north of where I should be', and go south. And likewise with the southern magnetic field."
He added: "It's like they have a map. They know something about where they are based on what field they are in."

Because the fish that were studied had never before made a migration, the scientists think the fish are born with this magnetic sense rather than it being a skill that is learned.

The team believes other sea creatures such as turtles, sharks and whales may also use the same tactics to roam the oceans.
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Psycho Punk
Joined: 19 Aug 2003
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PostPosted: 05-03-2014 01:08    Post subject: Reply with quote

Puppy driven 12 miles in car engine in Salford

Betty Boop

Betty Boop was not harmed during her unexpected drive

A three-month-old puppy took an unexpected 12-mile journey when it got trapped in the engine of a car.

The Jack Russell, called Betty Boop, travelled round Salford in a car driven by its owner's neighbour.

Betty was taken along the East Lancashire Road to Swinton and back, travelling up to 50mph but was discovered unscathed in the car.

"We think she spent the journey on the gearbox. She is so lucky to still be alive," said Betty's owner Gary Rose.

He added: "If she had put her head a bit further in, she would have got caught by the fan, or the fan belt, the camshaft."

Mr Rose, of James Henry Avenue, Salford said: "The neighbour was coming down the street and he could hear the dog yapping and wondered where it was coming from.

"The first thing he did was open the bonnet and there she was."

Mr Rose, who describes his pet as inquisitive and mischievous, said: "The golden rule in this house is shut the gate, shut the gate, shut the gate."

The dog was unhurt in the incident.
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Piffle Prospector
Joined: 02 Aug 2001
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Location: Manchester, UK
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PostPosted: 05-03-2014 21:42    Post subject: Reply with quote

Safer than most of the pups in that region, who are walked on strings by their owners on bikes! Sad
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Great Old One
Joined: 07 Jun 2008
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PostPosted: 06-03-2014 14:53    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really hate seeing some bone idle, slack jawed idiot taking their dog for a walk whilst they are on a bike. Never mind how distressed the dog may be getting 'eh.
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What a Cad!
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PostPosted: 06-03-2014 15:57    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great white shark's epic ocean trek
By Paul Rincon, Science editor, BBC News website

A great white shark called Lydia is about to make history as the first of its species to be seen crossing from one side of the Atlantic to the other.
The satellite-tagged 4.4m-long female is currently swimming above the mid-Atlantic ridge - which marks a rough boundary line between east and west.

Lydia was first tagged off Florida as part of the Ocearch scientific project.
The shark has travelled more than 30,500km (19,000 miles) since the tracking device was attached.

Dr Gregory Skomal, senior fisheries biologist with Massachusetts Marine Fisheries, told BBC News: "No white sharks have crossed from west to east or east to west."

Lydia is now roughly 1,600km (1,000 miles) from the coasts of County Cork in Ireland and Cornwall in Britain, and nearly 4,800km (3,000 miles) from Jacksonville, Florida, where she was tagged by scientists in March 2013.
Dr Skomal explained: "Although Lydia is closer to Europe than North America, she technically does not cross the Atlantic until she crosses the mid-Atlantic ridge, which [she] has yet to do.
"She would be the first documented white shark to cross into the eastern Atlantic."

The mere act of tagging a great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) is a feat in itself. The scientists have been using a custom-built 34,000kg (75,000lb) capacity hydraulic platform, operated from their research vessel the M/V Ocearch, to safely lift mature sharks so that researchers can tag and study them.

The Ocearch project was initiated to gather data on the movements, biology and health of sharks for conservation purposes as well as for public safety and education.
Though Lydia's journey is impressive, the sharks are known for their marathon migrations of thousands of kilometres.
A great white nicknamed Nicole travelled from South Africa to Australia and back - a circuit of more than 20,000km (12,400 miles) - over a period of nine months between November 2003 and August 2004.

As for where Lydia might go next, Dr Skomal explained: "We have no idea how far she will go, but Europe, the Med, and the coast of Africa are all feasible."

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water, Great White sharks come pouring in from the Atlantic! Wink
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What a Cad!
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PostPosted: 06-03-2014 16:10    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cat travels 100 miles from Devon to Bristol on coach fuel tank

A stowaway cat is recuperating after curling up for a nap underneath a coach and waking up 100 miles away.
It was heard meowing by the National Express coach driver at Bristol bus station, having seemingly climbed on board in Barnstaple, Devon.
It is believed the cat - named Diesel by staff - fell asleep on the warm fuel tank when the vehicle was parked up overnight.
The RSPCA is now trying to locate Diesel's owners in Barnstaple.

The cat found himself on board the 08:45 GMT Westward Ho! to Grimsby service where he was stuck for a four-hour journey across the South West.
He was only discovered when coach driver Andy Muskett was unloading passengers' luggage in Bristol.
On hearing the cat's meowing Mr Muskett called engineer Andy Teagle who crawled under the coach to coax Diesel out.

"I heard a strange noise that was definitely not mechanical and realised that as only one thing meows we probably had a cat incident," he said.
"It was still a bit of a shock to find a silver tabby cat sitting on the fuel tank. When we got him down he was actually pretty contented."

Diesel did not have a collar or microchip so staff took him back to the depot where he was given some food.
RSPCA animal collections officer Julie Parsons said: "We are delighted staff at National Express were able to get Diesel out from such a tricky location.
"When we checked him over we realised he is suffering from some burns and he is currently on antibiotics. Fortunately, he is now recovering well at one of our clinics in Bristol."
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What a Cad!
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PostPosted: 19-03-2014 07:15    Post subject: Reply with quote

'Lucky' the owl survives 300-mile train trip
18 March 2014 Last updated at 20:17 GMT

An owl has been named "Lucky" by an animal sanctuary after it survived a 300-mile trip on the front of a freight train.
The bird was found below the driver's cabin of the Class 66 locomotive as it pulled into Stobart's freight terminal in Crick, Northamptonshire.

Lucky is now recovering with a sprained wing at Nuneaton and Warwickshire Wildlife Sanctuary.

[Video: Ben Sidwell spoke to sanctuary owner Geoff Grewcock.]
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What a Cad!
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PostPosted: 20-03-2014 08:06    Post subject: Reply with quote

Giant pythons have 'homing instinct'
By James Morgan, Science reporter, BBC News

Giant Burmese pythons have map and compass senses which help them travel "home" over vast distances, scientists have been surprised to discover.
Pythons captured and relocated in Florida's Everglades - where they are an invasive species - returned 23 miles (36km) to their original start point.
It is the first evidence that snakes may share a similar magnetic compass to other reptiles, such as sea turtles.
The findings are published in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters.

The Burmese python (Python bivittatus) is one of the largest snakes in the world. The biggest specimen ever caught measured more than 17ft (5m) and weighed 164lb (74kg).
The snakes coil around their prey and suffocate it - and have been known to swallow animals as large as alligators.

Although native to South East Asia, they have become established in Florida's Everglades National Park - where they have been blamed for a staggering decline of mammals.
To study how these invasive predators migrate and spread, researchers captured 12 snakes and fitted them with GPS radiotransmitters.

Half were released where they were captured, but the other six were transported to other suitable habitats in the Everglades 13-23 miles (21-36 km) away.
Using aircraft to track their movements, the researchers were stunned by how quickly the snakes travelled homeward.
Five of the six returned within 5km of their original capture location - and their movement was faster than the control snakes.

"We were very surprised," said lead author Shannon Pittman, of Davidson College, North Carolina.
"We anticipated the pythons would develop new home ranges where they were released. We didn't expect them to orient back to their capture locations.
"This is evidence that Burmese pythons are capable of homing on a scale previously undocumented in any snake species."

The experiment suggests the snakes have both a map sense (to determine their position in relation to home) and a compass sense (to guide their movement home).
Researchers say the map could be magnetic - like sea turtles, while the compass could be guided by the stars, olfactory (smell) cues, or by polarised sunlight - all of which have been shown to be used by reptiles.
"Other snakes likely do share this ability with pythons. But our understanding is limited by a dearth of research on the subject," Ms Pittman told BBC News.

Some previous studies found that smaller snakes - sea kraits and garter snakes - can home over short distances. But not large constrictors.
"I'm impressed, but I'm not surprised - this verifies what many of us in the field have been seeing for years," said Dr Stephen Secor of the University of Alabama, who researches Burmese python physiology.
"Reptiles know where they're going - it's not just random. They're familiar with their home range.
"And I suspect that, if pythons can do this, all snakes can do it - rattlesnakes, vipers, the lot."

Keeping in familiar territory may help snakes to find prey and mates, and the homing sense may allow them to return to after exploratory forays, Ms Pittman said.
"We know that snakes tend to come back to some of the same sites throughout their lives - such as overwintering locations or refuges," she told BBC News.
Understanding how invasive pythons migrate could help control their spread in Florida, she suggested.

But Dr Secor said the threat to the Everglades has been overstated: "Some people want to sell it as an ecological disaster. It's really not.
"Burmese pythons can't ever move beyond the Everglades. It's too cold. The minute it freezes, it kills them," he told BBC News.
"They're actually very docile, gentle snakes. People who don't like them don't know a lot about them. They're pretty amazing animals and we can learn a lot from them."

And the first lesson we can learn from their homing ability, said Dr Secor, is "don't pick reptiles up".
"People see turtles crossing the road and try to move them to safety. But if you take them away, they're just going to try and come back. You are doing more harm than good," he told BBC News.

"Likewise with snakes - people find them in their yard, drive them off and dump them a mile down road. Then, three days later, the snake comes back!
"I hear these stories frequently: 'It came back! The same snake!' And I'm always kind of sceptical. Is it really the same snake? Or just another one that looks similar?
"But maybe these people were right all along. The snake really did come back." Cool
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Great Old One
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PostPosted: 20-03-2014 08:32    Post subject: Reply with quote

Didn't help them get back to Burma, though, did it?

Obvious, I know. Just wanted to say it first.
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