Tag Archives: Carnivora

Infanticide linked to wet-nursing in meerkats

Subordinate female meerkats who try to breed often lose their offspring to infanticide by the dominant female or are evicted from the group. These recently bereaved or ostracised mothers may then become wet-nurses for the dominant female, an activity that may be a form of “rent” that allows them to remain in the community. Wet-nursing […]

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Part of brain that makes humans and primates social creatures may play similar role in carnivores

The part of the brain that makes humans and primates social creatures may play a similar role in carnivores, according to a growing body of research by a Michigan State University neuroscientist. In studying spotted hyenas, lions and, most recently, the raccoon family, Sharleen Sakai has found a correlation between the size of the animals’ […]

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‘Universal’ flu vaccine effective in animals

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Under the microscope, they look like simple jacks, with eight spikes jutting out of a central ball. But these protein nanoparticles are science’s latest weapon against influenza: a new breed of flu vaccine that provides better and broader protection than commercially available ones — at least in animal tests. Current flu vaccines use inactivated whole […]

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New avian flu readily transmits in key animal model

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Emerging H7N9 virus easily jumps between ferrets even though there is no evidence for human-to-human transmission. The H7N9 avian flu has not shown any signs of spreading from human to human, but its ability to spread among other mammals suggest it could yet evolve into a worse menace. A study on the novel H7N9 avian […]

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Human disease leptospirosis identified in new species, the Banded Mongoose, in Africa

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The newest public health threat in Africa, scientists have found, is coming from a previously unknown source: the banded mongoose. Leptospirosis, the disease is called. And the banded mongoose carries it. Leptospirosis is the world’s most common illness transmitted to humans by animals. It’s a two-phase disease that begins with flu-like symptoms. If untreated, it […]

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Mercury pollution threatens arctic foxes

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New scientific results show that arctic foxes accumulate dangerous levels of mercury if they live in coastal habitats and feed on prey which lives in the ocean. Researchers from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, Moscow State University and the University of Iceland just published their discovery in the science online journal PLOS […]

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Humans passing drug resistance to wildlife in protected areas in Africa

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A team of Virginia Tech researchers has discovered that humans are passing antibiotic resistance to wildlife, especially in protected areas where numbers of humans are limited. In the case of banded mongoose in a Botswana study, multidrug resistance among study social groups, or troops, was higher in the protected area than in troops living in […]

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Cleverly designed vaccine blocks H5 avian influenza in animal models

Until now most experimental vaccines against the highly lethal H5N1 avian influenza virus have lacked effectiveness. But a new vaccine has proven highly effective against the virus when tested in both mice and ferrets. It is also effective against the H9 subtype of avian influenza. The research is published online ahead of print in the […]

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Work resumes on lethal flu strains

An international group of scientists this week ended a year-long moratorium on controversial work to engineer potentially deadly strains of the H5N1 avian flu virus in the lab. Researchers agreed to temporarily halt the work in January 2012, after a fierce row erupted over whether it was safe to publish two papers reporting that the […]

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Novel polyomavirus associated with brain tumors in free-ranging raccoons, western United States

Tumors of any type are exceedingly rare in raccoons. High-grade brain tumors, consistently located in the frontal lobes and olfactory tracts, were detected in 10 raccoons during March 2010–May 2012 in California and Oregon, suggesting an emerging, infectious origin. We have identified a candidate etiologic agent, dubbed raccoon polyomavirus, that was present in the tumor […]

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Italian wolves prefer pork to venison

Scientists from Durham University, UK, in collaboration with the University of Sassari in Italy, found that the diet of wolves was consistently dominated by the consumption of wild boar which accounted for about two thirds of total prey biomass, with roe deer accounting for around a third. The study analysed the remains of prey items […]

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Captive animals show signs of boredom

Wondering if your caged hamster gets bored? It’s highly likely if the critter has nothing to do all day. Those are the findings of University of Guelph researchers in the first research study to empirically demonstrate boredom in confined animals. The study appears today in PLOS ONE, published by the Public Library of Science. The […]

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Mycoplasmosis in ferrets

Report of an outbreak of severe respiratory disease associated with a novel Mycoplasma species in ferrets. During 2009–2012, a respiratory disease characterized by nonproductive coughing affected ≈8,000 ferrets, 6–8 weeks of age, which had been imported from a breeding facility in Canada. Almost 95% became ill, but almost none died. Treatments temporarily decreased all clinical […]

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Evolution mostly driven by physical strength, not brains

The most common measure of intelligence in animals, brain size relative to body size, may not be as dependent on evolutionary selection on the brain as previously thought, according to a new analysis by scientists. Brain size relative to body size has been used by generations of scientists to predict an animal’s intelligence. For example, […]

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Urban coyotes never stray: New study finds 100 percent monogamy

Coyotes living in cities don’t ever stray from their mates, and stay with each other till death do them part, according to a new study. The finding sheds light on why the North American cousin of the dog and wolf, which is originally native to deserts and plains, is thriving today in urban areas. Scientists […]

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Flu is transmitted before symptoms appear, study in ferrets suggests

Research at Imperial College London examining influenza transmission in ferrets suggests that the virus can be passed on before the appearance of symptoms. If the finding applies to humans, it means that people pass on flu to others before they know they’re infected, making it very difficult to contain epidemics. Knowing if people are infectious […]

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Tigers take the night shift to coexist with people

Tigers aren’t known for being accommodating, but a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences indicates that the carnivores in Nepal are taking the night shift to better coexist with humans. The revelation that tigers and people are sharing exactly the same space — the same roads and trails — of […]

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Meat-eating animals lack genes involved in detecting sweet flavours

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Sea mammals, spotted hyenas and other carnivores have all shed a working copy of a gene that encodes a ‘taste receptor’ that senses sugars, finds a study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. An animal with a diet devoid of vegetables may have little need to detect sugars, says […]

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Hidden poaching takes a toll on Scandinavian wolves

Wolves have been disappearing mysteriously in Sweden. Between 1999 and 2009, 18 of the animals—or about 17% of the individuals that researchers have actively followed—have gone missing; the global positioning system (GPS) collars used to track them suddenly blinked off, and the wolves never reemerged. Researchers suspected poaching, but it’s been hard to determine how […]

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The smell of a meat-eater

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A chemical found in the urine of carnivores such as bobcats could shed light on the control of instinctive behaviour. If you are a small animal, it is useful to know whether there is anything around that might want to eat you. Stephen Liberles from Harvard Medical School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and his colleagues have […]

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Larger female hyenas produce more offspring

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When it comes to producing more offspring, larger female hyenas outdo their smaller counterparts. A new study by Michigan State University researchers, which appears in Proceedings of the Royal Society, revealed this as well as defined a new way to measure spotted hyenas’ size. “This is the first study of its kind that provides an […]

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Wolves can follow a human’s gaze

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When humans turned wolves into dogs, we created a social companion that keys in on our every move and look. That attentiveness was one of the big effects of domestication, some scientists have argued, and a clear difference between the two species. But wolves raised with humans also pay close attention to our actions and […]

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The grey wolf: symbol of conservation or dangerous predator?

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Robert Millage had heard the howls of wolves in the area the day before, so he knew where to wait. As the sun rose, and the howls rang out again, he blew on his hunter’s call, emitting a sound like a coyote in distress. Fifteen minutes later, a two-year-old she-wolf strode into the clearing. “You […]

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New African wolf discovered

Scientists studying genetic evidence have discovered a new species of wolf living in Africa. The researchers have proved that the mysterious animal, known as the ‘Egyptian jackal’ and often confused with the golden jackal, is not a sub-species of jackal but a grey wolf. The discovery, by a team from Oxford University’s Wildlife Conservation Research […]

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The black-footed ferret has bucked the biodiversity trend thanks to conservation efforts – though it remains endangered

A fifth of vertebrate species are at risk of extinction, but biodiversity decline would have been considerably worse without conservation efforts, an analysis published today suggests. The study, published in Science which summarizes the status of more than 25,000 mammals, birds and amphibians, was released to coincide with the UN Convention on Biological Diversity meeting […]

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Learning the mongoose ways

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A banded mongoose pup will learn its foraging technique from its escort and preserve the tradition well into adulthood, researchers report. The select club of brainy critters known for carrying traditions—among them humans, primates, whales, and dolphins—has an unlikely new member: the banded mongoose. Researchers have found that the furry African carnivore learns by imitation […]

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The bigger the animal, the stiffer the ‘shoes’: Carnivores’ feet ‘tuned’ to their body size

If a Tiger’s feet were built the same way as a mongoose’s feet, they’d have to be about the size of a hippo’s feet to support the big cat’s weight. But they’re not. For decades, researchers have been looking at how different-sized legs and feet are put together across the four-legged animal kingdom, but until […]

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Nothing to fear from the big bald wolf

Shortly after gray wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in 1995, Daniel MacNulty was puzzled by something. The breeding pair in one of the packs frequently stopped during their elk hunts to rest. “They sat on the sidelines while their offspring did the work,” says MacNulty, an ecologist from Michigan Technological University in Houghton. […]

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Rabies in foxes, Aegean region, Turkey

At the end of the 1990s in the Aegean region of Turkey, rabies rapidly spread among foxes. This spread likely resulted from spillover infection from dogs and led to increased rabies cases among cattle. To control this outbreak, oral rabies vaccination of foxes has been used. In Turkey, dog-mediated (spread by dogs as host species) […]

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Wolf in coyote’s clothing

Farmers depend on hybrid vigor for improved crop yields, as seeds produced from different strains of, say, corn, can lead to superior crops. Hybrid vigor seems to have worked for coyotes in the Northeastern United States as well, according to a genetic study and physical analysis of the animals: Coyotes in this part of the […]

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