7 Videos of People Rescuing Animals


Some people can be pretty terrible to animals—but most people will try to help cuddly (and not-so-cuddly) creatures when they can. Here are some of the most incredible videos of people saving animals.

1. Surfers Saving a Shark

Ordinarily, surfers and great whites aren’t exactly friends, but when this great white shark pup washed up on a beach with a hook caught in its mouth, these brave surfers pulled it out of the water, removed the hook barehanded and then helped it get back in the water. Just a warning, you might want to watch this one on mute as the narration of the woman filming is more annoying than it is useful to understanding what’s happening.

2. A Diver Freeing A Dolphin

The coolest thing about this video isn’t that the diver helped remove the hook and cut the fishing line that was tangled around this poor dolphin, but that the animal seemingly knew the diver could help him. In fact, the group of divers probably wouldn’t have even noticed the dolphin’s predicament if it hadn’t come swimming right up to them and shown them something was wrong. The rescue sequence begins at about 3:30.

3. A Senior Climbing to Save A Kitten

Somehow a tiny kitten ended up on a tiny ledge, several stories off the ground. It meowed over and over, hoping someone would come to its aid; these cries managed to attract the attention of 60-year-old Kay Leclaire, who was jogging in the area. Leclaire just happens to be an expert climber who has previously scaled Mount Everest and is the oldest woman to climb the highest peaks on all seven continents, so she quickly headed home and grabbed her gear. By the end of the day, the kitten was not only back on the ground, but adopted by a loving family.

4. Rescuers Freeing An Owl

This poor gray horned owl flew into a chain link fence and got caught. Fortunately, Susan Clark of the Topanga Animal Rescue and Gary Strauss of Life Energy Institute were able to help cut the links away, free the owl, and check him for injuries. Perhaps one of the most amazing things about this video is just how calm the owl remains throughout the whole ordeal.

5. Power Company Workers Helping A Seagull

Somehow this poor bird managed to get his head caught between two electrical lines. Luckily for him, Nova Scotia Power sent out worker Yvon Blin to help free him. Unlike the owl stuck in the fence, this guy wasn’t particularly helpful to his rescuer—there’s a reason owls have a reputation for being wise while seagulls aren’t considered particularly bright.

6. People Pulling A Moose From A Swimming Pool

Perhaps they should change the expression “stubborn as a mule” to “stubborn as a moose.” After all, this guy seems to be doing all he can to help fight the team of nine people who are doing everything they can to help pull him out of the pool. While this video makes it seem like the moose might have just been enjoying a swim, an original, full-length version showed that he kept slipping further and further into the deep end and was unable to get back out.

7. Rescuers Cutting A Moose From The Ice

It seems not all moose are so difficult while being rescued. This big guy was relatively patient as he waited for people to cut away and smash the ice that was holding him in place. Of course, he was also probably trying to conserve his energy in the freezing waters.

While I’ve never been a part of a big-scale rescue like this, I always try to help stray dogs so they can be returned to their owners. Even knowing that I could have saved a pup from being hit by a car is a nice feeling. I’m sure any of you who have saved a critter have similar rewarding feelings—and of course, if you have any good stories, feel free to share them in the comments.

Big Questions
What Makes a Cat's Tail Puff Up When It's Scared?

Cats wear their emotions on their tails, not their sleeves. They tap their fluffy rear appendages during relaxing naps, thrash them while tense, and hold them stiff and aloft when they’re feeling aggressive, among other behaviors. And in some scary situations (like, say, being surprised by a cucumber), a cat’s tail will actually expand, puffing up to nearly twice its volume as its owner hisses, arches its back, and flattens its ears. What does a super-sized tail signify, and how does it occur naturally without help from hairspray?

Cats with puffed tails are “basically trying to make themselves look as big as possible, and that’s because they detect a threat in the environment," Dr. Mikel Delgado, a certified cat behavior consultant who studied animal behavior and human-pet relationships as a PhD student at the University of California, Berkeley, tells Mental Floss. The “threat” in question can be as major as an approaching dog or as minor as an unexpected noise. Even if a cat isn't technically in any real danger, it's still biologically wired to spring to the offensive at a moment’s notice, as it's "not quite at the top of the food chain,” Delgado says. And a big tail is reflexive feline body language for “I’m big and scary, and you wouldn't want to mess with me,” she adds.

A cat’s tail puffs when muscles in its skin (where the hair base is) contract in response to hormone signals from the stress/fight or flight system, or sympathetic nervous system. Occasionally, the hairs on a cat’s back will also puff up along with the tail. That said, not all cats swell up when a startling situation strikes. “I’ve seen some cats that seem unflappable, and they never get poofed up,” Delgado says. “My cats get puffed up pretty easily.”

In addition to cats, other animals also experience piloerection, as this phenomenon is technically called. For example, “some birds puff up when they're encountering an enemy or a threat,” Delgado says. “I think it is a universal response among animals to try to get themselves out of a [potentially dangerous] situation. Really, the idea is that you don't have to fight because if you fight, you might lose an ear or you might get an injury that could be fatal. For most animals, they’re trying to figure out how to scare another animal off without actually going fisticuffs.” In other words, hiss softly, but carry a big tail.

10 Notable Gestation Periods in the Animal Kingdom

The gestation periods of the animal kingdom are varied and fascinating. Some clock in at just a few weeks, making any human green with envy, while others can last more than a year. Here are 10 notable gestation times for animals around the globe. The lesson? Be thankful that you’re not a pregnant elephant.

1. ELEPHANTS: 640-660 DAYS

Elephants are pregnant for a long time. Like really, really long. At an average of 95 weeks, the gestation period is more than double the length of a human pregnancy, so it shouldn't come as a shock that female elephants don't often have more than four offspring during their lifetimes. Who has the time?


A photo of a mother hippo and her baby in Uganda

Yes, it takes less time to make a hippopotamus than it takes to make a human.


Baby giraffes can weigh more than 150 pounds and can be around 6 feet tall. Another fascinating tidbit: giraffes give birth standing up, so it's pretty normal for a baby to fall 6 feet to the ground.


There’s a reason for the long wait: after that 17 months, Baby Shamu emerges weighing anywhere from 265 to 353 pounds and measuring about 8.5 feet long. Yikes.

5. OPOSSUM: 12-13 DAYS

A baby opossum wrapped up in a blanket

Blink and you'll miss it: This is the shortest gestation period of any mammal in North America. But since the lifespan of an opossum is only two to four years, it makes sense.


Hey, they get off pretty easy.


It's not a huge surprise that their gestational periods are pretty similar to ours, right?


A pair of black bear cubs

Also less than a human. Interestingly, cubs might only be 6 to 8 inches in length at birth and are completely hairless. 


This is the longest gestation period of any rodent. Thankfully for the mother, porcupine babies (a.k.a. porcupettes) are actually born with soft quills, and it's not until after birth that they harden up.


Baby walruses? Kind of adorable. They certainly take their sweet time coming out, though.


More from mental floss studios