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A Maine Coon Cat in Australia May Be the World's Longest Feline

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Meet Omar, a fluffy Maine Coon who lives in Melbourne, Australia. Until recently, Omar was just an ordinary—albeit massive—domestic feline who enjoyed eating raw kangaroo meat, lounging around his house, and cuddling with his owner, Stephanie Hirst. Now, he’s in the running to receive a Guinness World Record for being the world's longest domestic cat.

As The Telegraph reports, Omar weighs nearly 31 pounds, and is nearly 4 feet long. (To put this fact into perspective, most cats weigh anywhere from 8 to 10 pounds, and Maine Coons—known as one of the largest cat breeds—typically tip the scales anywhere from 9 to 18 pounds.) In early May, Hirst created an Instagram account for Omar, and the giant kitty became an overnight social media sensation when the popular Cats of Instagram account shared one of her posts.

Omar quickly racked up thousands of Instagram followers, and Guinness World Records contacted Hirst to inform her that her pet may be the world’s longest cat. Hirst and her partner, Rowan Lawrence, had already suspected that Omar wasn’t your average Maine Coon: "We thought he might be (the longest cat in the world) but we hadn't done anything about it because he might not be fully grown yet," Hirst told The Herald Sun.

Hirst broke out the tape measure, and noted that her pet is about an inch longer than the current record holder, a Maine Coon named Ludo. Ludo lives in the UK, and is about 46 inches long. In comparison, Omar is about 47 inches long.

Hirst plans to submit Omar’s measurements to Guinness for verification, but she’s sure he’s a shoo-in for a world record. Even if the Australian kitty does end up dethroning Ludo, he’s still not the longest domestic cat ever: That honor goes to Mymains Stewart Gilligan, or “Stewie,” a now-deceased Maine Coon who was over 4 feet from nose to tail.

[h/t The Telegraph]

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Courtesy of The National Aviary
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Animals
Watch This Live Stream to See Two Rare Penguin Chicks Hatch From Their Eggs
Courtesy of The National Aviary
Courtesy of The National Aviary

Bringing an African penguin chick into the world is an involved process, with both penguin parents taking turns incubating the egg. Now, over a month since they were laid, two penguin eggs at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania are ready to hatch. As Gizmodo reports, the baby birds will make their grand debut live for the world to see on the zoo's website.

The live stream follows couple Sidney and Bette in their nest, waiting for their young to emerge. The first egg was laid November 7 and is expected to hatch between December 14 and 18. The second, laid November 11, should hatch between December 18 and 22.

"We are thrilled to give the public this inside view of the arrival of these rare chicks," National Aviary executive director Cheryl Tracy said in a statement. "This is an important opportunity to raise awareness of a critically endangered species that is in rapid decline in the wild, and to learn about the work that the National Aviary is doing to care for and propagate African penguins."

African penguins are endangered, with less than 25,000 pairs left in the wild today. The National Aviary, the only independent indoor nonprofit aviary in the U.S., works to conserve threatened populations and raise awareness of them with bird breeding programs and educational campaigns.

After Sidney and Bette's new chicks are born, they will care for them in the nest for their first three weeks of life. The two penguins are parenting pros at this point: The monogamous couple has already hatched and raised three sets of chicks together.

[h/t Gizmodo]

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holidays
Bleat Along to Classic Holiday Tunes With This Goat Christmas Album
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Feeling a little Grinchy this month? The Sweden branch of ActionAid, an international charity dedicated to fighting global poverty, wants to goat—errr ... goad—you into the Christmas spirit with their animal-focused holiday album: All I Want for Christmas is a Goat.

Fittingly, it features the shriek-filled vocal stylings of a group of festive farm animals bleating out classics like “Jingle Bells,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and “O Come All Ye Faithful.” The recording may sound like a silly novelty release, but there's a serious cause behind it: It’s intended to remind listeners how the animals benefit impoverished communities. Goats can live in arid nations that are too dry for farming, and they provide their owners with milk and wool. In fact, the only thing they can't seem to do is, well, sing. 

You can purchase All I Want for Christmas is a Goat on iTunes and Spotify, or listen to a few songs from its eight-track selection below.

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