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Denali National Park’s Sled Dog Puppycam Is About to Become Your New Obsession

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One of the great benefits of technology is that is can bring people from all over the world together to simultaneously witness the same event. And sometimes that event involves puppies. Adorable puppies. And lots of them. Case in point: the sled dog puppy webcam at Alaska’s Denali National Park & Preserve.

Sled dogs have been a part of the park’s tradition pretty much since it was first established in 1917. Harry Karstens, the first superintendent of the preserve (back when it was Mount McKinley National Park), was an experienced dog musher who employed a team of canines to get around. Since then, the park's kennel has continued to provide valuable transportation—helping rangers to patrol, carry supplies, and create trails, even in the biting cold. They’re a particularly valuable resource, as the federally protected area does not allow motorized vehicles.

But before they can get to work, they need to grow up. On August 4, 2017, resident pupper Clove (who staffers call “one of the most opinionated dogs in the yard”) gave birth to a healthy litter of seven pups, five males and two females. And, yes, they’re absolutely precious.

"They are doing great,” kennel manager Jen Raffaeli reported just a few days later. "They are just nursing and sleeping and growing."

Those viewers lucky enough to be tuned into the puppycam around that time got a first glimpse at the adorable pups, who will eventually help patrol the park and serve as some of its most adorable ambassadors. In 2016, Raffaeli told CBS Sunday Morning: "We always joke that they're the happiest government employees you’ll ever meet." It only takes a few minutes of tuning in to see that she’s not joking.

For even more sled pup adorableness, check out Denali’s dog blog, meet the pooches online, watch them in action in person, and even consider adopting one once their government service has come to an end.

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Big Questions
Why Do Cats Freak Out After Pooping?
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Cats often exhibit some very peculiar behavior, from getting into deadly combat situations with their own tail to pouncing on unsuspecting humans. Among their most curious habits: running from their litter box like a greyhound after moving their bowels. Are they running from their own fecal matter? Has waste elimination prompted a sense of euphoria?

Experts—if anyone is said to qualify as an expert in post-poop moods—aren’t exactly sure, but they’ve presented a number of entertaining theories. From a biological standpoint, some animal behaviorists suspect that a cat bolting after a deposit might stem from fears that a predator could track them based on the smell of their waste. But researchers are quick to note that they haven’t observed cats run from their BMs in the wild.

Biology also has a little bit to do with another theory, which postulates that cats used to getting their rear ends licked by their mother after defecating as kittens are showing off their independence by sprinting away, their butts having taken on self-cleaning properties in adulthood.

Not convinced? You might find another idea more plausible: Both humans and cats have a vagus nerve running from their brain stem. In both species, the nerve can be stimulated by defecation, leading to a pleasurable sensation and what some have labeled “poo-phoria,” or post-poop elation. In running, the cat may simply be working off excess energy brought on by stimulation of the nerve.

Less interesting is the notion that notoriously hygienic cats may simply want to shake off excess litter or fecal matter by running a 100-meter dash, or that a digestive problem has led to some discomfort they’re attempting to flee from. The fact is, so little research has been done in the field of pooping cat mania that there’s no universally accepted answer. Like so much of what makes cats tick, a definitive motivation will have to remain a mystery.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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Animals
Listen to the Impossibly Adorable Sounds of a Baby Sloth
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Sometimes baby sloths seem almost too adorable to be real. But the little muppet-faced treasures don't just look cute—turns out they sound cute, too. We know what you're thinking: How could you have gone your whole life without knowing what these precious creatures sound like? Well, fear not: Just in time for International Sloth Day (today), we have some footage of how the tiny mammals express themselves—and it's a lot of squeaking. (Or maybe that's you squealing?)

The sloths featured in the heart-obliterating video below come from the Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica. The institution rescues orphaned sloths, rehabilitates them, and gets them ready to be released back into the wild.

[h/t The Kid Should See This]

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