Behold! The World’s Largest Beaver Dam

Photo Courtesy of Parks Canada
Photo Courtesy of Parks Canada

In 2007, an ecologist named Jean Thie was scanning the Alberta wilderness with Google Earth in an effort to study permafrost melt in the Canadian wild. But then something unusual appeared on his screen: A beaver dam so huge, it was more than twice the length of the Hoover Dam.

Located at the lip of Wood Buffalo National Park in Alberta, Canada, the world’s largest beaver dam is at least 2790 feet long. It likely contains thousands of trees and appears to have required the handiwork of at least two beaver families. It’s believed the beavers began the construction project up to three decades ago.

While it's an impressive feat of animal engineering, the dam is not very scenic. “The hodgepodge of mud, branches, stones, and twigs is cloaked in a layer of grass, meaning it’s been there for a while,” Atlas Obscura reports. “The dam stretches across a remote wetland area, which provides the creatures with both plenty of fresh water and bountiful building materials.”

In fact, the dam is located in such an inhospitable area of Canadian swampland that it isn't known to have been visited by humans until 2014, when Rob Mark of the Explorers Club of New York City made the trek. He began his journey in Fort Chipewyan, more than 120 miles away, and it took him five hours to cover the final mile (the ground was that boggy). “It was the only hard ground around for miles so I was happy to stand on it,” he said about reaching the dam.

Beavers build dams for a slew of reasons—take food storage. The critters will hide caches of food at the bottom of ponds and will build dams to increase the water's depth, ensuring their stockpile of goodies won't freeze over. Dams also function as a security system. “They create a habitat with lots of water like a moat around their lodges so they can swim and [dive] and keep one step ahead of predators such as coyotes and bears,” biologist Sharon Brown tells The Telegraph.

This isn't the only record-breaking beaver home in Canada, either. Thie also discovered that Pakwaw Lake, Saskatchewan, has what is likely the highest density of beaver dams in that country, and possibly the world—more than 20 dams and lodges per square kilometer (or about 247 acres)!

A Stranger Things Fan Is Selling Epic Demogorgon Dog Costumes on Etsy

Joe Keery, Maya Hawke, Priah Ferguson, and Gaten Matarazzo in Stranger Things.
Joe Keery, Maya Hawke, Priah Ferguson, and Gaten Matarazzo in Stranger Things.
Netflix

Stranger Things is great at placing the truly terrifying alongside the absolutely adorable. One minute we are gushing over Eleven and Mike’s teen romance, and the next we’re jumping off the couch at the sight of those possessed by the Mind Flayer.

No matter how seamless the Duffer Brothers' Netflix series is in weaving together these moments, it seems like it would be impossible to make the Demogorgon cute. But somehow, one crafty fan has done just that.

Etsy shop ThatCraftyFriendShop has created Demogorgon headpieces that fit perfectly on your dog’s head.

People reports that the headpieces range in size from extra small (for 5- to 10-pound dogs) all the way to extra large (for dogs over 75 pounds). Prices range from $25 to $75, depending on the size of your four-legged friend.

These wool and felt doggy costumes are perfect for Halloween, or even a Stranger Things watch party while you continue to binge and re-binge the third seasonwith a decked-out doggy by your side.

[h/t People]

Georgia Beachgoers Saved a Pod of Pilot Whales That Washed Ashore

Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

A day at the shore quickly turned into a rescue situation for beachgoers on St. Simons Island, Georgia this week when a pod of pilot whales washed ashore. Beaching can be disastrous for whales, but thanks to a group of first responders and volunteers, most of the stranded marine mammals were returned to safety, USA Today reports.

Spotting whales off the coast of Georgia isn't unusual, but what occurred at St. Simons Island the afternoon of Tuesday, July 16 was out of the ordinary. The pilot whales had swum so close to the shore that they had become stuck on the sand—and there were dozens of them. The animals could have died from dehydration at low tide or possibly drowned if the tide covered their blowholes.

Fortunately, the beachgoers watching the situation unfold acted fast. They waded into the sea and manually pushed the small whales back into deeper waters where they could swim freely. First responders from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) also aided in the rescue effort.

The heroic volunteers weren't able to save every whale. Two of the mammals became incapacitated and had to be euthanized. But according to the Glynn County Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency, the majority of the whales swam away unharmed. "This has been an unusual occurrence, but events like these can really show the level of care and support from our community," the agency wrote on its Facebook page. "Thank you to everyone that helped those that couldn’t help themselves today."

Beaching is a rare event that still isn't fully understood by scientists. In the case of these pilot whales, which travel in pods, one sick whale may have swum too close to land and led the rest of the whales to danger. The DNR plans to conduct autopsies on the two whales who perished.

[h/t USA Today]

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