Tennessee Woman Rescues a Kitten That Turns Out to Be a Bobcat

iculizard/iStock via Getty Images
iculizard/iStock via Getty Images

In Chattanooga, Tennessee, a good Samaritan named Jill Hicks rescued a kitten she saw darting across a road. But when she showed the kitten to her neighbor, she discovered it was no ordinary domestic kitten—it was a bobkitten. So she brought the adorable kitty to the nearby (and punnily named) For Fox Sake Wildlife Rescue, where the young feline was dubbed "Arwen."

“Even though I thought she was a kitten, had I known she was a bobcat, [being] that small and in that high trafficked area, I still would have done the same thing,” Hicks told local news station WATE.

For Fox Sake will care for Arwen until she’s healthy enough to be returned to the wild. On September 25, they posted an adorable photo of the blue-eyed bobkitten. “She’s doing great and has gained two ounces since her arrival here,” they wrote. However, they’re treating her for anemia (you can donate to Arwen's cause and other animals here).

On September 26, For Fox Sake mentioned that they had received a lot of requests about people wanting to adopt Arwen. "There is a 0 percent chance that Arwen, or any other bobkitten, will grow up to be a suitable house pet,” they wrote. “Even when raised by humans, bobcats are unpredictable, territorial wild animals with a powerful prey drive and no desire to please human beings.”

In other words: Sorry, but you won’t be able to adopt a bobkitten. And if for some reason Arwen won’t be able to be re-released into the wild, the rescue said she would go to a zoo or a nature center.

Apparently, this isn’t the first—or the last—time a kitten has been mistaken for a bobcat. Last year in San Antonio, three people mistook two bobcats for a pair of Bengal kittens. When the “kittens” bit them, they contacted animal services, and the kittens eventually ended up at a wildlife rescue.

So how do you tell the difference between a domestic kitten and a bobkitten? Bobcats always have spots and sometimes have black tuffs of fur on their ears. When in doubt, contact a wildlife professional.

[h/t WATE]

Paula the Two-Toed Sloth Is Officially the Oldest Sloth in Captivity

Sleeping two-toed sloth.
Sleeping two-toed sloth.
tane-mahuta/iStock via Getty Images

For many sloths, surviving a trip to the ground is an impressive achievement. As the BBC reports, a two-toed sloth living in a German zoo has done something even more monumental: Guinness World Records confirms that Paula the sloth has officially been deemed the world's oldest sloth at age 50.

Born in South America, Paula has lived at the Halle Zoo in central Germany since she was at least 2 years old. For nearly half her life, zookeepers thought Paula was male. It wasn't until 1995 that an ultrasound scan revealed her true sex and her name was changed from Paul to Paula.

The zoo chose June 14 as the date to mark Paula's birthday, and on June 14, 2019, the sloth celebrated half a century on Earth. Two-toed sloths typically live about 20 years in the wild and 30 to 40 years in zoos. At 50 years old, Paula now holds the record for oldest sloth in captivity, and likely the world.

The zoo staff credits Paula's longevity to having a stable, caring home. If her genes played any role, they won't be passed down to future generations: Paula doesn't have any offspring. After discovering that he was really a she, the zoo tried pairing Paula with male breeding partners. Though she became pregnant three times, her cubs didn't survive.

After a long and interesting life, Paula has earned her place as one of the most beloved animals at the Halle Zoo. Her caretakers showed their appreciation on her birthday by making her a special meal of cooked maize and vegetables—her favorite foods.

[h/t BBC]

‘Soft and Cuddly’ Venomous Puss Caterpillars Have Been Spotted in at Least 3 States

Wayne W G, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0
Wayne W G, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

The puss caterpillar is cute, cuddly, and coming to ruin your day.

USA Today reports that the highly venomous creature, also known as the southern flannel moth caterpillar, or asp, has recently been spotted in Florida, Texas, and South Carolina. Underneath its furry coat are tiny, potent spines that break off and attach themselves to your skin, causing excruciating pain and creating a hematoma, a bruise-like wound under your skin where blood has leaked from blood vessels.

According to University of Connecticut entomologist David Wagner, the caterpillar is dangerous partly because the sting of those spines becomes more painful over time. “It builds for a long time in a frightening way. No one expects stings to gain in impact or discomfort, and these will,” he told USA Today. “It packs quite a wallop.”

For one victim in Dade City, Florida, even medically administered morphine didn’t alleviate her agony. “It felt like someone was drilling into my bones,” she wrote in a Facebook post. “I cried and pleaded with God for hours to make it stop.”

puss caterpillar
going on going on, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

If one does happen to inch its way onto you, curb the instinct to flail about or swat at random—trying to brush off the adorable nightmare just increases the possibility of those sinister spines sticking to your skin. Instead, have someone carefully and calmly remove the insect with a twig or a 39-and-a-half-foot pole. Then, take a shower and wash your clothes to minimize further exposure to leftover spines.

As traumatizing as the experience sounds, your chances of meeting one of these fun-sized villains are hearteningly slim. Wagner explains that they’re particularly scarce above the Mason-Dixon line, and not even very common in southern states, where they’re usually spotted.

In short, this is just another scientific reason why you should stick to petting dogs.

[h/t USA Today]

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