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Animals Assemble for Annual Weigh-In at London Zoo

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On Wednesday, ZSL London Zoo held its annual weigh-in to assess the growth of its 17,000 furry, scaly, feathered and slimy animal residents.

The audit, for creatures of all sizes and species, is also useful for detecting pregnancies, monitoring eating habits, and creating records that are sent out to other zoos for comparison.

While some critters, like penguins, get weighed frequently and do so with relative ease, others are a bit trickier. Monkeys pose one of the greatest hurdles and require some clever corralling.

"We have to use quite ingenious tactics to measure some of the animals," London Zoo press officer Rebecca Blanchard told the International Business Times. "We have to trick some of the animals into being weighed. For example, [for] the Galapagos tortoises, we disguise the scales as a patch of grass underneath the main lawn in their paddock."

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For more dangerous animals, scales are built into their exhibits to get stats without putting the zookeepers in danger. For very small animals like snails, specialty devices are used to register their miniscule heft.

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To see some of the weigh-ins in action—including a 1500 pound camel—watch the video below.

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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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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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