Nashville Zoo
Nashville Zoo

Rare Baby Civet Born at Nashville Zoo

Nashville Zoo
Nashville Zoo

When an animal’s species is being threatened with extinction, a new birth is always exciting. Last month, the Nashville Zoo welcomed a baby banded palm civet (Hemigalus derbyanus). The zoo’s breeding program is the only one of its kind. For now, the civets aren’t on display; the zoo is just trying to boost their population. 

Despite their slightly feline appearance, banded palm civets are more closely related to weasels and skunks than they are to cats. They live in the forests of Thailand, Indonesia, Myanmar, and Malaysia, and can reach up to about six and a half pounds. They’re good climbers and prefer to hunt their insect prey at night. The species is listed as "Vulnerable" on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources's Red List.

Image Credit: Nashville Zoo

Not much is known about H. derbyanus. The little carnivores are hard to find, even in areas where they are known to live. The greatest threat to this species is habitat destruction. Scientists believe that H. derbyanus can only live in the forest, but the forests are disappearing fast. Aside from preserving the environment, captive breeding programs like the Nashville Zoo’s may be the best way to help keep these critters around. 

The civet kitten is being raised by his parents behind the scenes. Including the baby, the zoo now has four male and four female civets. 

[h/t Zooborns]

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Mark Ralston, AFP/Getty Images
How a Hairdresser Found a Way to Fight Oil Spills With Hair Clippings
Mark Ralston, AFP/Getty Images
Mark Ralston, AFP/Getty Images

The Exxon Valdez oil tanker made global news in 1989 when it dumped millions of gallons of crude oil into the waters off Alaska's coast. As experts were figuring out the best ways to handle the ecological disaster, a hairdresser from Alabama named Phil McCroy was tinkering with ideas of his own. His solution, a stocking stuffed with hair clippings, was an early version of a clean-up method that's used at real oil spill sites today, according to Vox.

Hair booms are sock-like tubes stuffed with recycled hair, fur, and wool clippings. Hair naturally soaks up oil; most of the time it's sebum, an oil secreted from our sebaceous glands, but it will attract crude oil as well. When hair booms are dragged through waters slicked with oil, they sop up all of that pollution in a way that's gentle on the environment.

The same properties that make hair a great clean-up tool at spills are also what make animals vulnerable. Marine life that depends on clean fur to stay warm can die if their coats are stained with oil that's hard to wash off. Footage of an otter covered in oil was actually what inspired Phil McCroy to come up with his hair-based invention.

Check out the full story from Vox in the video below.

[h/t Vox]

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Bristly
A New Chew Toy Will Help Your Dog Brush Its Own Teeth
Bristly
Bristly

Few pet owners are willing to sit down and brush their pet's teeth on a regular basis. (Most of us can barely convince ourselves to floss our own teeth, after all.) Even fewer pets are willing to sit calmly and let it happen. But pet dental care matters: I’ve personally spent more than $1000 in the last few years dealing with the fact that my cat’s teeth are rotting out of her head.

For dog owners struggling to brush poor Fido’s teeth, there’s a slightly better option. Bristly, a product currently being funded on Kickstarter, is a chew toy that acts as a toothbrush. The rubber stick, which can be slathered with doggie toothpaste, is outfitted with bristles that brush your dog’s teeth as it plays.

A French bulldog chews on a Bristly toy.
Bristly

Designed so your dog can use it without you lifting a finger, it’s shaped like a little pogo stick, with a flattened base that allows dogs to stabilize it with their paws as they hack at the bristled stick with their teeth. The bristles are coated in a meat flavoring to encourage dogs to chew.

An estimated 80 percent of dogs over the age of 3 have some kind of dental disease, so the chances that your dog could use some extra dental attention is very high. In addition to staving off expensive vet bills, brushing your dog's teeth can improve their smelly breath.

Bristly comes in three sizes as well as in a heavy-duty version made for dogs who are prone to ripping through anything they can get their jaws around. A Bristly stick costs $29 and is scheduled to start shipping in October. Get it here.

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