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Octopus's Blind Date Gets Canceled Due to Cannibalism Concerns

Think your Valentine’s Day was rough? At least you aren't Kong, a giant Pacific octopus at the Seattle Aquarium whose romantic tête–à–tête was canceled because staff members feared he’d eat his date.

Each February 14, the Seattle Aquarium celebrates undersea love by inviting visitors to watch two octopuses mate. This year’s star was the 70-pound Kong, whose romp was intended to give curious guests a glimpse into the mating rituals of the eight-legged animal. However, KOMO News reports that the aquarium scrapped Kong’s blind date at the last minute because the colossal creature was too big for the aquarium’s lady octopuses.

Since the females weighed only 30 to 40 pounds each, officials feared that Kong would choose cannibalization over consummation and devour his new girlfriend. “Even if we put a 30 or 45-pound female out there, there’s a chance he would see her as food,” Tim Carpenter, the Seattle Aquarium’s curator of fish and invertebrates, told Crosscut.com. “We were looking for an animal of at least 60, 65 pounds.”

Instead of watching as Kong got it on, visitors were instead treated to a “one-of-a-kind, up-close look at the world’s largest octopus species” as divers swam with Kong in the aquarium’s Window on Washington Waters exhibit. On Monday, divers released Kong back into the waters of his native Puget Sound.

The bachelor octopus might want to hold off on finding a similarly sized local companion. Giant Pacific octopuses like Kong live between three to five years, mate only once, and die several months after doing the deed. Kong’s lonely Valentine’s Day might have ended up prolonging his life, CNN points out—a way better consolation prize than a pint of Ben & Jerry's and Netflix.

All images courtesy of iStock.

[h/t CNN]

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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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holidays
Bleat Along to Classic Holiday Tunes With This Goat Christmas Album
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iStock

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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