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Conservationists Say Fish Like Dory From Finding Dory Should Stay Hidden

Pixar's Finding Nemo (2003) became an instant classic, but it also delivered some good life lessons: family is what you make of it, persistence and love will win the day, and fish belong in the ocean rather than in our homes. Unfortunately, that last moral didn’t seem to stick with moviegoers. As you’ll see in the video above from Great Big Story, conservationists say that the demand for pet clownfish like Nemo skyrocketed after the film’s release, and the same is poised to happen with Dory, the blue tang who stars in the recently released Finding Dory. But unlike clownfish, blue tangs can’t be raised in captivity, which means 100 percent of the blue tangs for sale are wild-caught.

The aquarium trade put a huge dent in wild clownfish populations after Finding Nemo. In some places, the species even went locally extinct. Fortunately (for the wild fish, anyway), clownfish are relatively easy to breed in captivity, so families in search of their own Nemo could potentially purchase an ethically raised fish.

The same is not true for Dory. To date, there is only one place in the world that has successfully raised blue tangs, and that’s in an aquaculture laboratory at the University of Florida. The lab is not breeding tangs for sale, which means that the only blue tang you can buy is one that has been forcibly removed from its home on a coral reef, possibly with poison.

One of the most popular methods for capturing live fish is to spray a reef—and all its inhabitants—with cyanide. Some of the fish will be stunned and can be scooped up. But 50 percent of them, and their coral home, will die immediately (as if our planet’s coral reefs weren’t in enough trouble already). By purchasing blue tangs and some other tropical fish, pet owners are unwittingly contributing to the destruction of marine habitats and the senseless killing of many fish.

The take-home message is the same one we should have learned 13 years ago: Wild fish belong in the wild.

Want to help spread the word? Check out the Saving Nemo project's Million Kisses campaign.

Header image from YouTube // Great Big Story

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Big Questions
Why Do Cats Freak Out After Pooping?
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Cats often exhibit some very peculiar behavior, from getting into deadly combat situations with their own tail to pouncing on unsuspecting humans. Among their most curious habits: running from their litter box like a greyhound after moving their bowels. Are they running from their own fecal matter? Has waste elimination prompted a sense of euphoria?

Experts—if anyone is said to qualify as an expert in post-poop moods—aren’t exactly sure, but they’ve presented a number of entertaining theories. From a biological standpoint, some animal behaviorists suspect that a cat bolting after a deposit might stem from fears that a predator could track them based on the smell of their waste. But researchers are quick to note that they haven’t observed cats run from their BMs in the wild.

Biology also has a little bit to do with another theory, which postulates that cats used to getting their rear ends licked by their mother after defecating as kittens are showing off their independence by sprinting away, their butts having taken on self-cleaning properties in adulthood.

Not convinced? You might find another idea more plausible: Both humans and cats have a vagus nerve running from their brain stem. In both species, the nerve can be stimulated by defecation, leading to a pleasurable sensation and what some have labeled “poo-phoria,” or post-poop elation. In running, the cat may simply be working off excess energy brought on by stimulation of the nerve.

Less interesting is the notion that notoriously hygienic cats may simply want to shake off excess litter or fecal matter by running a 100-meter dash, or that a digestive problem has led to some discomfort they’re attempting to flee from. The fact is, so little research has been done in the field of pooping cat mania that there’s no universally accepted answer. Like so much of what makes cats tick, a definitive motivation will have to remain a mystery.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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Animals
Listen to the Impossibly Adorable Sounds of a Baby Sloth
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RODRIGO ARANGUA/AFP/GettyImages

Sometimes baby sloths seem almost too adorable to be real. But the little muppet-faced treasures don't just look cute—turns out they sound cute, too. We know what you're thinking: How could you have gone your whole life without knowing what these precious creatures sound like? Well, fear not: Just in time for International Sloth Day (today), we have some footage of how the tiny mammals express themselves—and it's a lot of squeaking. (Or maybe that's you squealing?)

The sloths featured in the heart-obliterating video below come from the Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica. The institution rescues orphaned sloths, rehabilitates them, and gets them ready to be released back into the wild.

[h/t The Kid Should See This]

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