Petwigs
Petwigs

Now You Can Buy Adorable Wigs For Your Pets

Petwigs
Petwigs

Unless you’ve got an animal that will willingly undergo a lion cut, it can be hard to style your pets. At least, it was. Now, thanks to actress Leisha Hailey (The L Word), anyone can have a perfectly coiffed companion: Her company, Petwigs, creates adorable and stylish wigs for the critters in your life.

Hailey tells mental_floss in an email that she came up with the idea 12 years ago. Pet costumes were dominating the market, but the wigs that would complete the looks were lacking. “There weren’t any pet wigs conveniently available, nor did they come in a wide selection of colors and styles,” she says. She didn’t act on her idea, however, until she met Melissa Carbone of Ten Thirty One Productions; the pair launched Petwigs, then brought on collaborators Regina Carpinelli and Sofu Snow.

Though Hailey had never designed wigs before, they weren’t completely foreign territory: She drew on her background as a musician who, in her 20s, was “basically raised by drag queens in the East Village.” Her band opened up for performers at the Pyramid Club, and it was there, in the backstage area, that she learned how to use the arts as a means of transformation. “It has to be incredibly executed with a twist of humor,” she says. “I have the same vision for Petwigs: High style, classic looks. Put it on an animal and the laughing ensues.”

The "Party in the Back" wig. Image credit: Petwigs.com.

 
To figure out how to make the wigs, Hailey and her colleagues met with Hollywood-based wig makers. First, they designed a sizing system that uses a net as a base. “The base comes in 3 sizes: Small, Medium, Large,” Hailey says. “They fit comfortably between the ears of your pet depending on what size your animal is. The hair falls around the ears, and that’s where the magic begins.”

Next came the design of a strap and clasp system that keeps the wigs on (and allows them to easily come off) without irritating the animals. “Every friend with a pet was brought in for sizing and strap system analysis,” Hailey says. “We landed with the final design by trying different straps.”

Finally, they created prototypes of the styles; each wig took about a day to build. The company settled on synthetic hair, which held the shape and style of the ‘dos best. “The styling process was meticulous,” Hailey says. “We want our wigs to be high end, like your pet just walked out of the salon.”

The "Headbanger" wig. Image credit: Petwigs.com.

 
Picking the styles that would become Petwigs’ first collection was of paramount importance. “We are coming out with our Original Collection, which consists of the most iconic hairstyles of the decades,” Hailey says. “From there, we will always stay with the times and plan to have an ever evolving selection of styles.”

Petwigs range in price from $35 to $43 and come in styles like “The Bombshell,” “The Editor,” and “The Tigerbeat.” Hailey’s personal favorite style is “The Supreme,” a red beehive. For adorable photos of animals in wigs, you can follow the company on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook—or you can just preorder your very own PetWig here (make sure to read the fit and safety information first!) to bring the fun home, just in time for Halloween.

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Whale Sharks Can Live for More Than a Century, Study Finds
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iStock

Some whale sharks alive today have been swimming around since the Gilded Age. The animals—the largest fish in the ocean—can live as long as 130 years, according to a new study in the journal Marine and Freshwater Research. To give you an idea of how long that is, in 1888, Grover Cleveland was finishing up his first presidential term, Thomas Edison had just started selling his first light bulbs, and the U.S. only had 38 states.

To determine whale sharks' longevity, researchers from the Nova Southeastern University in Florida and the Maldives Whale Shark Research Program tracked male sharks around South Ari Atoll in the Maldives over the course of 10 years, calculating their sizes as they came back to the area over and over again. The scientists identified sharks that returned to the atoll every few years by their distinctive spot patterns, estimating their body lengths with lasers, tape, and visually to try to get the most accurate idea of their sizes.

Using these measurements and data on whale shark growth patterns, the researchers were able to determine that male whale sharks tend to reach maturity around 25 years old and live until they’re about 130 years old. During those decades, they reach an average length of 61.7 feet—about as long as a bowling lane.

While whale sharks are known as gentle giants, they’re difficult to study, and scientists still don’t know a ton about them. They’re considered endangered, making any information we can gather about them important. And this is the first time scientists have been able to accurately measure live, swimming whale sharks.

“Up to now, such aging and growth research has required obtaining vertebrae from dead whale sharks and counting growth rings, analogous to counting tree rings, to determine age,” first author Cameron Perry said in a press statement. ”Our work shows that we can obtain age and growth information without relying on dead sharks captured in fisheries. That is a big deal.”

Though whale sharks appear to be quite long-lived, their lifespan is short compared to the Greenland shark's—in 2016, researchers reported they may live for 400 years. 

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Animal Welfare Groups Are Building a Database of Every Cat in Washington, D.C.
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iStock

There are a lot of cats in Washington, D.C. They live in parks, backyards, side streets, and people's homes. Exactly how many there are is the question a new conservation project wants to answer. DC Cat Count, a collaboration between Humane Rescue Alliance, the Humane Society, PetSmart Charities, and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, aims to tally every cat in the city—even house pets, The New York Times reports.

Cities tend to support thriving feral cat populations, and that's a problem for animal conservationists. If a feline is born and grows up without human contact, it will never be a suitable house cat. The only options animal control officials have are to euthanize strays or trap and sterilize them, and release them back where they were found. If neither action is taken, it's the smaller animals that belong in the wild who suffer. Cats are invasive predators, and each year they kill billions of birds in the U.S. alone.

Before animal welfare experts and wildlife scientists can tackle this problem, they need to understand how big it is. Over the next three years, DC Cat Count will use various methods to track D.C.'s cats and build a feline database for the city. Sixty outdoor camera traps will capture images of passing cats, relying on infrared technology to sense them most of the time.

Citizens are being asked to help as well. An app is currently being developed that will allow users to snap photos of any cats they see, including their own pets. The team also plans to study the different ways these cats interact with their environments, like how much time pets spend indoors versus outdoors, for example. The initiative has a $1.5 million budget to spend on collecting data.

By the end of the project, the team hopes to have the tools both conservationists and animal welfare groups need to better control the local cat population.

Lisa LaFontaine, president and CEO of the Humane Rescue Alliance, said in a statement, “The reality is that those in the fields of welfare, ecology, conservation, and sheltering have a common long-term goal of fewer free-roaming cats on the landscape. This joint effort will provide scientific management programs to help achieve that goal, locally and nationally."

[h/t The New York Times]

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