Hotels.com Is Looking for a Discerning Dog to Review the World’s Best Pet-Friendly Hotels

Solovyova/iStock via Getty Images
Solovyova/iStock via Getty Images

Your pet may not work a 9 to 5 job or have bills to pay, but that doesn't mean they don't deserve a vacation. As House Beautiful reports, Hotels.com is giving one lucky dog the chance to take a 10-day tour of some of the most luxurious pet-friendly hotels around the world—and if your dog wins the contest, you get to tag along, too.

The hotel-booking service recently posted a listing in search of its "first ever hotel Canine Critic." In an effort to compile a list of the best hotels for pets, Hotels.com is sending one dog and its owner to the hotels of their choice for 10 nights. Winners can choose to spend their whole vacation at one perfect spot or take the opportunity to test out lodgings in different locations across the globe. The prize consists of 10 vouchers from Hotels.com valued at $200 each, and the winners get to decide how to use them.

The pampered pooch who's selected will be tasked with seeing if the pet-friendly amenities and accommodations at various hotels meet their standards. Some examples of features at the most popular pet-friendly hotels in America include special dog food menus, "pawlates" classes, and canine massages. Meanwhile, their owner will be free to enjoy any luxuries designed for humans the hotels have to offer.

To enter your pet in the running for the gig of a lifetime, upload the cutest photo or video of them you have and tag @Hotelsdotcom and #CanineCritic in the caption. Follow @Hotelsdotcom on Instagram to make sure your submission is considered. The deadline to enter the contest is August 25, and the winner will be contacted via a direct message on Instagram no later than September 18.

[h/t House Beautiful]

Invasive Snakehead Fish That Can Breathe on Land Is Roaming Georgia

Mohd Fazlin Mohd Effendy Ooi, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Mohd Fazlin Mohd Effendy Ooi, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

A fish recently found in Georgia has wildlife officials stirred up. In fact, they’re advising anyone who sees a northern snakehead to kill it on sight.

That death sentence might sound extreme, but there’s good reason for it. The northern snakehead, which can survive for brief periods on land and breathe air, is an invasive species in North America. With one specimen found in a privately owned pond in Gwinnett County, the state wants to take swift action to make certain the fish, which is native to East Asia, doesn’t continue to spread. Non-native species can upset local ecosystems by competing with native species for food and habitat.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division is advising people who encounter the snakehead—a long, splotchy-brown fish that can reach 3 feet in length—to kill it and freeze it, then report the catch to the agency's fisheries office.

Wildlife authorities believe snakeheads wind up in non-native areas as a result of the aquarium trade or food industry. A snakehead was recently caught in southwestern Pennsylvania. The species has been spotted in 14 states.

[h/t CNN]

Meet Holly: The Winner of Alaska's ‘Fat Bear Week’ Competition at Katmai National Park

Katmai National Park and Preserve via Flickr, Public Domain
Katmai National Park and Preserve via Flickr, Public Domain

It's that time of year when the air gets a little colder, the days get a little shorter, and the bears get much, much fatter. Every year, in celebration of the impressive, pre-hibernation transformations of its brown bears, Alaska's Katmai National Park and Preserve hosts a competition to determine which fat bear reigns supreme. As NPR reports, Holly (a.k.a. Bear 435) is the official winner of 2019's Fat Bear Week.

In order to build enough bulk to survive the winter, brown bears must eat a year's worth of food in six months. After gobbling as much salmon as they can find, their mass typically peaks in October, which is also when Katmai holds its annual competition.

This year, the park pitted 12 coastal brown bears against each other in a March Madness-style bracket. Images of the chunky contestants were shared on Facebook, and followers cast votes for their favorite fat bears by "liking" them.

A before and after shot of Holly, winner of Katmai National Park and Preserve's Fat Bear Week competition
Katmai National Park and Preserve via Flickr, Public Domain

Holly beat runner-up Lefty by nearly 14,000 votes. The before-and-after shot above makes it easy to see why: Between July 12 and September 22, 2019, she grew from a scrawny bear into a hulking beast. The preserve announced her win on Facebook, writing: "She is fat. She is fabulous. She is 435 Holly. And you voted her the 2019 Fat Bear Week Champion. All hail Holly whose healthy heft will help her hibernate until the spring. Long live the Queen of Corpulence!"

Holly's new body is good for more than making her an internet sensation. The fatter a bear is, the more likely it is to survive the winter. But other factors, like climate change waking hibernating bears earlier than usual, still pose a threat.

[h/t NPR]

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