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Topiary sculpture of a sleeping baby bird

Here’s a bird you’ll never get tired of looking at.

Children’s author and illustrator Claude Ponti’s gigantic topiary named Poussin Endormi or Sleepy Chick resides in Jardin des Plantes’ botanical garden in Nantes, France.

The outdoor installation relaxes nearby Ponti’s zany other works, the sleeping koala. Who wouldn’t want these in their front yard?

Check out some of Ponti’s surrealistic books below. What a wild imagination!

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Animals Nature

Whose hoo: The Barred Owls of Central Park

The barrel owl isn’t known to travel outside the woods of the southeastern United States. But in 2020, anything seems possible.

Two owls, presumably boyfriend and girlfriend, have been discovered in New York’s Central Park. The star birds like to hide out in the hidden waters of The Loch.

Manhattan welcomes 270 plus bird species each year. But the rare arrival of the barred owl has brought birding fanatics out to photograph it. Check out some of the snaps.

Bonus note: Along with the ability to rotate turning their necks 270 degrees in each direction, these gorgeous raptures can also blend in with their environments.

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Animals Nature

The Harpy eagle looks like a human in a Halloween costume

The Harpy Eagle is one of the largest species of eagles in the world, even bigger than the Bald Eagle.

Named after the Greek mythology monsters, the extremely rare animal is found through Central America and South America rainforests, particularly Brazil, where it’s known as the Royal Hawk. The magical creature even inspired the design of Fawkes the Phoenix in the Harry Potter films.

The bird has a wingspan of over 7 feet and nearly the identical claw size of a grizzly bear. So massive, some people think it looks like a human in a costume.

But this powerful raptor is not your worst nightmare, even if the animal can snatch a monkey or a sloth out of a tree for dinner (see video after the jump).

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Animals Nature

The Picasso bug, where art and nature collide

You can’t beat the brushstrokes of nature. Native to tropical and subtropical Africa, the Picasso bug is truly nature’s work of art.

The Picasso Bug (Sphaerocoris annulus) is a species of shield-backed bugs that possess a vibrant carapace that does more than illustrate its aesthetic beauty. The mosaic design serves as a warning to predators.

Nicknamed “stink bug,” the tiny creepy crawler also emits a putrid smell when disturbed.

As the famous abstract artist, Pablo Picasso once said, “Good artists borrow. Great artists steal.” But seeing a bug like this would’ve tempted Picasso to become a naturalist instead.

The Picasso bug, where art and nature collide
Photo: Eu Curto Biologia (via TW/Nature_Is_Lit)
The Picasso bug, where art and nature collide
Photo: Twitter/Rainmaker1973
Photo: Twitter/Kiddopediatv
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Animals Nature

The fabulous bowl haircut of the Gloster Corona Canary

It looks like someone is having a bad hair day.

The Gloster Corona Crested Canary sports a bowl haircut — often referred to as ‘crests’ — made famous by Ringo and the Three Stooges.

The chubby and cute wig-wearing little bird also dons a dynamic singing voice, much louder to other groups in the canary breed.

As a result of the Gloster Canary’s unique style and charming vocals, the creature has become a popular cage bird. The birds come in both yellow, green, and brown color variations.

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Animals Nature

How the Honduran white bat converts large leaves into tents

Some of the most bizarre wildlife exists in the Honduran rainforest. Take the Honduran white fruit bat (Ectophylla alba), for example.

The size of a golf ball, these tiny fluffy creatures love to snuggle together like peas in a pod in leaf tents. Polygamous, each little colony houses up to six females and one male.

These white-winged cotton-ball-looking bats create their nook by nibbling the side veins jutting out from the Heliconia plant, causing the large leaves to fold down to form a tent.

The leaf tents allow the bats to avoid parasites such as bat flies. When sunlight filters through the canopy, their white fur appears green — superb camouflage!

While most bats sleep in caves, these magic bats, also called Caribbean white tent-making bat, spend their leaves eating figs and roosting in peace.

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Animals Nature

Lost and Found: The Somali Elephant Shrew is back!

The Somali Sengi, also known as the Somali Elephant Shrew, is back after a 50-year hiatus. The small insectivorous mammal endemic to Somalia was deemed extinct since the 1970s by the Global Wildlife Conservation’s list of lost species. 

But scientists recently rediscovered a thriving population of Somali Sengi in Djibouti. 

“Here we report new evidence that the Somali Sengi is currently extant,” says the study.

“These data include voucher specimens, georeferenced occurrence localities, body measurements, habitat parameters, and DNA sequences. While the species is historically documented as endemic to Somalia, these new records are from the neighboring Republic of Djibouti and thus expand the Somali Sengi’s known range in the Horn of Africa.”

The adorable mouse-sized creature features a long snout that allows it to suck up ants into its trunk-like nose. The animal is also known to pick up speeds of 19 miles per hour. 

The shrew is neither elephant nor shrew, to be exact, but a distant relative to aardvarks, hyraxes, and manatees.  

Lost for half a century and found, let’s hope we never lose sight of the adorable Somali Sengi again.  

Lost and Found: The Somali Elephant Shrew is back!
Photo: pum_eva from Getty Images via Canva Pro
Lost and Found: The Somali Elephant Shrew is back!
Photo: Courtesy of Steven Heritage
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Animals Nature

The cute and scary Venezuelan Poodle Moth

Some call it adorable. Others call it the devil. 

Brace yourself for the Venezuelan Poodle Moth, a fluffy one-inch insect that looks like a cross between a poodle and an alien. 

The tiny hard chitin scales that create the moth’s fluff help disguise it from bats while also keeping it warm.

Zoologist Dr. Arthur Anker captured the new species in the Gran Sabana region of Venezuela’s Canaima National Park in 2009. 

Poodle moth (Artace sp, perhaps A. cribaria), Venezuela

The poodle moth bears a strong resemblance to the Muslin Moth, a neotropical moth of the family Erebidae.

However, the internet continues to debate the reality of its existence due to the creature’s scarcity — not many others have identified the bizarre critter. 

The cute and scary Venezuelan Poodle Moth
Photo: Twitter/AnimalsWorld
The cute and scary Venezuelan Poodle Moth
Photo: Twitter/AnimalsWorld
The cute and scary Venezuelan Poodle Moth
Photo: Twitter/AnimalsWorld
The cute and scary Venezuelan Poodle Moth
Photo: Twitter/StrangeAnimals
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Animals Nature

The strange but fabulous Shoebill Stork

The Shoebill Stork is your new favorite bird.  

Amazingly huge, the Shoebill Stork (Balaeniceps rex) may be one of the most prehistoric dinosaur looking birds alive (note: the cassowary might be the other). 

An ambush predator with a height up to 5 feet, the bird stands for long periods before engaging in a vicious attack on pray. It is known to use its bulbous shoe-shaped bill to attack crocodiles when provoked. 

However, the big bird is docile with humans — it is quite common to get into staring contest with them. 

The bird is endangered, however, with only 5,000 – 8,000 left in the world in the swamps of East-Central Africa. 

Witness the bird in all its hugeness below.

The strange but fabulous Shoebill Stork
Photo: Twitter/shannonmstirone
The strange but fabulous Shoebill Stork
Photo: Twitter/DeathmatchJay
The strange but fabulous Shoebill Stork
Photo: Twitter/hollowknight
Categories
Animals Nature

The Tasmanian Giant Crab is the king of crabs

Add the Tasmanian Giant Crab (Pseudocarcinus gigas) to one of the animals you’ll want to see in person one day.

Weighing up to 39lbs with a shell length up to 18 inches, the Tasmanian Giant Crab is the fifth largest crab species. Its wild geometry makes it claws appear more massive than its body.

The Tasmanian Giant Crab is the king of crabs
Photo: Seal Life via Twitter/@StrangeAnimals

This monstrous “king” of crabs resides in the deep ocean of Southern Australia. Unfortunately, the crab is a prize catch among fishers where’s it’s been fished in Tasmanian waters since 1992.