No, Penguins Do Not Have Teeth

Those pictures do look terrifying, though!

There are a bunch of pictures circulating the web about penguins and their terrifying teeth. They do look monstrous, completely spinning the usual adorable fluffy bird pics we see on their heads, but they aren't teeth. Penguins have beak teeth as babies, but those menacing-looking "teeth" in the pictures are actually structures called papillae.

The papillae are made out of soft keratin spikes that help the bird capture fish and ensure the slippery prey make it to their stomachs. It's a pretty cool adaptation, even if it's not teeth!

What other animal misconceptions have you read about? Share them in the chat!

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Protect the Pollinators!

Sign this pledge and share what you're doing in the chat

Bees and other pollinators are integral to our ecosystem and survival itself. We depend on bees to pollinate about a third of our crops but bee populations have dwindled by 60% since 1947. If we want to keep living here, we need to help save these pollinators.

This is a pledge you can sign to indicate your commitment to protecting pollinators, but what actions can you take locally? Our 4-H club planted a garden to help encourage pollinators in our area, and at our home, we have gardens, bee homes, water sources and other bee-friendly policies. We cut our grass very sparingly and leave as much clover and dandelions as possible, and of course we don't use weed killer. (We could use some help with weed control otherwise!)

What do you do to help pollinators where you live? Share your tips in the chat.

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Ban The Sale Of Harmful Traps

Ask Amazon to stop selling them

Have you considered how harmful it is to use a glue or typical mouse trap? A friend of mine taught me the horrors of how animals get stuck and slowly die. It's incredibly disturbing to see. Since then, I've swapped to cruelty-free release mouse traps that not only work quickly (we even caught my teen's pet mouse once when he escaped!), but allow us to catch and release mice.

Amazon sells these, but they also sell cruel traps used to crush, drown and otherwise torture animals once caught. The reviews on the items are disturbing as well. It's long past time for these traps to no longer be used, let alone sold by a company like Amazon. Click here to ask them to stop selling these heinous devices.

Do you have any animal actions to share this week? Post them in the chat!

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All the Alpacas

Reader's Digest brings the joy this week

One of my best friends and I have this llama thing. We saw llamas while on a float trip in high school together and ever since we have this llama inside joke. We also just love them, which is why I immediately thought of her when I saw this piece featuring 40 alpacas from Reader's Digest.

These are the perfect antidote to the doldrums this week, especially if you are an activist working against a lot of heavy stuff going on right now. It's already a week of action for many issues where I live, and add to it what's in the news right now... It's important to take a stand and never be silent but self-care is also essential to do the work, as I'm learning. Little breaks taken while we look at images like these can help.

What cute animals are you looking at this week? Share them in the chat.

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Jack Hanna to Retire

Hanna's diagnosis makes his beloved role more difficult

How many of you grew up with Jack Hanna giving you incredible peeks at animals on TV? I may be dating myself as a xennial when I mention that, but we always looked forward to seeing him and whatever creature he was going to be talking about when we were children. Hanna has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and will be stepping away from the career he clearly loved with all his heart.

My heart goes out to Jack Hanna and his family and I just want to thank him for all of the memories. I remember wanting to be a vet when I was young and he was one of the major reasons why. I didn't want to travel around and see the animals in the wild but I wanted to help them when they were hurt or sick and Hanna's obvious care for them inspired that. My family is full of animal lovers who just pore over National Geographic and encyclopedias of animals but Jack Hanna gave us glimpses into their worlds.

If you haven't, share Jack Hanna's YouTube videos with your kids and check out his work over the years. What's your favorite memory of him? Share it in the chat.

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Strangest Pets of Tiktok

Share your favorites!

If you have the TikTok app, you know that you could watch pet videos all day long, any day of the week. There are so many pets that I didn't even know people could have! There are tiny monkeys, farm animals, and even otters! Many of these animals aren't actually personal pets but animals at zoos, rescue centers and similar places.

Then there are pets that aren't so strange on their own (cats, dogs, fish and so forth) but who act strangely, or pet owners who dress them up and set them to music. It's no wonder TikTok is so popular, with so many cute and funny animal videos.

What is the weirdest or funniest animal video you've seen this week? Share it in the chat. 

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Cage-Free Eggs are on the Rise

Hopefully we can say the same for other inhumane practices soon

Did you know that global meat production has increased by 100 percent since 1988? That makes me so sad. I'm not a practicing vegetarian anymore but it makes me consider expanding my meatless days to most of the week instead of just three days. Wow, is that a lot of meat. And much of it is now produced via the American factory farm model, which is just awful.

The good news is that eggs that come from battery cages are on the decline. There's been a lot of pressure for people to provide cage-free eggs for different reasons--to stop cruelty, to get more nutrients in the eggs, etc. Entire states are even banning cages! This is fantastic news and it makes me hopeful that we'll create more humane legislation for farm animals, too. Factory farming may be on the rise but if this progress is being made, thatmeans that it can happen elsewhere.

As a hoby farmer with my own flock, I know I feel guilty if I can't even let my girls out of the run and into the yard to play. We like to keep an eye on them for safety (we still have raccoons and hawks around here!). I can't imagine them in tiny cages day in and day out. Chickens are funny, smart and have their own personalities. I'm totally okay taking eggs they aren't going to use anyway but I wouldn't buy an egg to support doing that to a chicken.
What animal protection is being legislated in your area? How did your community make it happen?

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Best Animal TikToks To Follow

Share Your Favorites!

There are so many funny, cute and plain fun animal TikToks to follow that it's impossible to choose a favorite. I tend to follow both funny and cute ones, but I think I do like the funny ones best.

HammyAndOlivia are hilarious! Have you seen the one where Ham is a sack of potatoes? Oh. My. Goodness. I laughed until I cried. DontStopMeowing is probably my favorite cat couple to follow, although there are lots of funny cats on TikTok. I cannot stop laughing every time this cat dad does something like take a spa day with his cats.

WildSideSabrina is one of my favorites in terms of cute critters. I recently saved her booping the snoots of a bunch of animals, including a sloth I wanted to boop, too! I love WildlifeWill95, too.

Who are your favorite animal TikTokers to follow? Share them in the chat!

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First Dog Sent Home For Nipping At Secret Agent

Major causes minor injury

The poor First Dog just can't get a break. Major is an elderly dog and a Good Boy, but recently he was attacked by the press for looking his age. Members of the press were unnecessarily cruel to the elderly doggo, much to the dismay of the American people, and taunted his looks. Apparently they don't know what an elderly dog looks like.

Well now Major has been sent home because he nipped at a Secret Service agent. I'm sure the dogs are feeling wary of their new home and getting used to the environment is a lengthy process, and the injury was considered a minor one. Nevertheless it did land the dog a trip home.

Hopefully both Major and the agent are doing well. Have you read any other interesting doggo news this week?

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Consider Being a Foster Parent for Animals

It's a fun and rewarding experience

Last year, animal shelters were reporting record lows as more pets seemed to be adopted than ever as lonely people sheltered at home. Unfortunately too many pets go unaltered every year, which means there will always be thousands of animals left to care for. Shelters like the Forsyth County Animal Shelter are finding themselves in need of foster parents, as well as volunteers.

Local animal shelters are also calling for donations of food, treats, toys and bedding, as well as cleaning supplies. My family and I are working on a bag of goodies to bring to our local shelter this weekend. Please consider doing so for yours. Many shelters have lists of what is needed on their websites but you could always call and see what's most needed.

Do you know of a shelter that could use some big love? Are you fostering any animals right now? Share your experiences in the chat.

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