A good number of us, at least on Turtle Island, will be deep into Snoozeville when the moon becomes full in the early-morning hours of Friday July 31.

 When the full moon rises tonight (July 31), it will technically be a Blue Moon, but not for the reason you might think.

So to celebrate the Blue Moon, here are five amazing facts about this month's full moon:

1) It's not really blue: Okay, so not really a newsflash, but the Blue Moon's name actually has nothing to do with color. Occasionally, the full moon can take on a reddish pallor, but today's full moon is not related to the actual color of Earth's cosmic neighbor. The moon can appear blue in color if a forest fire or volcanic eruption litters the upper atmosphere with ash or smoke. A volcanic eruption gave the moon a bluish tint from the perspective of many people on Earth in 1991.

2) There are two definitions for Blue Moon: The term Blue Moon was originally assigned to the third full moon in a four moon season, but after a mix up in "Sky & Telescope" magazine in 1943, the term took on a different meaning. An article in the magazine incorrectly defined a blue moon as the second full moon in a single month, but the definition stuck. This particular blue moon is a technical Blue Moon, but does not meet the criteria for the second definition. The third full moon in a four-full-moon season rule was detailed in a 1937 edition of the now defunct Maine Farmers' Almanac.

3) The Blue Moon has many names: Today's full moon is also known as the Full Sturgeon Moon, the Green Corn Moon, the Grain Moon and the Full Red Moon. Each of August full moon names come from monikers given to the full moons of a certain month according to Native American and European traditions.

4) It's only full for a moment: Although the moon usually looks full one day before and one day after the day of the full moon, there is technically only one moment when the moon is full in the sky.

5) It's kind of a rare sight: Blue Moons occur somewhat infrequently. After today's full moon, another Blue Moon will not occur again until 2018. The idiom "once in a Blue Moon" signifies a rare event because scientists had trouble predicting when the distinctive full moon would happen during any given year.

August Full Moon Names From Native American and Other Different Cultures Joyful Moon (Hopi). First Acorns (Pomo). Ripen moon (Dakota). Dispute Moon (Celtic). Cutter Moon (Abernaki). Dog Days moon (Yuchi). Corn Silk Moon (Ponca). Harvest Moon (Chinese). Berry Moon (Anishnaabe). Women's Moon (Choctaw). Mulberries Moon (Natchez). Middle moon (Potawatomi). Freshness Moon (Mohawk). Yelow flower moon (Osage). Blackberry Moon (Wishram). Acorns Ripen Moon (Maidu). Wheat Cut Moon (San Juan).


The cubs fathered by Cecil the lion are being protected by his brother amid fears they will be killed by a male rival, researchers said today.

 The much-loved lion was killed by American dentist Walter Palmer earlier this month, sparking outrage around the world.

After his death, there were fears his cubs would be killed by the next lion in the hierarchy so he could father his own offspring with the females in the pride.

But a team at Oxford University's Wildlife Conservation Unit, which had been studying Cecil before he was shot dead, said the lion's brother had stepped in to safeguard the young. Project leader David Macdonald said: 'The natural law in lion society is that when a male dies and his weakened coalition is usurped, the new incoming males kill their predecessors' cubs.

'This may not happen because Cecil's brother is still holding the fort.'


A helpless baby rock wallaby has been filmed trying to pry its way into its dead mother's pouch, as she lies decomposing on the side of road, crawling with ants.

 The joey was spotted by travelling cyclist, Chris Rishworth, at Magnetic Island - an island and suburb of Townsville in north Queensland.

Mr Rishworth noticed the heartbreaking interaction, and placed the joey into the basket of his bike, taking her to the local wildlife rescue shelter. Baby wallabies can die very easily from stress.

Thankfully, this precious little marsupial was taken care of quickly, and is expected to make a full recovery and integration back into the wild when it grows older.

Brought to the Wallaby Refuge on Magnetic Island, the owner said she was 'fine physically but a very frightened little girl', and would be receiving a lot of tender loving care to help her recover.



We have much in common with wolves. Wolves have emotional lives, can experience emotions such as joy and grief.

Wolves mourn lost pack members. After the death of a wolf, the remainder of the pack walk with their heads and tails held low – a sign of depression. They no longer howl as a group, but each cries in their own way. This behavior often lasts for a few weeks.

Jim and Jamie Dutcher describe the grief and mourning in a wolf pack after the loss of the low-ranking omega female wolf, Motaki, to a mountain lion. The pack lost their spirit and their playfulness. They no longer howled as a group, but rather they "sang alone in a slow mournful cry.

" They were depressed — tails and heads held low and walking softly and slowly — when they came upon the place where Motaki was killed. They inspected the area and pinned their ears back and dropped their tails, a gesture that usually means submission.

It took about six weeks for the pack to return to normal. The Dutchers also tell of a wolf pack in Canada in which one pack member died and the others wandered about in a figure eight as if searching for her. They also howled long and mournfully.


It’s not the sort of friendship you expect to see out in the African bush.

But this gentle lion was spotted making friends with a delicate butterfly at a wildlife park in Botswana.The brave butterfly swoops in and lands on the lion’s paw as he washes himself in the afternoon sunshine and the lion seems very attached to his new friend.

The adorable pictures were captured by Kobus Swart, 46, from Pretoria, South Africa, while on a camping holiday with his wife and some friends.He said: “The lion was busy with an intensive grooming session, washing himself from top to bottom.

“At one stage while he was licking his paw this butterfly landed on his paw, presumably looking for some moisture.

The adult lion with the delicate butterfly resting on his paw 

“He had been fluttering around the lion for a few minutes, and seemed to be looking for a chance to land somewhere safe on the lion.“It was just there for a couple of minutes the lion just looked at it intensely, he could have eaten it with one quick bite. “When it flew away he actually seemed to be upset, it’s like they formed a really cute friendship.

The lion is not happy that the butterfly has left its paw

The lion is sad that the butterfly has left its paw

Lady Bug & Princess Leia meet Moo the barn cat

You can't impress everybody -- especially not Moo, the barn cat.

A video uploaded to YouTube features 1-week-old goat kids Lady Bug and Princess Leia meeting Moo for the first time at the Sunflower Farm Creamery in Maine. While the adorable young goats bounce around trying to get the kitty's attention, Moo is all "been there, seen that."

The kids jump and hop around the feline, because all they want is a little love from their cat pal. But their efforts are futile. Moo is just like, *flop.* She's clearly more concerned with catching some zzz's.

The kids end up hopping around with each other and having a grand ol' time because you can't live ya life for somebody else.

Keep on jumping, little ones. And know that we're always here to watch you play.

You'll cry happy tears watching a baby elephant chase little birds

 A teeny baby elephant living in Kruger National Park in South Africa was spotted trying to chase away a flock of swallows in the cutest way possible. Your brain can't handle this much sweetness.

It’s hard to say who wins the bout (though the birds sure look like they're holding their own), but there's no question about it. The wee elephant is a victor in our hearts.

The world-renowned Kruger National Park offers a wildlife experience that ranks with the best in Africa. Established in 1898 to protect the wildlife of the South African Lowveld, this national park of nearly 2 million hectares, SANParks - Kruger National Park is unrivalled in the diversity of its life forms and a world leader in advanced environmental management

Where nearly 2 million hectares of unrivalled diversity of life forms fuses with historical and archaeological sights - this is real Africa.
 (H/T Mashable)



Cecil the lion was popular with visitors to Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe who were fascinated by his unusual black mane

 Cecil was a lion in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe. He was killed on 1 July 2015, at the age of thirteen. Cecil had been studied by scientists from Oxford University as part of a scientific project that has run since 1999. According to the conservationists, Cecil was wearing a GPS collar to track his movements. As a result of papers published from the study, Cecil had become a tourist attraction for visitors to the park.

In July 2015, an American big game hunter paid US$55,000 (£35,000) to a professional hunter to enable him to kill a lion. Cecil was allegedly lured off the protected park site, wounded with a bow and arrow, stalked for 40 hours, and then finally shot.

The American had returned to the United States, where global media and social media reaction has resulted in more than 265,000 people signing online petition "Justice for Cecil", which calls on Zimbabwe's government to stop issuing hunting permits for endangered animals. According to the IUCN Red List, lions are listed as "vulnerable."

And Cecil wasn't the only lion to suffer. If a male lion dies, the new pride leader will often kill any youngsters, so it's likely that Cecil's six cubs were killed as well.

This is the last known photograph of Cecil the lion (bottom) taken by Brent Stapelkamp before he was killed by the American dentist. Cecil is pictured with Jericho, a male lion who it is feared could kill the cubs of the pride fathered by Cecil 

VIDEO Cecil the Lion filmed playing with family

Visitors shot Cecil ... With A Camera!

Not Even Ocean Waves Can Stop This Social Seal And Dog From Exchanging Polite Hellos

Seals and dogs are both notoriously friendly, so it's little surprise that they'd become friends upon meeting.

A recent video shows a curious seal and playful dog bonding over some shared beach playtime. The little seal glides through the breaking waves while the dog bounces in and out of the surf. At one point, the seal appears to "boop" the dog on the nose repeatedly with his flipper.

Dogs and pinnipeds appear to have a special gift when it comes to crossing species barriers.

Note: The Caniformia, or Canoidea (literally "dog-like"), are a suborder within the order Carnivora. They typically possess a long snout and nonretractile claws (in contrast to the cat-like carnivorans, the Feliformia). The Pinnipedia (seals and sea lions) evolved from caniform ancestors and are accordingly assigned to this group.



Check out Earl the grumpy puppy – the moody star of the viral photo that is a huge internet hit

The peeved pup went viral when a picture of him sporting his best sullen expression was posted on Reddit and quickly gained more than two million views.

The internet fell in love with five-month-old Earl and got busy creating memes and making comparisons to celebrities such as Samuel L Jackson.

Now, owner Derek Bloomfield, 25, has decided to share some new pictures of his downcast dog to prove that Earl is definitely Grumpy Cat’s new rival.

Derek, from Iowa, USA, claims that, despite his sulky face, Earl is in fact super friendly to other humans and dogs. His expression is merely down to an underbite.

His breed – pug and beagle mix – also contributes to his looks. He is a second generation ‘puggle’ meaning both his parents were also crossbreeds.

It's easy to tell when an animal doesn't want to live in a cage. A captive penguin was caught on camera hopping the fence of her enclosure, escaping her tank and waddling around in the crowd for a moment before being tossed back into her artificial habitat.

 Timmy Dozois of Clermont, Florida, captured the incredible moment when the brave penguin launched herself straight out of her tank, toward her gawking human audience. Dozois uploaded video of the escape back in January 2014. According to Dozois, the video was filmed in SeaWorld's 'Empire of the Penguin' exhibit. He explained in the YouTube video description:

"Alright guys, this little penguin (who, after I shot the video and was talking to a Team Member, I found out she is one of the mischief makers at Empire of the Penguin) kept jumping up at the glass, as if she was trying to escape."

The video clearly shows someone in a uniform picking the penguin up and casually tossing her back into the water …

Dozois seemed to have been delighted to experience such an up-close encounter with a penguin, calling the episode "the best thing to have ever happened to me so far in life."

A large group of school children in New Zealand have honoured their beloved teacher by performing the traditional dance, the haka, as his hearse rolled into the school for the funeral.

 At least 1,700 boys at Palmerston North Boys' High School on New Zealand's North Island participated in the epic performance for their physical education and maths teacher, Dawson Tamatea.Tamatea, 55, died in his sleep on July 20, according to TVNZ. He had been a teacher at the school for almost 30 years.

"This was a very emotional and powerful performance," the school wrote on its YouTube channel. "We are extremely proud of our boys' performance and we know that Mr Tamatea would be too."

The haka has become renowned internationally due to its prominence in rugby union football, where it is performed as a war cry before matches played by New Zealand's teams.

A different variation of the traditional dance, normally carried out by men, is also used at important events, to honour respected guests and also at funerals.

The participants stamp their feet, slap their hands and contort their faces, all while groaning loudly. It was a fitting tribute to say good bye to the respected teacher.

We often see photographs of wildlife or of photographers taking pictures of wildlife. But what about wildlife photographers? That is, animals taking pictures?

 It's unusual for animals to use tools, although these critters certainly seem to want to. We all know that chimps and other primates sometimes use tools, but did you know that octopuses also use them? And that crows are so smart, that they understand how to displace water?

These adorable photos capture the unexpected encounters between photographers and their subjects. Some animals seem to want to help out; others get behind the camera themselves.(Source)

Shooting Wildlife (With a Camera): The more time you spend with your subjects, the more likely your images will be intimate and revealing. You know them better, and it will show.

Wild animals are going to do what they’re going to do. Unfortunately, you can’t ask them to look this way, do something cute, or stand where the light is better. You have to be there, and ready, when they decide to look cute or do something interesting.

 Tanja Askani - Wildlife photographer

Photo: Burrand Lucas

Photo: David Shultz