The 10 Most Popular Game of Thrones-Related Pet Names

iStock.com/treasuredragon
iStock.com/treasuredragon

When Game of Thrones made its original premiere on HBO back in April 2011, it's probably safe to say that no one had any idea just how big the series would become—and that its impact would extend well beyond the world of the small screen. In 2018, for example, an entomologist named three newly discovered beetle species after the epic series' dragons. And the propensity for naming living things after Westerosians has extended to both animal and humankind (Khaleesi, Arya, Tyrion, Brienne, Sansa, Bran, Sandor, and Theon have all gotten a boost in baby name popularity over the past several years).

Banfield Pet Hospital, the largest general veterinary practice in the U.S., analyzed its database of 2018 medical records to find out which Game of Thrones-inspired names are the most popular among their pet patients. While there is some overlap with the baby names list, naming your cat or dog after one of the Stark kids' direwolves seems to be the most popular way to go.

While Arya didn't come out on top, the name did show a lot of movement in the past year, with 21 percent more dogs and 13 percent more cats sharing a name with Ned and Catelyn Stark's youngest daughter.

But the real star of 2018—statistically-speaking, at least—was Daenerys's beloved dragon Drogon. Though he didn't make the cut for the top 10 names, the number of puppers bearing his fierce moniker rose by a whopping 64 percent between 2017 and 2018. As for the top 10? Here they are:

  1. Lady
  1. Ghost
  1. Snow
  1. Summer
  1. Arya
  1. Khaleesi
  1. Winter
  1. Nymeria
  1. Sansa
  1. Drogo

Keep Your Cat Busy With a Board Game That Doubles as a Scratch Pad

Cheerble
Cheerble

No matter how much you love playing with your cat, waving a feather toy in front of its face can get monotonous after a while (for the both of you). To shake up playtime, the Cheerble three-in-one board game looks to provide your feline housemate with hours of hands-free entertainment.

Cheerble's board game, which is currently raising money on Kickstarter, is designed to keep even the most restless cats stimulated. The first component of the game is the electronic Cheerble ball, which rolls on its own when your cat touches it with their paw or nose—no remote control required. And on days when your cat is especially energetic, you can adjust the ball's settings to roll and bounce in a way that matches their stamina.

Cheerable cat toy on Kickstarter.
Cheerble

The Cheerble balls are meant to pair with the Cheerble game board, which consists of a box that has plenty of room for balls to roll around. The board is also covered on one side with a platform that has holes big enough for your cat to fit their paws through, so they can hunt the balls like a game of Whack-a-Mole. And if your cat ever loses interest in chasing the ball, the board also includes a built-in scratch pad and fluffy wand toy to slap around. A simplified version of the board game includes the scratch pad without the wand or hole maze, so you can tailor your purchase for your cat's interests.

Cheerble cat board game.
Cheerble

Since launching its campaign on Kickstarter on April 23, Cheerble has raised over $128,000, already blowing past its initial goal of $6416. You can back the Kickstarter today to claim a Cheerble product, with $32 getting you a ball and $58 getting you the board game. You can make your pledge here, with shipping estimated for July 2020.

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A Prehistoric Great White Shark Nursery Has Been Discovered in Chile

Great white sharks used prehistoric nurseries to protect their young.
Great white sharks used prehistoric nurseries to protect their young.
solarseven/iStock via Getty Images

Great white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) may be one of the most formidable and frightening apex predators on the planet today, but life for them isn’t as easy as horror movies would suggest. Due to a slow growth rate and the fact that they produce few offspring, the species is listed as vulnerable to extinction.

There is a way these sharks ensure survival, and that is by creating nurseries—a designated place where great white shark babies (called pups) are protected from other predators. Now, researchers at the University of Vienna and colleagues have discovered these nurseries occurred in prehistoric times.

In a study published in the journal Scientific Reports, Jamie A. Villafaña from the university’s Institute of Palaeontology describes a fossilized nursery found in Coquimbo, Chile. Researchers were examining a collection of fossilized great white shark teeth between 5 and 2 million years old along the Pacific coast of Chile and Peru when they noticed a disproportionate number of young shark teeth in Coquimbo. There was also a total lack of sexually mature animals' teeth, which suggests the site was used primarily by pups and juveniles as a nursery.

Though modern great whites are known to guard their young in designated areas, the researchers say this is the first example of a paleo-nursery. Because the climate was much warmer when the paleo-nursery was in use, the researchers think these protective environments can deepen our understanding of how great white sharks can survive global warming trends.