How the Wild Horses of North Carolina’s Outer Banks Have Survived 500 Years of Hurricanes

zimmytws/iStock via Getty Images
zimmytws/iStock via Getty Images

Hurricane Dorian hit North Carolina on Friday morning, bringing with it flooding, power outages, and destructive winds. The Outer Banks—a chain of barrier islands off the coast—is currently the most dangerous place to be in the state, but a group of animals there is relying on centuries-old survival instincts to weather the storm.

As CNN reports, the wild horses of the Outer Banks have spent the last 500 years learning to deal with hurricanes. The Colonial Spanish mustangs were left on the islands by European explorers in the 16th century, and today they're considered feral.

When the horses sense changes in air pressure indicating severe weather on the way, they respond by forming a pack and marching to higher ground. Once they've reached an elevated point, they crowd together under sturdy oak trees with their butts facing the wind.

The Corolla Wild Horse Fund manages the 100-odd wild horses on the islands, and it receives a flood of concerned inquiries about the animals every time a hurricane approaches. The organization does take some precautions: Ahead of Dorian, the horse's troughs were stocked with extra hay and water, and ID tags were braided into their manes in case they get lost. But when it comes to protecting them from the storm, the horses are perfectly equipped to take care of themselves.

Not all feral animals were as prepared for Hurricane Dorian as the Outer Banks horses are. Stray dogs are especially vulnerable during hurricanes; luckily, one animal lover in the Bahamas was willing to take in 100 of them.

[h/t CNN]

The Reason Why a Puppy in North Carolina Was Born Bright Green

Anastasiia Cherniavskaia, iStock via Getty Images
Anastasiia Cherniavskaia, iStock via Getty Images

When a dog owner in Canton, North Carolina, first saw her new puppy, she knew exactly what to name him. Hulk the infant pup is much smaller than his namesake, but like the comic book character, he's green from head to toe.

As WLOS reports, Hulk was born with a coat of fur the color of avocado toast. He is one of eight puppies in a litter a white German Shepherd named Gypsy delivered the morning of January 10. Even though one came out lime-green, it was healthy, normal birth, according to Gypsy's owner Shana Stamey.

Hulk's unique coloration isn't a sign of any health issues. Meconium—or the matter in the intestines of a fetus—is mostly made of water, but it can also contain something called biliverdin. This chemical makes bile, and when it gets into the amniotic fluid of a birth sac, it can stain a puppy's fur green. This is especially noticeable when the newborn's fur is white, as in Hulk's case. You can see the rare phenomenon in the video below.

After a few weeks of baths and licks from mom, the meconium stains will eventually fade to reveal his natural white coat. But while he won't be green forever, Hulk gets to keep his colorful name for life.

[h/t WLOS]

Not-So-Fancy Feast: Your Cat Probably Would Eat Your Rotting Corpse

Tycson1/iStock via Getty Images
Tycson1/iStock via Getty Images

Cat enthusiasts often cite the warmth and companionship offered by their pet as reasons why they’re so enamored with them. Despite these and other positive attributes, cat lovers are often confronted with the spurious claim that, while their beloved furry pal might adore them when they’re alive, it won’t hesitate to devour their corpse if they should drop dead.

Though that’s often dismissed as negative cat propaganda spread by dog people, it turns out that it’s probably true. Fluffy might indeed feast on your flesh if you happened to expire.

A horrifying new case study published in the Journal of Forensic Sciences offers the fresh evidence. The paper, first reported by The Washington Post, documents how two cats reacted in the presence of a corpse at Colorado Mesa University’s Forensic Investigation Research Station, or body farm, where the deceased are used to further forensic science for criminal investigations.

The study’s authors did not orchestrate a meeting between cat and corpse. The finding happened by accident: Student and lead author Sara Garcia was scanning surveillance footage of the grounds when she noticed a pair of cats trespassing. The cats, she found, were interested in the flesh of two corpses; they gnawed on human tissue while it was still in the early stages of decomposition, stopping only when the bodies began leaching fluids.

The cats, which were putting away one corpse each, didn’t appear to have a taste for variety, as they both returned to the same corpse virtually every night. The two seemed to prefer the shoulder and arm over other body parts.

This visual evidence joins a litany of reports over the years from medical examiners, who have observed the damage left by both cats and dogs who were trapped in homes with deceased owners and proceeded to eat them. It’s believed pets do this when no other food source is available, though in some cases, eating their human has occurred even with a full food bowl. It’s something to consider the next time your cat gives you an affectionate lick on the arm. Maybe it loves you. Or maybe it has something else in mind.

[h/t The Washington Post]