‘Pandamonium’! Missing red panda heads back to zoo after capture

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‘Pandamonium’! Missing red panda heads back to zoo after capture

June 28, 2013 at 2:05 PM ET

Video: Rusty the red panda, who had last been seen on Sunday evening, was reported missing from the Smithsonian National Zoo Monday morning, sparking an “intensive search” until he was spotted about a mile away in a Washington, D.C., neighborhood. NBC’s Tom Costello reports.

After an hours-long panda hunt, Rusty, the red panda who went missing from his exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington D.C., is back home safe and sound. He was found about a mile away from his exhibit, taking a casual stroll in the Adams Morgan neighborhood.

The zoo shared the good news on Twitter Monday afternoon.

“Thank you so much to everyone who helped us look for and find him!” the National Zoo wrote.

Actress Ashley Foughty is among those who got involved. She was on a walk in her neighborhood with her husband and mother when she spotted Rusty and took to Twitter to bring her discovery to the zoo’s attention.

She later described her surprise encounter in an interview with NBC’s Tom Costello.

“It was pretty amazing!” she said. “I’ve only ever seen them through fences or glass enclosures.”

Rusty made his way for a tree, where he remained until zoo staff could corner and collar him. He will remain in the zoo’s clinic until July 4, but staff say he’s doing well.

The precise route of Rusty’s great escape remains a mystery, though zoo experts say it’s very likely he left his exhibit with the help of the tree canopy in his enclosure and bamboo that grows just outside. Zoo staff has since trimmed those trees and all bamboo within five feet of Rusty’s exhibit.

“Animal care staff have concluded that it’s likely Rusty got out of his exhibit by climbing across a ‘bridge’ created by rain-laden trees and bamboo,” the zoo wrote in a Facebook post on Friday.

His disappearance was first announced in a series of tweets on Monday afternoon.

Zoo staff saw Rusty after his nightly feeding on Sunday evening. But when keepers went to check on the 1-year-old panda at 6:30 a.m. the next day, he was nowhere to be found.

“They saw our female red panda, Shama, but they did not see Rusty,” zoo spokesperson Jen Zoon told TODAY.com. “They called a code green, which is our normal protocol when an animal goes missing.”

Staff searched the zoo’s trees all morning trying to locate him.

“Red pandas are territorial, arboreal creatures, so he could be very high in the trees or he could be hiding in an area off exhibit,” Zoon said.

Rusty is a fairly new addition to the zoo: He joined his exhibit-mate Shama in mid-June, after traveling from the Lincoln Children’s Zoo in Nebraska.

“On the second day keepers saw the pair sharing space and even spied Shama grooming Rusty — a sign that this duo is doing well already,” the zoo wrote in a blog post.

Not to be confused with the ever-popular black-and-white giant panda, red pandas are much smaller and more fox or raccoon-like than their fellow bamboo-feeders.

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For KLG and Hoda, any day is Take Your Dog to Work Day

TODAY’s Talk

For KLG and Hoda, any day is Take Your Dog to Work Day

July 1, 2013 at 11:00 AM ET

Video: TODAY’s Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb bring their pups Blake and Bambino to visit the Fourth Hour, where Hoda shows off Blake’s new tricks. The ladies also discuss Paula Deen’s book publisher dropping the cook.

Take Your Dog to Work Day was officially June 21, but Kathie Lee and Hoda celebrated the dog days of summer by bringing their pet pooches to work on Monday.

KLG brought her Maltipoo, Bambino, while Hoda held Blake, the Cockapoo she adopted earlier this year, in her lap.

“They’re meeting for the very first time today,” KLG noted of the pair of pooches. “And they like each other so far.”

But she spoke a little too soon, apparently. Bambino later growled several times at Blake when he got a little too close. (Or maybe Bambino was just jealous over Blake’s attempt to be a hog the camera.)

Earlier, Hoda attempted to show off the new tricks Blake had learned. She got the pup to sit and then lie down, but Blake apparently wasn’t feeling up to rolling over on command for the camera.

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TODAY

Still, it was enough to impress KLG.

“That’s two more Bambino can do,” she said. “Bambino can do eat and sleep. Those two he’s very good at.”

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Don’t mind me! Snail plays very slow game of leapfrog

Cutest thing ever

Don’t mind me! Snail plays very slow game of leapfrog

July 8, 2013 at 4:44 PM ET

This snail enjoys a long game of leapfrog as it takes eight minutes to calmly climb over a croaker before reaching its destination.  The frog is enjoy...

Solent News / Lessy Sebastian

The frog is enjoying an afternoon nap, minding its own business high up in a branch when a snail slides along to interrupt its snooze.

Slow and steady may be a winning strategy after all: When this snail couldn’t crawl around a sleeping tree frog, it spent 8 minutes stealthily sneaking over the green amphibian.

This snail enjoys a long game of leapfrog as it takes eight minutes to calmly climb over a croaker before reaching its destination.  The frog is enjoy...

Lessy Sebastian / Solent News

On its way up.

Photographer Lessy Sabastian of Jakarta, Indonesia, captured the extremely slow game of leapfrog, which played out in his front garden.

“When I went outside I noticed one of the frogs was sleeping on a branch above the pond and a snail was moving very slowly nearby,” he told Solent News. “I couldn’t believe it when the snail started to climb up onto the frog, and it was more surprising when the frog stayed still.”

This snail enjoys a long game of leapfrog as it takes eight minutes to calmly climb over a croaker before reaching its destination.  The frog is enjoy...

Lessy Sebastian / Solent News

Strike a pose: The snail seems to be camera conscious.

Several green tree frogs live in a pond underneath the branch and enjoy an occasional snooze in the shade above, according to the father-of-two. Sebastian thinks the final photos give the pair a bit of personality.

“It looks like the snail and frog are good friends and everyone that has seen them loves the photographs,” he said.

Check out the final (slimy) steps of this snail’s journey below:

This snail enjoys a long game of leapfrog as it takes eight minutes to calmly climb over a croaker before reaching its destination.  The frog is enjoy...

Lessy Sebastian / Solent News

The snail prepares to descend.

This snail enjoys a long game of leapfrog as it takes eight minutes to calmly climb over a croaker before reaching its destination.  The frog is enjoy...

Lessy Sebastian / Solent News

The frog is still chilling.

This snail enjoys a long game of leapfrog as it takes eight minutes to calmly climb over a croaker before reaching its destination.  The frog is enjoy...

Lessy Sebastian / Solent News

Eight minutes later, the snail finally makes its way to the other side.

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Queens Zoo welcomes ‘world’s smallest deer’ baby

Cutest thing ever

Queens Zoo welcomes ‘world’s smallest deer’ baby

July 8, 2013 at 5:48 PM ET

Julie Larsen Maher  WCS

Julie Larsen Maher © WCS

The baby pudu, the world’s smallest species of deer, looking precious at the Queens Zoo.

With their big, bright eyes and stately postures, deer are already one of the more alluring animals in the animal kingdom. And now there’s a diminutive doe proving that good (maybe the best?) things come in small packages.

This adorable endangered southern pudu, the world’s smallest species of deer, was recently born at the Wildlife Conservation Society Queens Zoo in Flushing, and his arrival was announced on Monday.

Swooning? So are we.

The doe, who has not yet been named, weighed just 1 pound when she was born on May 3, but could someday reach 20 pounds as an adult, according to a press release from the zoo. It’s still nursing, but zoo staff will soon starting incorporating fresh leaves, grain, kale, carrots and hay into the fawn’s diet.

Julie Larsen Maher  WCS

Julie Larsen Maher © WCS

The fawn hides behind nettles in its exhibit.

Pudu may be small, but they have a few helpful characteristics that come in handy when navigating the world: They bark at any signs of danger and can climb over fallen trees.

“Although small in stature, only 12 to 14 inches at the shoulder, pudu are excellent jumpers, sprinters, and climbers,” the press release reads. “What the pudu lacks in size, it makes up in strategy. When chased, pudu run in a zig-zag pattern to escape predation.”

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