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Westlake Legal Group > fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles

Diego the tortoise retires, high sex drive credited with helping to save his species in the Galapagos, conservancy says

The famed Galapagos giant tortoise named Diego — estimated at over 100 years old — fathered 40 percent of all tortoises on Espanola Island in the Galapagos and is officially retiring.

He is credited with saving his species from extinction thanks to his high sex drive, according to a release by the Giant Tortoise Restoration Initiative and translated by the Galapagos Conservancy.

Ecuador’s Environmental Ministry made the decision on Friday to end the 40-year captive breeding program for Espanola tortoises, which has helped the population rise from 15 to 2,000, the conservancy said.

The release added that the evaluation conducted by the Galapagos National Park Directorate (GNPD) and Galapagos Conservancy as part of the Giant Tortoise Restoration Initiative (GTRI) concluded that the breeding program demonstrated “the recovery of habitat conditions” and the “populations that it hosts.”

SOLAR STORMS MIGHT BE CAUSING GRAY WHALES TO GET LOST

<img src="https://a57.foxnews.com/static.foxnews.com/foxnews.com/content/uploads/2020/01/640/320/diego1.jpg?ve=1&tl=1" alt="The famed Galapagos giant tortoise named Diego — estimated at over 100 years old and credited with saving his species from extinction after he fathered 40 percent of all tortoises on Espanola Island in the Galapagos — thanks to his high sex drive — is officially retiring”>

The famed Galapagos <a data-cke-saved-href=”https://www.foxnews.com/category/science/wild-nature/reptiles” href=”https://www.foxnews.com/category/science/wild-nature/reptiles”>giant tortoise</a> named Diego — estimated at over 100 years old and credited with saving his species from <a data-cke-saved-href=”https://www.foxnews.com/category/us/environment/endangered-species” href=”https://www.foxnews.com/category/us/environment/endangered-species”>extinction</a> after he fathered 40 percent of all tortoises on Espanola Island in the Galapagos — thanks to his high sex drive — is officially retiring (San Diego Zoo)

The 175 pound Diego is a Chelonoidis hoodensis, a species only found in the wild on the island of Espanola, according to AFP. He reportedly fathered an estimated 800 offspring as of 2016.

He was brought to the U.S. between 1928 and 1933 and placed in a breeding center on the Galapagos island of Santa Cruz, after his species was determined to be critically endangered in the 1960s, according to the San Diego Zoo.

“Based on the results of the last census conducted at the end of 2019 and all the data available since 1960 — both of the island and its tortoise population … the conclusion was that the island has sufficient conditions to maintain the tortoise population, which will continue to grow normally — even without any new repatriation of juveniles,” said Washington Tapia, the director of the GTRI.

AUSTRALIA’S FIRES HAVE KILLED OR IMPERILED 1 BILLION ANIMALS, EXPERT WARNS

Tapia had told AFP back in 2016 that Diego was “a very sexually active male,” who contributed “enormously to repopulating the island.”

The closure of the program means 15 of the breeding adult tortoises — 12 females and 3 males — will be allowed to return to their natural habitat, the first time that’s happened since the mid-1960s, the release said.

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Diego will return to his home island of Espanola in the Galapagos nearly eight decades after being extracted from it. The plan is to release all 15 tortoises back to Espanola, their island of origin in March 2020.

Fox News’ James Rogers contributed to the report

Westlake Legal Group diego1 Diego the tortoise retires, high sex drive credited with helping to save his species in the Galapagos, conservancy says fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox-news/science/wild-nature/endangered fox-news/science fox news fnc/science fnc David Aaro article 555caae9-c85d-555a-b464-29492d935982   Westlake Legal Group diego1 Diego the tortoise retires, high sex drive credited with helping to save his species in the Galapagos, conservancy says fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox-news/science/wild-nature/endangered fox-news/science fox news fnc/science fnc David Aaro article 555caae9-c85d-555a-b464-29492d935982

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Top animal hijinks of 2019: Here are the most viral moments, from hysterical gorillas to cannibalistic snakes

Overly dramatic gorillas fleeing raindrops, a cannibalistic snake and a thieving seagull were some of the animals in videos and photos that went viral in 2019.

In a year consumed by the Russia investigation and President Trump’s impeachment inquiry, the animal hijinks offer a brief respite.

Here are some of the year’s most amusing animal moments:

Gorillas make hilarious attempts to avoid raindrops

The gorillas at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden in Columbia went viral in March when video showed the primates behaving just like humans as they tried to take shelter from the rain.

The group of gorillas was seen huddling beneath an overhang as rain pelted the outdoor enclosure. One gorilla, named Acacia, hugged the wall of the overhang in an effort to stay dry and shimmied around a corner out of the rain.

As the three remaining grim-faced gorillas followed, each made a human-like face to show its revulsion to getting wet.

“Gorillas are magnificent, majestic creatures full of grace and beauty… except when it rains,” zookeeper Brooke Hunsinger wrote in the Facebook video caption.

Some social media users wryly suggested sending the gorillas umbrellas. The next hit video?

Cannibalistic snake get stung mid-meal

Florida wildlife proved yet again just how wild it can be.

A woman shared video of a venomous coral snake eating another snake as it was being attacked by a wasp – all while the serpents were inexplicably stuck in the branches of a bush.

Evangeline Cummings, a University of Florida employee, shot the video in her Gainesville backyard in October and shared it on Twitter.

The video showed an eastern coral snake biting into what appeared to be a dead rat snake as the two serpents hung in a rose bush. A wasp then landed on the coral snake, and moments later the reptile began to thrash about wildly to shoo away the stinging insect.

“So we’ve now settled on our favorite theory: Rat snake was dropped by a hawk or similar and landed in the rosebush,” Cummings wrote at the time. “But the rat snake is somewhat twisted around the branches so I wonder if when it was dropped it was still partially alive and tried to free itself and could not.”

An epic battle ensued.

Sly seagull steals lobster roll

A woman visiting York, Maine in June was about to try her first-ever lobster roll when things quickly went awry.

A seagull swiped the delicacy right out of her hand — but not before she captured the brazen thievery in a photo.

Westlake Legal Group seagull-lobster-roll-2 Top animal hijinks of 2019: Here are the most viral moments, from hysterical gorillas to cannibalistic snakes Stephen Sorace fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/south-carolina fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/maine fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/ohio fox-news/tech/topics/viral fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox-news/science/wild-nature/mammals fox-news/science/wild-nature/birds fox news fnc/us fnc article 76990897-e1fe-5958-b306-3b13532fdfe4

A seagull takes a bit of Jessop’s lobster roll in York, Maine, in June. (Alicia Jessop/@rulingsports via AP)

Alicia Jessop, a 34-year-old Pepperdine University professor, intended to chronicle the first bite of her pricey sandwich. Finding a scenic spot with the Nubble Lighthouse in the background, she framed the shot.

Seemingly out of nowhere, the seagull photo-bombed the shoot.

Jessop was happy to share the viral photo to give people a good laugh – and even got some free lobster rolls for her troubles.

“There are a lot worse things I could be known for, and if that means I get free lobster rolls and bring a little bit of laughter into people’s lives, I think that’s a good thing,” she said.

Bear named ‘T-shirt’ stuck in a dumpster

Sheriff’s deputies in Northern California helped free a huge black bear named “T-shirt,” who found himself trapped inside a dumpster while pursuing a meal in November.

the Placer County deputies found the struggling bear, named for the white patch of fur on his chest, early one morning in Kings Beach at Lake Tahoe and recorded the encounter on a dashcam video.

The footage shared on Twitter showed the cops unlocking the lid and trying to coax the bear out. T-shirt can be seen popping his head out and giving the deputies a fright.

T-shirt, who had several previous run-ins with the law, was eventually able to free himself by pushing the lid up with his paws and climbing out.

Goat named ‘Big Boy’ breaks into home, naps in bathroom

An Ohio teenager came home from school in October to find a sliding glass door shattered, a vile stench in the air and a “baa”-zarre guest napping on the bathroom floor: a billy goat named “Big Boy.”

Westlake Legal Group big-boy-goat-1 Top animal hijinks of 2019: Here are the most viral moments, from hysterical gorillas to cannibalistic snakes Stephen Sorace fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/south-carolina fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/maine fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/ohio fox-news/tech/topics/viral fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox-news/science/wild-nature/mammals fox-news/science/wild-nature/birds fox news fnc/us fnc article 76990897-e1fe-5958-b306-3b13532fdfe4

The goat named “Big Boy,” who had escaped from a farm several miles away, was found napping in the bathroom of an Ohio home after it broke through a sliding glass door. (Jenn Keathley via AP)

“There’re all these awful stories in the world — people need this,” Jennifer Keathley told The Associated Press after her 18-year-old son Logan called to tell her about the surprise guest.

Deputies eventually returned Big Boy safely to his farm several miles away, however, the stench of his urine lingered no matter how many times they applied carpet deodorant and urine neutralizer.

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“My house definitely smells like a goat farm,” Jennifer told the Ashland Times-Gazette. “But there’s nothing you can do but laugh.”

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6035735311001_6035738616001-vs Top animal hijinks of 2019: Here are the most viral moments, from hysterical gorillas to cannibalistic snakes Stephen Sorace fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/south-carolina fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/maine fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/ohio fox-news/tech/topics/viral fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox-news/science/wild-nature/mammals fox-news/science/wild-nature/birds fox news fnc/us fnc article 76990897-e1fe-5958-b306-3b13532fdfe4   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6035735311001_6035738616001-vs Top animal hijinks of 2019: Here are the most viral moments, from hysterical gorillas to cannibalistic snakes Stephen Sorace fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/south-carolina fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/maine fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/ohio fox-news/tech/topics/viral fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox-news/science/wild-nature/mammals fox-news/science/wild-nature/birds fox news fnc/us fnc article 76990897-e1fe-5958-b306-3b13532fdfe4

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‘Angry’ tortoise, 45, rescued after starting Christmas Day house fire in England

Despite its dour demeanor, an “angry-looking” tortoise in England actually had a “very lucky Christmas Day” after firefighters rescued the reptile from a house it had set on fire, officials said.

The unnamed 45-year-old reptile was alone in its Essex home when it knocked a heat lamp onto its bedding, which caught on fire, Essex Fire and Rescue said Wednesday in a news release.

US VETERAN FINDS NOTE IN MAILBOX SAYING HIS BELOVED DOG WAS SHOT DEAD BECAUSE SHE DIDN’T HAVE A LEASH ON

This “tortoise might look angry but it’s his lucky day,” the fire service posted on Twitter along with a photo of the reptilian fire-starter.

Westlake Legal Group angry-tortoise-england ‘Angry’ tortoise, 45, rescued after starting Christmas Day house fire in England Stephen Sorace fox-news/world/world-regions/united-kingdom fox-news/world/disasters/fires fox-news/special/occasions/christmas fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox-news/good-news fox news fnc/world fnc article 05a9ebde-c34e-5661-b1aa-0e8a2b20225b

The 45-year-old tortoise “might look angry” but fire officials said it was his “lucky day.” (Essex Fire and Rescue)

Neighbors heard the smoke alarm and called an emergency number around 5 p.m., officials said. Firefighters scrambled to the scene and found smoke filling the home and a fire in one of the rooms.

Firefighters extinguished the fire and cleared the house of smoke within 25 minutes, the BBC reported.

“This incident shows just how important it is to have smoke alarms on every level of your home – even if you’re not home they will alert anyone close by to the first sign of fire,” said Watch Manager Gary Wain of the Great Dunmow Fire Station.

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“This tortoise has had a very lucky Christmas Day — he is 45 years young and will now hopefully continue to live a long and happy life thanks to working smoke alarms,” Wain said.

Westlake Legal Group angry-tortoise-england ‘Angry’ tortoise, 45, rescued after starting Christmas Day house fire in England Stephen Sorace fox-news/world/world-regions/united-kingdom fox-news/world/disasters/fires fox-news/special/occasions/christmas fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox-news/good-news fox news fnc/world fnc article 05a9ebde-c34e-5661-b1aa-0e8a2b20225b   Westlake Legal Group angry-tortoise-england ‘Angry’ tortoise, 45, rescued after starting Christmas Day house fire in England Stephen Sorace fox-news/world/world-regions/united-kingdom fox-news/world/disasters/fires fox-news/special/occasions/christmas fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox-news/good-news fox news fnc/world fnc article 05a9ebde-c34e-5661-b1aa-0e8a2b20225b

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Florida inmate charged with feeding pet iguanas to alligator at sheriff’s zoo

A Florida inmate has been arrested for feeding pet iguanas to an alligator at the sheriff’s zoo — next to the jail — after fellow inmates ratted him out, investigators said.

Jason Aaron Gibson, a 40-year-old suspected car thief, was one of the select inmates given the “privilege” of working outside at the petting zoo on Stock Island, officials at the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office told the Miami Herald.

Two other inmates who worked at the farm were left “distraught” and “heartbroken” after witnessing Gibson toss iguanas to a six-foot alligator named Irwin multiple times, officials said.

FLORIDA HUNTER DISCOVERS HUMAN REMAINS AT OCALA NATIONAL FOREST: SMELLED ‘LIKE DEATH’

Westlake Legal Group iguana-gibson Florida inmate charged with feeding pet iguanas to alligator at sheriff's zoo Stephen Sorace fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/crime fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox-news/odd-news fox news fnc/us fnc ec2a1322-dcf3-531a-8997-e9627d34f5b4 article

Gibson allegedly confessed to tossing Mojo and a smaller iguana to the six-foot gator. (Monroe County Sheriff’s Office)

“I was so proud of them for stepping forward,” Jeanne Selander, a civilian jail employee running the farm, told the Herald. “They just couldn’t accept that. They really cared. I’m so sad they had to witness it.”

The death of “Mojo,” a large iguana who had lived at the farm for over a decade, hit staff members at the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Animal Farm particularly hard.

FLORIDA VENOMOUS SNAKE EATS ANOTHER SNAKE AS GIANT WASP ATTACKS IN WILD VIDEO

“He was more of a pet,” Selander said. “I’m still in disbelief. Thirteen years I’ve been doing this and I’ve never had anyone do anything to the animals.”

Irwin the gator, which reportedly was fed dead rats once a week, ate at least one smaller iguana but didn’t eat Mojo because it was “too big,” Selander said. The gator reportedly held Mojo underwater for 30 minutes and left its carcass in the habitat.

Westlake Legal Group irwin-the-alligator-Monroe-County-Sheriffs-Office-Animal-Farm Florida inmate charged with feeding pet iguanas to alligator at sheriff's zoo Stephen Sorace fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/crime fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox-news/odd-news fox news fnc/us fnc ec2a1322-dcf3-531a-8997-e9627d34f5b4 article

Irwin the gator didn’t eat Mojo because the iguana was “too big,” staff said. (Monroe County Sheriff’s Office)

“Occasionally an iguana falls in and that’s the circle of life,” she told the Herald. “You don’t physically catch one and feed it. That is so cruel.”

Gibson was arrested Monday he admitted to the deeds, claiming the iguanas were a “nuisance” that “terrorize the other animals” at the farm, according to an arrest report obtained by the paper.

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He was charged with two counts of felony animal cruelty causing death, pain and suffering. He had been awaiting trial since June on a charge of grand theft auto.

The petting zoo opened in 1994 and has housed more than 150 animals, according to the Herald. The farm has been open to the public for free twice a month and has held special holiday events.

Westlake Legal Group florida-inmate-feeds-iguana-to-alligator-at-jail-zoo-inset Florida inmate charged with feeding pet iguanas to alligator at sheriff's zoo Stephen Sorace fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/crime fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox-news/odd-news fox news fnc/us fnc ec2a1322-dcf3-531a-8997-e9627d34f5b4 article   Westlake Legal Group florida-inmate-feeds-iguana-to-alligator-at-jail-zoo-inset Florida inmate charged with feeding pet iguanas to alligator at sheriff's zoo Stephen Sorace fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/crime fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox-news/odd-news fox news fnc/us fnc ec2a1322-dcf3-531a-8997-e9627d34f5b4 article

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Two suspects charged in largest seizure of turtles in recent history, FWC says

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has charged two suspects for poaching thousands of native turtles in Florida in what the agency says is the largest seizure of turtles in recent history.

“The illegal trade of turtles is having a global impact on many turtle species and our ecosystems. We commend our law enforcement’s work to address the crisis of illegal wildlife trafficking,” FWC Executive Director Eric Sutton said.

The two suspects were found in possession of hundreds of turtles that had a black market value of $200,000. Over 4,000 turtles were taken illegally and sold over a 6-month period, according to the agency. The sellers reportedly received cash and even traded turtles for Marijuana products on occasion.

MASSIVE ELEPHANT FOUND DEAD ON TOP OF SQUISHED CROCODILE

Westlake Legal Group 48860380802_d6cddbe734_k Two suspects charged in largest seizure of turtles in recent history, FWC says fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/crime fox-news/us fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox news fnc/us fnc David Aaro article 491ec08e-f360-556e-bb26-92230ca8a23e

FWC Photo (Florida Fish and Wildlife)

Michael Boesenberg, 39, was charged with dealing in stolen property as an organizer, 9 counts of standard caging requirements for captured wildlife, 3 counts of taking over the bag limit of turtles, being over the possession limit of turtles, sale and offering turtles taken in the wild, possession of marine turtle parts, possession of black bear parts, possession of marijuana, possession and intent to sell drugs, and possession of a controlled substance, according to the FWC.

Westlake Legal Group Michael-Boesenberg-Lee-County-Sheriff-office Two suspects charged in largest seizure of turtles in recent history, FWC says fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/crime fox-news/us fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox news fnc/us fnc David Aaro article 491ec08e-f360-556e-bb26-92230ca8a23e

Michael Boesenberg, 39, faces charges for possession and sale of sea turtles (Lee County Sheriff office)

Michael Clemons, 23, was charged with two counts of taking over the bag limit of turtles, being over the possession limit of box turtles, selling and offering for sale turtles taken from the wild, and transporting wild-caught turtles without a permit, the agency reported.

Westlake Legal Group 48860381332_0b68e28f57_k Two suspects charged in largest seizure of turtles in recent history, FWC says fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/crime fox-news/us fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox news fnc/us fnc David Aaro article 491ec08e-f360-556e-bb26-92230ca8a23e

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has charged two suspects for poaching thousands of native turtles in Florida in what agency says is the largest seizure of turtles in recent history. (Florida Fish and Wildlife)

The FWC says they launched a sting operation after receiving a tip in February 2018. As a result of a search warrant on Aug. 12, they determined that a “well-organized” ring of wildlife traffickers were illegally catching and selling wild turtles to large reptile dealers and illegal distributors who shipped a large majority of them overseas on the black market.

“Putting a stop to this criminal enterprise is a significant win for conservation,” said Col. Curtis Brown, head of FWC’s Division of Law Enforcement. “Arresting people engaged in illegal wildlife trafficking supports our environment and legal businesses. It is especially positive and rewarding to be able to release many of the turtles back into the wild.”

“We know that the global black market in live animals includes traffickers smuggling protected species of turtles out of the United States, usually for export to the Asian pet market,” Dr. Craig Stanford, Chairman of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group told the FWC. “This sinister and illegal trade threatens the future of many species of North American animals, and as one of the most threatened animal groups on the planet, turtles are at the forefront of our concern.”

BOA CONSTRICTOR ‘AT LARGE’ IN AUSTRALIAN TOWN, ‘FRESHLY SHED’ SKIN DISCOVERED

Westlake Legal Group 48860381067_af7d02d048_k Two suspects charged in largest seizure of turtles in recent history, FWC says fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/crime fox-news/us fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox news fnc/us fnc David Aaro article 491ec08e-f360-556e-bb26-92230ca8a23e

Over 4,000 turtles were taken illegally and sold over a 6-month period (Florida Fish and Wildlife)

The pair reportedly targeted habitats known for the specific species, eventually depleting the turtle populations so much that they had to expand to other areas of the state to meet their growing demand.

“Wild turtle populations cannot sustain the level of harvest that took place here,” said Dr. Brooke Talley, the Reptile and Amphibian Conservation Coordinator for the FWC. “This will likely have consequences for the entire ecosystem and is a detriment for our citizens and future generations.”

Westlake Legal Group 48859831613_3bd7631496_k Two suspects charged in largest seizure of turtles in recent history, FWC says fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/crime fox-news/us fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox news fnc/us fnc David Aaro article 491ec08e-f360-556e-bb26-92230ca8a23e

The FWC says they launched a sting operation after receiving a tip back in February 2018 (Florida Fish and Wildlife)

The species taken included: Florida box turtles, Eastern box turtles, striped mud turtles, Florida mud turtles, chicken turtles, Florida softshell turtles, Gulf Coast spiny softshell turtles, spotted turtles and diamondback terrapins.

Investigators also found the pair to be in possession of the skull and shell of a protected Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle, the rarest species of sea turtle that’s also on the critically endangered list.

Westlake Legal Group 48859831933_0ddd8e39b5_b Two suspects charged in largest seizure of turtles in recent history, FWC says fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/crime fox-news/us fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox news fnc/us fnc David Aaro article 491ec08e-f360-556e-bb26-92230ca8a23e

The skull and shell of a protected Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle, the rarest species of sea turtle on the critically endangered list. (Florida Fish and Wildlife)

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The seized turtles were given a health evaluation and had their species identified by biologists at the FWC. The agency says over 600 turtles were returned to the wild and two dozen were quarantined and released at a later date. The illegal commercialization of wildlife ranks fourth behind guns, drugs and human smuggling, according to the agency.

Westlake Legal Group 48860380802_d6cddbe734_k Two suspects charged in largest seizure of turtles in recent history, FWC says fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/crime fox-news/us fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox news fnc/us fnc David Aaro article 491ec08e-f360-556e-bb26-92230ca8a23e   Westlake Legal Group 48860380802_d6cddbe734_k Two suspects charged in largest seizure of turtles in recent history, FWC says fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/crime fox-news/us fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox news fnc/us fnc David Aaro article 491ec08e-f360-556e-bb26-92230ca8a23e

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Massive elephant found dead on top of squished crocodile

A fight between an elephant and a crocodile in Africa ended in both creatures dying. But what shocked onlookers is that the massive mammal landed on top of the crocodile, flattening the reptile in the process.

A photo of the bizarre sight was posted to Kafunta Safari’s Facebook page and it was deemed an “extremely strange situation,” with authorities called in to investigate.

“The park authorities were called (to investigate death of elephant and eventually remove the tusks) and they suspect the elephant was injured and the croc was following it, when the elephant collapse while trying to climb the bank of the river,” Kafunta wrote on Facebook. “Squashing the croc. Very strange. The park authorities didn’t find any trace of human foul play in regards to the elephant’s death.”

Westlake Legal Group luangwa-kafunta-safaris-zambia-wildlife-travel Massive elephant found dead on top of squished crocodile fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox-news/science/wild-nature/mammals fox news fnc/science fnc Chris Ciaccia article 1c25dd01-9f1e-5829-803a-f42fd739871f

(Credit: Kafunta Safaris)

ENORMOUS 30-FOOT CROCODILE TERRORIZED DINOSAURS 210M YEARS AGO

The incident, which took place at Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park, was discovered by Kafunta’s guide, Andrew Mwanza, on Oct. 8.

Although elephants outweigh crocodiles by a considerable margin, the dangerous reptiles have been known to attack young elephants or those that are sick or injured. In 2010, National Geographic captured rare photos of a Nile crocodile attacking an adult elephant.

Westlake Legal Group kufanta Massive elephant found dead on top of squished crocodile fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox-news/science/wild-nature/mammals fox news fnc/science fnc Chris Ciaccia article 1c25dd01-9f1e-5829-803a-f42fd739871f

(Credit: Kafunta Safaris)

Nile crocodiles can reach up to 16 feet in length and weigh up to 500 pounds.

“From the pictures I’ve seen, the croc was a small subadult or small adult, and I highly doubt it was trying to take an injured adult elephant down. That seems like a lot of work for a smaller predator, and not in its favor,” Marisa Tellez, co-founder of the Crocodile Research Coalition, said in an interview with LiveScience.

Westlake Legal Group luangwa-safaris-kafunta-zambia-tourism-wildlife Massive elephant found dead on top of squished crocodile fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox-news/science/wild-nature/mammals fox news fnc/science fnc Chris Ciaccia article 1c25dd01-9f1e-5829-803a-f42fd739871f

(Credit: Kafunta Safaris)

“Of course, you will always have more bold individuals that will take more than they bargained for,” Tellez added. “I am also wondering if this may have been a young female defending her nest from an elephant possibly trampling all over it.”

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Westlake Legal Group luangwa-kafunta-safaris-zambia-wildlife-travel Massive elephant found dead on top of squished crocodile fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox-news/science/wild-nature/mammals fox news fnc/science fnc Chris Ciaccia article 1c25dd01-9f1e-5829-803a-f42fd739871f   Westlake Legal Group luangwa-kafunta-safaris-zambia-wildlife-travel Massive elephant found dead on top of squished crocodile fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox-news/science/wild-nature/mammals fox news fnc/science fnc Chris Ciaccia article 1c25dd01-9f1e-5829-803a-f42fd739871f

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Florida wildlife officials capture 18-foot, 98-pound Burmese python

Officials in South Florida captured a record-breaking 18-foot, 4-inch Burmese python in Big Cypress National Preserve last month as part of an ongoing effort to remove the invasive species from the Sunshine State.

Cynthia Downer and Jonathan Lopez of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Python Action Team (FWC PAT) captured the 98-pound, 10-ounce female snake on Sept. 22, the commission announced Friday.

Westlake Legal Group 48799882251_4771f2b8f5_k Florida wildlife officials capture 18-foot, 98-pound Burmese python Melissa Leon fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox-news/science/wild-nature fox-news/great-outdoors fox news fnc/science fnc article 9a38e54a-ca26-5b26-85ce-e1fa597c1207

Cynthia Downer and Jonathan Lopez brought in a 98-pound, 10-ounce python from the Big Cypress National Preserve. (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission)

It is the largest snake ever caught by the team and the largest captured at the Big Cypress preserve. It’s also the second-largest python ever caught in the wild in Florida and just four inches short of being the longest wild python ever captured in Florida.

According to Fox 13 Tampa, the largest python ever caught in Florida was captured in 2013. That female python was over 18 feet, 8 inches long and weighed 128 pounds.

“Capturing large adult females is critical because it prevents them from potentially adding an average of 30 to 60 hatchlings to the population each time they breed,” the FWC said in a statement.

Westlake Legal Group 48799882606_d63ee6a928_k Florida wildlife officials capture 18-foot, 98-pound Burmese python Melissa Leon fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox-news/science/wild-nature fox-news/great-outdoors fox news fnc/science fnc article 9a38e54a-ca26-5b26-85ce-e1fa597c1207

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Python Action Team caught its largest snake last month. (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission)

“These snakes, coupled with the thousands removed by our partners at the National Park Service and the South Florida Water Management District, make a significant impact to protect Florida’s native wildlife,” FWC Executive Director Eric Sutton said in a statement. “With leadership from Gov. Ron DeSantis, we are committed to working with our partners […] to accomplish our goal of removing pythons from our beautiful state.”

PIT BULL DIES AFTER PROTECTING FLORIDA KIDS FROM SNAKE, FAMILY SAYS

Environmentalists say Burmese pythons are responsible for killing deer, alligators and other important wildlife in the state. Their presence in the wild is the result of the snakes escaping or being released from homes where people keep them as pets.

The FWC also announced Friday that its Python Action Team had captured its 900th Burmese python on Sept. 24 in the Everglades and Francis S. Taylor Wildlife Management Area in Miami-Dade County. That snake weighed just a quarter of a pound and measured just over two feet long.

The public can help by reporting snake sightings online, using the app “IVEGOT1” or by calling the state’s Exotic Species Hotline at 888-IveGot1 (888-483-4681), the commission added.

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Westlake Legal Group 48799882606_d63ee6a928_k Florida wildlife officials capture 18-foot, 98-pound Burmese python Melissa Leon fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox-news/science/wild-nature fox-news/great-outdoors fox news fnc/science fnc article 9a38e54a-ca26-5b26-85ce-e1fa597c1207   Westlake Legal Group 48799882606_d63ee6a928_k Florida wildlife officials capture 18-foot, 98-pound Burmese python Melissa Leon fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox-news/science/wild-nature fox-news/great-outdoors fox news fnc/science fnc article 9a38e54a-ca26-5b26-85ce-e1fa597c1207

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Pit bull dies after protecting Florida kids from snake, family says

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6090302634001_6090299845001-vs Pit bull dies after protecting Florida kids from snake, family says Vandana Rambaran fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox-news/lifestyle/pets fox news fnc/us fnc fe7c0644-6b3c-5e06-bd15-da756b59390b article

A Florida family is devastated that an eight-month-old pit bull died Tuesday after protecting two boys from a venomous snake.

Gary and Gina Richardson’s sons were in their backyard Monday in Sumter Country cleaning their dog Zeus’ water bowl when a coral snake slithered undetected up to the two children.

“All of a sudden, he started attacking the snake which was close to my son and he was bit four times,” Gary told Fox 35.

5 ARRESTED IN FLORIDA DOGFIGHTING RING: DOJ

The family rushed Zeus to a vet in Ocala.

“I knew when he first came in that something was wrong and (it) was very traumatic because I knew he was dying,” Gary said.

The vet gave the puppy medicine and the family was hopeful that he would get better, but he died the next day.

“He’s been a member of the family,” Gina said. “It just killed us. We just knew the antivenom was going to work.”

Zeus had lived with the Richardsons since he was born in January.

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“Pit bulls are the most loyal dog I know of, and I’ve had a lot of different animals in my life,” Gary said.

“If you find (a pit bull) that’s aggressive, most likely, it’s because they weren’t treated right,” Gina said. “If you treat them right, they would give their life for you and I owe my son’s life to him.”

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6090302634001_6090299845001-vs Pit bull dies after protecting Florida kids from snake, family says Vandana Rambaran fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox-news/lifestyle/pets fox news fnc/us fnc fe7c0644-6b3c-5e06-bd15-da756b59390b article   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6090302634001_6090299845001-vs Pit bull dies after protecting Florida kids from snake, family says Vandana Rambaran fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox-news/lifestyle/pets fox news fnc/us fnc fe7c0644-6b3c-5e06-bd15-da756b59390b article

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Pit bull dies after protecting Florida kids from snake, family says

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6090302634001_6090299845001-vs Pit bull dies after protecting Florida kids from snake, family says Vandana Rambaran fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox-news/lifestyle/pets fox news fnc/us fnc fe7c0644-6b3c-5e06-bd15-da756b59390b article

A Florida family is devastated that an eight-month-old pit bull died Tuesday after protecting two boys from a venomous snake.

Gary and Gina Richardson’s sons were in their backyard Monday in Sumter Country cleaning their dog Zeus’ water bowl when a coral snake slithered undetected up to the two children.

“All of a sudden, he started attacking the snake which was close to my son and he was bit four times,” Gary told Fox 35.

5 ARRESTED IN FLORIDA DOGFIGHTING RING: DOJ

The family rushed Zeus to a vet in Ocala.

“I knew when he first came in that something was wrong and (it) was very traumatic because I knew he was dying,” Gary said.

The vet gave the puppy medicine and the family was hopeful that he would get better, but he died the next day.

“He’s been a member of the family,” Gina said. “It just killed us. We just knew the antivenom was going to work.”

Zeus had lived with the Richardsons since he was born in January.

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“Pit bulls are the most loyal dog I know of, and I’ve had a lot of different animals in my life,” Gary said.

“If you find (a pit bull) that’s aggressive, most likely, it’s because they weren’t treated right,” Gina said. “If you treat them right, they would give their life for you and I owe my son’s life to him.”

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6090302634001_6090299845001-vs Pit bull dies after protecting Florida kids from snake, family says Vandana Rambaran fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox-news/lifestyle/pets fox news fnc/us fnc fe7c0644-6b3c-5e06-bd15-da756b59390b article   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6090302634001_6090299845001-vs Pit bull dies after protecting Florida kids from snake, family says Vandana Rambaran fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox-news/lifestyle/pets fox news fnc/us fnc fe7c0644-6b3c-5e06-bd15-da756b59390b article

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Huge ‘well-fed’ snake caught in Australia, dubbed ‘Chonk’

A snake catcher in Australia has snared a huge red-bellied black snake, dubbed “Chonk” because of its sturdy appearance.

Reuters reports that the venomous 6-foot snake was caught by Bryce Lockett at a rifle range on the outskirts of Brisbane. Lockett told the news outlet that the snake slithered out of a creek system where it had been kept “well-fed” thanks to fish and frogs.

MUTANT SNAKE WITH THREE WORKING EYES FOUND IN AUSTRALIA

Westlake Legal Group Snake-RT Huge 'well-fed' snake caught in Australia, dubbed 'Chonk' James Rogers fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox news fnc/science fnc article 2dcd579f-d144-501c-bc00-83ef36a4c28c

The huge “well fed” snake. (Snake Catchers Brisbane, Ipswich/via REUTERS)

“Red-bellied Black Snakes are one of the most frequently encountered snakes on the east coast of Australia, and are responsible for a number of bites every year,” says the Australian Museum, on its website. “Despite the number of bites received every year, very few human deaths have resulted.”

The museum explains that many of the snake’s bite victims “experience only mild or negligible” symptoms, although some end up being hospitalized.

HUGE VENOMOUS SNAKE ‘HIDING’ NEAR PLAYGROUND CAPTURED AFTER BRIEF STRUGGLE, VIDEO SHOWS

A large eastern brown snake was recently caught within 16 feet of a children’s playground in Australia.

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Earlier this year, a mutant snake with three working eyes was found in Australia’s Northern Territory.

Fox News’ Chris Ciaccia and Ann W. Schmidt contributed to this article. Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

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