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WebClawer: Lost cat turns up on TV; Massachusetts pastor invites pets to church; shrinking sheep a result of climate change?

July 2, 2009 |  6:50 pm

Sheep

From shrinking sheep to photogenic chipmunks, the Web is chock-full of animal news today.  A few of our favorite stories:

-- When we think of the effects of climate change on animals, images of polar bears and penguins are often the first to pop into our heads.  But a new study, published in the journal Science, shows that these frigid-temperature dwellers aren't the only animals affected by rising temperatures.  Researchers studied feral Soay sheep on the remote Scottish island of Hirta, crunching a huge amount of data about them.  What they found was intriguing and seemingly contradictory to conventional wisdom about evolution: the sheep have grown steadily smaller (at a rate of almost 3 ounces each year) since 1985.  (L.A. Times)

-- Cornwall, England resident Jackie Ellery was wondering where her cat was when a friend called to ask, "Have you seen your cat on the telly?"  Turns out that Tango the cat had wandered into a taping of BBC1's Question Time, a political roundtable show, where he caught the eye of Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament Julia Goldsworthy.  Apparently Tango, a one-year-old orange tabby, has become a local celebrity following his TV appearance; Ellery says she's even been asked for his "paw-tograph."  (Daily Mail)

-- Two Hermann's tortoises in Buckinghamshire, England, are recovering from a dog attack with the aid of pink plaster casts meant to help repair their damaged shells.  Veterinarians say they expect the two (whom they've named Humpty and Dumpty, naturally) to make a full recovery, although their shells will probably never look the same.  "They both seem quite alert and content and are moving around," said Kate Cornell of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which has launched an investigation into the incident.  (Telegraph)

-- You've heard about Take Your Dog to Work Day, but have you heard about ... taking your pet to church?  Pastor Rachel Bickford of Pilgrim Congregational Church in North Weymouth, Mass., instituted a people-and-pets church service last October.  Since then, she's seen increased Sunday turnout; one parishioner, a woman battling breast cancer, told her, "Whenever I’m tempted to stay in bed, I remember my responsibility to [my dog] Diego. We’ve made so many new friends from bringing him to church."  Bickford says she was inspired by a favorite verse, Psalm 148, which reads, "Let all wild animals and small creatures and flying birds praise the Lord."  (Guideposts)

-- You've never seen "Star Wars" the way it's presented here: Amateur photographer Chris McVeigh befriended the chipmunks that live in his garden and took a series of wonderfully bizarre photos of the little guys posing with action figures.  (Metro U.K.)

-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo: Soay sheep on St. Kilda Archipelago near Scotland.  Credit: Associated Press

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