Topic: Animals

Current Event January 6, 2020

Weird News: Rats Driving Cars

Technology Animals Weird News

Listen and learn how researchers have taught lab rats how to drive cars.

Vocabulary: navigate, maneuver, extraordinary

Read More

Current Event January 2, 2020

Unlikely Animal Friends

Animals Diversity and Adaptation

A Pennsylvania animal shelter put up a horse and a goose for adoption – together. That is because, as best friends, the members of this unlikely duo cannot bear to be apart. Listen to hear a surprising story of friendship between two animals from different species and learn how their bond developed.

Update: Since this story first aired, the pair has been adopted.

Read More

Current Event December 30, 2019

Weird News: Dog Runs for Governor

Animals Law Ethics Weird News

Listen to hear what happened when a man signed up his dog to run for Governor of Kansas.

Vocabulary: qualifications, disqualify

Read More

Current Event December 23, 2019

Weird News: Eagles Adopt a Hawk

Animals Science

Listen and learn about a family of eagles who adopted a baby hawk.

Vocabulary: avid, observe

Read More

Current Event December 17, 2019

Electric Eel Lights Christmas Tree

Animals Electricity

An electric eel is lighting up a Christmas tree at the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga. The eel, named Miguel Wattson, emits pulses of electricity that cause the lights to flicker and blink. Visitors are delighted, and the aquarium hopes they gain a new appreciation for the species. Listen to learn how Miguel’s meals affect the brightness of the tree lights and what his Twitter followers are seeing.

Read More

Science

Frogs and Metamorphosis

Animals Ecosystems Diversity and Adaptation

Frogs are well adapted to their environment. They absorb water and oxygen through their skin which allows them to eat and breathe underwater. They are powerful jumpers and good hunters. But perhaps their most unusual adaptation is metamorphosis, the process of changing from tadpole to frog. Metamorphosis helps frogs live successfully in both wet and semi-dry environments, vary their diets, and avoid predators. Listen to hear an animal scientist explain how metamorphosis helps frogs survive, and why they eat their own tails in the process.

Read More

Science

Bears and Hibernation

Environment Animals Ecosystems

A variety of adaptations help animals survive the winter, when temperatures drop and food is scarce. Some migrate, some change how they eat and find ways to stay warm, and some hibernate, essentially going to sleep for many months. Listen to learn about how different animals adapt to the changing seasons and find out what happens when bears hibernate.

Read More

Science

Animal Superpowers

Animals Diversity and Adaptation

Animals have adapted to their environments in a wide variety of ways and developed a range of survival strategies. This audio story highlights a selection of interesting animal ”superpowers,” many of which offer ecological advantages to both predators and prey. Listen to hear about the difference between poison and venom and learn how two particularly lethal creatures compare: the box jellyfish and the golden poison frog.

Read More

Current Event December 11, 2019

New Law Protects Police Dogs

Animals Law

Trained dogs regularly report for duty at police stations and military agencies throughout the country. These obedient animals loyally serve their human handlers, often assisting with difficult, dangerous tasks. But what happens to police dogs when they retire? Texas lawmakers recently settled this question when they voted to amend their state constitution. Listen to learn what they decided and how the new law will affect Texas police dogs who have completed their service.

Read More

Science

Big Eared Bats

Animals Sound Diversity and Adaptation

Bats, the only flying mammal, often go unappreciated. They are a diverse species, varied in size and habitat. Their ability to hunt in the dark using echolocation, or a series of high-pitched squeaks that bounce off their prey, is a unique adaptation. This audio story highlights fascinating facts about bats: their size, where they make their homes, and how they use echolocation to hunt for dinner.

Read More

Current Event December 4, 2019

Living With Bears

Animals Human Impacts Conservation

Residents of Asheville, North Carolina find bears eating out of dog bowls, rummaging through garbage, and shaking seeds out of bird feeders. Instead of controlling the large population of black bears living in the area, the city lets them roam free. Asheville citizens have found ways to coexist with the large and sometimes dangerous woodland creatures that wander into their neighborhoods. Listen to hear a bear-friendly resident share strategies for living safely with local black bears.

Read More

Current Event November 13, 2019

Saving Coral Through Captive Breeding

Animals Oceans Ecology Conservation Reproduction

Coral reefs are endangered all around the world. Scientists are working on a variety of solutions to protect these important ecosystems and species. Recently, one Florida-based team was able to successfully breed corals in a lab. This is quite an accomplishment, especially since corals are delicate and require specific conditions to reproduce. Listen to learn how the Florida scientists managed to get corals to breed in a lab, and find out what it might mean for coral reefs around the world.

Read More

Current Event October 30, 2019

Birds Are Disappearing

Environment Animals Human Impacts Ecosystems Ecology Conservation

According to a new report, bird populations are generally decreasing throughout North America. Having fewer birds could negatively impact our ecosystems and our lives. However, there are steps we can take to help our feathered friends bounce back. Listen to learn what factors are causing bird populations to decline and some simple steps people can take to help slow the trend.

Read More

Current Event October 29, 2019

Vampire Bats

Animals Biology Viruses

With their sharp teeth and thirst for blood, vampire bats can be frightening. They have been known to bite the feet of sleeping children, and they sometimes spread disease. But these fuzzy, wrinkle-nosed creatures are also loving friends. Listen to learn more facts, both scary and surprising, about the legendary vampire bat.

Read More

Current Event October 23, 2019

Fighting Aggressive Seagulls

Environment Animals Human Impacts

The boardwalk in Ocean City, New Jersey, was plagued by food-stealing seagulls. They would dive down and snatch French fries, pizza, and even ice-cream right out of people’s hands. The city devised a creative solution to remedy this situation–more birds! Listen to learn how bringing in bigger birds made the boardwalk a friendlier place.

Read More

Current Event October 9, 2019

Newly Discovered Leech

Health Animals Diversity and Adaptation

Would you be willing to wade into swamp water filled with bloodsucking worms? That is exactly what scientists did in order to learn more about leeches. Their efforts paid off when they discovered a brand new species of leech. Listen to hear how this recently discovered parasite uses its three jaws and why it is called a “medicinal” leech.

Read More

Current Event October 2, 2019

Squirrels Are Listening

Environment Animals Ecosystems Language Ecology Diversity and Adaptation

Have you ever wondered what chirping birds might be saying to each other? Squirrels seem to understand communications between their feathered neighbors, and they use this information to help them stay alive. Recently, scientists decided to see just how much information “eavesdropping” squirrels gather from birds. Listen to discover what they learned and how these animals’ networks operate “almost like Facebook.”

Read More

Current Event September 25, 2019

How to Avoid Snake Bites

Health Environment Animals

Recent weather has led to an increase in snake populations across the United States. Given this trend, it is important to understand how to avoid being bitten by these animals and what to do if the worst case scenario does occur. Listen to hear insights from a biologist and an emergency room doctor about how to avoid snake bites and how to handle them if necessary.

Read More

Current Event September 18, 2019

Fireflies Thriving

Animals Ecosystems Biology Conservation

People have noticed more fireflies, or “lightning bugs,” than usual in Chicago this summer. In this story, a scientist who has been studying these insects explains why he thinks fireflies are currently thriving in the area, what this might mean for local ecosystems, and what can be done to help cultivate the firefly population. Listen to learn more about these popular summer insects and how they “light the way” in the ecosystems where they live.

Read More