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Amazing Animals ... from UPI

By ALEX CUKAN, UPI Science News   |   March 26, 2003 at 10:00 AM   |   Comments

ORANGUTAN'S 'SOAP' ROLE BREAKS NEW GROUND

On the NBC-TV soap opera "Passions," a female orangutan named Precious has an active fantasy life involving the resident hunk Luis Lopez-Fitzgerald. They haven't met yet, but according to the show's creator, James E. Reilly, the minute the orangutan lays her big, brown eyes on Luis next month, she'll be smitten, the New York Post reports. Believe it or not, Reilly's been hatching the idea for years, after reading an article about monkeys that are trained to help disabled people. He decided to have the orangutan act as caregiver. In the show, she feeds an elderly women. "We are certainly stretching the limits of credulity," says Sheraton Kalouria, head of NBC's daytime programming. "But it is, after all, a soap opera." Although there is lots of fantasy, there will be no hanky-panky between Precious and Luis, thanks to that soap opera staple -- the love triangle.


HOW TO GET FLUFFY FLUFFY

Cat shows are similar to dog shows, except cats are not walked on leashes. They are kept on blocks to be observed by judges, but the grooming is the same. Lots and lots of grooming is necessary to get the pouffy looks that win awards. It could take as many as 12 specialized soaks and a blasting from a hair dryer for long-haired cats to degrease and look their best, reports the Daily Illini, the newspaper of the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. There are numerous products for giving extra sheen to the coat, but experts recommend the first step to good kitty grooming is a top quality diet.


BIG CAT SIGHTING

A woman in Scotland got the shock of her life when she saw a big cat while walking her golden retriever. Aleen Shinnie and her husband, Andy, often walk their dog near Wellside Wynd, a popular spot for taking pets, the Aberdeenshire Press and Journal reports. Describing the big cat as a dark tabby in color with dark stripes and a long tail, Aleen said, "I am totally in awe. I have never in my life seen anything like this before, I kind of panicked." Mark Fraser, of the Scottish Big Cat Society, said it was not that unusual for such animals to venture into populated areas. "They come closer for food and if their territories are expanding because of breeding," said Fraser, who has been investigating the big cat sightings for 15 years. He said he thinks the dog-walker saw a type of African wildcat.


MISCHIEVOUS HAWK

A mischievous hawk in Britain is stepping down from his perch after a series of embarrassing incidents. The problems began when Harry, a Harris hawk, flew off with a spectator's toupee and tried to eat it -- thinking it was live prey, the Web site Ananova reports. The toupee incident occurred during a "dummy bunny" routine when a piece of brown fur was thrown among the audience for him to retrieve. Owner Tom Graham said it was time the bird, which lives at Thorp Perrow Arboretum, in northern England, stopped doing live displays for audiences. In addition to the hairpiece incident, Harry also punctured a bouncy castle and ruined an ice cream vendor's stock when he flew into the vehicle and landed in one of the tubs.


(Got a tip for UPI's Amazing Animals? Please e-mail it to sciencedesk@upi.com)

© 2003 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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