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New wetsuit for Ralph the Penguin

Ralph with his new outfit Credit: Marwell

Marwell Zoo resident and international star Ralph the Humboldt Penguin has been given a trendy new wetsuit. His previous suit became tatty and had to be replaced.

The 18-year-old penguin needs a customised wetsuit because of the unusual way in which he moults. For most of the year his feathers are very patchy, so the wetsuit keeps him warm while protecting him from the elements.

Live rabbits dumped in bag of charity shop donations

A charity shop in Surrey found two live rabbits dumped in the bottom of a bag of donations. Volunteers at the Oxfam store in Guildford believed they must have been there for up to a week. They're now being looked after at an animal rescue centre. The animals have been named Elsa and Ginny, from The Lion King. Elsa, the smaller of the two, is reliant on Ginny. Next Chapter Animal Rescue says it is unable to split the animals up after their ordeal.

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Mystery surrounds deaths of several cats

Police are warning pet owners in Tonbridge, Kent, to be vigilant following a number of deaths of cats in the area.

At least four cats are reported to have died since 11 March, 2017 after appearing to have ingested a toxic substance. The cats were all from homes in the Lambs Bank area.

Owners are reminded not leave open containers of any hazardous or chemicals substances by their properties.

Sergeant Jo Mott said: "There is no evidence at this stage to suggest that these cats may have been deliberately poisoned. However, we would urge owners to be vigilant about what their animals are drinking."

The RSPCA has also been notified of the issue and confirmed there had also been anecdotal reports of several other cats dying in the same area over recent months.

We do not know for sure what is causing these deaths but it is concerning that there have been so many in such a short space of time. It seems likely that these deaths were caused by some kind of poisoning but we do not know from what, or whether it was deliberate or accidental.

In the meantime we would ask everyone in the area to check where they keep their pesticides and chemicals including antifreeze and make sure it is secure and out of the way of cats.

People should check their car radiators for leaks, too. Signs of poisoning can be seen anything from 30 minutes after a cat has ingested the chemical and can include one, or several of the following: vomiting, seeming depressed or sleepy, appearing drunk and uncoordinated, seizures, and difficulty breathing.

– RSPCA

Dog walker stumbles on snake, more than eight feet long!

The snake was discovered in a field Credit: RSPCA

A snake, eight and a half feet long, has been found in a field in Oxfordshire.

The animal welfare charity was contacted on Saturday, 18 March by a member of public who had spotted the giant snake in a field near a housing estate in Banbury while out walking his dog.

The snake was an 8ft 6 inch, 12.2kg boa constrictor but it is unknown how the snake came to be in the field.

Deputy chief inspector Melanie Fisher said: “If anyone thinks they may know who this snake belongs to then we would urge them to get in touch with us by calling our inspectorate appeal line on 0300 123 8018.

“It’s hard to know for sure how this snake came to be in the field but I think the caller got a bit of a surprise. It’s not everyday you stumble upon an 8ft snake while out walking the dog.

“The snake may have escaped from a vivarium or may have been abandoned. Sadly she's not microchipped so we do not know where she has come from. She is still in our care and is now doing really well despite the cold weather."

Snakes aren’t able to produce their own body heat and so being outdoors in the UK, especially during cold weather, can be really serious as their body can’t function normally outside the correct temperature range.

The RSPCA is seeing a growing number of exotic animals - including snakes - being abandoned, because they are too much of a commitment for some people.

UPDATE: Dog thrown from car will get a forever home

Credit: Surrey Police

Yesterday we visited Jace to see how she was coping after callously being thrown from a moving van on the M23 in West Sussex.

The female Lurcher suffered two broken legs and a badly injured tail.

Animal rescue shelter - Foal Farm - who is looking after her have confirmed that there is a lot of interest in Jace and they will take time going through the applications before sending her off to a forever home.

"There are a lot of people who want Jace, we still have a couple of weeks with her to ensure she is completely better. While we focus on her therapy we will also be going through the hundreds of applications for her forever home."

– Spokesperson for Foal Farm

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On the road to recovery: Dog thrown from moving van

Nicknamed Jace by the animal rescue charity that are looking after her

An animal charity in Kent is now caring for a dog that was heartlessly thrown from a moving van on a motorway in Sussex.

The female Lurcher Cross was thrown out along the M23 near Gatwick Airport on Thursday 2nd March.

But, as the below video shows, she's bounced back from injuries with a little TLC and is now full of life.

A passing motorist stopped to help and Surrey Police officers took the dog to a vet.

Luckily, she survived but was left with two broken legs and flesh wounds.

Hunt for driver who threw dog out of car at 70mph

She was thrown out of the back of a van along the M23 Credit: Surrey Police

Police are hunting for a driver who threw a dog out of a van on the motorway in Sussex.

The female Lurcher Cross was thrown out the vehicle along the M23 near Gatwick Airport at around 4pm on Thursday 2nd March.

Someone threw her from the back of a vehicle, believed to be a van, as it was travelling northbound between junctions nine and eight.

A passing motorist stopped to help and Surrey Police officers took the dog to a vet. She was treated for two broken legs and is now being cared for by an animal charity.

“This really is a cruel and distressing incident and I’m appealing for anyone who knows who might be responsible to do the right thing and call us with information so we can bring the offender to justice.

– PC Sam Ainsworth
The dog suffered two broken legs in the incident Credit: Surrey Police

Dog walker rescues dumped kittens after hearing tiny miaows in suitcase

Credit: RSPCA

The RSPCA is investigating after a cat and her eight kittens were found abandoned inside a zipped-up suitcase on a disused railway line.

The black and white cat, now named Tarini, and her five week-old babies were discovered by a passing dog walker in a remote spot between Great Yeldham and Castle Hedingham in Halstead, Essex, on Tuesday 7th March. They were inside a navy blue case with a Polo logo.

The passer by took the animals home for safety and called the RSPCA. Animal welfare officers say they were very thin, and looked like they hadn't had much food for a while. The mother, Tarini, had to be put on a drip and receive intensive care at the vets as she was very dehydrated. She has since recovered well and is back at an Essex centre with her kittens.

The kittens have all been named after characters from Disney film The Aristocats - Toulouse (male, tabby/white), Tiny Tim (male black/white), Scat Cat (male, tabby), Berloiz (male, black), Alli (male tabby), Duchess (female tabby), Marie (female, black), Eve (female tabby).

Animal welfare officers say they hope the animals will be available for rehoming soon.

The RSPCA is urging anyone with any information to call, in complete confidence, on 0300 123 8018.

It was pure chance that this woman happened to find these little kittens and their mum.

She was walking along the disused rail track when she wandered past a dumped suitcase, not thinking anything of it until her dog stopped and started sniffing it.

She took a closer look and heard tiny miaows coming from the case, so opened the zip a tiny bit - and was shocked to discover nine pairs of eyes peering back.

The mother cat and eight kittens had been just zipped up in the case and discarded. Who knows how long they had been there - it must have been terrifying for them. It would not have ended well had this kindly woman not come to their rescue - I have no doubt they would have suffered for days.”

– Donna Smith, RSPCA Animal Collections Officer (ACO)

Police spot more than two hundred sheep on the loose

Credit: Thames Valley Police

Police officers have helped to return more than two hundred sheep that had been on the loose in Newbury.

The Thames Valley Police officers were able to direct the animals safely back to their owner.

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