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Rare poison dart frogs are born at Bristol Aquarium

A very rare poison dart frog with, clearly, something to say Credit: Steve Chester

Bristol Aquarium is getting very excited about eight tadpoles in their care. That's because they are the young of the centre's rare phantasmal poison dart frogs, believed to be one of the most toxic amphibians in the world.

The species is on the endangered list and is now thought only to survive at seven sites on mountains in Ecuador.

They are very difficult to breed in captivity and the Aquarium is making sure the youngsters are well looked after in a separate tank with a special diet as they grow legs.

It will be at least two months before they go on general display. The Aquarium says it's delighted that another batch aren't that far behind them.

Daddy (or is that mummy) to be - the poison dart frog and its clutch of spawn Credit: Steve Chester

PHANTASMAL POISON DART FROG FACT: Scientists have discovered that an extract from the skin can block pain 200 times more effectively than morphine, without addiction and other serious side effects.


Injured deer rescued by police officer in Somerset

The injured deer has been nursed back to health and released into the wild Credit: Avon & Somerset Police

A police officer has rescued an injured deer she found lying by the road near Frome. PC Lucy Bagnowiec came across the animal on Nunney Road while on patrol earlier this month.

PC Bagnowiec took it to a local farmer who is an animal expert. She says:

“The poor thing had an injured eye and was obviously in a state of shock. The farmer put it in a stable with a heat lamp, fed and watered and nursed it, and after four or five days it was well enough to be released.

She goes on to say, “It’s nice to report a happy ending - and just shows you never know what a day as a police officer will bring.”

VIDEO: Baby swans learn to ring bells at Wells

Cygnets born at the beginning of the month at the Bishop's Palace in Wells have learned to ring a bell for food in record time. The 11 baby swans are keeping up a tradition which began in the 1870s.

The cygnets were spotted by staff ringing the bell at the weekend who are amazed that they didn't need to be tempted by bread attached to the cord.

The video shows the youngsters being shown what to do by their parent and then you see them getting the hang of pulling the bell rope themselves.

You can follow the adventures of the young family on the Bishop's Palace Swancam.


PHOTOS: Harvey the Jack Russell in rescue ordeal

A small dog is recovering from a big ordeal after getting stuck down a hole near Bath.

Harvey the Jack Russell put firefighters through their paces when he disappeared down an opening under a large rock at Brown's Folly during a walk with his owner, Simon Tapcott and friends.

The crews dug their way down to him in a two and a half hour operation. Light had begun to fade and they were about to give up when they spotted him, pulled him out and returned him to his owner unharmed. He recorded the whole incident on camera.

Harvey looks none the worse for his ordeal - but he certainly put the fire service through their paces Credit: Simon Tapcott
The fire crew left their engine at the car park to Brown's Folly nature reserve before leaving on their quest to find two-year-old Harvey Credit: Simon Tapcott
Harvey slipped down a hole under a big rock and the firefighters dug down to find him Credit: Simon Tapcott
It's thought Harvey might have been chasing a rabbit or fox. Either way it made for a very awkward rescue Credit: Simon Tapcott
The three firefighters worked for two and a half hours to find Harvey and it was getting dark before they spotted him Credit: Simon Tapcott
Relief all round as the team brought Harvey to safety - just as they were going to give up the search Credit: Simon Tapcott

Sextuplets born to sheep in Dorset

This sheep at Colesmoor Farm in Dorset is the proud mother of sextuplets Credit: Farm Stay UK

A rare set of sextuplet lambs have been born at a farm in Toller Porcorum near Dorchester. They arrived last week are still thriving.

Rorie Geddes, the owner of Colesmoor Farm, says, "Although we have lots of triplets and quadruplets and the occasional quintuplet from our 300 ewes, we have never heard of a commercial ewe having six good lambs. Mum to the six healthy lambs is a five year old Roussin cross Mule ewe.

"She had been scanned to have five lambs so it was a nice surprise for Emily, our night time lamber, when a sixth turned up. She will probably rear three of them and the other three will join our other orphan lambs.”

Bath sensory garden helps calm dogs

An animal shelter in Bath has come up with a new way to try to calm the dogs in its care - by building them a sensory garden.

Volunteers and workers at the Bath Cats and Dogs home have used selected flowers, and built sandpits, play areas and ponds to provide the perfect place for pent-up pooches to unwind.

Jane Solomons reports.

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