10 Bizarre Wildlife Stories From 2015

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People love animals when they’re cute and cuddly. We don’t love them so much when they’re trying to make us their next meal. In what has become an annual tradition here at Listosaur, we’ve gathered a collection of stories recounting some of mankind’s more bizarre encounters with nature in 2015. Some of these tales have a familiar theme, like the alligator that ate a hapless swimmer. Others, like the “zombie cat” now involved in a lawsuit, are off-the-charts weird.

 

10. Man Fined For Living With Two Deer in His Home

Wildlife officials busted a West Virginia man who had two deer living in his home. Credit: West Virginia Department of Natural Resources

Wildlife officials busted a West Virginia man who had two deer living in his home. Credit: West Virginia Department of Natural Resources

A public tip led authorities to visit a Cabell County, W.Va., man’s home, where they discovered two deer living inside. While wildlife officers found plenty of deer food (hay) in the house, the man denied the deer actually lived there, saying they could leave anytime they wanted. Officers set the two deer free, and the man paid a $300 fine for illegal possession of wildlife. (Question on the above photo: Why is the man’s face blotted out — but not the deer’s face? Shouldn’t the deer be equally ashamed of this lurid situation?)

 

9. Family Finds Shark in The Backyard

One Virginia Beach family was stunned to find a baby shark in their backyard. © ABC13.com

One Virginia Beach family was surprised to find a baby shark in the backyard. © ABC13.com

A family in Virginia Beach got a big surprise in July when the children found a shark in their backyard. The 13-inch dogfish shark had likely been snatched from the ocean by a predatory bird, which then lost its grip. As the mother told WAVY TV, “Hopefully not too many more will be falling from the sky.”

 

8. NFL Player Faced Felony For Barking at Police Dog

Oakland Raiders linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong potentially faced felony charges for allegedly barking at and taunting a police dog. © WTAE Pittsburgh

Oakland Raiders linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong potentially faced felony charges for allegedly barking at and taunting a police dog. © WTAE Pittsburgh

Oakland Raiders linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong must have been pumped full of adrenaline as he ran on the field for a game at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field. Spotting a police dog in a stadium tunnel, Armstrong reportedly began beating his chest, jumping around and yelling and screaming at the explosives-detection dog. If that sounds extremely juvenile but somewhat harmless, consider this: taunting a police dog is a third-degree felony in Pennsylvania. One Pittsburgh media outlet even ran a poll asking if Armstrong should be charged. Authorities ultimately decided not to press charges. Said Raiders coach Jack Del Rio, “I’ve caught wind of this story. Going to put it in the silly category.”

 

7. Squirrel Gets Drunk, Ransacks Bar

A squirrel — not this one — broke into a UK club, got drunk and ransacked the place. © Corey Seeman

A squirrel — not this one — broke into a UK club, got drunk and ransacked the place. © Corey Seeman

Squirrels can cause more damage than people realize, capable of chewing through wiring and causing house fires. But give a squirrel a few beers, and things get really crazy. An official at the Honeybourne Railway Club in Worcestershire, England, told the Independent.Co.UK when he arrived to open the club one night, he found the place had been “absolutely ransacked.” The culprit emerged when a squirrel staggered out from beneath the bar. The floor was covered in broken bottles and beer, and the squirrel had learned how to turn on the beer taps and open snacks.

 

6. Alligator Eats Suspected Burglar Hiding in Lake

Alligators kill one or two people a year in the United States.

An alligator ate a suspected burglar who hid in a lake.

A 22-year-old Florida man who told his girlfriend he would be going to a neighborhood to commit burglaries had his plans foiled when neighbors spotted him and called police. The man apparently hid in a nearby lake. We say apparently, because his body was recovered from the lake 10 days later with wounds consistent with an alligator attack. Wildlife officers found the man’s hand and foot in the gator’s stomach.

 

5. Dolphin Flies into Boat, Injures Woman

Soaring dolphins are a spectacular sight — until one of them lands in your boat. © Chase Cheviron

Soaring dolphins are a spectacular sight — until one of them lands in your boat. © Chase Cheviron

Chrissie Frickman was boating off the California coast this summer with her husband and two teen-age children when they spotted a pod of dolphins doing what dolphins do — leaping out of the water, flipping and splashing around. They steered over for a closer look when the unthinkable happened — one of the dolphins flipped into the boat, knocking Frickman down and fracturing both her ankles. “It was almost like it fell out of the sky,” Frickman told KTLA TV. Orange County sheriff’s deputies responded to the family’s call for help, and helped Frickman’s husband and son get the thrashing dolphin back into the water.

 

4. Man Named ‘Bear’ Kills Gator to Avenge Friend’s Death

A man who identified himself as "Bear" killed this alligator who ate his friend. ©˙ Beaumont Enterprise

A man who identified himself as “Bear” killed this alligator that ate his friend. © Beaumont Enterprise

Early this summer, a man at a Texas marina ignored a sign warning, “No Swimming, Alligators.” When he jumped in the water, an alligator promptly attacked and killed him. In most cases, that would be the end of the story. But this man had a friend who wanted revenge. The friend, who identified himself to a reporter as “Bear,” shot and killed the 11-foot gator. Game wardens found remains of the unfortunate swimmer inside the alligator. “He had to go,” Bear told the Houston Chronicle. “That’s what happens when you kill someone.”

 

3. ‘Zombie Cat’ Rises From Grave, Now Part of Lawsuit

Bart the cat clawed his way out of a grave after being prematurely buried.

Bart the cat clawed his way out of a grave after being buried. Now he’s involved in something even worse than being buried alive — a lawsuit.

In a tale that evokes images of Stephen King’s chiller Pet Sematary, a cat that had been thought to be dead and was later buried dug its way out of the grave. And now it’s involved in something even worse than being buried alive — a lawsuit. After a car struck Bart the cat, his owner and a neighbor buried the cat. However, five days later, a different neighbor spotted the cat walking around. Although covered with wounds and maggots, it was very much alive. The Humane Society of Tampa Bay gave Bart a transfusion, removed an eye, and nursed the cat back to health. The society president says it doesn’t want to release the cat back to its owner (we’re thinking, maybe because the owner buried it alive?) The owner filed a lawsuit to regain custody of the cat.

 

2. Man’s Pet Yorkie Scares Away Bigfoot

A North Carolina man claims his pet yorkie chased away a Bigfoot. © Peter Dutton

A North Carolina man claims his pet Yorkie chased away a Bigfoot. © Peter Dutton

Yes, a Bigfoot sighting is lunatic fringe news, but we’re recounting a story first reported by WBTV in Charlotte. Erik Walters claims he was in the mountains at a rented cabin near Asheville when he saw what appeared to be a bear. “I quickly realized it was not a bear, but a Sasquatch,” the man said. Walters grabbed his cellphone and started filming the creature when his pet Yorkshire Terrier, Zippy, got loose and chased it away. So, the tiny Zippy either saved Walters’ life by chasing away the creature … or he cost his owner millions of dollars the man would have undoubtedly earned from the first documented video of a Bigfoot. We’ll never know. “I’ve read that some people think I was a little over dramatic, but how would you react to a Sasquatch?” Walters asks. Here’s a look at Walters’ Bigfoot video, courtesy of WBTV.

 

1. Pro Surfer Fights Off Shark During Competition

Pro surfer Mick Fanning fought off a great white shark attack on live TV during a competition.

Pro surfer Mick Fanning fought off a great white shark attack on live TV during a competition.

In an event captured on live TV, pro surfer Mick Fanning fought off an attack by a great white shark during a competition this summer in South Africa. Fanning battled the shark for around 30 seconds, even punching it at one point, before a quick-thinking jet skier rescued him. Not surprisingly, the attack lit up social media.

 

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