I’m a sucker for a sweet animal story. My friends send me every e-mail forward about hippos who befriend dogs and squirrels who are family pets. I guess that’s why I loved all the animal stories in National Geographic Kids magazine. If you have a young person in your life who loves animals, this is the perfect magazine.
Here are some of my favorite stories from the February 2011 issue:
Dog Loves Owl. When 2-week-old Eurasian eagle owl Bramble arrived at a bird of prey sanctuary in England, her first friend wasn’t a feathered flyer but an English springer spaniel named Sophi. For the past 2 years, the pair has been inseparable, even though their friendship would never bloom in the wild. (Owls prey on small mammals about Sophi’s size.) But these two look out for each other. Before the bird takes off for her flights each morning, the dog gives her a good grooming, including licking her beak.
Dolphin Plays With iPad. Apparently the iPad rage has swept the land and sea. Merlin the dolphin, who lives in Puerto Aventuras, Mexico, enjoys playing the game “Same, Different” on the device with his trainer Jack Kassewitz. After Merlin touches the screen with his beak, he’s shown a photo of a real toy. He then swims off to find a real toy match of whatever he saw in the photo. Researchers hope the iPad will improve communication between humans and dolphins.
The Seal Who Loved Me. The cover story of this month’s issue is all about one photographer’s encounter with a leopard seal in the waters of Antarctica. Determined to prove the animals aren’t the vicious beasts they’re portrayed to be in the movies, photographer Paul Nicklen spends five days in the water with a female seal who could eat him in one bite. The story is a fascinating and up-close look at this wild animal who at first asserts her dominance over Nicklen and then takes him in as a friend she protects.