Friday, 30 March 2012

Decision 2012: 10 Most Random Indie Party Candidates...so far

6a00d8341bf67c53ef0168e95dbdcc970c-450wiCould a wee preying mantis be America's favorite pet? How about a crusty sandcrab or guinea pig sporting a jaunty chapeau? These candidates are but a few examples of the the pet candidate diversity defining this year’s contest to elect America’s favorite pet, better known as Animal Planet's Decision 2012, Animal Planet's all-important race that will determine once and for all who and what is America's favorite pet!

Decision 2012 is open to all breeds and creeds and our most recent check of the leaderboard did not disappoint in the candidate diversity department! Check out our top ten most random candidates running for the "Other" or Independent ticket in Decision 2012!

Top 10 Most Random Candidates Running For Decision 2012...thus far!

1) Shy Leia the Hedgehog -She gets a bit prickly when you ask her to discuss the issues.

Shy Leia the Hedgehog

2) Nala the Bathing Bunny - Gotta hand it to her for submitting a shot of herself in the tub for her political candidacy. Bold.

Nala the Bathing Bunny

3) BunBun the itty bitty rodent - Just 'BunBun' (No breed or creed was provided.) Is he a Gerbil? Dwarf hamster?

BunBun the itty bitty rodent

4)  Drake the Leatherback Bearded Dragon - Ironic beards are really hot right now, so he has a chance.

Drake the Leatherback Bearded Dragon

5) Lacy the sand crab - She also gets crabby when you ask her about the issues. Here she is photographed in front of her oceanfront beach house.

Cookie The Guinea Pig

7) Eve the British Green Praying Mantis - Perhaps she has a lock on the religious right?

Eve the British Green Praying Mantis

8) Blink the Tree Frog - He can help you lower your auto insurance.

Blink the Tree Frog

9)  Luca the cricket.

Luca the cricket

10) Jane Doe the crafty caterpillar.

Jane Doe the crafty caterpillar

Is your pet deserving of the title of America's favorite pet? Now is your chance to weigh in and submit your candidates and votes for America's favorite pet. Dogs, cats, fish, gerbils, otters, horses, rabbits, birds, ferrets, pigs... critters of all walks, breeds and creeds are welcomed to submit their candidacy!

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Wednesday, 28 March 2012

World's smallest dog, Beyonce, fits on an iPhone

The world's smallest puppy named after one of the world's biggest pop stars, Beyoncé, was so tiny at birth she could fit on a spoon.

World's smallest dog, Beyonce, fits on an iPhoneThe puppy named Beyonce after one of the world's biggest pop stars could set the world's record for tiniest dog.

MEET the tiny pup vying for the title of world's smallest dog - a miniscule Dachsund mix who fits on an iPhone.

The 10cm pup called Beyonce was so tiny when she was born she could fit onto a spoon.

Rescuers at the Grace Foundation Animal Shelter in northern California plucked pregnant mum Casey from the streets and oversaw the birth of the five pup litter on March 8.

357322-tiny-puppyAnimal rescuers in Northern California say that Beyonce was so small at birth that she could fit into a spoon.

Itty-bitty Beyonce was last out, but vets had to work frantically to revive her with chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation when she was born with no heartbeat.

Now three-weeks-old, the pint-sized pup named after one of the world's most famous popstars is being fed hourly through a bottle.

355835-tiny-puppyAnimal rescuers in Northern California bottle feed the tiny puppy, called Beyonce.

The proud team who brought her back to life have submitted an application to Guinness World Records to have her crowned world's smallest dog.

It would be a doggone shame if she missed out.

357312-tiny-puppyTo show just how small she is the Dachshund mix puppy, named Beyonce is photographed next to a cookieTo show just how small she is the Dachshund mix puppy, named Beyonce is photographed next to a cookie.

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Wednesday, 21 March 2012

15 Ridiculously Adorable Baby Owls

Soft toys have nothing on this little one's plush down! Little Owlet

We're not sure if it's the wide eyes, fluffy down, tiny size or a combination of all three that makes baby owls so adorable, but whichever it is, it works! Unlike many other birds (which are often born naked and gangly) owlets have the advantage, at least in our eyes, of being adorable pretty much from birth. Not only that, but each species has its own particular charm, as proven by this collection of captivating photographs — which will have you longing to reach out and hold these precious little balls of fluff yourself!

Owl8jpg.img_assist_custom-600x590Photo: Kms

The Little Owl may be a notably small breed of owl (growing from 23 to 27.5 cm in length) but it also appears to be one of the bravest. Not only does it often hunt in daylight; it also does so in heavily populated areas. Little owls will stand their ground and not be scared from their perches even by passing humans. Yet, however courageous it may be, there’s no denying the cuteness of the little critter captured on camera here! The genus name, Athene noctua, derives from this owl’s association with the Ancient Greek Goddess Athena, who was often depicted with an owl perched on her head.

Puffy? Who are you calling puffy? Boreal Owlet

Baby OwlsPhoto: Marios Hadjianastasis

Here’s another owl that gets its name from a Greek god: the Boreal Owl, named after Boreas, god of the north wind. Outside of North America, however, it’s usually called Tengmalm’s Owl after Swedish naturalist Peter Gustaf Tengmalm, who was (mistakenly) thought to have been the first to describe the species. Still, whatever its name, we think you'll agree this is one very cute baby owl! We love the juvenile shades of brown... Fluff-ball-tastic!

I can see you! Barred Owlet

Owl2jpgPhoto: Matthew Paulson

This adorable baby has a lot of names for just a little bird. The Barred Owl is also known as the Swamp Owl, Striped Owl, Hoot Owl, Eight Hooter and Rain Owl... among others! Perhaps appropriately for an owl with so many names, the Barred Owl is a particularly vocal species. It’s distinctive cry of “Hoo, hoo, too-HOO; hoo, hoo, too-HOO, ooo” is often heard by people as “Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you, all?” No mistaking that for any other bird call... And no mistaking how sweet this doe-eyed little youngster looks, either!

Don't worry, just stay close to me until the big scary humans are gone... Sunda Scops Owlets

Owl3jpg.img_assist_custom-600x450Photo: Irawan Subingar

Only a few weeks out of their eggs, these gorgeously fluffy Sunda Scops Owls are no doubt waiting for their parents to bring them back a tasty treat. Like most owls, Scops owlets are reared by both parents until they’re ready to survive on their own. Scops Owl parents have a habit of using cavity nests abandoned by other species — not that we're complaining about the recycling aspect of this! Found on the Malay Peninsula and surrounding islands, Sunda Scops seem to have adapted well to human habitation, for they are to be found in gardens and buildings.

Hang on, this isn't my nest! Barn Owlet

Owl14jpg.img_assist_custom-600x398Photo: Monteen McCord

The distinctive-looking Barn Owl is not only the most widely distributed owl species but also one of the most widely distributed birds of any kind on Earth. Humans and Barn Owls have a long history together, as Barn Owls have been nesting in man-made lofts and steeples for centuries. Other names for the Barn Owl are Silver Owl, Golden Owl, Church Owl, and the more sinister sounding Death Owl and Ghost Owl — no doubt arising from their white colour and the mask-like appearance of their faces. This little guy doesn't look much like a Death Owl, though. It's a bit too cute for that.

Uh-oh, humans. Act casual... Great Horned Owlets

Owl1jpg.img_assist_custom-600x400Photo: Gary M Stolz

These three aren’t the original occupiers of their nest, but there’s a good chance they’re the cutest! Great Horned Owls don’t bother building their own homes, especially when they can take over those of other birds. They’re also not that fussy, and if no nests are available, they’ll lay their eggs in cliffs, tree cavities, and even in abandoned buildings. This ability to adapt has contributed to their position as the most widely distributed owls in the Americas.

If I don't look at them, maybe they'll just go away... Eastern Screech Owlet

Owl10jpg.img_assist_custom-600x450Photo: Monteen McCord

This baby Screech Owl provides us with an impressive example of the fluffy down that owls are born with. This down helps keep them warm while they are small and exposed to the elements — mainly due to their parents’ lack of nest-building skills! Later on, owls will develop regular feathers, which the Screech Owl will sometimes flatten against its body to disguise itself as a branch stub when threatened. Aww!

Can we stay with you? Pretty please? Tawny Owlets

Owl5jpg.img_assist_custom-600x407Photo: Don Robinson

These poor little babies are orphans, rescued by the Screech Owl Sanctuary in Cornwall. We don’t know how they might have got there, especially since Tawny Owls are famed for aggressively protecting their young. They will fly at dogs, cats and even humans to scare them away from their nests. At least two people in Britain have lost eyes to angry Tawny Owls, including the well-known bird photographer Eric Hosking. So if you happen to see a Tawny Owl nest, best keep your distance — however adorable the babies inside might look!

Well, this is kind of embarrassing... Eastern Screech Owlet

Owl11jpg_0.img_assist_custom-600x398Photo: Monteen McCord

Here we have another Eastern Screech Owl, this one sat next to a lemon so you can see just how tiny it is! Baby owls may look small and helpless but they are actually surprisingly tough. They have to be. As we mentioned earlier, owl parents are not known for their nest building skills, and so the nests in which baby owls are reared can be pretty hazardous places for them! They may not be the right size for the owl family, or falling to pieces by the time they move in. Not only that, but a crowded nest can result in the stronger baby owl pushing its sibling out, usually to its death. It’s no wonder these cute little creatures actually have a strong inborn sense of self-preservation.

We like to wear our down differently so you can tell us apart! Barn Owlets

Owl15jpg.img_assist_custom-600x387Photo: Monteen McCord

Here's are a couple of cute baby Barn Owls. Sadly, the Barn Owl is a particularly short-lived species of owl. If they manage the feat of surviving their first birthday (and most don’t) they’ll most probably only have another year of life in the wild. In captivity, however, it's a completely different story: a captive Barn Owl in England reportedly lived 25 years! Interestingly, for the most widespread owl on the planet, Barn Owls don't hoot. Instead, they make a rather terrifying screech, but can also hiss and even snore!

Look into my eyes... Spectacled Owlet

Owl7jpg.img_assist_custom-600x520Photo: Steve Wilson

Immature Spectacled Owls like this one look more like they’re wearing a black mask than glasses, but all that will change when this little feller gets older and the colours reverse themselves. Living mostly in dense jungles or wooded areas in Mexico (as well as Central and South America) Spectacled Owls like to keep themselves to themselves, and there is still a lot we don’t know about them. We do know, however, that young owls leave the tree hollows in which they nest before they can fly and live in the surrounding branches of the tree. They may live this way for up to a year, all the time being fed by their parents! Talk about being spoiled...

I'd fly away but I don't know how! Eastern Screech Owlet

Owl12jpg.img_assist_custom-600x398Photo: Monteen McCord

Here's yet another adorable baby Screech Owl. Don't let the cute image fool you though! Screech Owl babies are very aggressive when it comes to fighting their siblings for food, and may even go as far as killing their weaker brothers or sisters. Like other owls, Screech Owls swallow smaller prey (such as mice and voles) whole — bones, fur and all! They regurgitate pellets of these indigestible parts later. Not a particularly attractive habit, but one that serves them well as predators without teeth.

OK, now what? Snowy Owlet

266148027699a97336f0bjpg.img_assist_custom-600x524Photo: Glyn Ednie

Most of the time you’d have to be pretty lucky to catch a glimpse of a Snowy Owl. They make their home in the Arctic tundra, remote areas where conditions are harsh. In 2012, however, Snowy Owls have been spotted migrating as far south as Missouri, and even Hawaii! According to bird experts, this is highly unusual behaviour. Denver Holt, head of the Owl Research Institute in Montana, explains that the phenomenon could be linked to lemmings, a primary food source for the owls. A boom in the lemming population may have also caused a spike in the number of baby Snowy Owls, causing the mass migration. This little cutie, named Eubee, needn't worry, though: she'll never be short of food at her home at the Scottish Wool Centre in Aberfoyle, Scotland.

What are you doing down there? African Wood Owlet

Owl4jpgPhoto: Arno Meintjes

As the name suggests, African Wood Owls live mostly in forested areas of Africa, although they can sometimes be found on plantations. This little guy won’t be ready to leave his parents for around four months, or maybe not even until the next breeding season. Until then it’ll share their 'nest' — usually a hole in a tree, or perhaps a spot under a fallen log.

Hiya! Barn Owlet

Owl13jpg.img_assist_custom-600x509Photo: Monteen McCord

Although they're an incredibly successful species, it's actually quite difficult for ornithologists to know the numbers of Barn Owls in the wild. This is mainly due to their nocturnal nature, and the fact that the use of pesticides (especially in the mid-20th century) caused a dip in population numbers. The fact that Barn Owls can, like most owls, fly perfectly silently doesn't make them any easier to detect either!

Remember, although baby owls may not look it, they're built for survival. If you ever come upon one that's fallen out of its nest, leave it alone. As well as the possibility of it giving you a nasty nip, chances are it will be able to scramble back up a tree. Of course, it might not be the right tree, but some loud calls will still let mum and dad know where to deliver the food. And in no time at all the youngster will be winging away looking for somewhere to settle down and have its own little baby owls!

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Tuesday, 20 March 2012

4 Most Epic Baby Animal Sneezes [Video]

6a00d8341bf67c53ef016302e99697970d-320wiWhen we humans sneeze all over ourselves, we are viewed as rude, disgusting germ factories. Observers stare at the sneezer with disdain while others run from the room to save themselves from whatever contagion they believe has been set alight.

However, when animals, particularly baby animals, sneeze all over themselves and others, it's cause celebre -  a viral video goldmine. To prove our point, herewith are our favorite sneezing baby animal videos of all time.

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1) Epic Baby Animal Sneeze #1: Panda Baby -  The mother of all baby sneezes, perhaps the most well-known out of all baby animal sneezes-- it is pushing more than 132 MILLION views as of today!

2) Epic Baby Animal Sneeze #2: - Baby Elephant startles self with sneeze

3) Epic Baby Animal Sneeze #3: Baby Hedgehog - wait for it…….Ah Choo!

4) Epic Baby Animal Sneeze #4: Corgi Kerchew! An adorable Corgi puppy named Pepper has a sneezing fit and makes spectacularly funny faces while at it!

If only they made Claritin for dogs!

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Wednesday, 14 March 2012

You're Having a Giraffe! Family Kept Beloved 10ft Animal as Pet

IT sounds like a tall story — but these amazing snaps feature a real-life family who kept a giraffe as a pet.

This is friendly Fenne, the pet giraffe who roamed freely through the home of a family of six as they ate, slept and played – and used to come running just like a bounding puppy whenever her name was called.

The adorable animal happily walked around the home of Colin McRae, 59, wife Theony, 52 and their four children on their ranch in South Africa, taking extra care not to slide about on the tiled floor and stooping to get through doorways.

She lived with the family from birth, growing from five to ten feet tall by the time she was two.

with the family pet giraffe Fenne at home in CullinanPart of the family: Owen McRae, 19, with the family pet giraffe Fenne at home in Cullinan, South Africa

But tragic Fenne died suddenly after eating a poisoned leaf when grazing in the wild.

Fenne was just like a member of the family, Theony remembers. ‘Fenne loved company, when she felt like it she would come right indoors to look for us - even though she was ten-feet tall.

‘She loved to play with our dogs and would even follow our horses about - she just loved being sociable.

‘I hope one day we will find another precious gift like Fenne in our lives.’

article-2114848-122966A1000005DC-462_634x428Family Christmas: Fenne lived with the family for two years, roaming around the house and playing with the family and their other pets

The family run a game reserve in De Tweede Spruit, South Africa, where guests take part in horse riding safaris.

Four years ago Theony's son, Craig, then 19, was leading a safari when he discovered dehydrated Fenne in the hot South African bush after she was abandoned by her mother.

Seeing her covered in insects and barely able to lift her head, Craig enlisted six people to carry Fenne to his pickup truck.

pet-giraffe-4_1470657aBottling it ... Craig McRae feeds Fenne the giraffe as a baby

Fenne loved company and enjoyed playing with the four children Fenne loved company and enjoyed playing with the four children 01

Adorable: Fenne loved company and enjoyed playing with the four children

After he got Fenne back to safety, Craig and nursed her back to health by feeding her cow's milk mixed with eggs.

‘Even when she was getting too big to really fit Fenne would still come to visit us indoors,’ said Theony.

‘She would duck down and come right in when she felt like it, she had to really get her head down.

Fenne poses with guests at the McRae's ranch in South Africa, where she grew upWell-behaved: Fenne poses with guests at the McRae's ranch in South Africa, where she grew up

‘We had to kick her out the house sometimes because she was rather clumsy inside because hoofs on tile floors do tend to slip. We were very cautious that she wouldn't break her leg.

‘On carpet she was alright, and sometimes she would step right over furniture to get around. But she didn't bump her head on things, she was very careful to bend down under things.’

As she grew older, the family fed Fenne on as many leaves as she could eat, eight litres of milk a day - plus carrots as a special treat.

The McRae family eat outdoors, joined by their friendly pet giraffeJoining in the fun: The McRae family eat outdoors, joined by their friendly pet giraffe

Fenne would take car on the slippery tiles, but was okay walking on the carpetsWell-behaved: Fenne would take car on the slippery tiles, but was okay walking on the carpets. Sometimes she would step over furniture in her way

article-2114848-12296648000005DC-538_306x423 article-2114848-12296679000005DC-825_306x423

Feeling at home: Fenne would just come into the house when she felt like company and was looked after by the four McRae children

Living with a giraffe in the home often threw up surprises, Theony recalls. ‘I remember one night a guest ours was having a bath but left her bedroom door unlocked. Fenne was curious so pushed the door open and got right inside to say hello. This lady was so surprised and amazed by this encounter.

‘Living with Fenne was filled with magical moments like this.’

Menagerie Fenne was just another family pet, and even enjoyed playing with the dogsMenagerie: Fenne was just another family pet, and even enjoyed playing with the dogs

article-2114848-12296691000005DC-376_634x644Happy giraffe: Fenne seemed content living with the McRaes, after she was rescued from the South African bush when she was abandoned by her mother

Fenne was so affectionate that sometimes family members and guests had to take extra care, Theony remembers. ‘She was very affectionate, Fenne would come right up to you so you had to be careful,’ she said.

‘Being a young animal she was quite clumsy, you had to be careful of her standing on your foot.

‘She weighed more than a person so you would really feel it if she stood on your foot.'

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Tuesday, 13 March 2012

A Dog Trapped In A Cat's Body? You Decide [VIDEO]

A video for all the cat haters who believe that cats pretty much just lay there!

6a00d8341bf67c53ef0168e8b904ce970c-450wiMeet Tifa - a "species confused" cat who not only plays "fetch", but also smiles and pants like a dog and wags her tail! Wha?!

According to Tifa's YouTube page, this video was taken when Tifa was about 6 months old -- check out how she not only fetches the toys but also drops them.  For those of you concerened about the panting, her owner apparently put Tifa through several tests and the vets found nothing wrong with her, as Tifa only pants when running and playing for too long.

Does your cat ever play fetch or act like a dog?

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Saturday, 10 March 2012

Iguazu Falls – Big Water of the Borders

Iguazu Falls – Big Water of the Borders

In the local Tupi language, the word means big water.  One look at the staggering Iguazu Falls, located on the border of the Brazilian State of Paraná and the Argentine Province of Misiones and you realise that this is no exaggeration.

Iguazu Iguacu falls 2Image Credit Flickr User ametxa

Iguazu Iguacu falls 5Image Credit Flickr User feffef

There is a local legend that says a god became besotted with a young and beautiful girl called Naipi – however she did not reciprocate his feelings. She fled from his advances with her earthly lover, Taroba, canoeing down the river to escape. The god in his anger sliced through the river and created the waterfalls. Naipi and Taroba were condemned to fall for all eternity.

Iguazu Iguacu falls 4Image Credit Flickr User Phillie Casablanca

Iguazu Iguacu falls 6Image Credit Flickr User Kara Brugman

The edge of the waterfall is almost three kilometers in length and it is dotted with numerous islands.  These islands create a copious number of separate falls, all of them more than two hundred feet in height.  Many have their own names – for example the narrow chasm down which half the flow disappears is known as the Devil’s Throat.

Iguazu Iguacu falls 7Image Credit Flickr User *saxon*

Iguazu Iguacu falls 8Image Credit Flickr User ametxa

Iguazu Iguacu falls 9Image Credit Flickr User Henrique Assuncao

On each side of the falls is a national park.  Argentina has the Iguazú National Park which was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984 while Brazil has the Iguaçu National Park (note the single letter difference!), designated in 1987.

Iguazu Iguacu falls 10Image Credit Flickr User Abel Jorge

Iguazu Iguacu falls 11Image Credit Flickr User Abel Jorge

Iguazu Iguacu falls 12Image Credit Flickr User Abel Jorge

It is difficult to take in the immensity of the place. However, the view from the air does help to lend some perspective.

Iguazu Iguacu falls 13Image Credit Flickr User Miriam Cardaso de Souza

Iguazu Iguacu falls 14Image Credit Flickr User Henrique Assuncao

Iguazu Iguacu falls 15Image Credit Flickr User SF Brit

Little wonder then that Iguazu Falls was announced as one of the seven winners of the New7Wonders of Nature by the New Seven Wonders of the World Foundation.

Iguazu Iguacu falls 16Image Credit Flickr User SF Brit

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Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Wolf Creek: Spiders Spinning Out of Control as Waters Rise

Ghostly landscape of cobwebs: Millions of spiders turn green fields white as branches and bushes are cocooned in sticky silk

Evacuees from Wagga Wagga returned home to find the landscape covered in cobwebsWeb horror ... a property covered by cobwebs in Wagga. Photo: Reuters

At first glance it looks like the fields have been blanketed with snow - but this ghostly white landscape in Australia is the work of millions of spiders.

As flood waters raced past the town of Wagga Wagga, in New South Wales, the spiders were forced to clamber up trees and bushes, spinning their webs as they climbed.

The result was this amazing panorama - glistening sheets of web covering just about everything in sight.

As flood waters rose, spiders were forced to clamber up trees and bushes, spinning their webs as they climbedWeaving: As flood waters rose, spiders were forced to clamber up trees and bushes, spinning their webs as they climbed

The spiders are seen crawling over one web-covered shrubOn higher ground: The spiders are seen crawling over one web-covered shrub

gal_spider11_20120307151742963414-600x400A dog walks through webs in Wagga Wagga. Photo: Reuters

Branches were cocooned in the sticky webs, while tall grasses appeared to be enrobed in silk.

The scenes are reminiscent of the coat of spiders' webs that were spun in Pakistan after last year's floods turning trees into what appeared like giant sticks of candy floss.

Residents of Wagga Wagga, returning to their evacuated homes as flood waters raced towards them after torrential rain turned rivers into raging torrents, were astonished to find the fields surrounding their houses transformed from green to white.

But while the town's residents are breathing a sigh of relief that they have escaped the threatening dangers of the floods, fears were growing today for the safety of two teenage men who have gone missing in a flood-affected part of Queensland.

Glistening sheets of cobwebs cover just about everything in sightAmazing panorama: Glistening sheets of cobwebs cover just about everything in sight

gal_spider9_20120307150839960892-600x400A woman walks her dogs through webs in Wagga Wagga. Photo: Reuters

Branches were cocooned in the sticky webs, while tall grasses appeared to be enrobed in silkBranches were cocooned in the sticky webs, while tall grasses appeared to be enrobed in silk

gal_spider5_20120307150617204690-600x400Spiders in Wagga Wagga. Photo: Reuters

gal_spider10_20120307150906407331-600x400Spiders in Wagga Wagga. Photo: Reuters

Luke Andus and Solomon Love, 19, set out from the town of Normanton at the weekend to travel 180 miles to the west - but have not arrived.

'Police and family hold concerns for their welfare with some roads in the area impassable due to local flooding,' said a police spokesman.

Dozens of freight trucks and hundreds of motorists remain stranded by the flood waters after the Bruce Highway was cut off in three places south of the town of Gympie.

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