Visit a baby sloth sanctuary in Costa Rica

It’s been a long week, take a few minutes to enjoy some cuteness. Sloths may not typically come to mind as a cute animal, but I’m sure after you watch this video, you’ll come around. I first saw a sloth at the New York Times Travel Show (part of a Busch Gardens exhibition) and immediately fell in love with their cuddly, sleepy, smiley oddness. This video was taken at the Aviarios Del Caribe sloth sanctuary in Costa Rica, home to over 100 sloths and managed by sloth “whisperer” Judy Arroyo, who probably never complains about a long day at the office.

Visit the sloths up close in Costa Rica near San Jose; the $25 tour includes a canoe ride through the Estrella River Delta and optional jungle walks. There’s even a hotel on site if you want to sleep with the sloths (you’d think with all the sleeping sloths do, there’d be a pillow menu)! If you want to help support the sloth cause further, there’s an adoption and volunteer program.

Need more animals to get you through Friday? Enjoy Lonely Planet editor and Gadling favorite Robert Reid’s take on animals who travel; I’ll nominate the sloth for “slow travel.”

Cute dogs on airplanes

You may remember Jamie Rhein’s story last month about Virgin America’s chihuahua rescue mission (Chihuahuas by the dozens on planes). Basically, the trendy but fickle Californians overloaded their local shelters with chihuahuas (about 4,700 of them). Conversely, on the east coast, there’s still a high demand for small dogs. Virgin America and Project Flying Chihuahua, along with American Airlines and Kinder4Rescue, a non-profit started by actress Katherine Heigl, joined forces to get the dogs to loving homes, saving thousands of them from possible euthanization.

You might have thought that, after that heart-warming tale, we were done with this story. Au contraire. Virgin America just sent us a bunch of pictures of cute dogs on planes. At first we thought “no, no, this is way too fluffy for Gadling,” but … well, we looked at the pictures and … chihuahuas … oh gosh … they broke us down. Puppies flying from California to New Hampshire and New York is, in fact, worthy of two articles after all.


Beware Australia’s “Ninja Kangaroo”

Kangaroos just don’t look that threatening. Perhaps it’s because they carry their offspring in a pouch. Or the fact they move around by hopping up and down. But if you think kangaroos don’t have a mean streak in them, you’d be wrong. One night when you least expect it, clandestine marsupials will come smashing through your bedroom window, ready to terrorize you and everything you care about. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

It’s a lesson Australian couple Beat Ettlin and Verity Beaman recently learned the hard way. The couple, who live in the suburb of Canberra with their two children, were fast asleep recently when they were awakened by the sound of their dogs barking. Suddenly a dark silhouette burst through their bedroom window, shattering glass everywhere and landing on the bed.

By the time the startled Beat and Verity had realized the rogue intruder was a kangaroo, the frightened animal had crushed one side of their bed and smeared blood up and down the family’s hallway, terrifying the family’s two young children. In a fit of valor, Mr. Ettlin pounced on the six-foot tall kangaroo from behind, wrestling it to the floor and dragging it out the family’s front door.

The whole scene is best summed up in Mr. Ettlin’s own words: “I thought it was a lunatic ninja coming at us through the window.” Thankfully this particular ninja did not come equipped with deadly throwing stars or nunchucks. Just a furry pouch.

[Via Buzzfeed]

10 snowmen from around the world

Here’s a bit of winter fun you can do wherever there’s enough snow to make a go of it. Build a snowman. Even if you only have enough snow for a small snowman, go for it. One group of guys advocates building the biggest snowman you can make in a friend’s yard in the middle of the night. Your creation will be a big surprise in the morning. (Click here for picture.)

One of my favorite memories is going to the Great Wall in China right after it had snowed. There was a whimsical snowman greeting people at the top of one of the sets of stairs.

Here are some snowmaking tips. The one I thought was a great idea was to use three different size buckets as molds for the body. You add snow to the bucket shape to create the roundness. For snowman inspiration, here’s a sampling of snowmen from around the world.

MGShelton, who took this picture, said this fella was in her neighbor’s backyard in Birrmingam, Alabama.

This snowmen crowd was shot by showbizsuperstar in Japan at the Sapporo Snow and Ice Festival.

Last January, NINJ4 and a friend built this snowman on the lawn of Andersen Hall at Kansas State University. It looks like this one is hanging in as the snow is melting.

This snowman in Glascow, Scotland looks like a character in a children’s book or something. I think it’s the hat and scarf combo. Hodgers took this picture in his front garden.

According to thisisbossi who took this picture in Altoona, Pennsylvania, his aunt’s snowman frightened the cat. I think it’s sweet.

This leaning guy was at Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C. before the snow melted. I’m impressed by the jaunty hat and smile. Joe in D.C. took this picture.

Although this snowman probably saw better days, it’s background is truly international. ericaflynn, who took this picture in China, said that it was made by two Scandivanvian children.

This snowman in Tokyo, Japan should win the darling prize if there was such a thing. I love the expression that OiMax captured with just the right angle.

This snowman overlooking his kingdom in Denmark was made to sit in a flower box on metal-dog’s balcony.

If you have more time on your hands build a snowman grouping like bgilliard did in Ontario, Canada. He titles this David’s and Goliath. One commenter noted that Goliath looks like a penguin.

If you build a snowman, take a picture of it, post it on Gadling’s Flicker photo pool, and tell me where it was taken in the comment section of this post, I’ll create a Gadling reader’s snowman post where you can share your handy work.

Raoul’s travel adventures: The world through a pug’s eyes

Raoul, the traveling pug may have a future as a dog travel consultant. “I love to travel, enjoy napping on anything wool or with down feathers, and I adore brussel sprouts!” he writes in his profile that also highlights his interests and favorite books.

This dog’s blog “Raoul’s Travels” is utterly charming and a breezy read, chock full of pictures with captions that highlight Raoul’s world travels. Just this week, he visited Zurich where the pig’s ears were every dog’s dreams. Raoul has lived in Geneva for the past three years.

Travel from Raoul’s life is the pace we might all enjoy. Visits with friends in parks, taking delight in the simple things–like a hole, or that great nap in a seat to ourselves. Then there are those dogs (or people) that make our heart skip a beat with a casual chat on a sidewalk. Raoul’s heart pitapat came from meeting up with a poodle who he describes as “foxy.”

As for the people Raoul travels with, I’d say they’ve discovered an excellent way to reduce stress during their own adventures, much better than taking a fake baby around. [Thanks to Darren Cronian who posted a link to Raoul’s blog on Twitter.]