THE REBELLION BEGINS ON BLACK FRIDAY

Tune into the Savage Kingdom on Black Friday while you recover from all the crazy sales and shopping of the day! Called “nature television as Shakespearean drama” this season brings rebellion as the sins of the lion king are carried out by his sons. Nat Geo WILD’s Savage Kingdom returns with Savage Kingdom: Uprising, a four-part global miniseries series event that tells an unvarnished tale of survival on the African plains. No better night to debut this competitive savagery than Black Friday.

Savage Kingdom: Uprising premieres Friday, Nov. 24, 9/8c on Nat Geo WILD and globally in 140 countries and 37 languages. For more information, visit www.natgeowild.com.

Emmy-nominated actor Charles Dance (“Game of Thrones”) returns to narrate Savage Kingdom: Uprising, a rare look at warring animal clans battling for survival in a remote region of Africa that is drying up after years of flood-soaked abundance. The winners are rewarded with the richest hunting grounds in the kingdom, while the losers are fated to exile … or even death.

“When we introduced the world to the Savage Kingdom last year, it was our version of a real-life ‘Game of Thrones’ that pushed serialized dramatic storytelling in this genre to the next level,” said Geoff Daniels, executive vice president and general manager, Nat Geo WILD. “No spoilers, but rest assured the new season is as visually stunning, intimate and intense as anything we have ever done.”

Savage Kingdom: Uprising returns to the remote wilderness of Africa to delve deeper into the individual characters and reveals the life and death decisions that drive survival in their ruthless and unpredictable world. The story continues as sons plot to overthrow fathers, clans seek revenge on their enemies and new arrivals enter the Savage Kingdom to stake their claim.

Chobe National Park, Botswana – Playing amongst each other is the easiest way for the sub-adults of the Marsh Pride to learn the necessary skills to become the hunters that they are destined to become. These games are often the reason why youngsters end up with little scars on their faces or nicks in their ears. Here two of the sub-adult males and a sub-adult female are jumping on top of each other at the edge of a natural water hole south of Matsibi Island into the open Marsh.(National Geographic/NHFU)

Will the aging lion king Sekekama hold on to his bloody crown? Has the leopard prince Neo inherited enough talent from his mother to survive? How will the lions of the Northern Pride wreak their revenge on queen Matsumi? Leaders will rise and factions will fall. No one is safe in the Savage Kingdom.

Savage Kingdom Premieres:

Savage Kingdom: Uprising: The Enemy Within
Premieres Friday, Nov. 24
Male lion Sekekama, the undisputed king of the Marsh Pride, must contend with his three eldest sons who are hungry for power. On the outskirts of their territory, the Northern Pride is growing a bloodthirsty lion army, preparing for revenge against its sworn enemy. Meanwhile, the kingdom’s deadliest leopard assassin, Saba, works tirelessly to make sure her only son follows in her deadly footsteps.

Savage Kingdom: Uprising: First Blood
Premieres Friday, Dec. 1
Neo must prepare for life as a solitary assassin, but his future hangs in the balance when his mother is left seriously injured after fighting for their fortress. Pressure mounts as Neo grows stronger and his own father, Dark Eyes, wants him out. Meanwhile, on the edges of the Marsh, the vengeful Northern queens suffer a cruel blow to their growing pride when their drifter king returns.

Savage Kingdom: Uprising: Reign of Traitors
Premieres Friday, Dec. 8
The Marsh Pride reaches its breaking point as Sekekama struggles to suppress the rebellion of his three treacherous sons and protect his kingdom. As the Great Marsh withers in the grip of the dry season, Zalika, the hyena queen, raises new troops to prepare for her moment of triumph. And the vagabond Pale Pack of wild dogs fights for survival, driven to desperate lengths for food.

Savage Kingdom: Uprising: King Slayers
Premieres Friday, Dec. 15 as part of Big Cat Week
The Marsh Pride’s aging king, Sekekama, is forced to lead his family into hostile territory on a mission to save them from a vicious drought gripping the kingdom. His great gamble leads him into a bloody contest against rivals old and new. But his control over one treacherous son will determine Sekekama’s hold on power, and the future of his own legacy.

The last episode of Savage Kingdom: Uprising premieres on the last day of Nat Geo WILD’s Big Cat Week, running Sun, Dec. 10 through Friday, Dec. 15. The buzzworthy Big Cat Week includes innovative new specials featuring world-renowned storytellers. National Geographic photographers Steve Winter and Bertie Gregory track down and capture incredible footage of Brazil’s top predator in Jaguar vs. Croc; famed wildlife filmmaker Bob Poole reveals the intimate story of a cheetah mother and her cubs in Man Among Cheetahs; three prides of lions battle over territory, food and power in the dramatic special Lion Kingdom; and we reveal the secrets of a legendary tigress that famously reigned over her territory in western region of India in the new special The World’s Most Famous Tiger.

Savage Kingdom is produced by Icon Films and Natural History Film Unit Botswana for Nat Geo WILD. Icon Films executive producers are Harry Marshall and Laura Marshall, and series producer is Lucy Meadows. Natural History Film Unit Botswana producer is Brad Bestelink. For Nat Geo WILD, executive producer is Ashley Hoppin, senior vice president of development and production is Janet Han Vissering and executive vice president and general manager is Geoff Daniels.

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10 Fun Facts About Parrots

10 Fun Facts About Parrots by James Alston writing for ExoticDirect pet insurance.

1. There are nearly 400 species of parrot
There are 393 species of parrots (though more are being found all the time). Parrots also like the heat with most being found in the tropical and subtropical regions of Australia, Asia, Central and South America and Africa.

However, some parrots do live outside tropical environments. The Kea is the world’s only alpine parrot, living in New Zealand and nesting in the roots of trees.
The Maroon-Fronted parrot, meanwhile, lives in the Sierra Madre Oriental Mountains of Mexico, sometimes nesting in limestone cliffs as high as 3,500 metres. Don’t look down!

The Maroon-Fronted parrot is also endangered, with perhaps as few as 2,500 still living in the wild.

2. Parrots can mimic humans – but some know more than you think
We’ve all seen videos of parrots saying hello and copying the things their owners say. But did you know that some budgies have vocabularies of up to 2,000 words?
There is even debate within the intellectual world as to whether parrots have a cognitive understanding of the things they say.

Alex, a famous African grey parrot, had a vocabulary of about 100 words. However, some studies showed he could tell the difference between small and larger objects, and could even identify different objects by their shape.

Interestingly, if captive talking parrots are released back into the wild, the rest of their flock can pick up some of their phrases, even if they have not been trained from a young age.
So be careful what you say around parrots – they just might be able to understand what you’re saying!
Own a parrot? Did you know you can get parrot insurance from ExoticDirect pet insurance.

3. And it’s not just human language
Parrots have an intricate system of sounds, shrills and squawks that can tell other parrots things, from warning them of predators to telling them there’s food in the vicinity. (Most parrots don’t have many predators except larger birds of prey. When a parrot is younger though, it may have to watch out for things like snakes and even monkeys.)

Some parrots use their feathers to communicate too. Cockatoos have crests on their heads that they can raise or lower at will.

They use these feathers to communicate with other parrots – for instance, to attract a mate – or to warn off potential predators. Some crests in domesticated parrot species are made from selective breeding or mutations. Also, it’s not totally understood how or why this particular trait has stuck around in domesticated parrots that don’t need a crest, and research into this is common. Perhaps they just love looking glamorous. Who’s a pretty boy, then?

4. Parrots are cleverer than you think too
We’ve seen that many parrots can mimic humans, with some budgies having a vocabulary of up to 2,000 words. However, that’s not all parrots can do!

The Kea parrot has been shown to be particularly intelligent, learning to push and pull certain things in order to get food. Keas can also work together to achieve certain objectives, and have even been observed fashioning tools from sticks in order to experiment with animal traps and get food. Reportedly, some will use pebbles to mash up cockle shells in order to get their calcium.

Keas are known as the ‘clown of the mountains’ because of their cheeky nature. They’ve been observed flying off with unguarded items of clothing and food scraps. So if you’re ever around a Kea, make sure you hide your gear!

5. Not all parrots can fly
Almost all parrots can fly, with some, such as the Hyacinth Macaw, having a wingspan of nearly a metre and a half. The Hyacinth Macaw also reaches lengths of nearly 1.2 metres from head to toe.
However, less well known is the critically endangered Kakapo, sometimes known as the Owl parrot. This flightless bird, the heaviest known parrot, roosts under trees or in the ground, and is nocturnal.
As of June 2016, there were only around 150 Kakapos left. This is mostly due to the introduction of predators into its native New Zealand such as cats and rats.

Kakapos have been studied extensively and have even been filmed for The Life of Birds, a documentary narrated by David Attenborough – and who doesn’t want to listen to him talk?

6. A parrot’s not just for Christmas…
Many people don’t realise, but parrots sometimes live as long as humans. The African Grey parrot, for instance, can live between 50 and 70 years.

One of the oldest parrots, Cookie, a Major Mitchell’s cockatoo, died in August 2016. He was believed to be one of the oldest parrot of his species in captivity, dying at the ripe old age of 83. He was recorded as being the oldest living parrot in the world by the Guinness World Records.

It’s important to bear this in mind if you’re thinking of buying yourself a parrot, as it could be a lifetime commitment. But it means you’ll be able to show it off to your grandkids!

However, often parrots in captivity won’t live quite as long as those in the wild. To help your parrot live out her years, you should make sure she eats a suitable and varied diet, has the right kind of stimulation and exercise, and that your home is safe, comfortable and free from dangers. You should also consider pet insurance, as this can cover unexpected vet fees. ExoticDirect offer a range of policies.

7. One true love
Most parrots are monogamous, meaning they mate with only one partner for their whole lives. These ‘pair bonds’ as they are known are preceded by courtship displays. This means parrots will dance and sing songs in order to win a mate. These mates usually then work together to raise their young.

Only the El Oro parakeet and the Golden parakeet have been shown to exhibit polygamous behaviour. While this means they may take more than one mate, or collectively breed, it also means that multiple females may help each other in raising their young. These parrots know the meaning of teamwork!

Generally, around five eggs are incubated by females for around a month. In monogamous pairings, the mother feeds the young while the father brings them food.

8. Problem child
Though most parrots lay between two and seven eggs, some lay just one, like the Palm Cockatoo.
These parrots are known to have particular trouble breeding. One study followed the Palm Cockatoo for nearly three years, and observed that 81% of nests didn’t produce any young. Meaning that there was only a 19% breeding success rate in nests.

The study suggested that this was because these parrots are particularly sensitive to changes in their environment. They have even been referred to as the giant pandas of parrots because of the trouble they have breeding. Just as cute, but with feathers!

9. Feral parrot populations
In the mid to late 20th century, a number of escaped Rose-Ringed parakeets escaped from captivity and started a population in the south of England, mostly in London.

Even now, if you go to Crystal Palace Park or Hampstead Heath, you can see Rose-Ringed parakeets sitting in trees! These parrots have adapted to a life in an environment extremely different from their natural habitat. And it’s not just in the UK, either; the Rose-Ringed parakeet can be found in the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Portugal and even Germany, and some have even spread as far as the United States and Lebanon.

So next time you’re walking around London, keep an eye out for one of your colourful friends sitting in a tree.

10. Something that would be useful at the pub
Many parrots have a hinged upper and lower beak. This means that both mandibles can move, rather than like in us humans – we only have a lower mandible that can move.

These powerful beaks are useful for opening seeds, the main diet of parrots. There are probably lots of people out on a Friday night who wish they had this ability.

They also use them for other things, like courting, feeding their young and preening themselves.
Parrots are also one of the only species of bird that moves food to its mouth using its feet. You might have seen a parrot holding a seed with its foot while its lower mandible crushes it in order to get the nutrients inside. Thankfully, humans can just take a vitamin pill.

ExoticDirect offer insurance for a wide range exotic pets, including parrots. If you own an exotic-y pet, why not find out how we can help you?

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Keep your dog safe on Thanksgiving

It’s almost Thanksgiving, and that means your dog might be fed by over-zealous relatives who try to sneak them food off the table. As a result, you could be spending nearly double at the veterinary hospital to treat your pet over the holiday weekend. Petplan data has found that Vet costs nearly double Thanksgiving weekend for common ailments that can be simple to avoid ($400 average compared to nearly $800 average).

Luckily Petplan veterinarians have created a pet friendly menu that is easy for you to make and already includes many food items you will already have on hand on Thanksgiving.

So, before Uncle Leo serves Fido or Fluffy something unsafe, click here to see healthy menu options, recipes and other tips to keep your furry family members safe.

Roasted turkey medallions for your dog

THE MENU (click here to get the recipes):

  • Pumpkin Smoothies: This creamy, two-ingredient pumpkin drink earns plenty of.
  • Paws-itively Peanutty Crudités: Crispy, crunchy veggies and peanut butter (dogs’ favorite!) make a great first course.
  • Simple Sorbet: Tickle tongues between courses with this refreshing ice cube treat.
  • Roasted Turkey Medallions: Turkey, carrots and oatmeal make a delicious, protein-packed entrée.
  • Scrumptious Sweet Potato Cookies: Sweet potato and banana combine into easy-to-make, low-calorie cookies.

OTHER SAFETY TIPS (click here to see more safety tips)

  • Portion control: Pet parents should consider the size of their best friend when dishing out dinner (a Chihuahua should not eat as much as a Great Dane!). Overindulging can lead to gastrointestinal upset or even pancreatitis.
  • Trimming the fat: Remember to keep treats to less than 10% of your pet’s daily caloric intake to maintain a healthy diet. If you’re planning to make Thanksgiving recipes for dogs, adjust the amount of regular chow you dish out in a day.
  • No bones about it: No matter how much they beg, dogs should never be given turkey bones to chew on. These brittle bones splinter easily, and the risk of intestinal blockage or bowel perforation is just too great to ignore!
  • Sharing is caring: A single splurge on Thanksgiving Day is okay, but avoid overfeeding for the rest of the week. Sharing leftovers can be a great gift for neighborhood pups – and is sure to put you on the “Nice” list come Christmas!
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