+
upworthy
Joy

Lucas the penguin shows off his new prosthetic shoes at San Diego Zoo

Get your strut on, beautiful little man.

penguin; prosthetics; San Diego Zoo

Penguin shows off new shoes at the zoo.

Look out San Diego, a penguin has found his waddle and it's adorable. Lucas, a 4-year-old African penguin who lives at San Diego Zoo, was recently fitted for prosthetics to help him walk properly. If you're surprised to hear that Africa has penguins, yes, it's true and they're just as adorable as the ones from Antartica.


This particular penguin was born with a condition called bumblefoot, which causes ulcers to form on its feet and can result in sepsis and death. Who knew a condition that sounded so cute could be so cruel? Bumblefoot is a chronic condition and can cause the penguin to not be able to walk properly. The condition doesn't just affect penguins, but it does seem to be more prevalent in penguins that live in captivity than those in the wild. Thankfully for Lucas, he's got some new shoes to show his little penguin friends. The permanent tuxedo wearing bird was gifted a pair of custom orthopedic shoes made out of neoprene and rubber, according to the zoo.

Lucas' special shoes were made by Thera-Paw, an organization that designs custom orthotics and products for animals that have special needs. San Diego Zoo vet Dr. Beth Bicknese explained in a press release, “The boots are cushioned and Velcroed in place, so they will help Lucas to fully participate in the colony and showcase behaviors that are more typical for a penguin—such as climbing the rocks, swimming, nesting and finding a suitable mate.”

Photo by Fungai Tichawangana on Unsplash

Lucas started having problems with his feet after a spinal infection left him unable to stand properly, which put pressure on his ankles and legs and caused sores to form. The little guy got the full spectrum of treatments, including acupuncture, before the zoo turned to prosthetics. Amazingly, immediately after putting his new penguin shoes on, he had an improved posture. Debbie Denton, senior wildlife care specialist at San Diego Zoo, said in the press release, “We were pleasantly surprised at the immediate change in Lucas after we fitted him with his new boots. Seeing him move about now gives us hope that he may be OK going forward, and able to live a full life.”

The zoo, according to its press release, participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan (SSP) program. African penguins are currently endangered. The penguins made the endangered species list for a variety of reasons, including climate change and overfishing. But San Diego Zoo is doing its part for penguins like Lucas to allow them to not only survive but to thrive.

Lucas is probably strutting around his enclosure with his new shoes, climbing all of the rocks his heart desires. Maybe one day there will be a children's book about a penguin who had to get new shoes. Whether the story of Lucas turns into a book or not, Thera-paw is clearly making a difference in these animals' quality of life.

Ilaria Borghese, founder and president of Thera-paw, noted in the press release, “Over the years, we’ve tackled challenging cases like Lucas’s, and each is special and memorable. One thing that never gets old is seeing an animal’s life dramatically improve after using one of our aids. It inspires and drives us every day.”

Family

Dad takes 7-week paternity leave after his second child is born and is stunned by the results

"These past seven weeks really opened up my eyes on how the household has actually ran, and 110% of that is because of my wife."

@ustheremingtons/TikTok

There's a lot to be gleaned from this.

Participating in paternity leave offers fathers so much more than an opportunity to bond with their new kids. It also allows them to help around the house and take on domestic responsibilities that many new mothers have to face alone…while also tending to a newborn.

All in all, it enables couples to handle the daunting new chapter as a team, making it less stressful on both parties. Or at least equally stressful on both parties. Democracy!

TikTok creator and dad Caleb Remington, from the popular account @ustheremingtons, confesses that for baby number one, he wasn’t able to take a “single day of paternity leave.”

This time around, for baby number two, Remington had the privilege of taking seven weeks off (to be clear—his employer offered four weeks, and he used an additional three weeks of PTO).

The time off changed Remington’s entire outlook on parenting, and his insights are something all parents could probably use.

Keep ReadingShow less

Millenial names are now "old" names.

You can’t turn back the hands of time and so it’s impossible to avoid being labeled “old” by younger generations, no matter how hard you try. For many of us, our names are tied to the times when we were born and can start to sound really dated, no matter how fashionable they were at one point.

TikTokker Amber Cimotti found this out the hard way when her daughter noted that she has an “old” person's name.

“My daughter told me the name Ashley or Amanda — or my name is Amber — are like old people names and I never thought about it this way,” Amber explained in a video with over 3 million views.

Keep ReadingShow less

Christine Kesteloo has one big problem living on a cruise ship.

A lot of folks would love to trade lives with Christine Kesteloo. Her husband is the Chief Engineer on a cruise ship, so she gets to live on the boat pretty much for free as the “wife on board.” For Christine, life is a lot like living on a permanent vacation.

“I live on a cruise ship for half the year with my husband, and it's often as glamorous as it sounds,” she told Insider. “After all, I don't cook, clean, make my bed, do laundry or pay for food.“

Living an all-inclusive lifestyle seems like paradise, but it has some drawbacks. Having access to all-you-can-eat food all day long can really have an effect on one’s waistline. Kesteloo admits that living on a cruise ship takes a lot of self-discipline because the temptation is always right under her nose.

Keep ReadingShow less

Woman shows her misbehaving cat to 'the trenches'

You always hear about a "bad dog," giving the furry goofballs a reputation for getting into mischief, but what about bad cats. Not all cats are angels just lounging around the house until someone gives them food while fanning them with a giant palm leaf. Some cats have a sketchy "catigree" and every once in a while they let that wild streak show. When that happens, what is a cat owner to do?

A cat mom that goes by the user name Lambo Licia on Instagram posted a video showing exactly how she gets her cat in line when he's misbehaving. No, it's not with a spray bottle. She shows him what life is like in "the trenches." You know, the area of town where homeless cats roam and cat burglars have real whiskers and thumbs that don't work, leaving a strange fish smell wherever they lurk.

If Scared Straight: Cat Edition was an actual thing, Mega, the orange tabby would be the first to turn his life around. He looks absolutely petrified from all of the unruly cat behavior he sees out the window and his mom's commentary.

Keep ReadingShow less
Science

College students use AI to decode ancient scroll burned in Mount Vesuvius

“Some of these texts could completely rewrite the history of key periods of the ancient world."

When Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 C.E., it buried entire cities in volcanic materials. While Pompeii is the most famous site affected by the natural disaster, the nearby villa of Herculaneum was also laid to waste—including over 800 precious scrolls found inside Herculaneum’s library, which were carbonized by the heat, making them impossible to open and recover their contents.

Which brings us to the Vesuvius challenge, started by computer scientist Brent Seales and entrepreneurs Nat Friedman and Daniel Gross in March 2023. The contest would award $1 million in prizes to whoever could use machine learning to successfully read from the scrolls without damaging them.

On February 5, the prize-winning team was announced.
Keep ReadingShow less
Keith Allison/Wikimedia Commons

Shaquille O'Neal retired from pro basketball in 2011, but he's still one of the most famous players ever.

Fame comes with a lot of challenges, but it also comes with some pretty obvious perks. There's the money that frequently follows fame, of course, but there's also the special treatment people automatically offer you.

Some famous folks might revel in that special treatment and some might even express gratitude for it. But occasionally, you find a celebrity who refuses it altogether.

Take basketball legend Shaquille O'Neal, for instance.

Keep ReadingShow less