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upworthy
Science

Watch a rescued beaver meticulously build an indoor 'dam' out of random household items

Sawyer's ongoing struggle with SpongeBob SquarePants' legs is a must-see.

beaver dam, wildlife rescue

Sawyer checks her work once in a while as she builds her hallway dam.

The fact that beavers build dams is one of nature's coolest features. Gathering and stacking tree branches, rocks, grass and mud across a river so they can build their homes underwater is a unique instinct among the animals—and a strong one.

Apparently, it's so strong that beavers will build dams anywhere, including inside a human's house using whatever items they can find.

A video shared by Dr. Holley Muraco, director of research at the Mississippi Aquarium, shows a female beaver named Sawyer busily gathering stuffed animals, blankets, Christmas decorations, wrapping paper and more to build a dam in a hallway, and it's seriously the most delightful thing ever.



Sawyer pauses once in a while to assess her work, which is adorable. And her ongoing struggle with SpongeBob SquarePants' legs is a must-see.


If you're concerned about seeing natural animal behavior like this in an unnatural habitat, don't worry. Muraco explains that Sawyer spends most of her time outdoors with other beavers, but also likes to come in the house occasionally. More on Sawyer's life story below, but first, behold her adorableness at work:

Sawyer is one of three orphaned beavers Muraco is rehabbing at her home with the help of Woodside Wildlife Rescue.

"Sawyer is one of a kind," Muraco tells Upworthy. "Very opinionated and, as crazy as it sounds, intelligent. I raised Sawyer on a bottle in our home and then introduced her to Huck and Finn who are a bit older. All three were orphaned separately when their parents were killed. The three were sent to Woodside Wildlife to be raised as siblings."

Sawyer, Huck and Finn. Perfection.

Muraco says Sawyer started building dams in her kennel as a tiny baby and then moved on to building bigger dams in the hallway. She lives outside with Huck and Finn, but she walks to Muraco's back door when she wants to go inside to check on things and build a new dam.

Muraco says beavers are very social creatures and do better living in a group, but are also one of the most difficult animals to rehab. They have to spend up to two years with rehabbers, which is how long they would spend with their parents in the wild, and caring for them is challenging due to their complex and sensitive digestive needs. They are also prone to illness and there's a lot that's still unknown about vet care for them. Muraco says beavers are also considered a nuisance animal, especially in Mississippi, so it can be hard to find a safe place to release them.

In Muraco's care, Sawyer, Huck and Finn get ample opportunities to practice instinctive behaviors, which is a vital element of rehabilitation. The ultimate goal is for them to return to the wild once they meet key milestones.

Raising beavers is a lot of work, but Muraco is dedicated to preparing these young 'uns for life after rehab, both for their own good and for the environment. "Beavers are a keystone species and are often critical for healthy wetlands," she explains. They are misunderstood creatures and are sometimes killed by people who simply see them as pests, which is one reason Muraco publicly shares her adventures with Sawyer, Huck and Finn.

"We are so excited that people are enjoying watching the beavers and falling in love with this unusual, quirky rodent," she says.

If anyone wants to support these beaver rescue efforts, Muraco invites people to donate to Woodside Wildlife Rescue.


This article originally appeared on 01.13.23

Identity

Celebrate International Women's Day with these stunning photos of female leaders changing the world

The portraits, taken by acclaimed photographer Nigel Barker, are part of CARE's "She Leads the World" campaign.

Images provided by CARE

Kadiatu (left), Zainab (right)

True

Women are breaking down barriers every day. They are transforming the world into a more equitable place with every scientific discovery, athletic feat, social justice reform, artistic endeavor, leadership role, and community outreach project.

And while these breakthroughs are happening all the time, International Women’s Day (Mar 8) is when we can all take time to acknowledge the collective progress, and celebrate how “She Leads the World.

This year, CARE, a leading global humanitarian organization dedicated to empowering women and girls, is celebrating International Women’s Day through the power of portraiture. CARE partnered with high-profile photographer Nigel Barker, best known for his work on “America’s Next Top Model,” to capture breathtaking images of seven remarkable women who have prevailed over countless obstacles to become leaders within their communities.

“Mabinty, Isatu, Adama, and Kadiatu represent so many women around the world overcoming incredible obstacles to lead their communities,” said Michelle Nunn, President and CEO of CARE USA.

Barker’s bold portraits, as part of CARE’s “She Leads The World” campaign, not only elevate each woman’s story, but also shine a spotlight on how CARE programs helped them get to where they are today.

About the women:

Mabinty

international womens day, care.org

Mabinty is a businesswoman and a member of a CARE savings circle along with a group of other women. She buys and sells groundnuts, rice, and fuel. She and her husband have created such a successful enterprise that Mabinty volunteers her time as a teacher in the local school. She was the first woman to teach there, prompting a second woman to do so. Her fellow teachers and students look up to Mabinty as the leader and educator she is.

Kadiatu

international womens day, care.org

Kadiatu supports herself through a small business selling food. She also volunteers at a health clinic in the neighboring village where she is a nursing student. She tests for malaria, works with infants, and joins her fellow staff in dancing and singing with the women who visit the clinic. She aspires to become a full-time nurse so she can treat and cure people. Today, she leads by example and with ambition.

Isatu

international womens day, care.org

When Isatu was three months pregnant, her husband left her, seeking his fortune in the gold mines. Now Isatu makes her own way, buying and selling food to support her four children. It is a struggle, but Isatu is determined to be a part of her community and a provider for her kids. A single mother of four is nothing if not a leader.

Zainab

international womens day, care.org

Zainab is the Nurse in Charge at the Maternal Child Health Outpost in her community. She is the only nurse in the surrounding area, and so she is responsible for the pre-natal health of the community’s mothers-to-be and for the safe delivery of their babies. In a country with one of the world’s worst maternal death rates, Zainab has not lost a single mother. The community rallies around Zainab and the work she does. She describes the women who visit the clinic as sisters. That feeling is clearly mutual.

Adama

international womens day, care.org

Adama is something few women are - a kehkeh driver. A kehkeh is a three-wheeled motorcycle taxi, known elsewhere as a tuktuk. Working in the Kissy neighborhood of Freetown, Adama is the primary breadwinner for her family, including her son. She keeps her riders safe in other ways, too, by selling condoms. With HIV threatening to increase its spread, this is a vital service to the community.

Ya Yaebo

international womens day, care.org

“Ya” is a term of respect for older, accomplished women. Ya Yaebo has earned that title as head of her local farmers group. But there is much more than that. She started as a Village Savings and Loan Association member and began putting money into her business. There is the groundnut farm, her team buys and sells rice, and own their own oil processing machine. They even supply seeds to the Ministry of Agriculture. She has used her success to the benefit of people in need in her community and is a vocal advocate for educating girls, not having gone beyond grade seven herself.

On Monday, March 4, CARE will host an exhibition of photography in New York City featuring these portraits, kicking off the multi-day “She Leads the World Campaign.

Learn more, view the portraits, and join CARE’s International Women's Day "She Leads the World" celebration at CARE.org/sheleads.


Health

Over or under? Surprisingly, there actually is a 'correct' way to hang a toilet paper roll.

Let's settle this silly-but-surprisingly-heated debate once and for all.

Elya/Wikimedia Commons

Should you hang the toilet paper roll over or under?


Humans have debated things large and small over the millennia, from the democracy to breastfeeding in public to how often people ought to wash their sheets.

But perhaps the most silly-yet-surprisingly-heated household debate is the one in which we argue over which way to hang the toilet paper roll.

The "over or under" question has plagued marriages and casual acquaintances alike for over 100 years, with both sides convinced they have the soundest reasoning for putting their toilet paper loose end out or loose end under. Some people feel so strongly about right vs. wrong TP hanging that they will even flip the roll over when they go to the bathroom in the homes of strangers.

Contrary to popular belief, it's not merely an inconsequential preference. There is actually a "correct" way to hang toilet paper, according to health experts as well as the man who invented the toilet paper roll in the first place.

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Teresa Kaye Newman thinks that Boomer parents were right about a few things.

Teresa Kaye Newman, a teacher about to have a son, knows a lot about how to deal with children. So she created a list of 11 things she agrees with Boomers on when it comes to raising kids.

Newman believes she has credibility on the issue because she has 13 years of experience dealing with “hundreds and hundreds” of other people’s kids and has seen what happens when her so-called “Boomer” parenting principles aren’t implemented.

Of course, Newman is using some broad stereotypes in calling for a return to Boomer parenting ideas when many Gen X, Millennial and Gen Z parents share the same values. But, as someone who deals with children every day, she has the right to point out that today’s kids are entitled and spend too much time staring at screens.

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Image shared by Madalyn Parker

Madalyn shared with her colleagues about her own mental health.




Madalyn Parker wanted to take a couple days off work. She didn't have the flu, nor did she have plans to be on a beach somewhere, sipping mojitos under a palm tree.

Parker, a web developer from Michigan, wanted a few days away from work to focus on her mental health.

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@nostalgicallyrachel/TikTok, @mrvaughntrainor/TikTok

It was a simpler, more life-threatening time.

Parenting has changed. A lot. So many things our parents did that were considered normal in our childhood—that is, for all us millennials and Gen Xers—would simply never fly today.

This is thanks in large part to the digital age, and the countless ways to access information. Radio, magazines, television, books, online blogs, Facebook parent groups, informational podcasts, public studies…thousands of voices helping shape family dynamics and warn of potential dangers.

If there’s ever any doubt into how far we’ve come, let technology once again remind you. A trip down memory lane via TikTok might be, as the kids say, a bit cringe, but boy can it help instill a little gratitude.
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Health

Reimagining what 'beauty influencer' means: an expert in the psychology of beauty weighs in

Dr. Rhett Diessner's research points to beauty being so much more important than we might think.

Photo (left) by Megan Ruth on Unsplash, Photo (right) by lucas wesney on Unsplash

Let's take a deep dive into how beauty influences us.

When you picture a "beauty influencer," you probably don't imagine a balding, bearded, bespectacled retired psychology professor surrounded by piles of papers. But I would put Dr. Rhett Diessner up against any TikTok creator on Earth when it comes to beauty, as he's spent over two decades deeply studying the subject and has a profound understanding of how it influences us.

Around 1998, while teaching at a small international university in Switzerland, Diessner had an epiphany. As he explored the villages, lakes and mountains in the area, he found himself enamored with the picturesque landscapes, soaring cathedrals, incredible art and soul-stirring ideas that surrounded him. In moments of meditation, he began to see appreciation of beauty as more than just an enjoyable pastime.

"It dawned on me that beauty has spiritual roots," Diessner tells Upworthy. "That it's really a foundational aspect of being human, a very important aspect of our soul." Searching religious scripture confirmed this idea, and he decided he would focus his academic research on the human trait of attraction to beauty.

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Joy

I’ve been on 10 Disney Cruises. Here are the top 5 most magical experiences.

"You’d have to be on board for a full year to take advantage of it all."

via LAuren Passell (used with permission)

The very Disney obsessed Lauren Passell and Goofy.

I’m a Disney nerd in every sense of the word—90% of my wardrobe is Disney t-shirts, I named my company after Tinker Bell, I once won the Disney Princess half-marathon wearing a Tinker Bell costume and I try to hit up the parks as often as I can. Of all the Disney nerdery I participate in, cruising is my favorite.

For the tenth year in a row, U.S. News & World Report named Disney Cruise Line the Best Cruise Line for Families and the Best Cruise Line in the Caribbean. But that’s not why I love it. Everywhere you look, there are elements of magic and surprise. You’ll spot your favorite Disney characters hanging out…in their bathing suits…on board, and there’s so much to do that I think you’d have to be on board for a full year to take advantage of it all.

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