It's official. The animals at the Oakland Zoo have some serious talent.

Sept. 10 marks the launch of the Oakland Zoo's second annual Animal Art Show, which is just as cool as it sounds.

Just like last year, the zookeepers gathered the animals, provided them with brushes and paints, and allowed them to express themselves on a blank canvas. Yep.


(It's important to note that none of the animals were forced to participate in this art project. Only treats and other kinds of positive reinforcement were used.)

All GIFS and photos courtesy of the Oakland Zoo.

Let's take a look at what the animals came up with this year.

And, just for fun, let's bring along a critical eye. While these may look like the random etchings of mildly amused zoo animals, there just might be something more to them ... if we're willing to look for it.

Pop on a monocle and let's get to it.

First up, there's a piece from Ada, a 17-year-old royal python.

The use of white space here is really interesting. If you strain, and cock your head ever so slightly, you see a young girl. Like Ada — who, again, is a snake — the girl has no arms. She seems at peace with this, though the frantic dunes of purple around her tell us it took her much time and anguish to come to terms with her lack of limbs.

Kudos to Ada for bearing her soul in this canvas.

Here's one from Donna, a 35-year-old African elephant.

I'm struck by the use of simple red and blue tones, which pop against the white background. Red, white, and blue: Could this be some kind of commentary on the state of American government? As an elephant, we can be pretty sure Donna is a staunch Republican.

I'd be interested to see her explore this theme more in her subsequent work.

Next up we have a deeply personal piece from Andy, a Madagascar hissing cockroach.

Note how the colors seem to explode out from the center of the canvas like some sort of cosmic blast. One can't help but ponder what the artist might be trying to say about the nature of creation here.

After all, they say cockroaches are one of the oldest species on the planet, and they'll likely be the only things that survive the apocalypse.

And here's one from Bam, a young chuckwalla.


Simply stunning.

Chaos. Beauty. Monotony. Freedom. Existentialism. Antidisestablishmentarianism. All captured wonderfully here.

Ever wonder what a painting by a bat would look like? Brutus is here to show you.

Neither a rat nor a bird, Brutus must struggle to find his place in an unforgiving world. The trained eye can clearly see this expressed in his work.

Clearly.

Finally, Jeffrey, a Nigerian Dwarf goat, wants to show you his finest work to date.

You can really see Jeffrey's maturation as both goat and artist reflected on this canvas. The orange footprints, representing modern Jeffrey, violently trampling the underlying blue, or young Jeffrey, making way for a rebirth, of sorts, and a fresh start.

Bravo, Jeffrey. And welcome (back) to the world.

The verdict is in: These paintings are adorable.

And better yet, they're for a good cause.

The paintings will be auctioned off to support the zoo's conservation partners (you know you want to buy one!), helping to protect endangered species all over the world. Last year the zoo raised over $10,000.

The act of painting itself is extremely enriching for the animals, too, according to the zoo's conservation director, Amy Gotliffe. Since a lot of these rescued animals can no longer live in the wild, conservation specialists like Amy want to make the zoo the best possible home it can be. If you ask me, that definitely includes time for arts and crafts.

Let's hope the Oakland Zoo's Animal Art Show is a smashing success yet again ... mostly because we can't wait to see what the animals come up with next year.

True

From the time she was a little girl, Abby Recker loved helping people. Her parents kept her stocked up with first-aid supplies so she could spend hours playing with her dolls, making up stories of ballet injuries and carefully wrapping “broken” arms and legs.

Recker fondly describes her hometown of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, as a simple place where people are kind to one another. There’s even a term for it—“Iowa nice”—describing an overall sense of agreeableness and emotional trust shown by people who are otherwise strangers.

Abby | Heroes Behind the Masks presented by CeraVe www.youtube.com

Driven by passion and the encouragement of her parents, Recker attended nursing school, graduating just one year before the unthinkable happened: a global pandemic. One year into her career as an emergency and labor and delivery nurse, everything she thought she knew about the medical field got turned upside down. That period of time was tough on everyone, and Nurse Recker was no exception.

Keep Reading Show less
via Pexels

The Emperor of the Seas.

Imagine retiring early and spending the rest of your life on a cruise ship visiting exotic locations, meeting interesting people and eating delectable food. It sounds fantastic, but surely it’s a billionaire’s fantasy, right?

Not according to Angelyn Burk, 53, and her husband Richard. They’re living their best life hopping from ship to ship for around $44 a night each. The Burks have called cruise ships their home since May 2021 and have no plans to go back to their lives as landlubbers. Angelyn took her first cruise in 1992 and it changed her goals in life forever.

“Our original plan was to stay in different countries for a month at a time and eventually retire to cruise ships as we got older,” Angelyn told 7 News. But a few years back, Angelyn crunched the numbers and realized they could start much sooner than expected.

Keep Reading Show less
True

It takes a special type of person to become a nurse. The job requires a combination of energy, empathy, clear mind, oftentimes a strong stomach, and a cheerful attitude. And while people typically think of nursing in a clinical setting, some nurses are driven to work with the people that feel forgotten by society.

Keep Reading Show less

We're dancing along too.

Art can be a powerful unifier. With just the right lyric, image or word, great art can soften those hard lines that divide us, helping us to remember the immense value of human connection and compassion.

This is certainly the case with “Pasoori,” a Pakistani pop song that has not only become an international hit, it’s managed to bring the long divided peoples of India and Pakistan together in the name of love. Or at least in the name of good music.
Keep Reading Show less

Dr. Alicia Jeffrey-Thomas teaches you how to pee.

A pelvic floor doctor from Boston, Massachusetts, has caused a stir by explaining that something we all thought was good for our health can cause real problems. In a video that has more than 5.8 million views on TikTok, Dr. Alicia Jeffrey-Thomas says we shouldn’t go pee “just in case.”

How could this be? The moment we all learned to control our bladders we were also taught to pee before going on a car trip, sitting down to watch a movie or playing sports.

The doctor posted the video as a response to TikTok user Sidneyraz, who made a video urging people to go to the bathroom whenever they get the chance. Sidneyraz is known for posting videos about things he didn’t learn until his 30s. "If you think to yourself, 'I don't have to go,' go." SidneyRaz says in the video. It sounds like common sense but evidently, he was totally wrong, just like the rest of humanity.

Keep Reading Show less