Photo: Michael Regen/Getty Images
A challenge of fire and ice
A fierce competitor runs through muddy water as a fire burns in the background during the Tough Guy Challenge endurance race on Jan. 29 in Telford, England. Every year, thousands of people run the eight-mile assault course that involves freezing temperatures and fire.
Related on MNN: Conquering the chilly workouts of winter
* * *
Photo: Lisa Ware/Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute
Maned wolf pups
An 8-day-old maned wolf puppy is held in the gloved hands of a keeper at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Va.
The litter of four pups was born on Jan. 5 to 8-year-old mother Salina and 4-year-old father Nopal. Maned wolves are a near threatened species found in the grasslands and other semi-open areas of central South America, and due to human encroachment into their natural habitat, there are only about 20,000 individuals left in the wild.
Because of the high wolf pup mortality rate (50 percent die in the first month of life), keepers are keeping a close watch on them as they grow.
Related on MNN: Birth of maned wolf pups is conservation success story
* * *
Photo: Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images
Stadium snow sweeps
Stadium staff members, decked out in yellow rain gear, remove snow from the pitch on Feb. 1 in preparation for a match between FC Internazionale Milano and US Citta di Palermo at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza in Milan, Italy.
Related on MNN: Organic beer options for Super Bowl Sunday
* * *
Photo: Ian Gavan/Getty Images
A spotty runway
* * *
Photo: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Winter X Games
Christian Mithassel (yellow) of Norway leads the pack to win the semifinal heat ahead of Casey Puckett (black) of the U.S., Dave Duncan (white) of Canada, Daniel Bohnacker (red) of Germany and Alex Fiva (green) of Switzerland on Jan. 29, Day 4 of the 2012 Winter X Games at Buttermilk Mountain in Aspen, Colo.
Mithassel, Puckett and Duncan advanced to the final, where Duncan earned the bronze medal and Chris Del Bosco of Canada secured the gold medal.
Related on MNN: Canadian skier Sarah Burke dies of injuries
* * *
Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
Wall of wigs
* * *
Photo: Jeff Swensen/Getty Images
Phil predicts 6 more weeks of winter
Groundhog handler John Griffiths hunches as Punxsutawney Phil perches on his shoulder during the 126th annual Groundhog Day festivities on Feb. 2 in Punxsutawney, Pa. Moments earlier, the famous groundhog had predicted six more weeks of winter after seeing his shadow upon leaving his burrow.
If Phil had not seen his shadow, he would have remained above ground because an early spring is on the way. But not all of the nation's furry forecasters agreed: New York’s Staten Island Chuck predicted an early spring, as did Georgia’s Gen. Beauregard Lee.
Related on MNN: 6 things most people don't know about Groundhog Day
* * *
Photo: Bethany Clarke/Getty Images
A judge inspects the large ears of a brown English lop eared rabbit on Jan. 28 at the U.K.'s Rabbit Grand National show at the Yorkshire Event Centre in Harrogate, England.
About 3,000 animals attend the annual rabbit show jumping event, which runs over two days and attracts competitors from as far afield as Sweden.
Related on MNN: Endangered pygmy rabbits get second chance
* * *
Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
The battle against food deserts
First lady Michelle Obama speaks about accessibility to healthy food in low-income neighborhoods and California's FreshWorks Fund with Los Angeles City Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (right) and Inglewood Mayor James Butts (left) looking on at the future site of Northgate Market on Feb. 1 in Inglewood, Calif.
The $264 million public-private fund plans to bring healthy food stores to low-income communities with the aim of improving public health and creating jobs. The fund has committed $20 million in financing to Northgate for the first three projects, which are in South Los Angeles, Inglewood and the City Heights portion of San Diego.
The first lady ended her two-day visit to southern California with a television appearance to promote her fight against childhood obesity and a fundraiser for her husband, President Barack Obama.
Related on MNN: Michelle Obama wins 'Ellen' push-up contest
* * *
Photo: Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images
Chinese New Year celebration
Performers wait on a float just before the start of the Chinese New Year Twilight Parade on Jan. 29 in Sydney. This year's parade celebrates the Year of the Dragon and includes more than 2,900 local and international performers in addition to 24 floats.
Related on MNN: The girl with the dragon throw pillow: Chinese New Year decor
* * *
Photo: Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images
The 'Tent of Dreams' remains at Occupy D.C.
Occupy D.C. protesters shout slogans on Jan. 30 after erecting a large blue tarp — dubbed the "Tent of Dreams" — over the statue of U.S. Civil War Major General James Birdseye McPherson at McPherson Square in Washington, D.C.
Occupy D.C. demonstrators faced a deadline Monday to end their four months of camping or risk arrest, but the deadline passed and the protesters continue to occupy the park. Occupy D.C. is the most visible remaining offshoot of the Occupy movement after New York police swept away the original Wall Street encampment in mid-November.
Related on MNN: Occupy D.C. defies ban, hoists 'tent of dreams'
* * *
Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images
Unseasonable winter weather
German tourists Lisa Klingelhoefer (left) and Dawina Goth take in the sunshine on Feb. 1 while laying on a boulder overlooking a pond in New York City's Central Park. Temperatures topped 60 degrees in the city as an unseasonably mild winter continues.
Related on MNN: What's behind the wacky winter weather?
* * *
Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Romney stops on the campaign for some pork
Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney cuts into a whole roasted pig during a campaign stop on Jan. 29 with Florida Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (right) and others at Casa Marin in Hialeah, Fla.
Related on MNN: Mitt Romney's environmental record
* * *
Photo: Chip Sodomevilla/Getty Images
A supporter wears a campaign sticker on her forehead during a rally on Jan. 30 with Republican presidential candidate and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich at the Tampa Jet Center in Tampa, Fla. Gingrich and fellow candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, traveled up and down Florida leading up to the Jan. 31 primary, which Romney won with 46 percent of the vote.
Related on MNN: Gingrich promises U.S. moon base by 2020
* * *
Photo: Matt Cardy/Getty Images
Winter changes its tune
A Land Rover drives down a road canopied by a line of snow-covered trees on Jan. 30 near Exmoor, England. After several weeks of unseasonably mild weather, some parts of the U.K. woke to a thick blanket of snow this week.
Related on MNN: The science of snow, and how to deal with it
* * *
Tough Guy Challenge, wolf pups and a wall of wigs: Best photos of the week
The best photos of the week from the Mother Nature Network including a daring challenge of fire and ice, unbearably cute wolf puppies and a giant wall o' wigs