Tuesday, October 28, 2008
In Abuja we found them living on the periphery of the city in a shantytown - a group of men, a little girl, three hyenas, four monkeys and a few rock pythons. It turned out that they were a group of itinerant minstrels, performers who used the animals to entertain crowds and sell traditional medicines. The animal handlers were all related to each other and were practising a tradition passed down from generation to generation. I spent eight days travelling with them.The internet is woefully lacking in information about all this, but the photographer has a write-up here. This is particularly poignant:
Many animal-rights groups also contacted me, wanting to intervene (however, the keepers have permits from the Nigerian government). When I asked Nigerians, "How do you feel about the way they treat animals", the question confused people. Their responses always involved issues of economic survival. Seldom did anyone express strong concern for the well-being of the creatures. Europeans invariably only ask about the welfare of the animals but this question misses the point. Instead, perhaps, we could ask why these performers need to catch wild animals to make a living. Or why they are economically marginalised. Or why Nigeria, the world's sixth largest exporter of oil, is in such a state of disarray.Hyena fact time! "The female Spotted Hyena's urogenital system is unique among mammals; the female's clitoris is elongated to form a fully erectile phallus, and the vaginal opening is at the tip of this phallus. [...] The female urinates, mates and gives birth through this pseudo-penis."
Wikipedia of course also has an entry for pseudo-penis:"A pseudo-penis is a term used of any structure found on an animal that while superficially appearing to be a penis, is derived from a different developmental path." I know some people I could put into that category. >>
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Sunday, October 19, 2008
From the deepest wilds of Turkey, it's camel wrestling!
"Camel wrestling is a sport in which two male Tülu camels wrestle in response to a female camel in heat being led before them. It is most common in the Aegean region of Turkey, but is also found in the Marmara and Mediterranean regions of that country. There are an estimated 1200 camel wrestlers (or Tulu) in Turkey, bred specially for the competitions."
Did you know that camels are retromingent, meaning that they piss backwards?
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
"I hate these koalas so much that I've taken the liberty of poisoning them. They may look peaceful, but I assure you, their death was exceedingly painful and I enjoyed every minute of it.
Hey look, a dick made of stone!"
The artichoke, by the way, is the extremely bizarre pangolin.
Monday, October 6, 2008
On a darker note: Allied Reptiles
In February 1945, the British 14th Army had surrounded a mass of fleeing Japanese in a mangrove swamp in southern Burma. In the swamp were thousands of saltwater crocodiles, averaging 15 feet long, but the Japanese refused to surrender. The crisis came on the night of Feb. 19:War is hell, but crocodiles are worse. Incidentally, saltwater crocodiles are the largest and meanest of all reptiles, growing up to eighteen feet long and weighing over a ton.
That night was the most horrible that any member of the [marine launch] crews ever experienced. The scattered rifle shots in the pitch black swamp punctured by the screams of wounded men crushed in the jaws of huge reptiles, and the blurred worrying sound of spinning crocodiles made a cacophony of hell that has rarely been duplicated on earth. At dawn the vultures arrived to clean up what the crocodiles had left. … Of about 1,000 Japanese soldiers that entered the swamps of Ramree, only about 20 were found alive.
That's the account of naturalist Bruce Wright. If it's accurate, this would be the worst crocodile attack — and indeed one of the deadliest animal attacks — in recorded history.
Again from Futility Closet. >>
Sunday, October 5, 2008
I think we've all heard that you should be wary of snake bites even after you've chopped off the head (or, you know, you shouldn't chop off a snake's head), but I don't think I've ever actually seen why. This is pretty bizarre.
Saturday, October 4, 2008
A seven-year-old boy has been filmed going on the rampage at a popular zoo in Australia, killing rare reptiles and feeding live ones to a crocodile.You know, when you think about it, it's not really. >>
Footage from the security cameras at Alice Springs Reptile Centre caught the child smiling as he killed a total of 13 animals.
During his 30-minute spree, he was seen hurling the animals over the security fence into the crocodile enclosure.
"The fact a seven-year-old can wreak so much havoc in such a short time, it's unbelievable," he told Reuters news agency.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Grey heron eats entire rabbit alive
Dude, nature is cruel. Nature doesn't give a shit about your 'aesthetic values' or 'spirituality' or any of that other crap you figured out after watching An Inconvenient Truth. It's going to go ahead and let big ugly things eat cute little things, because nature is a compete bastard.
somebody lolcat that last one
There's been a lot of talk about Sarah Palin's ability to "field dress" a moose, and how this somehow qualifies her to take all my money. I, along with everyone else who has never shot anything out of a helicopter, have no idea what this means. To google!
Instead of putting the moose in an elegant gown and sending it off to a moosey ballroom, field dressing is actually slicing it open and removing all the internal organs with a knife and your bare hands. Take a look at the steps listed here:
Clear Your Working AreaI don't even know what to say about this other than the word anus is on this page sixteen times. I'm pretty sure there's nothing about anuses in any study of American values, and I'm now a little afraid of the people who identify with Sarah Palin more because she knows how to split the pelvic bone of a dead moose.
Bleed The Animal
Preparatory Skin Cuts, Throat to Anus
Break the Breastbone
Sever the Wind Pipe and Gullet from the Head
Open the Abdomen to the Anus
Split the Pelvic Bone
Cut the Diaphragm from the Cavity Wall
Free the Anus and Bladder
Roll Out The Abdominal Organs with Anus Attached
Remove the Neck and Chest Cavity Organs
Clean the Body Cavity
Prepare the Carcass for Cooling or Quartering
I bet she's not even very good at it.
p.s. holy shit even the New Hampshire government's website tells you how to kill a moose how does everybody but me know this stuff >>