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image Pigeon Religion extolls the divine virtues of the oft-maligned pigeon. It's hard to tell if this is meant to be taken seriously. The text seems serious enough. Maybe. But the picture of a pigeon on the cross seems a bit over the top. However, I ran the phone number at the bottom of the page through a reverse phone directory and discovered that it was the number of the Companion Bird Club of Manhattan. Therefore, I'm concluding that Pigeon Religion is quite serious. (via Bifurcated Rivets)
Categories: Animals, Religion
Posted by Alex on Mon Feb 07, 2005
Comments (2)
About a week ago I linked to an article that discussed how Gulf Coast teenagers have been going around licking catfish, in the hope that it'll make them high. Now a follow-up article reveals the source of this strange behavior. It all started out as an April Fool's Day joke published in Sport Fishing magazine five years ago:

OK, listen up catfish lickers.
You've been punked. There's no hallucinogen in the slime.
A Florida magazine editor said he made the story up five years ago for an annual April Fool's special - and somehow it just kept on going...

He [Doug Olander, editor-in-chief of Sport Fishing magazine] claimed the catfish goop was popular among college kids, who called themselves "slimers" and paid as much as $200 for a fresh catch.
The slime was supposed to produce a "whisker-lickin' good" trip that would give users the sensation of being under water.
He attributed the information to University of Florida scientist Dr. Benjamin Joon.
As in "Benny & Joon," the romantic comedy with Johnny Depp.
Categories: Animals, April Fools Day
Posted by Alex on Sun Feb 06, 2005
Comments (3)
image Here's another odd picture I got in my email (click image to enlarge). This one I happen to know is real. It's a picture of C. Manoharan, aka "Snake Manu". Threading snakes into his nose and out his mouth is his specialty. It's called 'snake flossing'. The snake in this picture is just a harmless garden snake, though apparently he also does the trick with cobras. Plus, Snake Manu also holds the Guinness World Record for most earthworms eaten. He's just an all-around Renaissance man. Below are some more pictures of him doing his snake flossing trick, taken from this article about him and his career. I think he'd be a great guest to have at a party.big surpriseHere's my favorite paragraph from the article I linked to:
it so happened that a snake went through his nostril and stopped somewhere close to the larynx and refused to move past it. May be it was stuck. It could not be pulled out through the nostril back also, as it was one of the deadliest varieties and pulling it out back through the entry point made Manoharan more vulnerable for a quick bite. He was left with no option. Either the snake bites him or he bites the snake. He chose the later option and bit it into pieces. And he had found another item that would strike terror among his audience. Eating them alive!

Categories: Animals, Gross, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Fri Feb 04, 2005
Comments (24)
image I've always felt strongly that something should be done about the plight of dyslexic newborn gerbils, but thankfully I see that somebody has already taken steps to tackle this problem. It's the International Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Dyslexic Newborn Gerbils. "This organization, now in its fifth year of existence, is devoted to the plight of the helpless infant gerbils that come into this harsh world unable to learn, write, or even communicate with their families.  It is the goal of this organization to educate the masses about this terrible epidemic of rodent learning disorders, and to stop the mindless cruelty that these poor creatures are subject to every day." Unfortunately it appears that their site hasn't been updated in over two years.
Categories: Animals, Websites
Posted by Alex on Mon Jan 31, 2005
Comments (14)
Here's the question: is it possible to get high by licking a catfish? According to this article by Tony Bridges, teenagers have recently been seen hanging around at docks around the Gulf of Mexico, asking fishermen if they have any extra catfish so they can lick them and get high. Supposedly something in the mucus that covers the skin of certain kinds of saltwater catfish contains hallucinogenic properties. I've heard this is true about some species of frogs, but whether it also holds true for catfish, I don't know. The article itself is noncommittal about whether the rumor is true. And, so far, I haven't been able to locate any credible research on the subject. My guess, without knowing anything about the biology of catfish, is that it's a load of codswallop.
Categories: Animals
Posted by Alex on Mon Jan 31, 2005
Comments (16)
Wm. Murray emailed me this interesting photo (click to enlarge). Can you guess if it's real or fake?
Answer: Apparently it's real (when I first looked at it I just assumed it was fake). From Wm.'s email: The dog and the bottle-nose dolphin were pals who "met" about every week or ten days at the beach in front of the Meridian Club on Pine Cay in the Turks & Caicos. My wife and I vacationed there in May 1990 and took many pictures of this strange pairing. We were told that it had been going on for some years prior to our visit. The dog (Taffy) would begin furious barking and race to the water's edge. Moments later the dolphin (JoJo) would come to the shore and they would romp together until enough people got into the water and the dolphin would swim away. Initially he(?) would move a ways along the shore away from the crowd with the dog following, then eventually leave after the people caught up to him a few times. JoJo would nip at Taffy's legs and Taffy would jump on the dolphin's back, leaving scratch marks. The whole thing would last 8-10 minutes and we saw it three different times over about twenty days. (I've since reused JoJo's image for a few of my hoax shots to simulate a shark in the pool or creek.)
Categories: Animals, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Fri Jan 28, 2005
Comments (13)
image Kentaro Mori of Liquito sent me this picture (click thumbnail to enlarge) of a very fat dog. He says that he found it on a Japanese website. My hunch would be that there's no photo trickery involved here. It really is a very fat dog. Probably comes from the same household as Munchkin the Monster Cat.
Categories: Animals, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Mon Jan 24, 2005
Comments (54)
image The Tailspinning into Tomorrow Livejournal has posted a picture of a flyer put up by someone searching for their missing monkey. Here's the text of the flyer:

Missing Monkey
Last seen in diaper carrying blue 'blankie'
looks like Olsen twin (circa 1985 Full House baby)
Responds to nickname 'F123'
If found call: *******
Monkey is NOT trustworthy

I like how they specify that the monkey isn't trustworthy. But I'm wondering if the flyer might be an example of the classic weird-missing-pet phone prank. An earlier example of this I recorded was A Cat Named Killer. Here's the prank: put out an ad or flyer listing a weird pet as missing; include your friend's phone number as the contact; wait for your friend to gets hundreds of bizarre phone calls.
Categories: Animals, Pranks
Posted by Alex on Fri Jan 21, 2005
Comments (30)
An email has been going around showing photos of bizarre, supposedly never-before-seen deep-sea creatures that have been washing up on beaches because of the tsunami. Photos of the creatures can be seen on this Russian website. It's obviously a hoax since these photos have been floating around the internet for ages. One of them has even appeared on my site before. But the Practical Fishkeeping site has done everyone a service by identifying what all these sea creatures actually are.
imageimage image
Categories: Animals
Posted by Alex on Tue Jan 18, 2005
Comments (7)
image The latest gross-out food email going around involves a Chinese restaurant in Atlanta supposedly caught accepting shipments of rats and mice. These rats would, I guess, be served to people who enjoy rodents as a delicacy. Some photos accompany the email (rats1, rats2, rats3). The email says that:

After a full search of the kitchen, authorities found, packaged rats, mice, kittens, puppies and a large frozen hawk... The restaurant has locations off Peachtree Road and Alpharetta near North Pointe Mall.

I tried googling for chinese restaurants located on Peachtree Road in Atlanta and came up with a few of them. But needlessly, since David Emery has already debunked this email by doing a news search and confirming that there have been no recent reports of rat-accepting restaurants in Atlanta. Plus, the photos come from a store that sells packaged rats for feeding snakes.
Categories: Animals, Food
Posted by Alex on Fri Jan 14, 2005
Comments (13)
image Coydogs. Are they real creatures, or just the stuff of urban legend? As the name implies, a coydog would be a cross between a coyote and a dog. But according to Chrissie Henner, a biologist at the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, they're an urban legend. She says that "there has never been any physical evidence of a half-dog, half-coyote animal." Not that it would be impossible for the two species to mate and produce an offspring, just very unlikely. Though Henner also points out that the mating cycles of the two species differ: "Coyotes go in to heat between January and March and have pups in May or June, while dogs have their pups in winter." So if animal experts such as Henner are correct that there's no physical evidence of the existence of coydogs, then what exactly is the Sundance Coydogs site selling? Are these coyotes, or dogs that look coyote-like, or real coydogs?
Categories: Animals
Posted by Alex on Tue Dec 21, 2004
Comments (230)
image Bailey is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. On November 8, 2004 he was stolen from a locked car located in a Beverly Hills parking structure. Bailey's owner, Elizabeth Hart, is desperate to get him back. And to aid in this effort she's created the most elaborate, slickly designed website you'll ever see for a lost dog. She's also issued a press release about Bailey, and is doing radio and TV interviews. I feel bad being suspicious about all this. After all, the poor woman probably really has lost her dog and is just trying to do everything she can to get him back. I know I'd go to quite extreme lengths to get my cat back, if she ever went missing. But still, the skeptic in me keeps saying 'Can this possibly be real?' It's how perfectly media-friendly the whole situation is that gives me pause. You've got a cute dog, an attractive woman, a christmas sob story, press releases, a professionally designed website. Could this be someone (maybe an aspiring actress) inventing a story to get some media attention? I have absolutely no evidence for this at all (though most people who lose their dog don't issue a press release), and I'm probably wrong. I just can't stop myself from asking the question. Anyway, I figure that even if my suspicions are misdirected, I'm helping her out by linking to her site and giving her more publicity.
Categories: Animals
Posted by Alex on Thu Dec 16, 2004
Comments (46)
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