This Collection of Bat-Eating Spiders Is Probably the Scariest Thing You’ll See Today

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It’s hard to imagine a fragile spider killing and eating a full-grown bat. I mean there’s no way a tiny spider could have any sort of muscle power over a fully grown bat, right? Believe or not, there are eight-legged bugs out there that can pounce on bats and eventually devour them. And when they can’t, they rely on their superior web-spinning skills to get the job done.

One of the earliest sightings of bat-eating spiders occurred way back in 1941, when Indian scientist G.C. Bhattacharya (of the Bose Research Institute) walked into a cowshed in a village near the city of Calcutta. In a letter to an unknown publication, he wrote a detailed account of his experience: “Entering into the cowshed, I noticed a pipistrelle bat struggling to drag itself out of a crevice between two bamboo strips of a wall and a big house-spider was seen firmly gripping the former by the neck with its powerful mandibles.” No matter how much the little bat kicked, and screamed and flailed, the spider held on with a death-grip. “There was intermittent gasping and screaming of the bat,” Bhattacharya wrote.

Eventually, he focused a torch on the spot and as soon as the light fell on the pair, the bat screamed loudly and managed to drag itself through a certain distance on the matted shed wall. About 20 minutes later, the bat, thoroughly exhausted, stretched out its wing and gave in.   Bhattacharya then captured both victim and predator in a glass jar and took them home for closer observation. The next morning, he found the spider resting peacefully at the top of the jar, while the bat lay dead at the bottom, untouched. It had visible injuries to its neck and had died sometime during the night.

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Hemeroplanes Triptolemus – The Creepy Snake That’s Actually a Harmless Caterpillar

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Looking at a photo of Hemeroplanes triptolemus, nine out of ten people would swear it’s a snake. But look closer, and you’ll realize there’s something peculiar about it – the body is unusually short and ends abruptly with a large reptilian head. The truth is, it’s not a snake at all. The Hemeroplanes is actually a caterpillar pretending to be a snake. And it does a darn good impression of the deadly creature, often fooling curious travelers and predators alike.

Hemeroplanes are moths of to the Sphingidae family, found in many parts of South America, Africa and Central America. In the larval form, they are capable of expanding their anterior body segments to closely resemble a snake, complete with reptilian scales and scary eyes. To make their mimicking act even more believable, the harmless caterpillar will sometimes even snap at potential predators. Of course, they have no real fangs so they can’t really do any serious damage, but their appearance is convincing enough to scare even humans away,

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Aviation-Themed Film Studio Opens Fear of Flying School for Dogs

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For the first time ever, Air Hollywood, an aviation-themed film studio in Los Angeles, is offering a unique service for dogs – classes to help man’s best friend overcome fear of flying.

The idea for the school came to ‘Air Hollywood’ owner Talaat Captan, after he witnessed an uptight dog and an equally uptight owner struggling to pass through airport security. “There was a light bulb right on top of my head, saying, I have all these big facilities, millions of dollars’ worth of sets, why don’t I do something really useful? And that’s how it all started,” he said. So he developed the concept for the fear of flying school, and it turned out to be a big hit with pet owners.

“Getting to practice it, I would feel comfortable going on an airplane with my dog. I would know exactly what to do.” said Stacey Huckbea, one of the instructors at the school. The dogs and their owners are trained quite thoroughly on the entire aviation experience – checking in, going through the terminal, TSA screening, and boarding an airplane. The school also simulates take off turbulence and landing in a fake airplane that sits on a working sound stage used for TV and movie productions.

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Amazing Lyrebirds Can Mimic Any Sound They Hear, from Other Birds to Chainsaws, Car Alarms or Camera Shutters

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Male Lyrebirds, native to Australia, are considered the rock stars of the aviary world. These amazing creatures can imitate the sounds of at least 20 different species of birds almost to perfection as well as any other sounds they hear in their environment, from camera shutters to car alarms and chainsaws. And just like human rock stars, the lyrebirds use their best sounds to attract and impress the females.

Although beautiful in their own way, female lyrebirds aren’t exactly spectacular. They don’t take part in the imitating, nor are they particularly attractive. But the males put up an elaborate show, singing a medley of mimicry to attract the females during mating season. They even set the stage beforehand, by clearing a space on the forest floor and building a mound of earth to serve as a concert platform.

Later, they assume their positions on these mounds and the mimicry begins. As they sing, they spread out their handsome 28-inch long tail feathers, enhancing the performance a great deal. But the song is the most important part. The more varied the repertoire, the more attractive the male lyrebirds seem to their potential mates. This is important, because the females need to be persuaded to come closer to admire the pretty plumage. And what better way to do it than with a great song?

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The Tame Deer of Miyajima Island Are Starving to Death

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The deer of Japan’s Miyajima Island are quite tame – they freely roam the city’s streets and almost entirely depend on humans for food. For several years, they survived purely on the crackers and other food that tourists fed them. But in a bid to reduce their population, the government decided to ban the feeding of the deer. And now the poor animals are almost starving to death.

At one point, these small, red-brown deer were revered and worshipped by the locals. After WWII, when the number of deer had reduced greatly, people decided to invite them out of the wild and offer them food. Slowly, the deer became an international tourist attraction – people arrived by the thousands to see the tame deer of Miyajima. And of course, they wanted to feed the animals themselves. Several vendors sold rice crackers that the tourists could feed to the deer.

During this time, many reports suggested that the deer still had wild tendencies. Sign boards warned tourists that teasing the deer or getting to close to them could lead to injury. Not too long ago, a tourist blogged about her experience feeding the creatures – when her friend couldn’t get the crackers out of the packet soon enough, a deer attacked her and bit her on the knee. The girl retaliated by slapping the offender’s nose and managed to infuriate the locals, as the deer are sacred and should not be harmed.

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Recycling Tokyo Crows Build Their Nests Out of Coat Hangers

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Crows are known to be highly intelligent birds, and it looks like they can now teach us a thing or two about recycling and stealing. The Asian Jungle Crow, a large-billed crow, actually builds its nest out of coat hangers that it steals from people’s homes!

Crows make use of pretty much anything they find lying around to build their hardy nests. House Crows generally build crude structures, made of interlocking twigs gathered from surrounding trees and shrubs. They weave the twigs together with little pieces of metallic wire that strengthen the nest structure. In some nests, the clever crows incorporate knotted lengths of thick plastic instead.

But perhaps the most amazing crow nests are the ones built around Tokyo, Japan. Twigs and other natural materials are hard to come by in the busy metropolis, so the birds settle for the next best thing, and that seems to be coat hangers. You have got to see pictures to believe it! A blogger had posted some of these images way back in 2005, after solving the mystery of the missing hangers from her back yard. But it isn’t just the one nest – it seems that Japanese Jungle Crows are compulsive collectors of hangers!

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Forget Godzilla, Disease-Carrying Ratzillas Are a Much More Real Threat

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As though they weren’t bad enough at their normal size, we now have rats that are bigger than cats. Oh, the horror! Several ‘ratzilla’ stories have been in the news recently, featuring shockingly massive rats. I wouldn’t blame you for wondering if these pictures are Photoshopped, but they’re not – the supersize rats look like they’ve been loading up on steroids or something. These ‘pumped’ rats have infested several countries around the world and are quickly becoming a huge menace to humans.

A series of ratzilla-sightings have been reported across the UK, the largest one being 2 ft. long. It was lurking about in the loft of a home, terrifying the residents with loud scratching sounds. “This was followed by the really loud sound of wood being chewed,” said homeowner Grace Walters. “Pest control put a camera in the attic to see what was going on – and sure enough the rat was there, hiding in a corner. They had to cut a hole in the ceiling to reach it and when they grabbed it, none of us could believe it was the size of a cat.”

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Meet Penelope Popcorn, the Most Fashionable Pig on the Internet

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You’d expect any pig named ‘Penelope Popcorn’ to be adorable. And this one-year-old from California does not disappoint. The stylish swine has become an internet sensation after her owner posted photographs of her posing in a range of interesting outfits. Penelope is very popular online, especially on Instagram, where she has over 40,000 followers.

“She has been dressed up and had her nails painted since she was a baby, so she doesn’t mind wearing outfits and posing for pictures,” said the owner. “She is very patient.” Penelope lives with a mother and her two kids and has truly become one of the ladies. The purebred Juliana pig apparently enjoys playing dress-up. She’s also potty trained and can perform a variety of tricks.

In the photographs, Penelope is often seen dressed in a range of swanky headgear shaped like flowers, bows, butterflies, angel wings, and even party hats. One of her most adorable pictures shows her dressed like a little pink bunny – I can see why people are going crazy over this stuff. There’s another one where she’s dressed like a bumblebee. She can be seen sporting sweatshirts too, but the animal disguises are the most popular.

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Cat Working as Train Station Master Is Japan’s Cutest Tourist Attraction

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Tama the cat has been a part of the Japanese workforce for the past seven years. She works as a station master at Kishi station, a remote railway stop in Kinokawa City, Wakayama, Western Japan. Of course, ‘works’ isn’t exactly the right word for what she does there. Her job mostly involves sitting around, posing for pictures and looking rather stern (which reminds me of my ex-boss, actually). But Tama has been rewarded handsomely for her efforts – she has a large window office, a hat with a gold lining, a badge, and her annual compensation is one years’ worth of cat food.

Station Master Tama is special because she attracts tens of thousands of tourists each year. Her presence at Kishi station has helped revitalize tourism in a rural area that was struggling to stay afloat. At one point, the train line that passed through Kishi station saw a 15 percent annual decline in ridership. But when Tama stepped into the role of station master, in 2007, there was a sudden 10 percent jump in the first year.

Tourists continue to pour in from Hong Kong and Taiwan; Wakayama Electric Railway (the company that runs the line) said that at least 20,000 tourists visit the small town annually. The estimated combined revenue from the ticket sales and memorabilia like photobooks and commercial appearances has bumped up the local economy by a whopping 1.1 billion yen ($10.8 million). The company operates just the one line, with about 2.2 million passengers annually.

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Fishing with Otters in Bangladesh – A Dying Tradition

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Otter Fishing has been a long-standing tradition in Bangladesh. For centuries, fishermen have been using trained otters to lure fish into their nets – a unique technique passed on from father to son that has long died out in other parts of Asia. Bangladeshi fishermen have managed to keep it alive so far, but the future of otter fishing seems uncertain due to the dwindling  population of fish in the country’s rivers.

As a part of the tradition, fishermen lower their nets into the water close to the banks of the river. As they do this, their pet otters also dive tails up into the water with a splash. The animals do not catch the fish themselves, but chase them towards the fishing nets for the fishermen to haul in. Otter fishing is generally practiced during the night, with some fisherman throwing their nets until dawn trying to catch enough fish to support their families. Their hard work yields anywhere between 4 and 12 kilos of fish and shrimp every night.

A fishing family makes about $250 a month with the modest catch. “Our job depends on the otters,” said Shashudhar Biswas, a fisherman from Narail district in southern Bangladesh. “The otters manage to spot fish among the plants, then the fish swim away and we stay close with our nets. If we did it without them, we wouldn’t be able to catch as many fish,” his son Vipul added.

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Believe It or Not the Scariest Mouth in the World Belongs to a Species of Turtle

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Here’s one species of turtle you don’t want to kiss. Believe me, the Leatherback Sea Turtle might look adorable and harmless, but lurking behind its cute face is a set of killer teeth, making its mouth one of the scariest in the world.. Hundreds of these jagged stalactite-like teeth called ‘papillae’ line the turtle’s mouth and esophagus, all the way down to the gut. You just have to see it to believe it.

The Leatherback is the third largest living reptile in the world, and also the largest turtle. It’s actually a pretty docile creature, with a diet mainly consisting of jellyfish. In fact, the only reason it gets so huge is because it eats an astonishingly large number of the slow-moving jellies. Sometimes, the leatherback can consume about 73 percent of its own body weight in a single day, which is about 16,000 calories and three to seven times more than it needs to survive. Talk about binge eating!

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The Town That Hanged an Elephant – The Chilling Story of Murderous Mary

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It’s hard to tell if the photograph is fake or real. Either way, the story of Mary – the only elephant in the world to have been hanged – will send chills down your spine. Cruelty towards animals is by no means rare, but stories like these seriously leave you wondering if there is any hope for us humans.

Mary’s fate was sealed on a cold afternoon in February 1916 when Charlie Spark’s traveling circus arrived in the small town of Kingsport, Tennessee. She was the star of the circus – she could pick out 25 tunes on musical horns using her trunk. She was also the champion pitcher of the circus’ baseball team. As a promotional activity, the circus conducted a parade along the main street that day. Mary, or ‘Murderous Mary’ as she would later be known, was ridden by 38-year-old Walter Eldridge.

Eldridge happened to be a drifter – he had only joined the circus the day before and had no experience of handling elephants. But that was no concern; he would do fine as long as he could wield the ‘elephant stick’ – a long rod with a sharp spear at the end. The elephant stick is a notorious instrument that evokes extreme fear out of tortured creatures. To make an elephant perform tricks, it first has to be broken down into subservience. And that’s where the stick comes in handy. Trainers repeatedly poke the giant creatures until they bleed profusely. Ultimately they will do anything the trainer asks, in order to avoid the stick.

Mary was obviously trained with the stick too. She would do as Eldridge ordered as long as he held it – or so he thought. Unfortunately, on that fateful afternoon, Mary happened to be suffering from a painfully abscessed tooth. She stopped during the parade to chew on a piece of watermelon rind and Eldridge jabbed her to keep moving, catching her on the exact spot of the infection.

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Tiny Terror – Arizona Town Terrorized by Packs of Stray Chihuahuas

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I always thought Chihuahuas were pretty harmless, but apparently they can be quite vicious in large numbers. The residents of Maryvale, a small town in Arizona, can certainly vouch for the fact. The town is filled with stray pooches that are terrorizing children and defecating all over the place.

Local animal control officials say they’re finding it quite difficult to control the Chihuahua population. They’ve received over 6,000 calls from frustrated residents – three times higher than any other town in the state. According to Melissa Gable from Maricopa County Animal Control (MCAC), these dogs aren’t spayed or neutered so they’re always looking out for a mate and having babies. This makes the problem worse.

“There’s a lot of dogs in the street,” said Stephanie Guzman, a resident. “People will start going crazy because they bark all night.”

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Cat Breeders Discover New Breed of Felines That Look Like Werewolves

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Tennessee-based breeders have created a new breed of cat with a touch of the supernatural. The ‘Lykoi’ has the looks of a werewolf, but apparently behaves more like a dog. Due to a genetic mutation in a domestic shorthair cat, the Lykoi has no hair around its eyes, nose, ears and muzzle, giving it a werewolfish appearance.

The name ‘Lykoi’ loosely translates as ‘wolf cat’ in Greek. It has patchy hair on the rest of its body and a ‘hound dog personality’. According to the official website for the breed, “They like to hunt around the house for whatever they can find. They show caution to strangers but warm up quickly and become very friendly.”

“There was no human intervention to create the cat,” said breeder Johnny Gobble. “The gene is a natural mutation that appeared in the domestic cat population. We are simply using the genetics of natural processes.”

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A Fascinating Story of Exploding Toads and Clever Crows

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In April 2005, a small pond in Hamburg, Germany became the center of a great mystery, rather repulsive in nature. A documentary film made on the phenomenon reported:

“About 1,000 dead toads were discovered lying around the edges. Their bodies appeared to have exploded. Eye-witnesses said they swelled up to about three-and-a-half times their normal size and then simply burst. And they burst with such an explosive force that their entrails were blown over several square meters.”

For several weeks, the common European toads in question received international attention. Scientists were totally baffled, unable to provide an explanation for the unnatural deaths. Health officials panicked – they suspected a virus spread by South American race horses from a nearby track. The tabloid press had a field day with the story, labelling the area ‘The Pond of Death’. Things got worse when the epidemic spread across the border to a nearby Danish lake.

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