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

2 CommentsStumble it Icon digg it Icon

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.

Murderous-Mary-the-elephant

..

Tiny Terror – Arizona Town Terrorized by Packs of Stray Chihuahuas

1 CommentStumble it Icon digg it Icon

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.”

feral-chihuahuas

..

Cat Breeders Discover New Breed of Felines That Look Like Werewolves

4 CommentsStumble it Icon digg it Icon

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.”

Lykoi-cats3

..

A Fascinating Story of Exploding Toads and Clever Crows

Comments OffStumble it Icon digg it Icon

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.

hamburg-toads

..

Huachito, “Bolivia’s Most Loyal Dog”, Still Waits for His Master Five Years after His Death

1 CommentStumble it Icon digg it Icon

Huachito is an extremely faithful Bolivian dog, named after his famous Japanese counterpart, Hachiko. Just like Hachiko, who stunned the world with his loyalty to his dead owner, Huachito is mourning the death of his beloved human friend.

Huachito, ‘Huachi’, or simply ‘Hachi’ to some, is of an unknown breed. This remarkable dog has surprised the residents of Pope Paul Avenue, in Cochabamba, Bolivia, where he comes daily and waits for his master to return. Unfortunately, the dog’s owner passed away five years ago in a tragic accident.

According to Roman Lujan Bilbao, a local butcher, “It should be about five years since the owner died in a motorcycle accident. The dog has come and stood here ever since.” The locals have taken to feeding and caring for the dog while it waits patiently.

Huachito-dog

..

Giant Gippsland – The World’s Largest and Most Extraordinary Earthworms

1 CommentStumble it Icon digg it Icon

What’s 31 inches long, one inch thick, has no legs, and slithers through the ground? No, it’s not a snake, it’s an earthworm! The Giant Gippsland, found in Gippsland in south-eastern Australia, is the world’s largest species of earthworms. Fully stretched, it can measure up to two meters in length.

These slithering giants are surprisingly gentle creatures. They are quite hard to spot, spending most of their lives deep underground. Higher water content in the soil helps them breathe better. Their burrows can be as deep as 3 to 5 feet below the surface. Sometimes, heavy rainfall forces them to emerge out of the dirt. You might find also find their burrows in places where there’s been a landslip.

They are quite fragile – reckless handling can crush and kill them. Only a particular type of moist soil is suitable for their survival. If you happen to walk over their water-filled burrows, they will respond to the vibration of your footsteps. They start to crawl about and make squelchy noises that are quite easy to hear. So even though the Gippsland Giants are pretty rare, you’ll know when they are around.

Giant-Gippsland-earthworm

..

Romantic Bowerbird Builds Intricate Structures to Seduce Females

Comments OffStumble it Icon digg it Icon

The concept of bachelor pads isn’t unique to humans. Male bowerbirds are amazing architects, but they reserve theirs skills for just one purpose – finding a mate. They construct such elaborate and dazzling nests to impress females, perhaps they could teach our men a thing or two about home décor.

Male bowerbirds use embellishments such as coins, nails, leaves, shells, seeds, flowers and live insects to weave their nests, called bowers. Bowers are U-shaped nests built with twigs and grass, and carpeted with moss. Each bower is an architectural marvel that stretches out 5 or 6 yards across, complete with a thatched roof and supporting pillars.

Blue is a very important color in the construction process. Male bowerbirds use several blue objects – berries, flowers, bottle caps and string – to attract prospective mates. Research has proven that females are attracted to bowers with the most number of blue decorations. Because blue objects are rare in a bowerbird’s environment, a male who is able to acquire them and protect them is deemed superior.

bowerbird

..

Fascinating Orchid Mantis Mimics Flowers to Attract Unsuspecting Prey

Comments OffStumble it Icon digg it Icon

The orchid mantis, named after the flower it strikingly resembles, fools prey and predators alike. Its imitation of orchids is so convincing that insects are more attracted to it than the real deal.

Camouflage isn’t a strange concept; many animals and insects adopt clever disguises to avoid predators. But orchid mantises are unique. They stand out instead of blending in, beating orchids at their own game.

Most people find insects gross and disturbing. I must confess, I’m one of them. But I caught myself admiring pictures of orchid mantises. They are such beautiful creatures with their petal-shaped legs and rich pink, white and purple bodies. These features create a “tantalizing lure” for insects, says James O’Hanlon from Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia.

orchid-mantis

..

Unique Archerfish Spits Jets of Water to Shoot Down Its Prey

Comments OffStumble it Icon digg it Icon

The water-pistol is a harmless toy for children, but apparently it can be a lethal weapon too. This particular species of fish makes use of water jets and the laws of physics to aim at and stun its prey.

The aptly named archerfish employs a unique process to hunt land based insects and small animals – it aims, spits, and stuns. It lurks under the surface of the water, waiting for unsuspecting insects to land nearby. Then, it spits out water jets at a great force, instantly killing the prey. The entire process takes just one-tenth of a second.

An archerfish can bring down insects as far as three meters above the water’s surface. Once it selects the prey, it rotates its eyes so that the prey’s image falls on a particular part of the eye. Then it presses its tongue against the groove on the roof of its mouth to form a narrow channel, and contracts its gill covers to issue a powerful jet of water through the channel. The power of this shot can be altered for prey of different sizes. The jet can be up to five meters long.

Archerfish

..

The Unbelievably Cute Blacknose Sheep of Valais

Comments OffStumble it Icon digg it Icon

The Valais Blacknose sheep are some of the cutest animals I’ve ever seen. On first glance, they don’t even look real; many people have mistaken them for well-crafted felt projects. I wonder why they aren’t more popular on the internet. They do have a Facebook fan page with over 3,500 likes, butI think they ought to be more well-known.

The Blacknose sheep originate in the Valais region of Switzerland. They are a dual-purpose breed, raised for wool as well as meat. Their most notable features – a black face, black ears, black knees and legs. The rest of their coat is stringy, white and unbelievably fluffy; you’d just want to cuddle up with them. But they’re a pretty tough breed.

The Valais Blacknose are a Heritage breed. These domesticated animals are well suited to live in the extreme climatic conditions of the high mountains and are good at grazing on steep, rocky slopes. Each sheep weighs 80 to 100 kilos and produces about 4 kilos of wool a year. Their earliest mention dates back to 1400 A.D., but they were first recognized as a separate breed in 1962.

Valais-Blacknose

..

Indian “Lady Tarzan” Talks to Elephants and They Listen

Comments OffStumble it Icon digg it Icon

14-year-old Nirmala Toppo is the heroine of Rourkela, an industrial city located in the Indian state of Odisha, after she talked the elephants that had invaded the settlement into returning to the forest.

The Catholic girl from Jharkland claims she began talking to elephants after her mother was killed by some pachyderms. “I then decided to learn the techniques to drive them away”. The technique Nirmala refers to involves praying and literally talking to the elephants. “First I pray and then talk to the herd. They understand what I say”. By using these simple “tricks”, the girl helped the authorities of Rourkela deal with a herd of elephants that had settled in a residential area of the city. “When the herd entered the city, we tried our best to contain its movement. We managed to make the herd go into the local football stadium, but we were not sure how we could drive them back to the forest. It was a difficult task,” forest official P. K. Dhola said. Out of options and pressed for time, they remembered that there was someone who could help them. “We knew of a tribal girl who lived in Jharkhand, who talked to elephants and was able to drive them back. We called up her father and she arrived along with some other tribal people from her village”.

Nirmala-Toppo

..

The Komondor – Nature’s Adorable Living Mop

1 CommentStumble it Icon digg it Icon

The Komondor is undoubtedly one of the oldest and most unique-looking dog breeds in the world. It was mentioned for the first time in the Code of Hammurabi (a set of laws created by the Babylonian king Hammurabi around 1750 BC). However, the Komondor is nowadays considered Hungary’s traditional dog.

The first thing you’ll notice about these dogs is their resemblance to giant mops: indeed, their 2000-cord coat alone weighs around 15 pounds (30 kilos) and they are approximately three feet tall (a bit over 90 centimeters). The Komondor’s cords develop during its first two years of life and their length increases with time, as the coat grows. Thankfully, the dog doesn’t need brushing, but you do have to separate the cords, which may take a while, as they tend to get tangled. If the dog’s natural look is maintained, which means letting its corded coat grow long, you’ll be able to notice its distinctive rectangular shape. These adorable leaving mops were used as livestock guard dogs, and with their corded coat acting as camouflage they were especially useful for guarding sheep. The Komondor breed is believed to have been so efficient at its task that it nearly wiped out all Hungary’s wolf population.

Komodor-Dog

..

The Unbelievable Story of Mike the Headless Chicken

2 CommentsStumble it Icon digg it Icon

According to Mike the chicken, losing your head is not that bad as it’s thought to be. You better believe it since this one of a kind rooster lived headless for two years and became world-famous for it.

Mike became “the Headless Chicken” on September 10th, 1945 after being decapitated by his owner, Lloyd Olsen from Fruita, Colorado, who wanted to cook him for dinner. During Mike’s attempted decapitation, Llyod hit all the wrong (or right) spots, leaving Mike headless but still alive. Baffled, the owner had a change of heart and decided to nurse the rooster back to health. Mike shook off the upsetting incident and shortly after, started pecking around and grooming his feathers as if nothing had happened. Well, he couldn’t really do all those things because without a head the bird couldn’t eat, drink or see but that didn’t stop him from trying! After feeding him grains and quenching his thirst, Olsen took Mike to the University of Utah where flabbergasted scientists took a close look at the death-defying chicken. According to them, a blood clot prevented Mike from bleeding to death after Olsen’s ax had missed the jugular. As if by miracle, Mike was still left with his left ear and most of his brain stem intact which was enough to keep this feathered critter healthy for the following two years of his life. Apparently chicken’s reflexes lie in their brain stem which explains why Mike still attempted to peck and even sing – gurgle rather, despite his handicap.  Olsen swore to take care of him for the rest of his life, feeding him milk and water with syringes. Mike was doing so well, he even gained weight determining Lloyd to call him a “robust chicken – a fine specimen of a chicken except for not having a head.”

Mike-the-Headless-Chicken

..

Disney’s 101 Dalmatians Inspires Dog Lover to Take in as Many Spotted Canines as He Can Find

2 CommentsStumble it Icon digg it Icon

Nelson Vergara loved the movie “101 Dalmatians” so much that after watching it, he couldn’t help himself from adopting any spotted dog that crossed his path. His love and dedication for Dalmatians is well known throughout his hometown of Santiago, Chile where he is called the “Dalmatian Man,” a name he got from the 42 liver spotted canines living in his backyard. Vergara is so obsessed with the popular breed that he even painted black dots on his white van.

“It all started because of that film,” Vergara says. “That was computer-generated. But I wanted to do the real thing.” But the true reasons behind his passion is to save the millions of stray dogs which roam Chile’s streets every day. The number rises even further during working hours when pet owners leave their dogs outside. These dogs are not very well taken care of either – they are never sprayed for fleas or neutered. Vergara’s intentions are purely humanitarian for he wants to raise awareness about the growing number of stray dogs which the country’s Humane Society considers alarming.

Nelson-Vergara

..

China’s Bizarre Pet Craze – Puppies Painted with Toxic Varnish to Make Them Look Like Unique Breeds

2 CommentsStumble it Icon digg it Icon

In 2010, the Year of the Tiger,  a series of pictures showing orange puppies with black stripes caused controversy in China after they were posted online. Hoping to make a profit off them, some vendors had started selling striped dogs under the false pretense that they were a new breed.  At the time, everybody questioned the authenticity of those photos, not knowing if they were photoshopped, if the puppies where genetically altered or simply painted, but now everyone knows the truth. These are “one week puppies” a name that hints at their short life expectancy due to the toxicity of the varnish they are painted with. Believe it or not, they are still very popular in China.

It seems making your canine companion look like other animals using toxic varnish has become very popular in China. Pandas and tigers are especially sought after and dogs resembling these animals have been showing up in every city. “I have seen this kind of dog more than once in China, once in ZhuHai last fall and then in the city of Guangzhou. Both times the dogs were for sale from a street vendor, they were not all the same color, but they were all striped. The only thing I can think is that the stripes are spray painted on,” a woman wrote on a forum. The coloring process used in the case of the “Bengal dogs” (tiger-skinned dogs) must have required some powerful chemicals as the people curious enough to buy a striped individual reported that the dog was very ill. “I recently bought one of these dogs in Beijing China,” another person wrote . “I got it home and it was very dehydrated. I took it to the vet today and they confirmed that its hair had been dyed. It is a black dog, that gets to be about medium size. They dye the orange part, that’s why the orange is never around the eyes, or nose, and the stripes are so uniform. The vet stated that the dye would wear off in about 2 months, and that the dog would be healthy unless we continued to dye the dog,” he detailed.

dyed-dogs-china

..

Page 3 of 2112345...1020...Last »