Category Archives: Uncategorized

Honey Badger: who you calling honey mister?

Don’t make the mistake, dear reader, of judging a badger by its nomiker: this one’s no honey.  Named for their predilection for eating honeycombs pilfered from beehives, Mellivora capensis is also famous as a snake-killer. The honey badger uses its jaws to grab a snake behind its head and kill it, and can devour a snake measuring up to 5 feet in length  in a mere 15 minutes. 15 minutes. Piggy little honey badger.

The badger’s prey is hardly limited to honey and snakes, however. Consider the following list: earthworms, insects, scorpions,  porcupines, hares, ground squirrels, meerkats, mongooses, tortoises, crocodiles up to one metre in size, young gazelle and snakes (including venomous species),  lizards, frogs, small rodents, birds and fruit.  Goodness. (GAZELLE??? CROCODILES???)

National Geographic documentary,  “Snake killers: Honey badgers of the Kalahari”,  documented a badger snatching a meal out of a puff adder‘s mouth, after which he casually ate the purloined prey, and, insatiable, turned to stalk the deadly snake itself. This bold item managed to kill the snake, and even to begin eating it, but having been bitten, collapsed on the dead snake mid-chew. Cameramen were shocked, however, when the badger awoke 2 hours later,  finished his meal and went on his merry way.

Construction workers, take note: watch who you call honey. It may be the last thing you do.

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Filed under academia, human behavior, Phobia-inducing, the strange and the beautiful, Uncategorized

Chickcharnie

When sightseeing on the Island of Andros, dear readers, keep your eyes peeled for a creature that Bahamian folk tales describe as a three-toed elf, a red-eyed man-beast or a birdlike creature with a lizard’s tail and a fluffy mane, that likes to hang upside down from trees. Quite monstrous really. And carry flowers or bright bits of cloth, with which you will, if rumors are to be believed, be able to charm the creatures– so long as you treat them respectfully. This is something you will surely want to do.

Why, you might ask? Well, it’s quite simple really. If you piss these touchy lil’ buggers off they’ll make your head spin right around. Right on around. Dastardly.

… Of course, should you treat the elf with respect, you may be blessed with good luck for the rest of your natural life—a boon not to be sneered at, in the author’s humble opinion.

Of course, some doubting souls claim that Tyto pollens, an extinct species that is distantly related to the Common Barn-owl ( Tyto alba), is the origin of the chickcharnie myth. Tyto pollens was a large, flightless burrowing owl rumored to have been territorially aggressive, though it coexisted with humans. Rapid deforestation by white explorers in the 16th century led, sadly, to this creature’s extinction… or just to the chickcharnie’s retreat from common view…

Whichever version of the story is true,  the author is ready to chance it, as some good luck– and a beach vacation– would be greatly appreciated.

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Filed under academia, extinct species, folklore, human behavior, Phobia-inducing, Uncategorized

This little fishy went to market

Alright, dear readers, okay. the author has a soapbox to stand on and a bone to pick today: it has to do with fishing ethics and sustainability, and is remarkably un-funny (as opposed to the rest of BV’s posts which are , of course, hi-LAR-ious. ahem) . What does this have to do with the picture above you might ask? well, this photograph was published by the Guardian UK online on Saturday; it depicts a  Somali fisherman hauling his catch to market in Mogadishu.

Quite aside from the sheer visual impact of this photo, with the ruins in the background and  the somewhat blank expression on fisherman’s face, the photo is a visual reminder of the difference between fishing for sustenance–for survival– and for vanity, masking itself as tradition.

Let me backtrack a bit… ah… okay, yes.  Here we go: shark fishing is an important aspect of both commercial and artisanal fishing in Somalia, and studies have not yet shown how dramatically this practice may effect the population of hammerhead, grey, and mako sharks in the area.  Some would like to see even traditional shark fishing banned, in the interest of preservation. Truth be told, the author of BV has not done enough research to say whether she falls into this camp or not.

But she will say this; in comparison to the horrific commercial massacre of sharks that occurred in Somalia in 2008, in which thousands of sharks washed up on shore after having had their fins brutally lopped off by commercial fishermen,  the artisanal practice of going to sea in small outboard-motorized vessels, and hand-carrying one’s catch to market, at least seems to even the playing field a bit.  Would you want to trade places with this man? No. I she a damned sight more respectable than the consumers who like to consume shark fins because.. oh, why was that again? oh, yes, because it helps float their peckers and demonstrates their wealth?

The answer, dear readers, is YES.

Further reading: A grassroots organization in Hong-Kong Boycotts the traditional banquet dish of shark fin soup. HUZZAH for grassroots advocacy.

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Filed under animal imagery, human behavior, marine life, politics, Uncategorized

Lonomia obliqua caterpillar: prickly little beast

In the rainforests of South America lives a fragile and lovely caterpillar–lonomia obliqua— that will kill you if you let it. Be warned, dear readers, that they are often found–or rather, go unnoticed– on the bark of trees, which provides perfect  camouflage for the nasty, homicidal little  lepidoptera.

There they lurk in unassuming wait for travelers to lean against their trees, and to unknowingly brush against one of their numbers. Scientists will tell you that the powerful anticoagulant venom is a defensive mechanism, but the author of BV knows different. Lean in close to your screen, now: they are in league with evil forces and poise dto take over the world. It’s all very hush hush.

Ahem. On a practical note, symptoms of Lonomia obliqua poisoning include “severe internal bleeding, renal failure and hemolysis.”  A lethal dose of the toxin is minuscule, among the lowest of all known toxins. Brush against two of these villains and you’re meat.

To wit: though the lonomia family is responsible for only .1 % fewer toxin-related deaths than are rattlesnake bites,  should you be injected by the caterpillar, it would only take one one-thousandth volume of venom (versus the average snakebite) to do its work. One shudders to think.

So dear readers, should you find yourself in a Brazilian rainforest, mind the trees, forget the snakes, and beware the caterpillars.

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Filed under Phobia-inducing, the insect world, the strange and the beautiful, tiny animals, Uncategorized

Tungara frog: foamy little freaks

It is a biological truth that in most cases of human canoodling some modest amount of various and sundry bodily fluids are produced. (Indeed, many female humans in the author’s aquaintence have had occasion to note that some male specimen seem to produce excessive saliva when mating rituals such as “necking” are undertaken. What is with that, anyway?)

Well, ladies and gentlemen, imagine your horror should you find that your mate had the habits of Engystomops pustulosus (formerly known as Physalaemus pustulosus.) When mating, the eager male frog positions himself atop the female and starts to pulse rhythmically (not to say monotonously, though some lady frogs might complain on that account). As a result, the female  releases a foam producing solvent which the male’s gyrations froths up into a giant, floating foam nest that protects the fertilized eggs “from dehydration, sunlight, temperature, and potential pathogens until the tadpoles hatch.”

Very creative. And very… well, unsavory, frankly. But if one is a Tungara frog, one might find such foamy emmissions quite provocative.  And the author suspects that should she look hard enough, she would find internet porn for that.

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Filed under human behavior, Phobia-inducing, rated NC17, the strange and the beautiful, Uncategorized

California Academy of sciences promises to let you watch

Another link to love, dear readers: California Academy of Sciences promises to let you watch the penguins “swim, flirt, nest, and relax” via its penguin-cam. You can also watch the tuxedoed charmers feed every day at 10:30am and 3:30pm. As she writes the author is watching them do… fuck all really.  But feeding time is something to see, and nicely coincides with the mandatory coffee and cookie breaktimes that the author of BV is petitioning congress to institute as a universal workplace practice in the U.S..  You’re welcome.

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Filed under academia, exceedingly cute, links to love, marine life, Uncategorized

Yoga Bear

The author had not intended to post today, but was utterly undone by the following story and simply had to share: Santra, a female brown bear in Finland’s Ahtari Zoo, is apparently the latest adherent to the yoga craze that has been sweeping the globe for the last decade or so  (more if you gew up, as the author did, in the land that the sixties forgot… to leave).

In any case, it was obvious to all in attendance that Santra is well on her way to yogi status as she demonstrated a variety of poses over a fifteen-minute span. Namaste, yoga bear.

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The Borneo frog: it’s itsy bitsy and it crawled up the pitcher’s spout

Apparently, Dear readers, the author of BV is on a tiny animal kick. The newest addition to the list being Microhyla nepenthicola, recently discovered by researchers in Borneo. These little buggers live and breed  in the muck that accumulates at the bottom of pitcher plants that grow on the forest floor.

Neat trick, that, since the pitcher plant is carnivorous.  Perhaps even these tiny frogs are too big a bite for the pitcher plant to chew.

And perhaps the author’s love for these creatures of diminutive size is a reaction to the smallness she feels in the face of almost insurmountable personal hurdles, and a respect for their ability to adapt and persevere. Or perhaps that pop psychobabble should go the way of poor  Ornithomimosauria, long extinct and similarly toothless.

But the bottom line, dear readers, is that that tiny frog is damned cute, don’t you think?


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Filed under academia, exceedingly cute, the strange and the beautiful, tiny animals, Uncategorized

Tiny animals make BV smile

The author has been remiss, and has neglected to deliver promised entries. Well, dear readers, that is changing, starting now, with a new link I love.

Hooray, tiny animals has all of the squishy cutsiepoo appeal that the author of BV secretly loves in an alarmingly pre-adolescent way. Enjoy, and return for more posts.

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Filed under baby animals, exceedingly cute, links to love, marine life, the strange and the beautiful, tiny animals, Uncategorized

Nasty little animal, Cancer.

Dear readers, the author of BV has once again been asleep at the proverbial wheel, but she has a Very Good Reason. That is, a nasty little animal called Cancer has been plagueing her family (in the way that toads, locusts, and other particular nasty little animals did in old-testament families), and she has been entirely preoccupied with the psychic and culinary efforts to systematically wipe out–or at least significantly hamper the spread of– said species.  But, lest you (the two of you darling people out there who actually CARE) forget about her, fear not! she has returned, with a list of likely suspects for new entries and a new fervor for the entire project. It may take a while, but sit tight.

In other words, Dear Readers, stick with the author of BV, kid, she’ll teach ya things and show ya places.

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Fried Egg Jellyfish… pass the Tabasco.

Well, this is another post inspired by the Discovery Channel series Life. Unfortunately, Dear Readers, while the Fried Egg jellyfish (Phacellophora camtschatica) is strange and beautiful, it is also singularly boring. Terrible at cocktail parties.  Seriously. Even with the author of BV’s overactive imagination, she could find nothing more fascinating to write about about this behemouth  than the shape that its name implies. Which leaves her with nothing to say but pass the tabasco, and mind the tentacles.

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Filed under marine life, the strange and the beautiful, Uncategorized

Newsflash: Flashier Tits produce more active sperm.

No kidding?

Dear Readers, the author of BV was initially stymied by the headline of a recent National Geographic Article: what, exactly, was new—or newsworthy—about this little gem? But lest you think that I am concerned with nothing but (ahem) titillation, let me clarify;

Male Great Tit birds with brighter breast plumage seem to produce sperm with greater motility, even when under stress. And how, you might ask, did the scientific world come up with this information? Scientific bird fluffers. That’s right: “At 7 and 15 days after the broods hatched… scientists trapped…males and massaged their cloacas—all-purpose openings found in many animals—to make the males ejaculate.”

Now there’s a job for all of you recent college graduates. Happy ending bird masseuse. Mind the cloaca.

In a stunning reflection of human reality show melodrama, moreover, it was discovered that because female great tits “cannot always get the [colorful] males they want… [they] will often settle for a less flashy mate.” But those females, yearning, so to speak, for the bad boys they crushed on in highschool, will sometimes stray, sneaking off for a lunchtime quickie with the flashy bird the bet at the local seed bar.

Dirty little birds.

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skinnileg piglet nervosia

This one, dear readers, comes to you from a beloved site, Cakewrecks, whose writer is a woman after the author of BV’s own heart– particularly in this entry, which promises to look at “Life, Jim, but not as we know it.”

The animals (?) in this entry maight as well have been dreamt up by the fevered dreams of your own BV author, and she’s, frakly, a little jealous that she didn’t think of the ” skinnileg piglet nervosia” first.

Starlog, signing out, and reminding you that there is *no*life without cake.

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Link to love

Some folks have asked where the author finds all of the kooky madcap animals that she posts on this site. Well, without giving away all her secrets she is agreeable to letting you, dear readers, in on one of her favorite sites: the BBC   Science and Nature column online. Enjoy, little BVites, and never say I never did anything for you.

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Giant Shark: P. mortoni Discovered in Kansas

Scientists recently discovered a gigantic jawbone, teeth and scales, which, along with being a breakthough for the scientific community in general, also has personal significance for one of the author of BV’s ex boyfriends, if the lead scientest’s descriptions are to be trusted. This predator (ahem), a “sluggish bottom-dwelling shark” (ah, ahem) has long been recognized by the scientific community, but it’s size, in an ironic change of pace for most men, was actually underestimated. Ahem. Dr Kenshu Shimada of DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois, discovered the fossilized remains of P. mortoni in the Fort Hays Limestone in Kansas. According to Shimada, “Kansas back then was smack in the middle of an inland sea known as the Western Interior Seaway that extended in a north-south direction across North America.” Representatives from Kansas have had the following response to the news: “Damn, you mean if I’d lived here a million years ago, I could have had an oceanfront property?” Shimada and his team attribute the extinction of this massive creature to the same environmental factors that killed the dinosaurs- including the shrinking of this giant inland sea. But the author of BV knows better, dear readers. If it wasn’t a disgruntled ex girlfriend, it was the diminishing real estate prices that killed ‘em.

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Filed under extinct species, human behavior, marine life, Uncategorized