Tag Archives: predators

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

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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Man-eating catfish. It’s what’s for dinner.

When British biologist Jeremy Wade finally investigated a 20-year history of fatal attacks in the Great Kali River between India and Nepal, he discovered that the local legend of a giant river monster devouring folks who went in the water (like one 18-year-old boy who was dragged down into the river by a creature “resembling an elongated pig”) was not far from true.

Was it a crocodile? No. Frankly, being killed by a crocodile would have a bit more gravitas, and read a bit less like a B horror flick. What  Wade found when he waded in the water were very large, very hungry goonch catfish (Bagarius yarelli).
Catfish, though one of many aquatic scavengers, are not known to be one of homo sapiens sapiens’s more dangerous predators. So what explains this strange behavior? It all has to do with Hindu funeral rites, and folks, it’s not pretty.
According to Hindu custom, the dearly departeds of those living near the Great Kali river are typically burnt on a funeral pyre, after which the charred remains are often tipped into the river. Where they are eaten by catfish. Again, what this sad story lacks in dignity, it makes up for in anticlimactic absurdity.
Nourished on the macabre feast of funeral pyre “leftovers,” the catfish have grown far beyond their normal size, and have learned not to wait for their food to be conveniently delivered in its cooked state- they go after their meat when it is still, so to speak, “on the hoof.”  

The author of BV would like to hereby encourage the Indian and Nepali neighbors of the Great Kali River to consider the American south, which boasts many lovely preparations of catfish: blackened, fried, and in a po’ boy, to name only a few.

Payback’s a bitch, ain’t it fishy fishy?

 

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Filed under marine life, Phobia-inducing, the strange and the beautiful, Uncategorized