When Animals, Um, Well, Do This Stuff

Meow, baby.
Today is going to be a Florida free blog. Not that there isn’t a collection of idiots in Florida begging to be immortalized here, there certainly is, it’s just that, sometimes, I need a break. And today is one of those days. Besides, we have our own brand of home grown hilarity today. The nice people at P.E.T.A. – MOTTO: we’ll get naked at the drop of a hamster – have petitioned the State of Illinois to erect roadside memorials for dead cows. It is this kind of stuff that keeps P.E.T.A. relevant. In much the same way your crazy Uncle Fred is relevant when he wears a lampshade on his genitals and proclaims himself to be Napoleon. Bonus relevance points if he can get the lampshade to light. I sometimes wonder if P.E.T.A. is actually just a group of disillusioned performance artists who figured out this great way to scam money out of bleeding heart morons. There is no way anyone takes them seriously. Oh, I get the ‘no fur’ thing. That’s admirable. And with the invention of neoprine and other materials, it’s even viable. But the rest of their propaganda wanders between delusional and stupid. Often encompassing both simultaneously.

And, just to keep my sanity, I’ll ignore the whole “roadside memorial” issue. Sticking up a plaque that says “Bob died here” is one of the most self serving, stupid, inane, things people could possibly do.

Okay, maybe I didn’t completely ignore it.

Let’s get back to the animals.

A fun loving, 1,100 pound crocodile decided it wanted a lawn mower. Since the nasty, evil, zoo people wouldn’t give him one, he got out of his cage, hunted them down and took one.

A giant saltwater crocodile named Elvis with an apparent affinity for household machinery charged at an Australian reptile park worker Wednesday before stealing his lawn mower.

Tim Faulkner, operations manager at the Australian Reptile Park, north of Sydney, was one of three workers tending to the lawn in Elvis’ enclosure when he heard reptile keeper Billy Collett yelp. Faulkner looked up to see the 16-foot (5-meter), 1,100-pound (500-kilogram) crocodile lunging out of its lagoon at Collett, who warded the creature off with his mower.

“Before we knew it, the croc had the mower above his head,” Faulkner said. “He got his jaws around the top of the mower and picked it up and took it underwater with him.”

The workers quickly left the enclosure. Elvis, meanwhile, showed no signs of relinquishing his new toy and guarded it closely all morning.

Eventually, Faulkner realized he had no other choice but to go back for the mower.

Collett lured Elvis to the opposite end of the lagoon with a heaping helping of kangaroo meat while Faulkner plunged, fully clothed, into the water. Before grabbing the mower, however, he had to search the bottom of the lagoon for two 3-inch (7-centimeter) teeth Elvis lost during the encounter. He quickly found them and escaped from the pool, unharmed and with mower in tow.

Though many may question the wisdom of going after a couple of teeth with a massive crocodile lurking just feet away, Faulkner said finding them was critical. “They clog up the filter systems,” he said.

And, he said, “They’re a nice souvenir.”

Elvis has a history of crankiness and has lunged at staff before, though this is the first time he has stolen something from one of the workers. The croc was initially captured in the northern Australian city of Darwin, where he had been attacking fishing boats. He was then moved to a crocodile farm, where he proceeded to kill his two crocodile girlfriends.

In 2008, he was moved to the reptile park, where he has enjoyed solitary confinement in his own enclosure.

“When they are the dominant croc, they’re just full of testosterone,” Faulkner said. “He’s got his beautiful own yard, he wants to be a solitary creature. He’s happy.”

Despite having to give up the lawn mower, Elvis was clearly pleased with himself, Faulkner said.

“He’s beaten us today … he’s kingpin,” Faulkner said. “He’s going to be walking around with his chest puffed out all day.”

As for the staff at the reptile park?

“I can’t lie, the bosses are not going to be happy about the cost of a new lawn mower,” Faulkner said with a laugh. “(But) we love it. No one’s injured … and when you get scared and it all turns out to be good, it’s actually quite enjoyable.”

I see why they named him Elvis. Everyone who gets near him ends up all shook up.

Yeah, I went there. And I’m still in the building.

But what about other animals. Have there been any other reports of aggressive use of landscaping items? Well, no, not as far as I can tell. But I still see a disturbing trend. The Huffington Post reports that monkeys are learning to control fire and cook.

Anyone who’s ever seen “Planet of the Apes” or the recent “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” knows this is exactly how it starts. And it’s all downhill from here.

Kanzi, a fun-loving male bonobo, has figured out how to cook his food with fire, the Daily Mail reports.

Bonobos are also known as pygmy or dwarf chimpanzees, and listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List due in large part to poaching.

According to the Daily Mail report, this is the first time a bonobo ape has developed this skill, which Dr Savage-Rumbaugh, of the Great Ape Trust, links to early human development.

“When humans learned to control fire and to domesticate dogs we began to feel a new level of safety which freed us to become creative and to create more sophisticated cultures,” Savage-Rumbaugh told the Daily Mail.

Kanzi’s skills have also transcended food groups: not only can he cook hamburgers in a pan over the fire, but he can roast marshmallows at the end of a stick, too.

The curious bonobo first learned to use fire by lighting matches, which the Mail’s David Derbyshire described as “eerie,” and “remarkably human.”

Adding to his short order cook resume, Kanzi also understands 3,000 spoken words and can “say” close to 500 words by pointing to symbols known as lexigrams.

This isn’t the first time apes have displayed uniquely human behavior. The report “Spontaneous Prosocial Choice By Chimpanzees,” published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that the primates are as cooperative as humans, especially when their partners are patient with them.

“For me, the most important finding is that like us, chimpanzees take into account the needs and wishes of others,” researcher Dr. Victoria Horner told LiveScience following the study.

No, the most important thing is now monkeys have a weapon that can be used against us. And I have seen enough bad science fiction movies, and even a couple of good ones, to know that they will. As soon as simianly possible, they will.

What proof do I have that animals want us dead? The penis eating rats of India seems like a good place to start.

An Indian man who died in a state-run hospital is alleged to have had his penis chewed off by rats, Asian Age newspaper reports.

Arun Sandhukha, 53, had been a pneumonia patient at SSKM Hospital in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) since December 11. According to the newspaper, his family members arrived at the hospital for a visit and found him in a pool of blood, with no medical staff in sight.

“No nurse was found at the scene and he was writhing in pain. His penis had been nibbled by rats,” a victim’s relative identified as Bishwanath said. The relative said that hospital staff “admitted the presence of rats in the hospital.”

Later in the day, Sandhukha was pronounced dead. (Asian Age published its story on December 24, but it is not clear on what day the incident occurred.)

The horrific story is only the latest in a string of medical mishaps to capture the Indian public’s attention. On December 23, a government doctor was found to be practicing medicine while inebriated, reports The Statesman.

In a more serious case, a drunk medical worker “was reported to have pulled off the oxygen mask of a three-week old baby that led to her death,” reports the Malaysian National News Agency Bernama.

And in a tragedy that made international headlines, 89 people were killed when a fire swept through a Kolkata hospital on December 9. Medical staff abandoned patients as the blaze spread, and six administrators were charged with culpable homicide.

Right, and everyone of those people should be prosecuted. But let’s not lose sight of the fact that rats snuck into this guy’s room and didn’t eat his rice cakes or his Jello. Nope, they went straight for his Johnson and ate it up nom nom nom.

Those are rats with a plan people and you should be afraid. You should be very afraid.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwxUgefMStM&w=560&h=315]

Listen to Bill McCormick on WBIG AM 1280, every Thursday morning around 9:10!

Related posts