Tag Archives: Animals

Pandas Are No Longer Endangered

By far the single most-read blog post I have ever cranked out is “Pandas Are Dumb,” in which I make the argument that pandas, while adorable, are pretty much an evolutionary dead end. If humans weren’t pushing them around, their species is so unfathomably stupid that something else (like dolphins or possibly even clever rocks) would instead. I still get read more »

Man Arrested for Trying to Ride a Manatee

Where, exactly, does the human impulse to ride animals come from? Think about that for a second. At some point in human history our paleolithic ancestors were wandering around the Serengeti with pointy sticks, some sort of giant proto-horse galloped by, and a guy said, “You see that big animal? I’m gonna sit on that.” That was crazy. Today read more »

Apparently Dolphins Can Actually Talk

We already knew dolphins were really smart, and we knew they communicated. This isn’t abnormal with intelligent animals–monkeys make specific noises to alert their buddies if they’re frightened, if they’re angry, or if they see food. What scientists have discovered is that dolphins have multi-word conversations between individuals. They have dialogues. The clicks and whistles are words, read more »

Lions Are Invading Kenyan Suburbs

It’s official: Kenya’s suburbs are way, way more interesting than America’s. Recently homes and crummy malls have sprouted up on the south (unfenced) side of Nairobi National Park, and it turns out that lions are completely undeterred by zoning laws. They’ll sneak through Maasai Village at night to eat goats and cows, and occasionally sharpen read more »

Sir Nils the Penguin is Promoted to Brigadier

Some years ago the King of Norway loaned a penguin to the Edinburgh Zoo and, for kicks, also knighted him. Now whenever King Harald V swings by to visit Scotland on vacation, he promotes the damned bird again. Over the years Sir Nils Olav has gone from a knight to a personal member of the kings guard. read more »

Canada Develops Eagle Beer-Delivery System

Our friends in the Deep North have out-Americaned us again, folks. A raptor center in Vancouver has teamed up with a local brewery for a mind-blowingly amazing contest. Whoever wins will have an Eagle named Hercules fly into downtown Vancouver and deliver them a can of beer. This, in my opinion, significantly outpaces whatever leaps read more »

Brooklyn’s LED Pigeon Art

An artist named Duke Riley has apparently trained 2,000 pigeons to fly in specific formations in the sky, and he’s going to strap LED lights to each of their legs. Visually, this ought to be amazing: if you’re in Brooklyn over the summer you can see what will appear to be star constellations pinwheeling all read more »

“Fishermen Use Dead Friend to Catch 180-pound Carp”

Okay, before you get caught up in a spiral of morbid disgust, know the context. Three friends planned to go on an epic fishing trip together, but their buddy got terminal cancer. Sadly, he died before they could make it to Thailand. He asked them on his deathbed to scatter his ashes on their fishing read more »

Dogs Learn to Fly Planes for British TV Show

I’m particularly glad someone took the time to teach dogs how to fly planes, because I feel the species had more or less plateaued as of late in terms of career options. Sure, we have seeing eye dogs and bomb sniffers, but in our ever-changing world it’s important to learn new skills. Technically the dogs read more »

Danish Zoo Shoots Giraffe and Feeds It to Lion in Front of Kids

  Danish Zoos are apparently a lot more gruesome than American ones are, based on the fact that this week the Copenhagan Zoo shot a giraffe in the head with a bolt gun and then fed it to a lion–in front of school children. It makes you wonder about whoever the Assistant Director of Giraffes read more »

Drunken Pig Terrorizes Australia

If you’re not worried about feral pigs, you should be. Particularly in Australia where, apparently, they have a drinking problem. Earlier this month a ferrel pig (domesticated pigs which escape to the wild, grow tusks, and become homicidal) snuck into a campsite and proceeded to drink eighteen unsecured beers. Then, according to one eye witness, the read more »

Montez Moves On

This week I had to find a new home for my pet fish, Montez, because I am moving and am afraid if I leave my fish with Evil Jim, my hitherto roommate, that he will try and brainwash the fish to hate me. Originally I planned to leave Montez’s bowl inside of a wicker basket read more »

Don’t Eat the Sharks

I spent this evening hanging out with shark bite victims at a film screening for a program which will air on The Discovery Channel later this summer. Oddly enough, most people attacked by the grizzly bears of the ocean wind up becoming shark advocates and conservationists afterwards. This leads me to theorize that sharks actually read more »

Attack Monkeys, and Other Pets

Dogs and cats remain the most popular pets in the Western world. Dogs are furry and they love you unconditionally. Violin strings are made out of cat gut. Eventually I would like to get a couple of pet dogs, however in the meantime I fantasize about more exotic household critters. VELOCIRAPTORS Yes, I know, they read more »

Dolphins Have Names

So it turns out that dolphins name each other. Not regular human names like “Bob” or “Alfred,” but specialized whistles issued for each dolphin specifically. Names like “EeeeA-A-A-Ak” and “EreEeeEeeeeEp.” Except echoey and underwater. Neither moniker has the same grandeur as a name like “Gatsby,” but they’re still less irritating than when hippies name their read more »

I Might Kidnap a Dog

There is a neighborhood in Washington DC called Eastern Market, renowned for its weekend grocers and street vendors peddling furniture and paintings. It is quaint and pedestrian, and serves as a sort of catwalk for young couples wanting to show off their toddlers or dogs. Dogs are popular in Washington. Cramming a million career-focused Type read more »

Do Lesbians Cause Tornadoes?

My state’s constitution seems to contain a provision requiring that once every two years we must pass a bill which dazzles the entire country in its glittering, bejeweled stupidity. Not all of them are bad. I rather like the absurd ones. For instance, it is illegal to go whale hunting in Oklahoma. That law is read more »

Pandas are Dumb

I don’t think we should actively hunt pandas for sport, and I’m perfectly fine with feeding them at zoos and protecting them from communists. But within the field of endangered species I think we should admit that the dwindling number of wild pandas is at least partially their own fault. Pandas are an evolutionary dead read more »

The Greatest Zoo on Earth

Until recently if you asked me, “Mr. Heaton” (you do not have permission to call me by my Christian name) “What is the best zoo on the entire planet?” I would have responded with, “Why, Little River Zoo in Norman, Oklahoma.” Because Little River Zoo was populated entirely by animals rejected by better zoos. I read more »

Wieners of Fire

If you have never before had the sensation of wandering into a Farside cartoon, all you need to do is visit the annual Dachshund Dash in Oklahoma City. Dog owners from across the region meet to race their wiener dogs, with the proceeds going to the Humane Society. In effect, it is a convention center read more »